Accelerate sales with interactive demos between calls


Author: Barry Mueller
Last updated: Published:
Accelerate sales with demos

Elena Hutchison: So I'm super excited about this session.

What we're talking about is ways that we can accelerate sales with demos, between calls. And when I think back to when I started as an SC Back in 2012 we thought about a demo that was in a room with a specific customer. It was definitely like at a certain stage of the sales cycle, we had probably definitely required at least one discovery call before that.

Like it was a very regimented thing. A lot has chAngd since then, a lot is still changing. So this conversation is going to be about all of the ways that we can demo that don't look like that, right? Where, whether we're demoing and bringing the product to light in the marketing campaign, right?

Really early, even before something is an actual lead or ways that we can bring demos into customer success to create consistency and upsell and get people adopting our products. So I'm really excited to talk about all the ways that these technologies are helping us. Demo in ways that don't look like the demo that I grew up with.

We've got an amazing set of guests. We're going to talk about all the ways that these technologies are helping them make their CROs successful. My name is Elena Hutchison. I spent 10 years at an amazing company called Medallia. I was one of our first sales engineers there. I have an interesting background with this topic because I spent about half of my career as a sales engineer and then leading the sales engineering team. And then the back half of my career, I was leading product marketing and company strategy. So I've seen this problem from both the sales side, the sales perspective, as well as the marketing perspective and some of the ways that we can use these technologies to help augment the non sales use cases. So let's go around the panel and introduce everybody. I'm going to start with you, Rob. You're there on my right. Why don't you start?

Rob De Marco: Yeah. Hi. Great to be here. Elena. My name is Robert Marco. I led the solutions consulting team for 14 years Xactly. And really excited for the panel discussion here.

Great topics. Love the last one. So looking forward to having a great session, Hanan. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. And a pleasure to be here. So my name is Hanan. I'm the VP sales for hunters, a cyber security company. Spent my 25 years in cyber security, but who counts? Started as an engineer and Yeah, what you told about demos in the past, I remember going around and doing on site demo with cabling and stuff.

Hanan Levin: So that's really a good perspective. So very happy to be here

Elena Hutchison: A big bag of dongles, and the setup and all of that stuff. We still do it, but not as much.

Ang McManamon: Hey, Ang McManamon, VP of revenue at Crunchbase. I have a long career of just running sales teams, mainly in startups, a series B to series C.

And yeah, demos have come a very long way from when I was selling it. I don't even actually think we did proper demos when I was a salesperson.

Elena Hutchison: I'm really excited to be here. I love it. So I want to start by calling back to, I think why we're all here. And it was right in the title of this session. And that's the term accelerate sales.

We have a couple CROs and heads of sales here on the panel in Ang and Hanan. So I just want to let me give you guys the stage a little bit to talk about what 2023 was like what early 2024 is what's it like to lead a sales org right now? And why do we care so much about accelerating sales?

Can you put us in a CROs shoes and I'll start with you, Ang.

Ang McManamon: Yeah it's been hard to say the least. It hasn't been one of the easiest years. And I think that's for a lot of reasons. Whether it's cuts with your team and you're cutting down the team to make yourselves more efficient or just cuts in budget and fighting for that dollar to get that enablement tool to get, a demo tool. Across the board. I think we really, we've had to do more with less. We've had to ask people to, take on more and in an inappropriate way of obviously hoping that they want to and then just being efficient with our sales cycle. So I run the funnel from paid media and marketing to all the way to our CS team.

And so really taking a look at each kind of. I guess point in that sales cycle to see where we can get more efficient, whether it's by cutting down our sales cycle, whether it's increasing our average sale. So there's just efficiency. I think that's been the name of the game

Elena Hutchison: Hanan, anything you want to add to that?

Hanan Levin: Yeah, I agree 100%. 2023 wasn't the easiest year ever. And I think, definitely challenging, but I think the flip side of it is that challenges in general, Makes you sharper and more creative and you must be more effective. So I think on that sense time is a critical aspect.

[00:04:44] When budgets are scarce, when people are insecure and you need to move fast, you need to be very agile. And we all know the cliche, it's very true. Time kills all deals. So time equals money. Literally. It's not just, you can wait a week or a month and then. The guy is not in the same position, the project is being cut, whatever you lost the deal. It's super critical to move fast, or faster, and I think that was the year. Becoming more effective, more efficient, and much faster.

Elena Hutchison: It made us, you're right, it's necessity is the mother of invention, I think people say you guys are all here because your companies are being really creative with some of the technologies that are out there to, Help accelerate sales cycles to create more sales cycles.

So that's what we're going to talk about today. And I thought it might be a logical way to do it to just model it after a sales cycle, right? So let's start our conversation at the front of the funnel. Let's end our conversation after sale with customer success use cases. So I'm going to start us with top of the funnel marketing types of use cases, right?

When we think about it. How you're using demo technologies to put the product in the hands of customers sooner without using an SC, without that tradition, we did discovery and we're in the room. Let's talk about the ways that you were doing that in the front of the funnel and I'll start Rob with you.

What are you guys doing?

Rob De Marco: We all know prospects. If we look at it, prospects, they need more options than we've ever provided in the past to get hands on product to see the product. Let's face it. They're more knowledgeable today. They have more info at their fingertips. So What we want to do is we want to try to give them a vision of the product as soon as possible.

Like you said, Elena, they don't want to go through a whole discovery process right away. They want to start seeing the product, and that's what we've seen, so what we've done is we've actually provided interactive demos on our website. And what's really great about those is we've picked specific use cases that are very valuable, differentiated.

It's a choose your own adventure type of opportunity for the prospects. So when they come in, they can actually go through the interactive demo. They can see what we want them to see. What's really important is we get the visibility in the data and analytics to be able to say, okay, what did they click on?

What were they interested in? So that first interaction up the funnel here is really a good interaction for both the SDRs and for the AEs as well. So we've been using interactive demos very effectively.

Elena Hutchison: Can you talk a little bit about just tactically how you do that? So when they show up and they're looking at that first demo, there are multiple use cases there and they can say, Oh, I'm more interested in this one or that one.

Like, how do you guys actually make that work?

Rob De Marco: Yeah. So we actually host the Demostack interactive demos on the website. And so we have anywhere from six to eight different use cases. When they click on that and they go to view it, they're getting, we're capturing that information.

Of the four use cases or six key use cases that we have out there, if they viewed three of those, we can see how much they've interacted with those. We get an automatic notification through Slack, which is really nice. Because it's all real-time, right? You got to get talking to them as quickly as possible.

But what's great is we can see exactly what they're interested in and start conversations that way. A very focused conversation right off the bat, as opposed to just a general discussion.

Elena Hutchison: So it's like a secret discovery. No one had to talk to anybody, you're just, you're seeing what they're interested in.

And then right from that first conversation, Xactly what, which of those use cases were most compelling for them and you can kick off there. That's super interesting. Ang, how are you guys using these technologies?

Ang McManamon: Yeah. So going just a step further down in the process for me, we use it more in that SDR sequencing campaign. So we want to make sure that we want to get them on the phone as quickly as we can to prove that value. But if we can't, we want to add demos just like product highlights right? Throughout the sequence, just to get them excited and get them interested. And of course, nurturing cycles, but also if they're going a little bit dark, right?

It's been a little bit too long. It's been 72 hours. It's been a few days. So we want to just re-engage with them. And that's It's a fun way and I think it's really helpful when we look at the views and you look at the clicks and then also the calls that we get within the next five to 10 hours are pretty interesting.

Elena Hutchison: I'm curious just for the two of you guys, like where did the ideas for those things come from? Was it marketing's idea? Was it sales's idea?

Rob De Marco: Actually, it was the SC's idea because as Hanan and Ang both mentioned, we have to do more with less, right? Resources are just not falling off of trees anymore.

So we started talking about it, that security blanket for AEs to have SCs on the calls to, be able to show the product and talk about the product right off the bat. Couldn't do that anymore. So that's when we started looking at what type of content can we put on, there's demos as well or videos, but also a more interactive play.

That was the key is just, demos are great in terms of videos.

Videos are great. But if you can really get them to interact with the tours, with the demos themselves, that's even better.

Elena Hutchison: Have you been able to look at ROI or track the results of those pre funnel initiatives you guys have been doing?

Hanan Levin: We, we have. We actually have similar to I think Ang, we have incorporated like a full or not full, a highlight demo in our website and why it's important and why we keep track of it because it actually has saved time. So a lot of time is spent, think about it.

A lot of time is spent on the top of the funnel, just filtering that noise to get those leads that actually are real those opportunities. And having this demo on the website is a very good filter. Like people are able to see it.

And ideally I would sell through the website. No, no sales team. That's not the case, but in many ways it cleans the top of the funnel in a very effective way. We have, we are keeping track of that. So we know.

Elena Hutchison: I love it.

All right. Let's talk next about as a deal starts to become like an early stage opportunity. So you're through the marketing funnel, and now we're just starting to get to know this prospect. But maybe we're not quite to the part where the SE would do the big post discovery demo.

How are you guys using demo software there? Maybe to help your AEs take on more of the demo load, for example. Hanan, do you want to talk about that?

Hanan Levin: Sure, starting with, every every seller on the team, every AE, every SE on the team should have the ability to run a demo period.

And that starts with the training. The training also helps him get to know the product, but also how to run a demo. And it's pretty easy. And what's nice about it is it's a, you can't, you can miss it's very, it's point, click, point, click. We have a very safe tour journey. Dummy down.

Keep it very simple not saying salespeople are dumb, but think about that and I think I heard it in a previous session there is a lot going on those calls on the sales call sales guy to me is a pilot and he's trying to land the plane and there are so many things that needs to be exactly right and all those tools running and adding another complexity of another demo of something that A live demo that that actually ties to the product or a demo environment of the product that 10 other people are demoing at the same time and it can break and unexpected stuff is just doesn't work anymore and trust me.

I've been there on the other side as an engineer as a product. We're a product head. I know exactly what it is to be in front of a customer and the product shuts down or doesn't work. It's embarrassing.

It can kill a deal, definitely kill the experience and you never get chance for a first impression. We all know that. One of the powers of the tool is that anyone on the team can operate it. From marketing to sales, from SEs to sellers, from product to anyone.

And that's really powerful. One of the things I heard in the last session as well, for those of you guys who were there, I think it was Brent from Gainsight, who made this point about sometimes feeling. That AEs are reluctant to demo, that the word demo doesn't feel like it belongs in my job description.

Elena Hutchison: That feels like a you thing. Is that something that you have run into at all in, in training folks in, in, on your team? A question for Hanan, but I guess for anybody who's done this.

Hanan Levin: It's all about positioning. It's not a demo. It's like a standby, it's like a quick tour and then it's only an entry for the full on demo, which actually enables the next conversation.

Ang McManamon: I have the opposite problem. Actually, it's harder to get to utilize our solutions engineer. See because they feel like with training they know how to do the demo so well. They know how to show the highlights or exactly what this customer or prospect wants to see. And so with that said I think they end up doing the quick highlight, quick, let's get you on another call really well.

And then, yeah, and sometimes they push that sale forward, but too quickly. Is that a, that sounds efficient. Is that a problem? It certainly is efficient. I just want to make sure that we cover the full aspect of the product. And so with what I tend to see with AEs is that they grab onto something that was said in the discovery.

And they just, they're not showing the full thing. They're showing one or two highlights, like I said, which is fine. Look, if the buyer loves it for those two reasons, great. But I like the thoroughness of it. And of course, if it's not done, then we can also send a, we can send like videos showing, Hey, there's also this in our product, you can also do this.

So that's how we use it on the AE side. If we know that there's things that we haven't been able to show, and we really think that this prospect would help.

Elena Hutchison: I love it. I was trying to blow up the chat with that question. Of course there are, of course there are reasons why we don't want the AE doing the full demo, right?

There's always power in having two people there listening for two different things, watching the room, right? This came up in the last session as well. The power of just having that second set of eyes, watching the power who's responding to the things that the SC is doing and you're right. Sometimes when an AE is running quickly through a demo, they miss those things that sales engineers are trained to look for here because they've been doing that technical sale in so many different rooms.

So great. But also added and I love this right? The idea that can we send something as a follow up? Can we put something in the hands of a prospect that maybe we missed in the context of the sale and use these in the context of that room, right?

Can we use some of these demo technologies to actually do that as well? I think that's really smart. Anything else to add here before we get to the main demo room? Hearing none. Okay. Now we're in the sales cycle. Like the demo room is happening, but we're not going to talk about that because we know that you can use these technologies there.

But where else would you use some of these demo technologies to augment what you're doing in the big demo itself, right? I'm talking about, I've heard things like. Leave behind other things along that line. How are you guys using demo technologies to add to the process there?

Hanan, you had a really great example around proof of concepts that I'd love to talk about.

Hanan Levin: Yeah, the real value that we have, so let's start. We use Demostack to enable demos online and pretty much every. Every sales call we're using that environment, but that's a great value for itself.

However, I think the biggest if you ask me what's the biggest value to me to us as an organization is the actual POC proof of concept itself. So we have a challenge and I envy you and for having the other problem, like your seller seems to sell so quickly sell cycle of, I don't know, a call that's great without even going through all the functionality and in the cyber world, it's pretty the other way around, we have a very complex and everybody wants it.

No one is buying without a POC. That was the common reality. And a couple of years ago, that's how we used the technology, we reached the technology because we wanted to shorten the sale cycle.

Because sale cycles that are on average are six months and can be over one year, that's a norm. In the cyber world are a bit too long.

And we remember time kill all deals. You have to move faster. And that's challenging.

And I think once we realized that people are, and we were reluctant, we didn't believe it ourselves before. We have to we had to see to believe it. But the reality is that some of the through this sandbox environment, we managed to convert some of the POVs to actually be on that.

Sandbox environment rather than on real customer environment, real data, etc.. And that was mind blowing to us, the first one, the second one.

So we took down like the cycles down in half, which is unheard of. Furthermore, in some cases, people were just happy with what they saw on the demo.

And actually that's rare, that's an outlier. We have a few customers. We managed to convince just that environment without even building their own environment, just by looking at the demo, which was even more mind blowing to us. So I think that

If you ask me what's the real value of this Demostack environment by far it is shortening the sales cycle.And it's not just the time. Time is just one aspect. It's adding more control, reducing risk, and more predictability. etc. Like I can control what's happening. I avoid surprises. Everybody feels more comfortable. The customer is also saving time.

Like it doesn't need to invest in his environment, a lot of friction, it saves a lot to both the vendor and the customer.

Elena Hutchison: Sorry, I just want to, did you say half? It cuts the time of the sales cycle in half to be able to do the proof of concept?

Hanan Levin: I think we we, as I told you,

The average deal size was six months. The first thing we've done, the first. We won with the sandbox environment. We went down to four months. Then we went down to three months, and now we just closed a two month deal.

Now, it's not only the demo environment. We also got more effective than how we do it. But a lot of it is the infrastructure of being able to cut the demo from many weeks to one or two weeks without any surprises.

Elena Hutchison: Let me pre handle an objection here.

Like what, like one thing that's in the back of my head is do customers really feel like that's real. Environment for them. Like, how do you get around that? The objection that's in my head is they'll never believe, they'll never feel like that's a real proof of concept, but you're finding that's not true.

Hanan Levin: Yeah. Yeah, don't get me wrong. Most of the customers still wants to have it deployed. You don't want to buy an alarm just seeing the demo at the shop, right? You want to see that it works in your environment and everything's fine and the barbed wire and everything. But I see more and more customers are willing to, not the majority I would say 10, 15%, but it's good and it's growing and it's great for us.

Elena Hutchison: [00:20:31] That's amazing. Okay. There were a couple of questions in the chat just on if you can elaborate on what the time savings is, is it about the building process or the testing time or the, how the sandbox works? I don't know if you can elaborate a little bit more. People seem really interested specifically in this use case.

Hanan Levin: So if you think about the POC POC is, yeah, let's assume we got through the funnel. We got to a POC, which is great. Now you need to plan the POC, right? You need to set up the environment. You need to connect the data sources. You need to make sure the pipes are flowing. You need to troubleshoot because it never slows.

Out of the box because that's the, yeah, that's the nature of things. And all this takes time. Just the setup and the configuration and preparing can take a couple of weeks and then running the POC itself and then you unexpectedly can take another couple of weeks without noticing. It's two months just shortening that to two weeks.

You just save six weeks. That is it. Wow.

Elena Hutchison: That's awesome. We may get more questions in the Q& A about this. It feels like there are a lot of people interested in specifically in this case, use case, which people haven't haven't heard a ton about. Robert, Rob, I'd love to hear a little bit more from you about some of the ways that you are alongside that big demo.

How are you using additional automated demos to augment?,

Rob De Marco: Yeah i'd love to be able to say we cut our sales cycle in half because that would be awesome. We all would Great. That is amazing. We I look at the little things during the sales cycle that can make a big difference. When you're selling the experience of the prospects going through with you versus the other competition really can sway the deal, right? People want to buy from people they like and they enjoy the experience. So one of the things we've done is after big demos you may typically run out of time.

If it's a good demo and lots of questions, you may run out of time. You may not be able to show a specific use case or differentiation. We would actually provide interactive tours and demos, interactive demos of their custom demo.

So we would configure a custom demo for them, show it to them. And then as a lead behind or a followup, we'd then provide them with either an interactive tour, a hands on type of asset that allows them to get more than just, Hey, this is, a video or whatever.

And we've seen in some of the bigger deals, they've really liked that, especially at the enterprise level. Because they can then look at it at their own time.

They can check it out when they forward it to somebody, we find out who that is potentially, right? So you can actually see how much interactivity and how much activities are going on within the prospect to get more names.

But, you can really see and get a flavor for what they're doing with what's important to them. So we've done that. So

Elena Hutchison: you're actually using it almost like a, like how I, in my day, in my shakes, my cane might've used like a champion deck, right? To understand like, how is it getting passed around?

Who are the new people who are getting access to this? Like now you can do that with a demo environment. Yeah.

Rob De Marco: We used to call it like a demo brief, right? It was a follow up and had all the screenshots, right? And I walked him through and it was usually 20 pages or so. This is really nice because it feels like software, it looks like software, so they get a really great experience.

Elena Hutchison: So cool. So I want to call back to again, the last session that I was listening in on, people were talking about again, on this theme of doing more with less and needing to, keep their SCs demoing in current sales cycles. One of the requests I got a lot when I was an SC leader and they were always a little frustrating was, Hey, can you come teach our, the people you already sold to about a new product, a new feature that we have access to, the customer success org or professional services saying, Hey, we need like an education demo, and there's not really going to be any revenue associated with it, but.

We need the safety blanket of you guys demoing. And when we were prepping for this, a number of you guys are actually using these demo technologies to take on that type of education and help customer success teams, keep customers educated and and adopt these technologies. So I'd love to hear a little bit about that.

Maybe Ang we'll start with you. How are you guys using these technologies in the customer success part of your business?

Ang McManamon: Yeah, actually we've had a lot of success with that and just using videos like demo videos. We've seen just more of a brand loyalty to the product a bit, right?

I don't know if it equates exactly to retention, but we're seeing just higher usage and we're seeing 60 percent of the videos that we actually send get opened up very quickly within a few minutes of sending them and that is amazing, right? And so we just use this as like in between QBRs and we're just constantly showing, okay, what's going on with our product, what's been released.

Also common technical questions that we always get that to Robert's point, like There it's on our, it's on our website, like you could find that demo on our website, but we just send it proactively just because we know that a lot of customers go through that or hit a wall sometimes. So yeah, we've had a lot of success and I like to put them in sequences, just like again, like just showing what else our product can do when we know a certain customer is just using it for one thing.

Cause we have a multifaceted product.

Elena Hutchison: Rob, how about you? I think this is also a use case that you've seen in your career.

Rob De Marco: Yeah, one of the things that much like the AEx. Right is getting the customer success managers with CSMs to utilize demos and to be able to talk about the product.

We've actually worked closely with product marketing as well in the product team because they're the first ones to know what's the latest and greatest in terms of new features or updates. In fact, I think we may talk a little bit later about who's managing the system. Our product marketing team is actually gonna be starting to take a little bit more ownership of the system because they want to be able to use it internally to create demos that they can then pass around internally, but also we want to get more people involved.

Everyone from the customer success side, professional services, the product team, the AEs. And if we can get an arm to CSM to be able to show the product, feel comfortable and confident to do that, that just builds more confidence in their discussions and better discovery for their customers and for our customers to be able to understand what's coming down the road and what they should be thinking about.

Yeah, that's a big push for us to get the CSM team. Doing much more in terms of demos.

Elena Hutchison: What have you guys seen in terms of adoption of that? Have, has the CSM team been welcoming of that? Or has it reduced? The need to pull in sales engineers to do [00:27:00] that work live

Ang McManamon: 50,50

Rob De Marco:. I think it's similar, so exciting. And some are just more resistant, but that's hesitation there

We've actually used it in a little bit of a different way, we've used interactive tours as enablement tools for the people who are learning the demo.

So you can create these interactive tours that, get up on our website, like we've seen for prospects, but it's a great tool, step by step tool for internal people to walk through the actual demo, looking at these towards at the same time, and they can get the high level where clicks, where are they supposed to click?

What are they supposed to say? Those have been really effective actually from an enablement standpoint to help with gaining confidence from CSMs and AEs to do that.

Elena Hutchison: Wow. All right. Let's talk about ROI. We've heard little bits of it throughout, but have any of you guys either like in a fully quantified way or anecdotally had to justify the use of these technologies and been able to do it with.

We're faster, we're more efficient. Here's how we're closing more business because we're demoing outside the demo. I'd love to hear those stories.

Hanan Levin: I can tell you that a POV costs money. In our case, we spin an environment, a cloud environment, and we stream a lot of data, customer data, to the cloud. And that's storage and compute, out of the gate. So we win, we lose the deal, it doesn't matter, we pay for the POV.

If we manage to convert more of those POVs to a sandbox environment, it saves us money, period.

Rob De Marco:

We, we've actually had one rep on the SMB team cause there were smaller deals, less complex. He actually closed three deals, utilizing the Demostack without an SC. And that was like mind blowing for a lot of the AEs.

He actually went through the sales cycle, had one, two demos. Now the SC would come in to support him and technical issues or technical questions rather, but that was like the gold standard, right?

We needed to prove to the AEs. Not only can you have great conversations just by learning the demo itself, but you actually could close these deals. And what's really important, especially on the SMB side, is you know, you don't want an SC and resources like Hanan said sitting there giving demos to a small deal and wasting time because those add up.

There's a lot of, we always talk about winning fast and losing faster, right? That's ideal because you don't want to spend a lot of time. You don't have all those resources to do that. If we can get those AEs up and running and doing those demos, that's the best thing.

Elena Hutchison: I would love to hear from folks in the chat.

I think I'm starting already, but does the thought of AEs closing a deal end to end with very little SC support, are you amped about that concept? Are you scared about that concept? Are you somewhere in the middle about that concept? That is another idea that feels like it ought to be like it ought to merit some discussion in the chat, right?

Because on one hand That is very efficient. On the other hand, I think all of us who are at this came up again in the last session. And I think it's so spot on. When we think about ourselves as when our main metric as sales engineering leaders is the size of our teams, then that's threatening, right? Because, oh, like actually we don't need as many sales engineers in that world when our main metric is the amount of revenue that we can support and then getting the right team to be able to do that. We're amped about it. Because that actually is the right, that's the right frame.

And I'm starting to see amped. That's the right answer, by the way. Not to lead the team, but we should be really excited about that opportunity as leaders in the SC community, because what that means is We're at a point now with the technologies that support us that we're going to be able to make more..

It doesn't devalue the SC skill, right? It's a way of taking the SC skill and putting it in the hands of more people. So that we can not do the basic education demo. The rote demo that is just education. Over and over again. And so for me, when I think about the idea of Oh, us making the demo that allows an AE to fully close a deal and to end like that is brainbreakingly cool.

I get really excited about the idea of that. And I'm starting to see now in the chat, people excited about that. Yeah, I think I think that is a really exciting thing, but I still hear from SCs and SC leaders who might feel a little bit threatened by the concept of that too.

Rob De Marco: I think it frees you up to go after the more strategic.

[00:31:39] Deals the right deals, like the SMB side. Look, I love them, right? They're more transactional. There's a high volume though, but you could waste a whole lot of time as an SC doing all the things you need to do because sometimes the SMB deals take just as much time as some of the bigger ones I'd rather get, and they need to be able to close a deal by all means and free up my team to really go after the strategic stuff that I really need to be doing. They should be happy about that as well.

Hanan Levin: I don't if you're an SE on this call, I know there are many of you. You shouldn't be afraid.

I, at least in the cyber world it's such a heavy tech solution that even with the sandbox environment, there's a gazillion tech questions around how does it work and a lot of use cases, and I don't see any time soon that SEs are becoming redundant, on the contrary.

Elena Hutchison: Couldn't agree more. Alright, one last question for me and then I think we've got a couple in the Q& A. And if you do have any questions that you want to make sure we get to, please pop them in the Q& A now. Would love to, I've seen some controversy on LinkedIn. We've talked a little bit about both sales and marketing use cases in the context of this call.

I'm curious. Who do you think should own these technologies, right? Because I'm seeing a little bit of push and pull in the market between sales, owning them and marketing, owning them. And I'm curious how that worked at your companies and how you think about that push and pull throwing it out to anybody.

Hanan Levin: For us, it's very simple. The VP of sales engineering owns it.

Elena Hutchison: Does product marketing use it or marketing use it? Yes. Cause you said

Hanan Levin: it's on the website, but there is only one owner. There are many users, but at the end, there is only one owner.

Elena Hutchison: Do you get any pushback on, we need our own website oriented version of this?

Hanan Levin: No

Rob De Marco: I think it's definitely a shared responsibility. We've been owning it for the past couple years, right? Because, from the SE side and the presale side, we know what's working in the sales cycle, right? We know what's the hot use case, or what we have to do and sell, and what really resonates.

So I think that was great because we're creating content and assets, but the ability to create lots of content and assets, especially with new releases, gets a little bit tough. That's where we see a kind of product team, the product marketing team coming in. And we're going to be switching it a little bit to where product marketing is going to be doing more of the management. And they're going to be dialed into sales enablement as well, right? So they're going to create some content, dial it into sales enablement, get it out to the SEs and the SEs, but then there's that feedback loop, right? And we definitely as presales have to provide all that information and guidance in terms of what's resonating, what's not, what do we need? What do we don't need? That type of stuff. So I think it's definitely a loop of feedback and communication.

Ang McManamon: It's sales revenue for me but I love co-owning it with product marketing. We don't do that enough, Robert. So I think that's a great idea.

Hanan Levin: So I, earlier in my career, I wore a VP product heads and an engineering heads and to some extent, marketing heads and product marketing heads.

And I can tell you that. Owning the demo when it was in different formats from a product perspective is good because you can highlight the best part of the product on one hand, but having it owned by the sales engineers

I think, is a better approach because sales engineer, they are the, at the end of the day, they are the heavy users of that, and they know exactly what they need.

So if they can drive it and drive the requirement to product other than product driving it and getting the feedback loop and back it, I think it's much more effective to me.

Elena Hutchison: I totally agree with that.

Having run both functions, sales engineering and product marketing. I think I'm seeing organizations try to drive it through product marketing and say, here's sales. We got you a demo tool. use it without really deeply understanding how the demo, how demoing and sales works. And I think that's probably a losing battle. My gut is that's a losing battle.

You need very different things to run demo automation at scale from a sales org than you do To put a demo on the website and everybody on this call is doing a lot of the marketing use cases with demo tools that are built to support the sales teams. It's an interesting dynamic.

Rob De Marco: The one thing you got to keep in mind is resource constraints, right? I mean, we're, like I said before, we're trying to do more with less and creating content on a regular basis is not, it's not easy to manage. There's a lot to do. And sometimes it depends on the size of your team.

If you have people who are dedicated to that on the presale side to be able to do that's great, but there's a lot of that content that can be pushed to the product team, product marketing team. And then, like I said, working hand in hand with the SCs. to make sure that everything is valuable and what should be shown is shown that type of thing.

So I think it's definitely I can see your view and Elena, your view. And I think it's just one of those things to look at potentially

Elena Hutchison: I think your view is very aligned with ours because it's a respectful view that says, a lot of sales team and we want to make sure that we leverage that while using you guys to do what your time is best spent.

Rob De Marco: I don't think it's just one or the other. Yeah, it's not one or the other. Like we said, it's. It's got to be a collaborative team put together.

Hanan Levin: I'm seeing a couple of questions about, if I may, about how to demo hot emerging better features and stuff like that.

And that's, that's a very good point because that's one of the challenges we are also facing. How often can you update? You can't update it every day, every week. So the maintenance of it and really pushing the new innovation is something that needs to be planned. And we need to put some process in place doing it over the weekend every couple of weeks.

And maybe we also did like for a headlock, like a big customer that wanted to present the specific features, just be updated just for that. That's that too.

Elena Hutchison: Yeah. Is anybody else using these technologies to show beta features, upcoming stuff? Or have a different way that they do that

Rob De Marco: from a product marketing perspective. Like we did do a lot, we did a lot of that with slides or in product pop up kinds of things. That's, I think they're going to be starting to use it a lot more on the product side because they're seeing the value there as opposed to just the slides. Like you said, there's some really great assets that they can show internally. And we haven't even mentioned the partner side of it as well. That's another huge area. Really use a very scaled down, very tightly wrapped demo where they can't get in trouble and provide those assets to partners to be able to self service themselves without putting too many resources on the SC team or your team is another big thing.

Elena Hutchison: Such a good point. Anybody else doing that partner alliances, types of demos we had, that was [00:39:00] a big challenge at Medallia getting alliances skilled, trained enough. And in a safe enough place where they couldn't get in trouble, couldn't break something, but needed an easy script that they could click through and be enabled.

Because when you have a large alliance organization, that is a heavy lift in and of itself. And doing that safely in a way that you're dealing with passwords and understanding what works and what doesn't for them. Yeah. Just like by dealing with logins and passwords and forgotten passwords and credentials and loans.

Big one. Yeah, great point. There's another question in the Q and A about how do you go about empowering AEs to take a more hands on approach toward demoing? A lot of them act as qualifying machines and PO signature finders. I don't know if any of us ever felt that in our careers, that I'm carrying this deal and this person's just going to get the commission on it.

Anybody have thoughts on that one? So empowering them to take a more hands on approach to demoing is the question.

Rob De Marco: I was a rep for 17 years before getting into presales and it was the best, it was the best thing for me because I appreciate the sales reps job. It's a hard job. And what I've always told my pr sales people is. Yeah, you receive it after it's been qualified, after it's been, six months of nurturing, after about 20 cold calls, or being told no, that's when you receive it, so it seems very easy to, oh, I'll just close this, why am I not getting the commission, but all that other stuff that the risk reward on the rep side that, is super important to understand, and when they understand that, I think there's a little less griping there, of course, there's always going to be griping about that, but I think as long as the SEs understand the more that we can get the AEs to, Do more the better it is for everybody in terms of time and resources.

Hanan Levin: I agree. A good seller has control to a certain extent of the product. And having this demo environment that is accessible, easy to use gives confidence to the seller, not only to the SE, but also to the seller that it actually can play. It's okay, I can play the piano.

I don't, I cannot do the fifth of Beethoven maybe, but I can play some tunes. And I can show off with some tunes and I understand it. So it gives a lot of confidence to him, it gives a lot of confidence to the customer that he knows what he's talking about. It's a very healthy thing. It's a very empowering thing.

Elena Hutchison: I think there was also, it came up in the previous session, just the idea that even just the word demo sometimes sends the message that this is not my job. But calling it something different, right? Talking about this is technology you can use as the backdrop for discovery, right? Here's Just a, a very simple walkthrough that will aid you in your conversation about how the technology works versus calling it the demo.

Cause I think it's easy for brains to shut off when you're in that type of environment. But if you can frame it as this is a discovery tool, then it's right back in the AEs wheelhouse, and that might be something that could help you. All right. I think I think with that, we are at time. So thank you so much, you guys.

And thank you to the panel. This was awesome. And I really appreciate you guys being here.

Rob De Marco: Thanks very much. Thank you.

Hanan Levin: Thanks.

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