Whether you don’t have resources to build a demo environment in-house or the environment you built causes more headaches than it relieves, you could try running demos in Figma.
While it may not be the ideal or long-term solution, many SaaS teams turn to Figma to craft a compelling story for their prospects because the software is easy to customize.
Why demo in Figma?
The production environment contains sensitive company and customer data. While you certainly don’t want to reveal any of your own data, showing customer PII is even worse. Breaches of trust could easily result in lawsuits and hundreds of dollars in fees, especially if GDPR or HIPAA compliance comes into play.
Lack of resources to maintain a demo environment
Whether your company is large or small, the upkeep alone necessary to sustain a properly functioning demo environment involves a large amount of resources.
Infrastructure for a single product in a mid-market SaaS company can require 80-100 hours of engineering work for every new product release. In many cases though, engineers are simply too busy building the product to continue maintaining the demo environment day in and day out.
Without constant updates, demo environments quickly fall into disrepair. That’s why if the platform was built years earlier, many of the events and incidents become so buggy or outdated, the chance of mid-call blunders outweighs the potential benefit of using the platform for many AEs.
Lack of technical support
Even if you do have some sort of demo infrastructure, it can be quite complex for AEs to navigate on their own. That’s precisely why in many companies, solution engineers need to be present for every call. Not only does this delay the sales cycle, but it puts a huge strain on team members who could be devoting resources to more critical customer projects.
How to demo in Figma
Get mockups from your design team
You shouldn’t have to start from scratch when preparing a demo because the design studio probably already has a cache of images ready for use.
Because they work directly with the product team, UX designers in particular will have access to an exhaustive collection of updated images with 360° views of the product. So start by reaching out to them.
Customize the interface for your use-case
Ask the design studio to provide you with edit access in Figma and set up with a designated workspace. Then make sure to open up a separate folder for each of your prospects before you start editing text and changing data so you can always revert back to the original design when preparing for new demos.
Finally, make sure to ask a designer to look over your work. While Figma is relatively intuitive, a designer with a careful eye will notice elements that might be misaligned that you could have easily missed.
Leverage Figma’s prototyping tool
Leverage Figma’s prototyping tool to animate static designs. Simply connect images with arrows to indicate how the platform should move from slide to slide when users click on buttons or hover over elements on the image to replicate the real user experience as accurately as possible. Then add beautiful transitions, dynamic overlays, and gifs to really bring the whole experience to life.
Any changes you make in your designs will be automatically reflected in your prototype, so you can always toggle back and forth between your design and prototype to make any small tweaks.
Best of all, prototyping tools are completely free. While Figma’s free starter plan somewhat limits functionality, prototyping is an essential component of all of Figma’s design packages.
Share your prototype
Show your demo anywhere on the internet via an easily shareable link. Send the link to prospects to let them play around with different features or get buy-in from other stakeholders to speed up the whole sales cycle.
Typically, UX researchers and product managers use prototyping to gauge the usability of the product with test subjects. However, there’s absolutely no reason it can’t serve prospects as well.
Pros of running demos in Figma
Most design studios already use Figma to create designs for marketing assets and product features. So, the company won’t have to allocate any additional resources.
If your company doesn’t own Figma, it’s still very cost effective. The starter pack is free and the professional plan only costs $12/editor.
The key to a successful demo is relevance and personalization. In order to tell a compelling story, sales need to be able to tailor the product to specific use-cases. Figma is flexible enough to adapt to a variety of different personas, industries, and company sizes with only a few clicks.
Anyone should be able to prepare demos from Figma relatively easily, regardless of how much technical experience they may have.
Nothing gives AEs the jitters more than potential bugs in a demo. Figma is glitch-free though, so it will always perform just as expected. That way AEs can rest easy knowing that their demo will go exactly as planned.
Cons of demos in Figma
Doesn’t inspire trust
According to WBR Insights, B2B buyers have already completed 57-70% of their research process before ever contacting sales. So, when booking a demo, they’re already convinced there’s a potential fit and specifically want to see the platform.
If their first interaction happens on Figma, the demo might arouse suspicion regarding the quality or reliability of the actual product. This is all the more true if you plan to leave a shareable link to the prototype for prospects to explore after a call.
Doesn’t allow for agility
While AEs should thoroughly prepare for demos, they have to be ready to accommodate unexpected questions or requests. The slides prepared in Figma may not be comprehensive enough to address edge-cases.
Requires constant updating
There’s no guarantee that the mock-ups available in Figma will stay up-to-date with the latest release of the product. If there are new features or a different layout in the actual product, the demo might be misleading.
Alternatives to Figma
Figma isn’t your only option. If you want to showcase your product to new prospects in the most authentic, relevant way possible without investing valuable company resources, then you can try Demostack.
With Demostack you can create an independent environment that looks and feels exactly like your product. You simply copy and paste the URL of your web app onto the platform. Then you can edit and save images, text, charts, variables, and data sets with the mere click of a button to customize it to your needs.
Ultimately, your demo is the linchpin in the sales process, and your AEs need reliable software if they’re going to close deals efficiently. While Figma may be a good quick fix, Demostack is the long-term solution you need to upgrade your customer experience without slowing down.