What's killing your demo: 3 things you're doing wrong

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Rana Bano

Collecting insights from prospects, customizing the demo to demonstrate real value, and positioning your product as the best fit for your prospect’s pain points…. you already know the best practices that make a sales demo successful.

You're past that.

Still, you’re not at the level you want to be—the level where you’re closing more deals faster and consistently meeting your monthly quotas. Maybe you want to raise the bar and become better at sales.

Perhaps it’s time to see things from another perspective.

We spoke to Demostack experts who shared their insights into the three biggest sales demo mistakes that cause you to lose deals, plus tips on what you should do instead.

1 — Failing to create an impressionable sales demo environment

If your sales demo environment is limited to your product, that’s your first sales demo mistake.

Imagine the Marvel movies being remade with just the actors reciting their lines. No special effects, sound, camerawork, or crisp editing. Seeing the superheroes fight villains won’t be nearly half as exciting, would it?

Your demo environment should go beyond your product. If anything is off—be it the slides you show, the graphs or charts you present, or the tools you use—you’ll have a broken demo environment.

Unfortunately, not many business development representatives realize this. They fail to create a realistic use case for their products, making it harder for prospects to imagine their product within their world and, therefore, lowering their chances of closing the deal.

So what should you do?

Make your demo environment as realistic as possible. Swap fake, outdated data with realistic names, logos, and data. None of that “Acme Corp” or “Gekko & Co” stuff. Show buyers their names, customer logos, relevant figures and statistics, and ultimately how your product will help them achieve what they want.

Also, look into other factors that will help you deliver quality experiences and value to boost sales effectiveness.

Here are some tips for creating the perfect sales demo environment:

Set the stage. Create the perfect setting that convinces your prospect to finalize the deal. Ensure the right people are giving the demo, be it the sales engineer (SE), account executive (AE), or decision-maker. Consider small factors like clean desktops, good quality cameras and microphones, and strong internet connections as well. Rest assured, poor video connection, frozen screens, or distracting background noise won't do you any good.

Invest in the right tools. Align your sales experience with the evolving, highly personalized, digital age of selling by investing in the right tools. Besides using reliable conferencing tools and other hardware/software, get a demo experience platform that lets you clone your prospect's entire product within a stable, customizable environment. Think of it as the perfect solution to deliver rich virtual buyer experiences that look, feel, and act exactly how it would be for the buyer using your product in real life.

Prioritize storytelling. If you want your sales pitch to hit home and close the deal, mastering the art of storytelling in product demos is a no-brainer. Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner found people are 22 times more likely to remember information presented in a story. It helps your prospect “visualize“ your product in their work environment and use its amazing features to improve results. Effective storytelling also validates their decision to buy your product, leading to a sale.

2 — Operating without a sales demo strategy

Your sales demo should deliver an undeniable value proposition that leaves your prospect with no choice but to buy your product. But you can’t achieve that without creating a solid sales demo strategy.

Having a demo strategy helps you overcome unexpected hurdles like pricing conflicts and poor timing while demonstrating how your product will fulfill their needs and solve their problems.

But how do you create the perfect sales demo strategy? Ideally, your action plan should factor in the following six elements:

In-depth product understanding

If you don’t understand your product, you'll find it harder to prove its value.

Know why your company chose to build your product, how it provides value, what are its use cases, and how current customers are using it to achieve success. This will enable you to effectively remove all doubts about your product and craft effective stories that establish its worth.

In-depth prospect knowledge

To truly sell, your sales demo should be tailored to your prospect's exact use-cases. The more your sales demo is customized to their needs, the higher your chances of getting them to understand how your product will benefit them and close the deal.

But you can’t do that without understanding your audience.

Find out who your potential clients are, their needs and wants, and which competing solutions they are considering. Research the hell out of their company, including the contacts you’ll be meeting during the demo. Look into their positions and backgrounds so you can better understand their motivations.

Examining any previous engagements they have had with your company is also important. Did they engage with any marketing materials? Which pages did they visit on your website? What concerns did they voice during the discovery phase or any other conversations?

Go through all of it carefully to gain more context into your prospects and their needs.

Demo customization

Successful sales demos focus on delivering value instead of listing features, which is why you should customize and personalize your demos for each of your prospects.

The good news is that, at this point, you already have the information needed to do this.

Build a demo instance based on your prospect's persona, industry, use case, and company size to make them feel like they are in their natural environment. Ensure it reflects the vertical your prospect is in and all presented data—text, numbers, and logos—makes sense to them.

Additionally, don’t overwhelm the prospect by showing them every single feature of your product, no matter how revolutionary it is. Highlight only the ones relevant to your prospect-specific use cases so that they understand how your product will help them.

Flexible demo structure

A flexible demo structure and agenda strike the right balance for delivering a successful demo experience.

It allows the prospect to steer the demo in the direction they want—getting answers to any questions they may have or seeing something specific they want—but it also doesn’t let them monopolize the entire demo. You can adjust your demo path while still highlighting your product's important functionalities and features the prospect doesn't know about.

Product positioning

Ultimately, prospects will only buy your solution if it meets their requirements. And your sales demo is your chance to prove your product can do that.

During the demo, show your prospect you understand their needs to build credibility. Then position your product as the best solution to solve their pain points.

Right timing

A winning sales demo strategy also factors in the timing. Be prepared to give the demo whenever your prospect asks, whether it's early or late in their sales cycle, without sacrificing quality.

3 — Taking too long to get your product into prospect’s hands

A typical sales process goes something like this—the prospect requests a demo on your website, after which they are put on the phone with a sales development representative (SDR) who then, after determining whether the prospect meets their BANT criteria, forwards the prospect to the AE. The AE then contacts the prospect to share more information on how the product works.

That’s three tries already, and the prospect still hasn’t seen your product, let alone try it out themselves. This is your third sales demo mistake.

Up until this point, you’ve based your entire sales conversation on your prospect’s imagination. The problem with this approach is it's outdated. Buyer expectations have changed. 54% of buyers want to know how the product works and get a demo on the first call itself. In other words, your prospect wants to get their hands on the product ASAP to understand if it fits their needs.

The longer this takes, the less likely you are to close the deal.

You must remove the “imagine if“ conversation completely and demonstrate real value quickly. Luckily, Demostack can help you get your product in your prospect’s hands faster, without even setting up a trial.

Use our platform to clone your product into a demo environment that can be tailored to your prospect’s use case, persona, or vertical within minutes. It’ll look and act like the real thing, helping the prospect visualize your product within their existing workplace and see its value.

That’s not it—with Demostack's new sharing feature, you can also give the prospect a leave-behind demo environment that they can explore after the live demo and get buy-in from other stakeholders.

Think of it as a fully functioning sandbox to use on their terms and facilitate buyer enablement. Another cool thing here is that you can track who is viewing what and using which features and use the information to tailor your next talk track on the next call, improving your chances of closing the deal faster.

Interested in learning more? Get a demo of Demostack to create great sales demos that win deals.

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