Demo ops: A cross-functional transformation


Author: Kristin Kulpinski
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Demo Ops: A Cross-Functional Transformation

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Hey, everyone! Welcome to Demo HQ Day! I'm Nick Capozzi, head of storytelling here at Demostack. Today's a really exciting day. A lot is going on, so really appreciative that you're joining us.

So give a very warm welcome, everyone to Demo HQ Day! It’s a very special day here at Demostack and the reason we're doing this is that demos are arguably the most crucial part of the deal cycle. But giving a great demo is much easier said than done. It takes a deep understanding of your customer and a deep understanding of your product. Plus a cross-functional effort to make it happen with a hitch.

Demoing is an operation, and every B2B software company is running one, whether you realize it or not. So why don't we treat it that way?

Enter Demo HQ, your command center to run the entire demo operation in one place. So that's what we're gonna be talking about over the next 4 hours. Our first panel today is a very exciting one, and we are going to dig into the cross-functional transformation because a great product demo is critical to winning the deal.

But creating great demos is complex. It requires business and technical know-how plus input from stakeholders across your organization.

The morning's operation is just like product and revenue ops, so what if we treated it that way?

So it is a pleasure to be joined today by our panel starting with Chris Orlob, the CEO of QuotaSignal, Meagen Eisenberg, the CMO at Lacework, Meghan Noel, Global GVP of Presales at Amplitude, and Michael Sindicich, the Executive Vice President and General Manager at TripActions.

Let's kick this off, ladies and gentlemen, again. Thank you for being here!

As I mentioned, demoing is an operation just like rev. ops or product ops. It's the last piece of the sales motion to get disrupted. So let's talk about what demo ops mean to you.

Ms. Noel, let's start with you.

It is a lesser-known part of the business. What goes into a really good demo?

What Makes a Good Demo?

Meghan Noel, GVP Presales at Amplitude:

Oh, that's a good question to start with. So hi everyone, Meghan Noel, with amplitude. I think what makes a really good demo is if you think about the demo, and this is what you said just a second ago. It's a lesser-known part of the business, generally speaking, which is something that I'm determined to help change because it's so foundational to your go-to-market motions and your strategy. And yet it's often not well known, overlooked, etc. It's such a critical part not only of the core product but also as you release new products as well. So what makes it a demo from the ops perspective? If you think about traditional product marketing right, you've got your 4 pieces, or, you know, product packaging, pricing, etc., and the packaging. If you were to think about the demo from a software perspective to a physical object on a shelf. It's the packaging of that product that you're selling.

So it is critical to make sure that you know from the foundational perspective that you're showcasing your product and the packaging that you put together. And that's the demo, really at the outset, right? And secondarily, it's also really critical to ensure that you're not overloading your prospects with functionality or features. It's really about what is important to that customer. What are the key elements to your product that you can showcase in a demo without losing people and without going too deep with all the bells and whistles that you might think are cool? But maybe are set up for more of an advantage.

So I think you know, first and foremost, to think of it as the packaging of your product is a critical step, and then, secondly, make sure that you're showcasing your product in a way that translates the value that the customer is going to get from it.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

I like how you laid that out.

Cohesion In the Go-To-Market Team Around Demo Operations

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Chris, let me ask you, how do you know when you have cohesion in the go-to-market team around your demo operations?

Chris Orlob at QuotaSignal:

I think the best signal of cohesion is that everybody is speaking the same language, and everybody is on the same page when it comes to the problems that the demo solves right. Meghan Noel made a really good point. It's not just about a bunch of bells and whistles. It's about the business pain or the business problem that you're solving.

And if the organization does not have a collective understanding of what that is, then that manifests in a demo that’s kind of all over the place. That's when you get these wild west demo scenarios where everybody's kind of doing different things that I think the internet has earned my trust. I haven't seen this screen at me for the next last couple of minutes, but I think that's probably the biggest piece in their unification around the problem, or, more accurately, the set of problems that the demo solves. And sometimes demos solve multiple problems and multiple use cases. And so I think that's a step.

One is unifying, not just the sales team, but the go-to-market organization around those business problems. And then comes how we solve them, which the answer to that is generally how your demo flows.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

I like that. That makes a lot of sense.

How Do You Align the Company Around the Same Narrative for Demoing?

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Ms. Eisenberg, the narrative from a marketing perspective is so critical. So how do you align the company around the same narrative, so that they have confidence when they are demoing?

Meagen Eisenberg - CMO at Lacework:

Yeah. So we here at work, actually use the force management methodology. I think if your sales reps do a great job with discovery and understanding the prospect or the customer's pain, kind of before the scenario, then what are their challenges?

Then, your job is to get them to the positive business outcome and the after scenario. And there's a gap that exists before what they're feeling pain and what you want to get them to do with your product, your solution, and that gap, or that delta is called the required capabilities. Your demo should nail those needed capabilities, and not to. To Meghan's point, Chris, the point is don’t throw all the features in there and blind them. It's just you clearly understand their pain. Demo what your solution will solve, and at the same time lay the traps for your competitors.

It's the best way to position and reposition them. And so it's the perfect time between the sales Rep and the SEs involved depending on how complicated the technology is. Ideally, you can come up with a demo that's not complicated, but I think that's the right way to execute a demo in a short amount of time.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

I love that!

Theater in the Demo Experience

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Michael, you and I were having a conversation the other day, and you've given thousands of demos in your career, and I love how you drew the analogy to a demo being like a well-rehearsed play. There's theater to this that showcases the relevant pieces of how the product maps to the pain point.

So take me through that theater, Michael. What is it? How are you thinking about that when you're actually jumping on and performing a demo?

Michael Sindicich at TripActions:

Yeah, I think to your point. It's exactly like a well-rehearsed play I got to attend. I was in New York last weekend and I got to attend Saturday Night Live, live in the audience. It really reminded me of what goes on in a demo. So your prospects, or whoever you're demoing to, are just going to be the audience on the other side of the live TV. But you see cameras everywhere. You see Prep. If you get up to go to the bathroom, someone takes your spot so that the audience looks full, and it's exactly what a real demo is like.

When you've talked about all the discovery you do and how you understand it is so much of where are people sitting. How are you sitting next to different people? What are you? What are they reacting to? What do their faces look like when you show specific features?

The entire demo is this massive performance, especially when you're at a product-led kind of company like TripActions or some of the other companies I've worked for.  The product is what you're selling, and you have to deliver and showcase this product in a perfect way. With all the inputs and all the things that are important to the people who are in the room. To Meghan's point, laying traps around the competition, and showing things that are important to the customer that the competition wouldn't do.

It's really just like this. In this rehearsed play everyone has the top track, but you can interact live with that audience and pivot when you need to. And that to me is the demo, and ultimately the person delivering that Demo is the star of the play. They are the centerpiece that delivers this entire story to the prospect that you're pitching to.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

I love that we've got a great question. It's not totally on track. But I'd love to ask Ms. Noel.

How Do You Flip the Demo?

How do you flip the demo from a sales engineer's perspective? If someone hasn't done discovery? Or maybe the discovery was a bit misleading, that's a question from Kevin Resdale.

Meghan Noel, GVP Presales at Amplitude:

Yeah, that’s a great question. I think you have to be able to be agile. One of the best things about being in pre-sales is you get people who are attracted to the role, who typically are, very intellectually curious. But also able to pivot a lot, and the role is somewhat defined by the core duties. Also, there are so many other things as we all know that pre-sales are asked to do and support. So, being able to pivot live to anticipate some of these. Let's say you have a new stakeholder that you didn't anticipate is joining the call, but they are now on the call and they want to take you down a rabbit hole of things you didn't know in the discovery or didn't hear about. There are 2 pieces to that.

One is, you know you don't want to just be dismissive of anything new that comes up. There's always something to learn, even when you're presenting. It's a discovery opportunity as well right? Whether that's a new stakeholder or an existing one. And so sometimes you can kind of go down a little bit into asking more questions, right? So applying your critical thinking and intellectual curiosity to that request, or that question, or maybe somebody wants to get really into the weeds on a certain piece of the product.

So being able to go to a certain degree in those directions, but not take yourself so far off of your agenda you can sort of redirect back to the original intent that you heard through the discovery that you're trying to showcase intent.

It's like a little bit of an advanced skill set that takes some practice. And again. You don't want to be so scripted that you can't pivot in the middle of a conversation with a customer to ask more questions. For instance. Why is that important to you? How are you doing today? You know there are some very simple 1, 2, 3 type questions that you can ask, and still direct back to your original agenda.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

I love that, it's a great answer.

How to Identify Customer Pain Points?

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

I've got one more on this topic a marketing-related question. Ms. Eisenberg, how do you look at the state of pain and the delta between where your client is and where you're trying to get them to?

Meagen Eisenberg - CMO at Lacework:

Yeah, I mean I can give you an example of with Lacework. So when we're talking to prospects or customers, they'll talk about the hundreds of thousands of alerts that are coming in with their current solution, and they have 5 people. How do you look at 100,000 alerts and a day with 5 people? You don't, it's not efficient. So that's pain.

And then we have the end. The state wouldn't it be great if you only saw the alerts that matter right? Just the ones that the 5-10 that you really need to look at, so that required capability as a technology that takes the mass amount down to the ones that really matter. So we show them our polygraph technology, and how that is a way to ingest all that data. It maps just for them, and it can tell them in real-time if anything has changed slightly and so they can very quickly hone in on the alerts that actually matter. And so that would be an example of their pain. What the after state looks like, what the required capabilities are, and how we would be laying that trap. We would deposition our competitors by saying, your competitors. You have to have a rule base right? They have to write rules to detect it. So if an unknown threat comes in that there's no rule, for they won't see it

But we'll see it with polygraph because it's looking at your data every day and notices it notices any change in that.

Chris Orlob at QuotaSignal:

I think one of the things that Eisenberg is illustrating is that to demo really well, you have to understand the perceived root cause of the business problem. You're solving, right? Because demos and products don't solve business problems. They solve the root causes of business problems. So, like the cheesy example I always use in our courses, is If you were driving in your car on like a road trip, and it broke down on the side of the road. I then asked you, what are you going to buy to fix the car?

You don't know what you're going to answer with until you know what caused the car to break down, right? So it's like they run out of gas or the battery dies. I'm like the worst car guy of all time. My cars break down generally, but you guys know where I'm at, and where I'm going with this and that would dictate how you position your demo. And so I think that illustrates the cross-functional nature of getting, you know, a great demo, because yes, product marketing, and how sales engineering can put together an amazingly effective demo.

But if it's off the mark in what your customer perceives as the root of their problem. Then it's not going to land. And so a very simple way pre-sales people and sellers can get clear, is just by asking. What's your take on this? Why is this challenge happening? You get some pretty rich answers to what our customers are perceiving the root of their problems when you ask that.

Meghan Noel, GVP Presales at Amplitude:

Nick? I'm gonna add to that before we move along because I'm so passionate about this as you think about it. Most of our teams probably have done something like the MEDDPIC, and I saw force management mention things like commanding the message. And you know we're working through this too. But I often see that we mistake a problem for pain, right? If you think about the MEDDPIC. And so I think, Chris, what you're getting at, and Meagen to a degree, is, you know it was sort of diagnosing what you know. A customer might come to you and say, I have this. I have this problem, and you know oftentimes a seller might say, oh, that's the pain. No, that's not the pain, right? The root cause is a business problem. Sometimes your biggest competitor is going to be “do nothing.” And, in fact, in our current market environment, most of us are probably thinking about that.” Do nothing” is a great solution right now to save costs. And so, you know, you got a battle against this. Okay, I have a problem. But the question is, is it painful enough for the business to solve? So we're talking about the demo. We're not talking about the selling tactics, but I do think it's important to interweave the two.

As you tell the story of your product to the customer and understanding the problem is only step one. Then asking really good discovery questions or even making great assumptions that get validated or devalidated. That demo is a great way to actually uncover. Is this a painful thing for the business? Or is this just a, “it would be great to solve that problem” and is it compelling enough to solve today? And so, I think it's important for pre-sales people as we go through demoing which is one stage of the process to Incorporate that kind of thinking into your demo of the product.

What is Force Management?

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

That's fantastic, real quick. Can you just expand on what force management is?

Meghan Noel, GVP Presales at Amplitude:

Yeah, Well, and it sounds like Eisenberg has more in practice at the moment, too. But force management is a pretty well-known contractor that provides there's a couple of frameworks that they'll come into your organization and implement with your command of the messages. One, I think there are a bunch of others that come along with that, and certainly help your sales organization at large to develop a framework and a methodology around it. You know how you're going to market.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

That's fantastic. All right.

What are the Top Challenges in Demo Ops?

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

We're going to pivot a little bit into some of the challenges that you face in the demo ops. So, Michael again. You've given thousands of demos at trip actions. What are some of the typical, you know, headaches, and problems that you're going to run into specifically demoing TripActions?

Michael Sindicich at TripActions:

Yeah, I would say the most important thing is reliability. I'll give you a few examples. So we might be demoing something in a board meeting, or we might be selling and demoing to a prospect. Or maybe we've sold our travel and expense solution, and we go to an SKO and we're going to Demo and explain to the team that we just sold this to in front of a 1,000 people live on how to use our travel and expense platform, and that we're excited, and we're launching it.

So I think demoing is much more and more expansive than what a lot of people think of it as just a sales demo because you can demo many different things different pieces, and different buyers. You can do it in a board meeting, or even a pitch, when you're going to raise money, and the thing that's so important is that it's reliable because one little ripple, or if something doesn't work, it can really throw off the whole. I guess we'll say, like theater or presentation, to use the example earlier.

So I feel like ensuring that you have an environment that's super reliable. That's stable, that does the thing that you expect it to do each time it's really important. The other thing that I'll say is its dependence on the product that you have. But typically you don't want to be demoing your production data, because in this example we've got expenses. We've got travel. We've got information that we shouldn't be demoing or showing to our customers. Therefore, by default means we need to have a demo environment.

There are a lot of different pieces, and one of the things that are really helpful with Demostack is we don't need to go and build, go and maintain, and have a new staging environment. Make sure that when we launch something to production we launch it to the demo environment. But leverage Demostack to be able to have this all-in-one platform that stays updated and allows us to have that reliability. Whether there's you know to Chris's point wi-fi or no wi-fi, you have something that's gonna work when you need it to be ready. So that you can deliver your theater. And I think that those are the two things reliability, and it's being able to have an environment that is compliant and works well for your sales motion.

Chris Orlob at QuotaSignal:

I swear my wi-fi issue was not staged, and the softball, but it works out pretty well in that way.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Can I just say as someone who spent 120 days on the road in 2022. Big hat tip to TripActions because without you, it would have been a lot of longer days at the airport. So big personal fan.

How Do We Sanity Check Our Demos?

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Ms. Noel. Sales are the voice on the front lines of everything we're doing, but how do we sanity-check our demos?

Meghan Noel, GVP Presales at Amplitude:

Well, I think that part of the role we play is sanity-check. I think there's a lot of ground to cover between your stages right from. You know the initiation of a conversation all the way through to close one. And so, I think you know part of the way I see pre-sales is we're in sales A and B so we're selling the product right? And yes, that involves a lot of technical validation, steps, and all of that. But at the end of the day, we are just as much in sales. And we play a critical role there, not only in selling the product and making sure you know all the components that match up with the customer's needs. Then it translates to value and our competitive differentiation, and all of that. But we also, I think, have the opportunity to help close any gaps along the way. It's. Yes, the AE is the tip of the spear and owns that relationship as a primary stakeholder in the success.

But we are equally as invested, or should be in the success of that account. And so I think, part of you know the thinking that I have about pre-sales is a little bit. I think, over the years I've noted that we have as a profession or as a piece of sales organization at times gotten very deep into the technical wing requirements. Or some of you know, functionality aspects of the product, and certainly we have to have that expertise right.

But also we have to be able to sell along with that. So some of that those gaps can be covered in the stages that we lead, and we take the customer through and cover over any gaps that the AE may not have been able to cover in the initial conversations they had with the customer.

Separate Discovery Call vs. Disco Demo

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

That's great so quick and formal polls, panelists just by hands up. I'm pretty sure I know the answers. But for the audience do we prefer having a separate discovery call or a disco demo? Separate discovery call?

*4 of the 5 panelist raises their hands*

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Well, this is interesting, Chris.

Chris Orlob at QuotaSignal:

You want to fight me on this. I think it depends on where the buyer is in their buyer's journey. I think it varies wildly, based on where that buyer is coming from. So it's kind of a cop-out answer. But it's true.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

No, but you're right. I'm glad you brought that up.

Should AE’s Demo?

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Okay. Second unofficial poll. Same thing. Hands up. Are we comfortable with AEs demoing?

*All panelist raises their hands*

Meghan Noel, GVP Presales at Amplitude:

Absolutely, 100. Yes, they need to be able to demo.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

I love that. Okay, that was a great answer. All right, keep it going about your specific roles based on what you do in the demo operation.

How Do We Know We are Using the Right Tools to Sell Products?

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Ms. Noel. demo ops is where you live. Obviously, as we're discovering here, but foundationally as sales engineers. How do we make sure that we're actually using the right tools to sell our product?

Meghan Noel, GVP Presales @ Amplitude:

Yeah, great question. Again, we kind of go back to one of your earlier questions about the importance of the demo ops function within the business.

I think, setting yourself up for success early on is really critical to that. I know that that's not common. You know the scenario right? You've got demo ops generally lagging many other teams in terms of funding investment and resources things like that. But again, if you really think about how critical that is to the success of your business. Really, it's about If you were, kinda gonna go back and do it all over. It would be about starting out with an investment that can scale as your business scales as your product strategy, scales, and as you go from single to multi-product, or you know, platform at some point. And so I think those are some critical elements that I think about in demo ops.

Also in terms of the right tools to your point. I mean, we're here talking about Demostack, which is one of my favorite tools, as everyone knows because it has solved a critical problem for us in terms of being able to scale without adding headcount resources in demo ops. And so certainly we want to do both right. It's been a critical tool for our teams like product marketing to be able to, as they're releasing new features or new products. Utilize Demostack to scale those things outside of building new sites for every single thing that we release. And so I think it's great that we're seeing innovation, especially in this space, because it is a carbon copy environment that you then have to support over time. Just like your product. Most of you know, companies that I've been with don't always have the foresight to think about it. So having innovation like Demostack to be able to scale and utilize tools like that absolutely critical, has been critical to our business.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

That's great, Michael. Great question here from Heather. It can be challenging to find internally what AE’s can and should demo on their own versus what warrants bringing in a sales engineer.

Where's that line for you?

Should The SE or AE Present a Product Demo?

Michael Sindicich at TripActions:

Oh, for me! It's about the product that you're selling. So at TripActions from our smallest SMB. Customers all the way up to our enterprise customers. Our AEs deliver the demo. There's no such thing as an essay at TripAction, so we think you know travel is not a super complicated expense and isn't super complicated. Sometimes you might have in-depth conversations with a specialist on how you can set up a specific ERP integration. Or maybe you're setting up a very, very global travel program for some of our biggest fortune, 500s. And we'll have a conversation around that. But every AE at TripActions does the demo and is responsible for it.

If it's a much more complicated product, like you know, let's say it was an ERP system. Then I think you probably need an SE, and you need to customize the demo a lot ahead of time and have much more specifics there that you would bring an SE in for. So to me, that's where the line is. It's dependent on how complex the product is, and I guess how complex the sales cycle would be.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

That's great, Ms. Eisenberg. How do you know, from a marketing perspective, if you're actually aligned with sales when it comes to going to market with your product?

How to Know if You’re Aligned with Sales When Going to Market

Meagen Eisenberg - CMO at Lacework:

Yes, I have two thoughts on this one. Certainly, as the CMO, you're supposed to be aligning the entire company around the story and how the story plays out in the demo. I think a lot about making sure AEs esses are all certified. They understand the product. They know the high. They know what the highlights are. They’re on top of the newest features, and releases that they can bring into the story they're telling. Then I think the second thing is making sure the product is moving so fast. If we think about our product teams. They're building fast trip actions building fast. We're building fast. You have to make sure the go-to-market teams are keeping up.

It matters a ton that they know you. You treat the demo like a product. Right? So it's its own living, breathing thing that you're taking to market. So understanding the story, understanding how to incorporate the discovery questions, and being up to date on the latest. So you can show that to the prospect.

Maintaining a Demo Environment

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Chris, we hear about the nitty greedy that goes into maintaining the demo environment because the demo is what we're actually selling, the experience that they're buying so operationally. How do we look at that? How do we look at maintaining a demo environment?

Chris Orlob at QuotaSignal:

Well, I'm the small fry out of this panel, so I might be the least called by to try to answer that. But I'll do my best, and then I'll be on everybody else. I think it's a cross-functional effort. I think you need a single person accountable for making sure the demo environment is performing at the level that you need. But generally, you're gonna need several skill sets into making sure that happens. You're gonna need the storytelling that goes into it which could come from product marketing or it could come from sales engineering. And sometimes you're gonna need more technical skill sets to make sure the demo environment is reliable, unlike my wi-fi access I’ve been experiencing so far today. So that's kind of like the tip of the iceberg answer. And I would love it if somebody else has a more in-depth answer that they want to tack on to what I just said

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Any takers?

Meghan Noel, GVP Presales at Amplitude:

Yeah, I mean, I think you said something critical there, Chris, and that's something. We're working through fundamentally, which is treating the demo as a product. If you really take that to its endpoint, what does that mean? Are you gonna staff an entire product organization around the demo? Probably not right? But I think in theory what you're getting at is that there's primary ownership that there's a lot of overlap and dependencies.

Between an engineering team, your product team, or your marketing team there's foundationally supporting your demo environments, updating them, and keeping them current. All the things that go along with that. There's the presentation layer of the packaging of that for different use cases I think about Meagen's role as a CMO. And one thing that we're looking at now and have been at the top funnel stages. You go to any of our software websites, and the first call to action is to get a demo. We know that that's what customers want. They want to see the product, and they've done some homework, and they've probably heard of it and all these things. So you're gonna get various needs of a demo to speak or a product experience at different stages of the funnel will. So that is going to require another. You know layer of packaging on what you know. Your demo might look like once you're in a funnel talking to a rep or talking to an SE. So there are many layers to that, I think, and there's ownership. There should be shared ownership and acknowledgment of the critical nature, as I've said of the demo and all these various forms and facets of your business. So that you are, you know you don't. Only have sort of a single point of failure in your business when with a team that solely operates. And so I've seen that play out in different ways. So you have people who are assigned to that in different teams or you have a demo ops team in a more mature business that has its own engineers or its own operations. And so there's a lot of ways to take that, but just expanding on what you're saying there.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

No, that was great. I really like that answer.

Who Owns the Demo Environment?

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

So I'm curious. I'd actually like to ask everyone this: I'll start with you, Michael.

Who owns a demo environment at TripActions? Who has direct ownership and accountability?

Michael Sindicich at TripActions:

Yeah, it's a good question. So we have somebody on the sales enablement function that ultimately owns the Demostack environment and keeps it up to date and make sure that we have demo environments for various segments and various customer sizes because then we can basically conform the data to the size of the customer that we'd be selling to, and the complexity but I would just add I think the value of Demostack is that one person can own it, and really run the entire demo environment.

Then an engineering person, a product person, and a couple of operations. Normally, if you're building and maintaining this entirely new second, I would say product within the company being able to have someone who's not as technical run and manage the entire demo environment for the whole company, and it's not his full-time job. By the way, the person who owns it. It's amazing. The other thing that's that we firmly believe in. We put a lot of accountability into our sales, reps, and our managers, and any sales manager can go in and contact and customize it and make an environment that they want their team to use.

And I think that's really powerful, because ultimately if you're responsible for driving revenue for the company and the demo environment, the demo is a way to do that. Then you should have full accountability and ownership as a manager to get your team what they need to be able to close deals and bring on revenue. So I would say, there's one person in a sales enablement. But then each manager and each salesperson is accountable for their environment.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Ms. Eisenberg. How do you look at that from Lacework's perspective?

Meagen Eisenberg - CMO at Lacework:

Yeah. Similar to Mongodb sales. Engineering is the owner of the environment, and then they partner with sales enablement on the training.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Got it.

What Does a Successful Demo Look Like?

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

So let's talk about what a successful demo looks like. We've got about 8 min left here, so I want to make sure we cover a lot of the topics that we wanted to get to.

So what does that look like Ms. Noel? What is your ideal wish list when it comes to demo ops because you live it every day as a pre-sales leader. As a single owner who's managing the demo. How do you create this type of coordination as it gets born? And how then, how do you maintain it over time? What's your best wishlist?

Meghan Noel, GVP Presales at Amplitude:

Yeah. The wishlist. I again, if I think I said this a second ago. But if I could go back and advise a business starting earlier. It would be, investing earlier in your demo operations team or resources, or whatever it is that you're creating there. If you're creating a demo site that needs its own team to maintain or utilizing something like Demostack from the outset so you don't have to have demo sites however, that works for you, but earlier on that should be a critical investment, especially in stages where you know you're going to market with your product and looking for the product market. That's the point at which you, in my opinion, should make that investment for the future.

And so and there's lots of ROI to be had around that, by the way, but that's the point at which I think investing in your demo operation, whatever that may need or look like in your environment for your software so that it can scale with your business, as most companies do. You get product market fit, and then you add products to increase your value to the customer, and obviously your revenue. So that's another critical, you know. Sort of jumps off point, and if you're not prepared for it you can get easily kind of overwhelmed. And behind in some ways with your demo environments and maintaining them. And so that's where Demostack comes in in many cases is oh, whoops! We now need a whole bunch of different environments. We don't have the resources to create. This Demostack solves right? So I think if I could go back or advise anyone who's at the earlier stages where you're still going to market with your core product. That's the key point in time and in it to invest in. You know. How do you want to set this demo operation up for scale and then over time? Obviously, look at whether is that the right model.

And then ownership is always another. Can you know the component of that? And ultimately it is important to have a primary owner for that, and that's where demo ops come in. But again, shared ownership is also critical. Other teams understand, so that over time you're well supported. As the business grows as your product evolves as new features are released, you need to make sure your demo is your product right? So if it's not keeping up with your product development, then you're lagging and you're not going to market with your the best of the best.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Michael. You set us up on a stage with the main actor who's ready to wow the crowd. So what does that actor need? What is a successful demo operation look like to you?

Michael Sindicich at TripActions:

Yeah, I mean, I'll go back to reliability. Honestly, it's reliability and predictability, and the confidence that the AE, or whoever you know, is delivering the show can pivot and jump into anyway, because I think the best sellers that I've ever seen are the best performers, especially if you're demoing yourself as an AE, it's the person who can pivot who can take inputs. If someone asks a question they can immediately navigate to the product where you can show how the product solves that pain, point, or solution. So the thing you need is a reliable environment that showcases ultimately the needs from the discovery that you've uncovered right, whether that's a discovery before or during, and the ability to pivot. So, having that reliable environment is what's gonna help you again when you're going and launching a product to you know, a 10,000-person event at an escort all the way to showing a demo in a board meeting from a new product that you're building and launching.

What Are The Key Metrics to Look For When Running a Demo Operation?

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Yeah, it's a great answer. Ms. Eisenberg. You and I know you live in data every day as marketers. What are some of the things that you're tracking? What are some of the key metrics that you're looking for in your demo operation?

Meagen Eisenberg - CMO @Lacework:

I mean from the marketing side. We would consider it a tier one. If someone comes to our website and wants to see a demo right? So number one, what is one inbound, or people requesting? Have we compelled them enough to learn more? So certainly looking at just the volume of demos, and then conversions. Do they go on to the next stage of the funnel? And then, of course, they do. We get to a point where they buy us, and so we're watching the funnel all the way across.

We go back and we listen and we watch demos. If you have chorus AI, or gong either one, you can go back and really learn and see what are things that people are asking about. Those are critical. What are some of the things that customers want? So you can train the field and enable them further, or go find the answer or return the feedback back to the product team right? Making sure that there's a full closed loop there, and so demos are critical for us to understand our customers better. So we're looking at a full set of metrics.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Michael, from your point of view. Are you just tracking win rates?

Michael Sindicich at TripActions:

when rates are important for sure, and it's the leading indicator, and you know its revenue per its productivity per AE and win rates. But then the other thing you can track is where people spend their time on the demo, and how that correlates to win rates, and you can correlate to the buyer, right? So if you're talking to a controller and you're selling our expense platform, you probably want to spend a lot of time on the policy. You want to spend a lot of time on reporting and visibility. If you're doing a demo to a CRO talking about how to make travel and expenses easier for their team. You probably want to spend more time on the user experience and the apps, so I think win rates are an indicator, but it's about dating into the sub-level metrics to figure out which pieces of the demo are the most important to the buyers you're selling to, and then you can take that data back and go train the rest of your team.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

Love that.

How to Start Building Your Demo HQ

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

So last question we're gonna talk about implementing this way of thinking about the demo operation across your entire go-to-market organization. What are some, Chris? What are some of the tactical steps to consider when envisioning your Demo HQ?

Chris Orlob @ QuotaSignal:

I think one of the things I to keep in mind is. Are you solving the customer's problem with a level of exact mess, or are you over-solving it.

And you'll start to get signals across your organization as to whether you know what's happening. We call that demo-creep over here but one of the habits of a sales organization or a pre-sales organization that does not have demo discipline. Is it all over? Solved right? They'll start demoing exactly what's all to the customer's pain, but then they keep going. They go, and also you can do this over here, and also you can do this over here. And also you can do this over here, and they think it's gonna turn on a light bulb, and in some cases, with like an early spot, not an early stage, but like a visionary buyer.

it might. But you're kind of rolling the dice on your odds. Are you going to be creating objections? And so one of the most counterintuitive things that I found to a successful demo is solving their problem on a one-to-one basis, right? They've got a business problem. There are 3 to 4 percent causes of that problem, and you show them 3 to 4 parts of your demo that mirror back to those pain points, and a one-to-one, or in a one-to-one way. And if you can scale that across your organization to me. That's a signal of a very healthy demo motion.

Nick Capozzi - Head of Storytelling:

So great comment from Nathan who said every time Chris shares a tip, I feel like I'm getting smarter. I think that's true for this entire panel. This was an unbelievable session. I do have to wrap it up, but a very big thank you to Meagen Noel, Meghan Eisenberg, Michael, and Chris and I'm going to highly suggest you follow these panelists on Linkedin because I definitely am following them. There's a lot of great content going on there. We'll be back in just a minute with our next session, which is another great panel that we've got coming up. So, thanks to all our panelists.

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