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Canned Demos Don't Work: Closing the Demo Opportunity Gap

July 21, 2020

The product demo is the most powerful tool sales teams have available throughout the deal cycle. Buyers want to see the product in action while envisioning their own use case. However, in today’s bulk demoing world where scale triumphs personalization, this envisioning is often lost to a “canned” or standard product demo.

Buyers want to see how your solution can meet their unique challenges and needs. 56% of buyers strongly agree that they are more likely to make a tooling purchase when a sales rep “demonstrates a clear understanding of our business needs” (The LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2020).

Sellers need to develop experiential stories that are woven into each product demo to speak to a specific audience and use case. This story telling must be the main focus of a demo, rather than an afterthought from a sales rep. 82% of B2B buyers feel that sales reps are unprepared for product demos and sales showcases (Biznology). Stories and unique use cases are personalized snapshots into how your product can be utilized across two vastly different industries or user backgrounds.

Why Show is Better Than Tell in Technical Sales

No two customers are the same. Buyers come from different industries, enterprise maturity levels, and corporate functional areas. These varying backgrounds lead to vastly different interests and pain points when considering software solutions. This means that product demos intended for the masses will not speak to the unique challenge sets each buyer faces and the problems they are looking to see if your product can solve.

From the beginning of the sales process until the deal is closed, customers need to see, not hear, how your solution works for them. Today, 54% of buyers want a product demo on the first call (Hubspot Research). Even in this initial call, seeing unique feature sets and use cases is essential to fully understanding the power of your solution and developing critical product-buyer fit.

No one wants a robotic pitch nor do they want a robotic product showcase. Buyers can easily tell the quality of the demo being presented to know if it's the same product overview your sales engineer or account executive has given 1,000 times. The goal of the product demo is to remove the barrier, put your prospect in the shoes of a user, and create an experience where they can see how your product is a must-have for their specific company challenges.

Creating an Experience

Effective demos are experiential. They allow the prospect to step into the shoes of a user navigating a product environment. A customized experience allows buyers to see how a solution meets their unique business needs and wants.This relevancy creates a motivation to buy that is not present in a boilerplate product overview.

Not only are standardized demos missing a personal touch, they do not tell the entire story of your product. After a product demo or sales presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories while only 5% remember shared statistics (The Brevit Group). Crafting an experience is the key tactic to develop a personal connection and create a lasting impression on a buyer.

Closing the Demo Opportunity Gap

While it is clear that a unique story and experience is more impactful than a canned product showcase, why are generic product demos still widely used across the industry? In a world where personalization is paramount, technical sales is no different. Sales leaders must provide their sales staff with the tooling and resources to maintain effective demo volumes while speaking a truly unique story, every time.

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