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💸 Founder-led sales: The Demo
Four principles to help not screw up your demo
Welcome to the new readers of Rocket GTM 🚀
I’m Alfie, Head of US Go-To-Market at Spendesk and B2B SaaS Advisor.
Today we’re talking about demos.
You’ve done the hard part of building a kick ass product and getting people to your website. They’ve booked a demo. Here’s how not to f*** it up.
Demo’s are not onboarding calls
It’s easy to think that a demo should be a full demonstration of your product. But they’re not.
What purpose do demo calls serve?
Demos act as proof that your product can do what you say it can. The in’s and out’s of how every feature, button, or tab work should be reserved for your onboarding call. Customers don’t need to see exactly how you add users, they just need to know that you can.
When you change the question from “how can I best demo my product?” to “how can I best prove my product does what I say it can?” it opens up a world of options.
The customer doesn’t need to know how everything is done, but they need to leave the call confident that it can be done.
Salesforce were famous for only demo’ing a few presentation slides in the early days. You don’t physically need to go into all the tabs and click on every button. You are not presenting a laundry list of all features your product has.
I’m not saying to ditch your demo for a presentation deck, but you need to turn your demo into an interactive story. That story must be about business outcomes, not features.
As much as you want to show off your baby, you have to trim the fat. You can’t add simplicity, you can only remove complexity. That means focusing on what matters.
If your demos sound like this:
“So you can do this, and this, and if we click here we can do that. Oh and I forgot to show you this and we can also do that too. Cool isn’t it! What do you think?”, then keep calm and read on…
Demo outcomes, not features
People don’t buy what you can do, people buy what you can do for them.
They care about how your product influences business outcome.
The saying goes “customers don’t buy a drill, they buy a whole in the wall”. Or more specifically “customers don’t buy a drill, they buy the ability to hang a painting on the wall”.
They don’t want to know all the functionality of your drill, they want to know if they can put their damn painting on the wall and if drilling a hole is the best way to do it.
If you don’t know why they want to drill a hole in the wall, the only thing you can pitch is features. You have no “future state” to sell toward. That’s why the discovery call is the most important part of the sales process. Otherwise you’re just flying blind.
When you demo without discovery, you have zero control over the deal. Demo without discovery is the cardinal sin of sales. You must discover your customer’s desired business outcomes before you can demonstrate how your product can achieve them.
Discover their desired business outcomes before demonstrating value.
Think of it this way, if you demo a drill without knowing why they want to put a hole int he wall you’re just going to list of features without knowing whether they’re useful or not. You’re leaving your prospect to figure out how all these features are relevant to them. If you leave your customer to their own devices you drastically reduce the probability of winning the deal.
Dont: demonstrate features and leave your prospect to figure out if it’s useful
Do: demonstrate how you can achieve business outcomes, by putting features into real world context.
Don’t say this: “Our drill has a versatile 30 piece set that includes a wide variety of bits and accessories for drilling. It’s cordless so compact and lightweight.”
Say this instead: “ You’ve just moved into a new apartment, and it sounds like you need to put up a few different items. Our drill has a 30 piece set that can help you drill holes for photos, paintings, and even heavy mirrors. What items do you need to hang next week?”… “Sounds like you’re hanging about 10 different pieces. Our cordless drill will let you put them up in minutes without faffing about trying to find plug sockets, do you know how many items are close to a plug socket?”
The second option focuses on delivering an outcome. It contextualizes features in a desired future state. Don’t force your customers to figure out “how does a 30 piece set help me put up my painting?”.
Customize to Visualize
No one wants an out-of-the-box demo of your product features. They could find this online, or through a pre-recorded demo. In fact, if your demo could be replicated through a pre-recorded video then you’re doing it wrong.
As I said, you’re demo’ing how your customers can achieve their desired outcomes, and not individual features. The sales person adds value by enabling the prospect to visualize what their life would look like if they used your product . And guess what? You can’t do that unless you know what outcome they’re trying to achieve.
Every part of the demo should be customized to help the prospect visualize.
Context: Spendesk cards can be distributed to individual employees, but budget owners approve requests.
Application: We’ll ask “which team is your biggest spender?” … then we’ll ask “who’s the manager for that team?”. Then we’ll say “okay, so Jen will receive a notification on her phone with Simon’s request, she’ll be able to review the marketing team’s budget and cross check that Simon is within budget before approving?”…. “you’ll have a full audit trail of the request and approval so when the auditors come knocking you can show you’ve been compliant.”
You’re helping your prospect visualize the promised land with real world examples. It’s a lot different from saying “you click this button to make a request, then you’ll approve it, oh and here’s the screen to track the history".
To turn your demos into powerful tools of visualization first you must discover their desired business outcomes, then ask poignant questions like:
“Who would use this?”
“How would this help you achieve X outcome?”
“You said your team does X, how would you use this product to do Y?”
One issue with just listing off a bunch of features is that you’re talking at your prospect, and not with them. The talk-to-listen ratio skyrockets. You gotta talk less and listen more.
30% talking to 70% listening is a good benchmark.
The goal of a demo is not just proving your value, but also continued discovery. You can’t discover new information if you don’t let your customer speak.
Discussing features into the context of your prospect’s business outcomes is a good way to encourage engagement, but you also need to check in with your prospect throughout the call.
“Is this landing well with you?”
“Am I barking up the wrong tree here?”
“How would you roll this out to your team?”
“What am I not showing you that you want to see?”
“Now that you’ve seen a demo, how would you describe this to someone who’s never seen it before?”
Wrapping it up
First you must discover your prospect’s desired outcomes. What are the business outcomes you’re trying to impact. If you don’t know what business outcomes are, your demo is already dead.
Then you must prove that your product can achieve those business outcomes. Don’t mistake demonstrating outcomes with demonstrating feature lists.
Ensure your demo is customized to the prospect. Help them visualize how they’d use the product. Think about buying a house. Houses sell quicker when you can imagine your furniture inside.
Make sure your prospect is engaged. If their screen is off, they’re on mute, or taking other calls you’ve got a problem. Engaging demo’s require work from the prospect. Engage them with questions. Challenge their ideas. You need their feedback as much as they need your demo.