To drive new sales, you need an effective strategy for sharing what makes your company different, demonstrate expertise, and build trust. To help showcase your company and product in the best light, encouraging prospects to see your product as a viable solution, we have created this nine-step guide on how to do a product demonstration.
However, a demo loses its effectiveness without follow-up, which is why teams benefit from having a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to record demo activities and scheduling future task reminders. With the use of a CRM like Really Simple Systems, your team cannot only manage contacts but also record demos, schedule tasks, and manage entire customer journeys. Visit its website to learn more or to start a free trial.
1. Ask Questions Before the Demo
Before you can effectively demonstrate your product or service, you must first properly qualify each new opportunity. This means ensuring that you have asked your prospect questions to uncover what’s happening in their environment and what is driving them to act.
Examples of probing questions include:
- What product or tool are you using now?
- What do you like about that product? What do you dislike about it?
- What improvements would you like to see in your environment?
- What does your ideal solution look like?
- What is driving the decision to consider a new product or solution?
- What is your timeline and how does it affect your evaluation process?
- How could delaying this decision affect your business?
- What would it mean for your business to implement something new?
Create a space for your prospect to share intimate details of what’s happening in their environment that has led them to consider something new. Then listen for information that will influence how you demonstrate and speak to the features, advantages, and benefits of your product.
2. Send Detailed Meeting Invitations
Before demoing your product, verify who all from your prospect’s organization will attend the meeting, as well as what their roles are in the decision-making process and whether they should receive digital invitations as some prospects may prefer to share invitations themselves. Verify a date and time with your main point of contact, and schedule the meeting through your meeting service of choice.
Most meeting services automatically generate a unique web link for participants to join the audio and visual portions of the meeting. Send this information to attendees in the form of detailed meeting invitations, and keep any technology requirements in mind. If you are not on-site with your prospect or if you anticipate that your prospect could encounter difficulty accessing the meeting, provide clear instructions for accessing the service before the meeting.
Product Demo Meeting Invitation Email Template
Subject line: [Sam & Son’s Mulch] Solution Overview
I really appreciate the time you spent helping me learn more about your current farming practices and needs for transitioning to a new means of soil conservation. I understand that Johnny’s Produce is currently spending hundreds of dollars each week on contracted help. As discussed, I look forward to sharing how our unique blend cannot only help you improve soil quality, but also reduce your reliance on manual tilling and boost profits.
Below are detailed instructions for joining our virtual meeting at [date and time].
[Include auto-generated information from your meeting service here, including web links and phone numbers]
If you have questions about how to join the meeting, or if there is anything else we can do to assist with your project, feel free to give me a call.
Sam & Son’s Mulch
888-888-8888 x 1234]
3. Set Expectations for the Meeting
Once the meeting time arrives and attendees have joined, prepare to set expectations for your time together. This will help prospects know what to look forward to and help them start to formulate questions for better understanding how your product might work for them.
Specifically, allow five to 10 minutes of time to:
Make Personalized Introductions
An engaging and memorable product demo starts with the presenter. Kick off the meeting by introducing yourself and your role with high energy. High energy conveys passion, and genuine passion for your product can be infectious.
Next, ask your prospect to make brief introductions on behalf of his or her team. If the group is small, ask them to share their roles in the evaluation process as this can render more insight into the buyer personas involved. With this information, you should be able to infer their most common pain points and then tie specific applications of your product to the resolution of problems facing each respective role.
Establish an Agenda
Make it known how your time together will be spent, and do this early. Meetings, especially product demos, can be run long. Extend professional courtesy to everyone in the room or on the call by giving them an idea of what they can expect and for how long the meeting will last.
Also, remember to respect your time and that of your prospect. Keep one eye on the clock and guide the meeting to a natural close within the allotted time. If you feel you are running out of time, hit key points as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
Talk Through the Use Case
Start an open discussion about the detailed information that you uncovered during the initial discovery conversation with your prospect. Remind them of the things they do not like about what is in place, or the lack of what they need in order to be successful, and why they need to make a change. Specifically, remind them of what it would mean for their business not to tackle these issues within a definitive amount of time.
Repeat some of the keywords and phrases the prospect use as you reiterate the reasons you believe they have agreed to meet with you. Moreover, confidently posture yourself as the solution, and finish the summary with a question like, “Does that sound right?” or “Would you agree?” Your prospect will gain confidence that you are paying attention to their needs and that you are ready to help them make much-needed improvements.
4. Share More About Your Company
It is important to establish trust with prospective customers. The best way to do this is to sell the idea of your company as a knowledgeable and trusted adviser.
Build credibility by choosing to:
Highlight Awards & Industry Recognition
Third-party analysts like Forrester, Gartner, and IDC are examples of purveyors of information across several industries. So, if your business or product has been recognized for growth, innovation, or quality, leverage these accolades during your product demo. By highlighting industry acknowledgments, your business further establishes credibility with prospective customers.
Mention Customer Successes
Share examples of how you have worked with other organizations—specifically ones with environments or problems similar to those of your prospect. Mention them by name and, with expressed permission, add their logos to your presentation. This will help your prospect make the mental connection between your product and some of their industry peers. It will also help them begin to envision what it would be like as your customer.
Talk About What Makes You Different
Most decision-makers have completed some preliminary research before scheduling a product demo. It is very likely that they are evaluating some of your competitors and will be drawing comparisons. Without speaking negatively of other companies or products, talk about what makes your company and product different.
One example of a differentiator is a demonstrable dedication to innovation. If your company invests significantly in research and development or if you have invested in a highly innovative office space, you can reassure more progressive prospects that you are the right long-term partner by talking about the motivations behind these projects and what you hope to accomplish in the future.
Other examples of notable differentiators include when members of your leadership team have experience leading other notable organizations and when your company’s staffing requirements based on stringent credentials or other specialized criteria. For some buyers, a successful track record or a selective hiring process can be great indicators of your ability to lead their own projects to success, as well.
5. Tell Your Product’s Story
After you have helped prospects learn more about your company, explain your product including how it works, and relevant features. Most importantly, show how those features can help them accomplish specific goals.
To tell your story well, consider including the following components:
Explain How Your Product Works
Start a discussion around how your product works. Consider explaining its setup or architecture, as well as how it’s delivered, hosted, implemented, and sold, keeping the focus on simplicity. For example, if your product is a software application, explain the licensing model (perpetual vs subscription) and whether it is hosted on-premise or in the cloud.
Describe Product Features, Advantages & Benefits
After explaining how your product works, share specific ways in which these features can be applied in your prospect’s environment. For example, if you sell premium safety eyeglasses, discuss how their material and design not only offer maximum eye protection but also reduce glare and meet industry safety requirements, allowing industrial workers to work safely, comfortably, and more quickly.
Address Their Specific Pain Points
Once you have successfully discussed your product’s relevant features and advantages, discuss how the product’s application will help the prospect make improvements. For example, a medical coding software company providing a demo to a hospital in danger of closing might explain that by making it easier for staff to code quickly and correctly, they will reduce billing errors, shorten revenue cycles, and save money, allowing them to keep their doors open.
Following a deep dive into your solution itself and how it can impact your prospect’s environment, it is important to lay the groundwork for next steps. Help prospects understand what to expect from the implementation process by discussing your plan for facilitating their transition.
Touch on the following components, as applicable:
Explain How to Install the Product
Many buyers are concerned about the cost and hassle of replacing existing systems, so much so that many forego the prospect of something that could offer a better experience or fit. Boost your prospect’s confidence by discussing how you will facilitate a smooth installation. Not only is this a chance to assuage their fears, but it is also a great time to engage the prospect by asking them directly how they expect the process to unfold.
Feature Integration With Other Tools
Use the information you uncovered about your prospect’s environment to your benefit by highlighting how well your product works with or supports some of their existing products or tools. By helping your prospect realize some of their existing investments have value, you make them feel good about previous decisions and reinforce the idea that your product could also be a solid choice.
7. Discuss the Customer Experience
Buyers today are being courted by more businesses than ever and, in an effort to eliminate options, are looking for information that further differentiates competitors. In addition to your product or service, plan to cover all the ways in which you support a stellar user experience, end to end.
Mention ways in which you further support a superior customer experience such as:
If your business offers professional certification in an industry specialization, mention this during your demo. This information can surprisingly influence a purchase decision one way or the other, especially if your product is particularly popular with managed service providers such as third-party IT administrators, or through popular large distributors such as CDW, Connection, and Zones.
Provide Technical Assistance & Support Information
Prospects who are seriously interested in your product or service will want to know how to request assistance should problems arise unexpectedly. Navigate to an internet browser showing your pre-loaded customer support page or provide evidence of an available and well-equipped technical support team during your product demo.
Many businesses offer professional development or product training services. If this is one of your offerings, share this information during your product demo, as well. It could be what further sets you apart from competitors and convinces prospective customers that you are the best long-term choice.
8. Address Concerns & Questions
Once you have successfully demonstrated your product, discussed its relevant application, and reviewed options for customer support, make yourself available to your prospect for more questions and to find out if there was anything they were hoping to see during the demo that you were unable to show. This will reveal where your company and product stand in their eyes, allowing you to attempt to overcome any objections.
After answering questions and talking through any concerns, close the meeting by thanking your prospect and all attendees for their time. Let them know how grateful you are for an opportunity to present more information about your company and that you look forward to working together.
9. Create a Follow-Up Plan
Consider a post-meeting follow-up as the last step in your demo process. During the demo, your prospect may ask questions that cannot be fully answered in the moment. They may even react audibly to things of interest without raising questions. Keep records of comments, feedback and questions—anything suggesting there is a need for more information—so that you can provide supplementary information following the meeting.
Sales Tools to Supercharge Your Demos
Showcasing your company in the best light and closing the sale is what product demos are all about. However, using the right sales tools to manage your prospects and run your meeting can take it to the next level.
Here are some sales tools to amp up your next product demo:
Tips for Making Your Demo More Effective
You should design your product demo process so that it can be taught, customized, and applied across use cases. This involves establishing an outline of how each demo should be performed and designing a system for holding salespeople accountable to the process. However the process should allow for tailoring each demo to better meet the needs of each individual prospect.
Other tips for optimizing your own demo process include:
- Be straightforward: A simple, repeatable demo process will be more successful than one that is complicated.
- Be competitive: Share compelling industry information or statistics that position your company as a consultant and your product as a viable solution.
- Be engaging: Prospects will not remember your product demo favorably if it bores them, so remember to pause periodically to reengage them for real-time feedback.
- Evolve: As your company and product change, so too should both your demo process and visual aids so that they both convey the most current information.
Who Should Understand the Demo Process
Providing competent product demos are typically one of the responsibilities of sales employees. However, successful organizations understand how important it is that all of their employees are able to articulate their value offering and what makes them different.
Every employee is a brand ambassador, not just those in Sales, and your brand is only as strong as every individual’s ability to convey the same, unified message, whether they are on the phone with a prospect or wearing a company T-shirt while off the clock. That’s why we recommend teams that want to build a strong brand with cohesive messaging incorporate how to deliver an elevator pitch or high-level product walk-through into onboarding for all employees.
Why Product Demos Are Important
Companies with a well-defined process for giving killer product demos stand to benefit in several ways, including:
- Better enabled employees: A well-crafted story instills confidence in employees, as does having an established, repeatable demo process with materials and tools. Not only will salespeople feel supported from a training perspective, but they will find it easier to buy into your product and company values and will advocate more passionately for your product.
- Control over branding and messaging: Whether you are the leader or are fighting for market share, chances are that you face several competitors. It is important to get your story across to prospects the way you feel it should be told, and providing a product demo is the perfect opportunity.
- Increased market awareness: Every product demo may not result in a closed sale, but by demoing your product, you increase awareness of both your company and market, further stimulating demand. This widens the space for your business to meet the needs of a growing number of prospects.
- More revenue opportunities: People buy goods and services from businesses in whom they trust. That is, decision-makers need to feel reasonably sure that your product, solution, or service will meet their needs and help them to accomplish specific goals. When you can effectively communicate your company mission and demonstrate value to prospective customers, you create more chances to win.
It is essential to provide prospects with reasons to believe that your company is in the best position to support their long-term goals. In order to effectively persuade them to seriously consider implementing your product, use the featured steps to outline a killer demo process.
Really Simple Systems offers an affordable cloud-hosted customer relationship management (CRM) tool for logging and reporting on activities like product demos. In addition to CRM essentials such as account, contact, and deal management, it offers calendar, events, and task management with its free and paid plans starting at $14 per user per month. To learn more about Really Simple Systems, visit its website today.