Do better with less: How to scale SaaS product demos fast


Author: Barry Mueller
Last updated: Published:
How to scale SaaS product demos

In today's economy, where resources are tight, we’re focusing on the smarter approach – doing better with what we have. It's not about the sheer volume of demos but about maximizing efficiency and effectiveness with the opportunities we have.

Well Demostack’s own solutions engineer Samantha Collin sat down with Sara Jones, VP of Presales at Zendesk and ex-SAP, Emily Dunn, Director of Solutions Engineering at Pendo, and Eric Myers, Senior Solutions Consultant at Treasure Data. They discussed what scaling truly means in the context of data-driven demos – how to get the product into prospects’ hands faster, who needs to be involved, what type of governance is required, and so much more.

Here’s what they had to say.

Accelerating prospect engagement with micro-demos

As customers, we appreciate receiving something of value – like a basic understanding of the SaaS product – before divulging details about our own needs and challenges. But, a premature demo on the first call without even a basic understanding of the prospect’s issues is just guesswork.

So, how do you keep momentum going without overwhelming prospects with irrelevant information?

Emily uses micro-demos: These are short, two-minute videos that offer a quick but comprehensive glimpse into what your SaaS product can do. Micro-demos can help you efficiently showcase it to potential customers before diving deeper into discovery.

Particularly useful in initial outreach efforts, these micro-demos are a game-changer if you’re dealing with executives. For instance, when a VP of sales reaches out to a CEO, they can now include a brief demo video saying, “We’re looking forward to working with you, here’s a quick glimpse of what our product does.” The beauty of this approach lies in its simplicity and efficiency – everyone can find two minutes to watch a video, but sitting through a lengthy demo recording is often not feasible.

In her own words, Emily explains, “Nothing's more annoying for a prospect to get on a call on, get the third degree, have a ton of questions asked when they don't even know what you do yet.”

You can create these micro-demos in-house, using a professional video provider or with Demostack’s SaaS product tours, and host them on a specialized landing page on your website. This page should be only accessible via a direct link, allowing you to monitor and track its effectiveness across various marketing channels. You can even create a demo library, so you have all the micro-demos you need right at your fingertips.

These micro-demos can also help you customize demos to show specific features, such as third-party integrations. This will not only save time but also significantly reduce the workload for presales and demo operations teams.

This kind of move builds on the 80/20 rule, Sarah explains– 80% of the demo content should be reusable, and 20% should be customizable. This strategy is not only time-efficient but also eases the maintenance of different demo environments.

This only works though if AEs really understand the SaaS product inside and out.

Making connections between sales, presales, and product teams

For Sarah, who had a team of 80-100 people at SAP under the umbrella of customer experience, says the key to efficient demo operations is keeping stakeholders aligned and well-informed.

The sales team needs to know the product as well as the presales team does so they can provide interested prospects with the information they need to make educated decisions. This is especially true when it comes to understanding new features. The trick is to make sure that the AEs – the people who actually do the selling – know all the important things about the SaaS product early on. This helps them start selling faster and more confidently, even before they need to do a big demo.

In her own words, Sarah says, “A lot of times in presales, what you get given for product is the what, so here's what's coming. And then it's left to us to work out why they did that. So we're trying to work out the why. And if you're getting that simultaneously as your customers are, you're then on the back foot because you haven't worked out what the story is, what your talk track is, what the differentiators are. So with that relationship, we were able to do all of that."

Emily adds that there are two important things to think about. First, can the salesperson show off the SaaS product themselves? And second, is the SaaS product ready to be shown off? This includes looking at what stage it’s in (like beta or fully ready) and if it's available for customers yet. This can be tricky, especially if there's a big announcement about a product that's still being worked on and isn't ready to be sold yet.

One thing that has helped a lot is assigning certain SEs to specific parts of the SaaS product called pillars. These SEs work closely with the dev teams. Their job isn't just to get ready for a demo, but also to create a great story that makes the product look good, even if it's just a simulation.

By having the SE team work closely with the product team, everyone gets along better. The product team doesn't feel like they have to keep things from the sales team. And having SEs focus on specific parts of the SaaS product works well because they become experts on those features and can talk about them in a way that's clear and convincing.

Having a strong bond between the presales team and the product team is super helpful. It might take some time to build this relationship, especially in places where things are changing fast. But when this teamwork happens, it makes the whole process of selling the product much better.

Demostack is also a great platform for teaching AEs to sell specific features. It’s easy to use, and it has clickable parts and hints. AEs can practice with this tool and record their demos to show they know their stuff. This method doesn't always work perfectly, but it helps AEs get good at showing the product when it counts.

You can see this as a kind of “training wheels” for AEs, Samantha quips because they can try out the product, but since it’s a demo environment, they can’t break anything. Plus, they can zero in on one feature or use case at a time. As they get better, they move on to more advanced sales and demo skills, like riding a bigger bike.

Using roles and permissions to prevent demo mishaps

In any type of SaaS product demonstration, whether it's a basic overview for marketing purposes, a first-call demo, or a more tailored presentation by an SE, roles and permissions prevent demo disasters.

Think of it like the plumbing in a house, explains Eric, “Plumbing doesn’t matter until you don’t have it.”

Having good governance and clear roles from the beginning is crucial to prevent mix-ups and ensure everything runs smoothly.

From the presales side, Emily adds, it can be frustrating to spend a lot of time customizing a demo for a key customer, only to have someone else accidentally mess it up. This is especially tricky in environments where many people are using the same demo. To fix this, you should put in place some IT solutions that add extra safety measures to our demo environment.

For instance, if someone tries to delete a key part of the demo, a message pops up telling them it's not allowed in demo mode. This strategy is especially helpful for new team members, giving them confidence that they won’t accidentally change something important.

Ultimately, the goal is to provide enough information without making things too complicated for either the buyer or the sales team.

Gathering and applying data effectively in sales demos

The last step in doing more with less is demo data.

When it comes to demos, especially in the early stages of the sales cycle with prospects, collecting data at each touchpoint is incredibly important. This demo data can help you refine your GTM strategy so you’re functioning at peak efficiency.

To perfect your sales process, you should receive data from various sources. While the amount of data can seem overwhelming, explains Eric, the challenge lies in extracting relevant insights from it. You need to closely analyze the ways successful SEs and AEs interact with customers – who they are talking to, how they are engaging, and which solutions and features they are focusing on.

Tools like Demostack are invaluable for analyzing calls and interactions. This helps you understand the most effective investment of time and identify when additional efforts might not yield further benefits. The key is to surface this data effectively, comprehend its importance, and apply it in a way that enhances your sales strategy and customer interactions.

Final thoughts

The secret to doing better with less lies in a few straightforward strategies. Firstly, using micro-demos – those brief, two-minute videos give people a quick and clear understanding of what your SaaS product can do. This method is super helpful, especially when you have to show it to someone important and can’t spend a lot of time in discovery.

Then, product, presales, and sales must work closely together. This teamwork makes sure everyone really knows the SaaS product well. So, when sales reps talk to potential customers, they can share all the cool things about the product confidently and clearly.

Finally, extracting insights from demos helps you refine your GTM strategy so you invest time and resources in the areas that are really bringing in revenue.

This is how you can scale your demo operations without needing a lot of extra resources. So you can achieve more with less, and in this economy, everyone wants that.

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