Today, a demo experience platform is changing the way products are shown, making it easy for businesses to give personalized and effective demos to attract and win over customers.
Let's dive into what a demo experience platform really is and how it's setting a new standard for product demonstrations.
What is a demo experience platform?
A demo experience platform is a no-code solution that clones your entire product - including all of the functionality and data customizability - without being tied to a database.
Meaning, your entire your entire product, including all of its functionality and visuals, is replicated without being tied to a back end.
A demo experience platform allows you to showcase your product in the best possible light, so your buyer understands its value faster. You’re able to tell an immersive product story that’s tailored to your buyer’s specific needs and use case - and do it at scale.
Think of showcasing your software product like putting your home on the market. Which home sells faster, the one that’s staged, or the one that’s not?
An open house that’s perfectly set with new furniture, freshly cut flowers, and smells of cookies straight out of the oven sells better than an empty home. It’s simple: Staged houses sell faster (and at top dollar) because the buyer can actually visualize themselves in the home.
The same goes for selling software. When you can showcase your product in a way that lets your buyer visualize themselves using it, you’re a lot more likely to win the deal.
Crafting that story has been a tall task until now. If you’ve gone to the lengths of creating a demo environment, you’re well aware of the headache it can create. You’re likely putting a significant amount of time and resources into keeping your in-house demo up-to-date. Whether it be with new product releases, or constantly piping in dummy data to keep the analytics looking fresh.
Further, since your R&D team is more focused on developing the actual product, the demo environment gets ignored. Your sales team is left with a clunky demo to try to communicate how your product is a game changer, but the story falls flat.
With a demo experience platform, you’re able to showcase your product in a way that resonates with your buyer, without the headache. You can craft a tailored product story in minutes - which means it’s built for scale.
These platforms are the key to effective, powerful demos that win deals in the age of digital and remote sales.
To stand out in today’s highly competitive marketplaces, sellers must personalize every single interaction with their current and potential buyers.
Moreover, their conversations, presentations, and demonstrations must directly address the needs of those buyers. Salespeople must uncover the true needs of a prospect and deliver a solution that fulfills those needs. When it comes to the demo, that means that standardized screens and data simply no longer work. Neither will a tour of every feature and function of your entire product.
Many teams then turn to homegrown demo environments. But, this solution heavily taxes the engineering team, removes them from important product improvement duties, and requires a significant amount of time.
The demo experience platform solves these problems by empowering go-to-market, RevOps, and sales teams to create their own custom demos with no code at scale.
Read on to find out:
- Why your sales team needs a demo experience platform
- What a demo platform is, exactly
- Demo experience platform approaches
- What a demo experience platform is
- What a demo experience is not
- Who is the demo experience platform for?
- How to drive product-led growth with a demo platform
Why your sales team needs a demo experience platform
The demo is arguably the most important part of any sales process. If the demo fails, your deal just walked out the door.
Yet, as sales has evolved, been digitized, and gone remote, the demo has remained the same.
Buyers have grown tired of the same, standardized product pitches and instead are looking for products that impress, excite, and inspire them. But most of all, they want to see products that fulfill their needs.
Demo experience platforms promise to revolutionize the sales demo and bring it beyond the pace of innovation elsewhere in sales. They provide unparalleled customization and scalability so teams can create custom demos for every prospect, without the hassle.
The problem with sales demos
Your marketing and sales/business development teams work hard to bring in qualified, ready-to-buy prospects that want to be wowed by your product.
Unfortunately, many demos lack the value story that converts prospects into customers. The demo is the pivotal moment that establishes your product as the clear winner and moves your account forward, yet sellers don’t always treat it that way.
Today, teams use slide decks, visual/verbal descriptions, and standard demo environments that simply do not connect with prospects. These simple benefit tours do little more than highlight features. Instead, they should use custom demos that clearly showcase how your product will solve your audience's specific use case,
To be truly inspired, buyers must see, experience, and “feel” the value that your platform can provide. Where benefits are akin to features, value truly conveys the power of using a product.
Sellers must move past simple product tours and feature explanations and into complete product storytelling that conveys this value through use cases and illustrative examples.
Previously, the solution was to either create entirely new instances for every custom demo, or demo from the same standard demo environment for each deal.
Standard environments filled with fake, old, and generic data, simply do not resonate with prospects. They don’t see themselves within the platform and fail to understand how it impacts their specific business. If your demo is set up to be shown to both a rapidly growing startup or a well-established enterprise player, neither of them will get it.
Custom environments are more relatable but are also expensive. One-off demo environments require engineering resources to build. This not only takes time away from other projects but adds a long lead-up to when a demo can occur.
When R&D resources spend time building demo environments rather than working on your product, costs add up. Engineers are expensive, so why pay them to create different versions of your current instance over and over. Further, bugs, issues, and even lost deals caused by a lack of engineering add to the overall cost of building and managing demos in-house.
As a band-aid to the above-stated problems, many teams have begun to use tools that essentially stitch together product screenshots. Buttons are clickable, but rather than using your actual UI, it simply moves from one screenshot to the next on a tour of your features.
The downside is that the fidelity of these screenshots is nowhere close to the actual product experience. Additionally, since they only work in a linear flow, sellers cannot pivot to different scenarios should one arise during a demo. They work well at the top of the marketing funnel to generate interest but fail in actual live demo use cases.
Moreso, these tours must be updated every time the product is changed or a new feature is released. If not, your team is showing outdated, outplayed, and incomplete features.
This screenshot method is time-consuming, as the data, buttons, and personalization must be done manually and can become quite clumsy. Further, simple screenshots do not fully convey the nature of today’s enterprise solutions, which are highly complex, fluid, and have expansive product breadth and depth.
The solution: Demo experience platforms
The solution then is clear. Teams need a demo experience platform that can clone their product’s front end and allow for customization in seconds without the involvement of engineering or other departments.
These solutions must be free of the clunkiness of a homegrown demo environment, while simultaneously offering the fidelity of the actual product.
Organizations need to minimize the time and resources required to showcase their product’s value to a prospect. In doing so, you’ll accelerate the deal cycle and increase win rates without sacrificing quality or resources. This will not only transform your sales experience but result in higher win rates and more closed deals.
The best demos are the ones that tell a story around how your product will impact their specific business. This is accomplished through three main factors:
- Tailored to the buyer. They only show what that specific prospect/persona cares about, rather than the generic story that’s one size fits all.
- Not a feature tour through the whole product, but instead focused on elements of the product that add value around their specific use case.
- Flexible so you can pivot at any point during a live conversation
Demo experience platforms like Demostack allow teams to create custom and flexible demos, on the fly. In most cases, sellers can create a demo and customize it within just minutes.
This approach leads to higher conversions, shorter sales cycles, and more revenue since every single demo can be customized to the buyer’s needs. It also places control of the demo firmly back in the hands of sales and relieves engineering and other resources so they can focus on the actual product.
What a demo experience platform is, exactly
With Demostack, a vendor can essentially import their product’s entire front end into a demo environment that’s decoupled from their back-end.
Unlike the screenshot method, a true demo experience platform provides you with a high-fidelity demo that looks and acts just like the actual product. The demo experience platform automatically captures the animations, pop-ups, and tooltips that give your product that extra bit of magic and makes it feel alive.
Then, non-technical teams easily edit the data in the demo to make it relevant and tailored to every conversation. Plus, it’s shareable, which means SaaS vendors can get the product into the customer’s hands faster without the need for a trial.
Demo platform approaches
There are two ways to approach a demo platform. Either by stitching together a series of product screenshots or by capturing the actual front-end experience of a product.
With the screenshot method, the output is useful for embedding into a website for prospects to engage with, or to share for basic use case demonstrations. The drawback is that it struggles to capture the massively complex nature of a SaaS enterprise product.
A true demo experience platform can completely reproduce the visuals of any size product, to the point where it’s entirely indistinguishable from the actual product. Graphs, charts, tables, and menus all look and function as they should, and data is even current.
A demo experience platform is:
- A carbon copy of your product: Looks, feels, and acts like the real thing
- Detached from the database: The demo is on a stable server separated from the backend. There is no data to fetch or log. It works completely on its own.
- No-code: A completely intuitive interface for customization and personalization with no code or technical skills required. No need for engineering or R&D to create custom demos.
- Customizable: Simple point and click editing of all fields: names, financial information, job titles, and more so prospects can see themselves in the product.
- A demo environment built for scale: No more maintenance on your bulky homegrown demo environment. A demo experience platform allows you to stand up a demo environment in seconds, and tailor the story for every conversation.
A demo experience platform is not:
- A series of screenshots: A true demo experience platform clones the front-end experience of your product, it doesn’t just take pictures of it.
- Code-intensive: Real demo experience platforms are built for go-to-market teams to use without code - whether it be marketing, sales, revenue operations, or customer success.
- Tied to your backend: This allows you to showcase functionality in a stable environment without constantly piping dummy data
Who is the demo experience platform for?
With a demo experience platform, sales teams are once again in charge of their fate. Instead of relying on engineering, product, sales engineering, and so on, sellers can create their own personalized demos in minutes.
With a demo experience platform, sellers can demonstrate the product earlier in the sales cycle, even during a discovery call. After all, prospects are there to see a solution, not play 21 questions. The ability to show products earlier in the sales process significantly shortens that sales process, leading to revenue acceleration.
Thanks to the ease of recording and editing, sellers can always have a personalized demo ready. Since they can fine-tune each demo and what they show to the prospect’s unique needs, they can better address pain points, leading to more revenue won.
Sales engineering are the technical selling heroes of a sales team.
When it comes to complex products, integrations, implementation, functionality, and ensuring that, the sales engineer steps in to ensure the technical aspects of a sale are successful. To do so, sales engineers also help to build, personalize, and customize demos to maximize revenue.
Often, sales engineers either participate in demos with sales reps, or run their own.
A demo experience platform empowers the sales engineering team to customize demos at scale. They can easily record new demos to show specific functionality for each prospect, or duplicate existing ones and simply change names and companies for extra personalization.
A demo experience platform finally empowers sales engineering to own the demo end-to-end. Sellers no longer have to rely on engineering to build demos and can manage the entire process in-house. This greatly increases their ability to scale and reduces sales cycle length.
When control of the demo is placed firmly in the hands of a sales engineer, they can provide the best demo experience possible. Now, they can show how their product and/or solutions actually solve the buyer’s problems, provide true value, and why it is the best choice.
In the meantime, the sales rep can handle more commercial aspects of a sale, manage relationships, and engage key contacts in the discussions that create a win.
It is this one-two punch that creates revenue acceleration within an organization.
A strong customer experience leads to shorter sales cycles and more revenue, and sales engineering must be just as empowered as every team to deliver. When it comes to the demo, the sales engineering team must be equipped to deliver highly customized demos for each lead.
The rise of revenue operations is perhaps one of the most impactful occurrences within the last few years of sales.
RevOps takes ownership over the entirety of the go-to-market and revenue processes. With all sales, marketing, and customer success data, platforms, operations, and processes under one roof, revenue operations streamlines and optimizes the revenue stream to maximize output and ROI.
This includes the demo process… If custom demos win deals, RevOps must scale that action.
Demo experience platforms provide RevOps with two main benefits. They can bring all demo functions under the umbrella of the revenue team, and make it possible to monitor those demos and replicate success.
Demo experience platforms relieve engineers from the demo environment and instead but revenue teams in control. Sales, RevOps, and so on can build custom demos themselves, in minutes rather than weeks. No more waiting for important meetings.
Also, winning demos can be saved, cloned, and personalized for each buyer, over and over. These demo templates standardize winning processes. This gives RevOps the ability to create consistent, repeatable performance.
Marketing works hard to target ideal customers, gain their interest, and bring them in. Collaboration between your sales and marketing team is essential.
A demo experience platform enables marketers to provide a self-guided demo of your product on the website. This is a great way to educate prospective buyers on your solution and capture interest before they even speak to sales.
A short self-guided demo with a sales experience platform on your website is a memorable experience that helps qualify contacts before they ever enter your sales cycle. Further, those that do engage are far more emotionally connected, since they have already felt what your product can do.
To date, the heavy lifting on custom demos has fallen entirely on your R&D department. Sales has relied on engineering to build the demo environments, manage the infrastructure, ensure its stability, and fill it with relevant data and content.
There is a price though, as sales teams must wait days, if not weeks for their custom environments. This delays important conversations with prospects that should be had as quickly as possible.
The work of custom demos puts a massive strain on engineering and development teams, which must choose between working on new features and product improvements or creating fake environments.
When engineering is working within the production environment, they must worry about security permissions, access, and admin roles on demo instances. Further, they must ensure that no real data makes its way in from internal or customer environments.
A demo experience platform instead places the entire demo process firmly in the hands of sales, relieving engineering from all responsibility. Sales can create their own custom demos in seconds and edit them with no-code interfaces that are as intuitive as sending an email.
How to drive product-led growth with a demo platform
With product-led growth quickly becoming the next big thing, demo experience platforms stand at the ready to act as the forefront of your go-to-market strategy.
Demo experience platforms fit within every stage of the sales cycle, from acquisition to expansion and retention:
Beginning with the acquisition stage, a demo experience platform delivers the true value of your product to a buyer. It helps them visualize what it will look like in their organization, how they will use it, and the benefits they will gain. Your sales demo platform acts as a bridge between the self-serve PLG movement and the enterprise sale that still requires a high-touch process. This is accomplished by putting the product front and center during every step of the sales cycle.
With a more engaging, powerful, insightful, and personalized demo, prospects are more apt to buy. Your sales team will see more demo-to-win conversions, a shortened sales cycle, and increased revenue. And, when sellers can edit any demo in real-time, it gives them the ability to create personalized demos, faster.
Once someone becomes a customer, a demo experience platform can be used for onboarding. The demo platform gives a clear vision of what success looks like and allows CS to introduce new features, upsell, or cross-sell to other teams or use cases.
Bottom line: your product deserves a better demo, and a demo experience platform makes that possible at scale.