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Research Shows This One Thing is The Hardest Part of a Sales Demo

5 min read
Updated Aug. 25, 2021
Published Sep. 8, 2017

For an AE, starting a product demonstration can feel a little like the curtain rising on a theatrical production. Your product is the star of the show and your potential buyer is waiting to be amazed.

But putting your product on display shouldn’t be the only purpose of your demo calls. Your product is just a vehicle to help them accomplish their goals. That’s why your demo calls should be focused on how your product is used and how it solves the problems your customer’s business is facing.

So in a major plot twist, your buyer isn’t a tuned-in member of the audience at all, they are actually your main character.

Your role is to build the demo around your buyer and make sure your product is positioned on meeting their needs. This is easier said than done. According to TOPO’s latest benchmark report, 54% of sales leaders said the number one challenge their sales reps experience with demos is failing to tie the talk track back to the prospect’s needs.

But how do you flip the demo script? With the right demo process in place you can learn more about your buyer and deliver the demo that is just right for them. So let’s look at a few ways to tie your demo to the buyer’s story and fit your product to their needs.

Use Discovery Calls to Set the Stage

Before you even hop on a demo call, you have a tremendous opportunity to make sure demos are a success with the discovery call. Your discovery call is fundamental (we have an entire eBook about its importance). It’s the ideal time to learn about your prospect, their challenges, and how your product will be valuable to them.

Depending on your sales cycle, the discovery call may be its own call or a portion of your demo call. The important thing is to use the time wisely. There are a few things you should keep in mind to gain the most information:

Ask more questions: In general, the more you ask the more you can learn. Asking 11–14 questions optimizes the knowledge you can procure.

Space your questions out: It’s best if you don’t hound your potential buyer for answers upfront. Allow for a conversational back and forth to take place by interspersing questions throughout the call.

Uncover multiple challenges: Discovery calls are all about uncovering a prospect’s challenges. Discussing 3–4 challenges reveal the key objectives you can focus on in your demo.

The more you make note of in your discovery call, the better prepared you with be for the demo itself.

Make Your Demo Relevant

When it comes to your actual demo, it’s really simple to read through the same script of your product for every demo you have. But traipsing through a product monologue is a good way to lose your potential buyer’s interest. They aren’t familiar enough with your product to feel connected to it.

A custom demo approach connects the product as the solution to the challenges that were discussed during the discovery call. Using this information you can engage with your buyer with a customized demo that fits their objectives.

Don’t just paint the picture of what the product can do. Go above and beyond by incorporating the buyer’s brand into your demo. Create the need for the product by showing specific examples of how your product can play into your buyer’s day-to-day. Instead of droning on about a line of features, prepare a deck of relevant solutions to previously mentioned challenges your buyer faces. Show them exactly how your product should be a part of their business.

Structure the Demo for Feedback

While your demo call will primarily consist of the product demonstration, don’t let that take up your entire call. In order to confirm your meeting buyer expectations, your potential buyer needs to have some time to ask questions and contribute to the demo themselves.

The best thing you can do is set an agenda for your calls. TOPO recommends breaking your call agenda down in the following way:

Introduction (5 minutes): Greetings and present the agenda to keep everyone on the call accountable.

Recap findings ( 5 minutes): Go over previously discussed challenges from the discovery call and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Demo (30 minutes): Your customized product demonstration that will show how the product solves the previously mentioned challenges.

Feedback (10 minutes): Confirm that your product meets the buyer’s needs and solves their challenges.

Next steps (5 minutes): Plot out the next move in the buyer’s journey.

By setting specific time for feedback on the demo call, your buyer experiences your willingness to see their needs are met. When your buyer’s needs are met through your demo, you successfully complete your demo’s primary objectives.

The right kind of demo will captivate your buyer and demonstrate how their challenges can be solved with your product. With the spotlight on your buyer, you can deliver the perfect demo that will have your buyer demanding to make a deal.

Download a copy of the eBook today and take your account executive team into the modern sales era.