The sales demo needs to change


Author: Zack Cronin
Last updated: Published:

Sales has evolved, yet the demo has not. It's time to bring the demo to the current pace of innovation in sales.

Look back even just a few years ago, and suddenly sales looks very different. The sudden shift to remote selling, rapid digitalization, and abrupt change in buyer behavior have fundamentally transformed B2B buying and selling for good.

This tectonic movement requires a massive strategy change for many organizations, yet as Gartner says, “few sales organizations are responding with appropriate urgency.”

In Gartner’s New B2B Buying Journey report, they found that “CSOs must engage in a fundamental mindset shift from leader of sellers to leader of selling, embracing digital-first go-to-market,” and that “ progressive sales organizations will rapidly innovate digital selling models, leveraging the associated analytics advantages to engage customers in a far more coordinated fashion through all routes to market.”

Fortunately, many sales activities already have platforms to support their new, digital existence. From prospecting, outreach, engagement, content delivery, CPQ, and so on, there seems to be a solution for nearly everything. But, the singular most important sales activity has yet to be brought to the digital age.

The sales demo is the pivotal moment of any remote sales process. It is what either creates the winning first impression that carries the deal to a win or squanders the hard work of marketing and sales development.

The latest research finds that buyers only spend 5% of their total purchase time with a sales rep. That means that every interaction, including the demo, must be perfect. No wonder the demo has become one of the largest sources of pain, frustration, and anxiety for sales reps.

Modern-day sales demo needs

The modern-day sales demo must be just as agile as the sellers who use it. It must be personalized, engaging, dynamic, and most of all, real.

Given the extremely limited amount of time buyers and sellers spend together, every minute must be valuable.

That’s why demos that use slides, screenshots, or clunky demo instances are no longer effective. Today, nearly every deal is competitive. That means buyers are looking at the same slides, screenshots, and features over and over until they make their purchase decision.

Buyers don’t see themselves in PowerPoints, or even generic, off-the-shelf demo instances for that matter.

Numbers, names, graphs, and data are all foreign to them. And the “Tim Cook,” “Tesla,” or “Google” monikers are not exciting. A demo environment filled with data that buyers don't connect with is useless.

Then, there are the technical aspects to worry about.

Generic demo instances are messy, old, and are prone to change, issues, and instability. Sellers never know who has been in their environment, what has been modified, or even if it will work.

Demoing a massive potential buyer out of a production demo environment is like driving your newborn home from the hospital in that clunker you drove in high school… it's something you never want to do.

A new demo experience

Today’s demo experience must be different. It must align with the new, highly personalized, digital age of selling. Buyers should feel like they are looking at their instance of the product. They should see their customer’s logos, their names, numbers that are relevant to them, and ultimately what they hope to accomplish.

Moreso, they should be able to USE this instance, without having to purchase it, implement it, or even run a POC. They should see and feel themselves in the solution before they purchase it.

How can this be done?

Enter the demo experience platform.

A demo experience platform allows users to clone their entire product within a highly stable, easily customizable environment. It’s not the actual product, but it's virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. It has all the same animations, iframes, and popups. It looks, feels, and acts like your solution. 

Gartner says that buyers “reward rich virtual buying experiences,” and the demo experience platform provides exactly that.

In this digital-first approach to demos, any text, graphic, image, or chart can be edited by simply clicking. Sellers can easily edit the data to tailor it to every conversation without the headache. Changes happen instantly with no need for support from technical teams. This empowers sellers by providing them with end-to-end control over their demos and gives buyers the highly immersive, personalized experience that wins the deal.

Further, since the demo is held outside of your product there is no instability, sudden changes, bugs, or crashes to worry about. Sellers can go into every meeting with the confidence to execute the perfect demo, over and over.

It’s time for organizations to bring their demos up to par with the rest of their digital strategy. As buyer attention spans dwindle, sellers will require more and more tools to be effective. The demo experience platform is the route to not only better engage buyers, but to more revenue.

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