Transforming demos from an afterthought to a GTM machine


Author: Barry Mueller

The demo is the most important part of the sales cycle. It’s the proof behind your proposition - evidence that your product can, in fact, solve your prospect’s pain. So showcasing your product in the best possible light is crucial.

But giving a great demo is easier said than done. The live demo is the tip of the iceberg of a much larger production. A look under the surface reveals the complexities involved in putting on this show.

It reveals how many stakeholders you need to make it happen without a hitch.

Think about it... there’s your Solutions Consulting team who owns the demo, your Account Executive counterpart who’s running the deal, Marketing driving the narrative around your product, R&D splitting time between executing the product roadmap and keeping your demo environment up-to-date... the list goes on.

And it’s not only about knowing your product inside and out. To give a great demo, you need a deep understanding of your customer and their pain points. So you can map your features back to value. It takes both business and technical know-how to tell a product story that resonates.

Then you need to craft a unique story for a variety of use cases. Regardless of who lands in your CRM, you’ll need to tailor your demo accordingly. For example, you may see different company sizes, job functions, or industries. Whatever the case may be, each lead should be able to see themselves in your product.

In theory, that may all sound simple. But, in practice, it’s very complex.

That’s why demoing is a cross-functional operation. So what if we actually treated it that way?

What if we gave it the same weight and attention that goes into Rev Ops, Product Ops, or Dev Ops?

These teams succeed when they have the right tools, systems, and measurement standards.

The same goes for your demo operation.

Only then does the demo go from an afterthought to a Go-To-Market (GTM) machine. The rest of your sales motion is systemized. And there are tools to automate and track every single interaction. The demo is the last piece of the puzzle. It’s chock-full of inefficiencies, yet critical to winning deals. So optimizing your demo operation will no doubt have outsized returns.

In today's market, buyers want to see your product earlier, and managers want to do more with less. That's why finding low-hanging fruit like this is more important than ever.

So how do you actually go about running successful demos amidst all these challenges?

It starts with first looking at demoing as the complex operation that it is.

At Demostack, we look at the demo operation as a cross-functional transformation. It elevates the demo from an afterthought to a critical business activity.

To delegate responsibility, we use the RACI model. In this model, you’ve got a true owner who’s Responsible (often the SC team). Then you have the Accountable, Consulted, and Informed (like Sales, Product, and Marketing, respectively).

Initiatives that span the organization can be cumbersome and unwieldy. But, categorizing stakeholders with the RACI model helps everyone better understand their role. And the whole operation goes as planned.

As you can see in the picture above, the demo assets are at the center because they are crucial to the operation. Enablement tools are in the second ring because they facilitate better demos. Analytics and management provide visibility into the whole operation. That's why they're in the outside ring.

The tools that actually help run the demo are in the center. These are the product tours, demo templates, and sandbox leave-behinds.

In the second ring, you have tools that make giving demos easier. For example, the demo library allows you to store a variety of different demo templates. So, when you have a new demo, you’ll already have an asset prepared.

The outermost ring shows how efficient your demos are and where you can improve. So, you can measure the performance of the demos and transfer that information to your CRM. So you can optimize your resources in real-time.

When you envision demo operations this way, it’s clear just how many moving pieces there are. Not only does this workflow span departments but it’s also layered in its own right.

Final Thoughts:

The linchpin of every GTM team is sales, and the heart of every sales team is the demo. But, in reality, the demo touches every part of the organization. So, it has a disproportionate impact on revenue.

That’s why we need to start treating it like the cross-functional operation it is. When we unite around demo operations, we maximize and allow more space for the power of storytelling.

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