Complete Guide to Product Demos: What They Are & Top Product Demo Software to Evaluate

Randy Frank
May 20, 2022

The rise of PLG is undeniable.

PLG market capitalization experienced over 30x growth in just four years, going from $21 billion in 2016 to $687 billion in 2020. Clearly, users have the urge to try out a product first before they buy it. And for that reason, many software companies have leaned into incorporating product demos earlier and earlier in the sales cycle.

But according to our research, most B2B SaaS products are still unable to fully go product-led and and give users a full hands-on experience. Only 12.2% of SaaS websites we evaludated had a trial-based CTAs.

So how do you use product demos to give your users and try before they buy experience that truly highlights your product value?

This piece will explain what product demos are, what types of product demos work best when, and what product demo software you can use to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

What are product demos?

Product demos showcase a B2B SaaS product’s functionality in a way that captivates the end-user and prompts them to convert. Product demos can be conducted in-person, over video conference, or be prebuilt and shared with prospects via video or interactive demo.

Product demos should emphasize the parts of your product that offer the most value to buyers, so it’s essential to think through which type of product demo fits best with your sales process.

Different types of product demos and when to use them

Product demos can come in various forms, and each has pros and cons.

In the next section, we delve into three different types of product demos一live, video, and interactive demos 一 along with examples of how and when to use them.

Different demo types can also be used in conjunction with one another. For example, you may send an interactive demo ahead of a live sales demo, or you could send a video demo as a recap post-live demo.

Live sales demo

When you hear the word “demo,” you’re probably thinking of a live, sales led demo.

Live demos are held in person or on a video conferencing platform and typically start with a rep running through a high-level overview of the company. They may ask a few discovery questions and then pass the mic to a sales engineer.

At that point, sales engineers dive into the product, showing prospects the product in action.

In a live demo, sales engineers can demo several use cases based on research reps have already conducted or prospects’ answers to disco questions asked at the beginning of the meeting.

Pros of live demos

  • Tying disco research into a live demo proves you understand the prospect’s requirements and can illustrate how the product meets the prospect’s needs.

  • Prospects can get their questions answered on the spot. Sales engineers are well-versed in the product, so they can alter their presentation on the fly depending on what the prospect wants to see.

Cons of live demos

  • Live demos work best when sales representatives and sales engineers are adequately prepared.

  • Live demos typically take at least 3 - 5 business days to schedule, and, on average, last 30 minutes to an hour. This slows down the sales process, especially if a prospect ends up being unqualified.

  • Test environments can be buggy or unreliable. If the product isn’t working properly for any reason the prospect will lose trust in the product.

When to use a live demo

  • If you know your prospect is going to have very complex use cases and ask a lot of questions.

  • Higher ACV clients you want to ensure have a completely tailored and best possible experience.

  • Further along in the sales process once a prospect is already qualified by a BDR, interactive demo, or video demo.

Read more about the different types of sales demo software.

Product demo videos

The prerecorded nature of video product demos makes them extremely convenient.

Sales engineers or members of the product team can record a demo at any point in time. And once a video is edited and ready to go, reps can send it to prospects whenever they want to, without the hassle of scheduling or the anxiety of presenting something live.

Ultimately, this gives sales folks more time to spend on closing activities. But as we outline below, video product demos can also be an expensive and lengthy process to produce.

Pros of demo videos

  • Prospects have the flexibility to watch video product demos at their leisure and can pause or rewatch it if they need to.

  • Demo videos limit the back and forth with scheduling a demo, thereby shortening the sales cycle.

  • Reps don’t need to coordinate with a sales engineer, and they don’t need to worry about any bugs popping up at the most inopportune time.

Cons of demo videos

  • You can’t get as granular with product use cases because video product demos are meant to be generic, meeting the average prospects’ needs.

  • Whenever your product gets an upgrade, you’ll have to make a new video一and video production and editing can get expensive.

  • Reps can’t read the room like a live demo. Without seeing the prospect’s face or body language, reps must intuit prospect sentiment based on whatever the prospect emails back or says on the next phone call.

When to use demo videos

  • When you’re at max capacity from a sales standpoint and want to automate part of the sales process.

  • Tease the product in sales outreach or as a follow-up to a live demo.

  • To qualifying lower ACV clients withouth needing a sales person.

Read more about pros and cons of product demo videos.

Interactive product demos

Interactive product demos are like those choose-your-own-adventure books you read as a kid.

Users can explore different use cases and features within the product at their own pace.

But unlike a free trial or sandbox where users are loaded into an entirely empty account and are left to to figure out how to use it, interactive product demos walk users through the best features of your product, ensuring they see its value.

Pros of interactive demos

  • Interactive demos look and feel like your actual software, so your prospects can get hands on with your software without any training or set up.

  • Like video product demos, interactive demos are preset, making them easy to share and impossible to mess up.

  • Interactive demos are easily editable. No code editing allows reps to quickly swap out-of-date UI screens or make text or image edits in seconds.

Cons of interactive demos

  • Like video demos, interactive demos don’t give prospects a chance to ask questions in a live format.

  • If your product is extremely simple to set up (like Calendly or Slack), your audience may prefer a free trial or freemium offering.

When to use interactive demos

  • If users request to get hands on with your product and want to do so on their own time. This can replace the need for lengthy POCs.

  • Similar to video demos, interactive tours can be leveraged again and again, freeing up time for your go-to-market staff.

  • To qualifying lower ACV clients withouth needing a sales person and give you insights into which features prospects are most interested in before a live demo.

Read more about creating interactive demos that convert.

Top software for product demos

Once you’ve nailed down what type of product demo suits your product and sales cycle best, you’ll need to figure out how to create it.

Below, we describe several product demo softwares we’ve found helpful when crafting live, video, and interactive demos.

Sales demo software

Live product demo software like Zoom and DemoDesk allow your GTM teams to showcase the most relevant parts of your product, capture the audience’s attention, and answer their questions efficiently.

Software we recommend:

Zoom

By now, everyone knows Zoom can be used for live demos. But people often forget to leverage Zoom’s native chatbox, hand raise, polls, breakout rooms, whiteboard, and more. Encouraging your prospects to use these features makes calls feel more like interactive, engaging sessions rather than boring sales lectures.

Zoom

Features to highlight:

  • Screensharing
  • Background editing
  • Whiteboards
  • Polls
  • Raise hands

DemoDesk

Talking at a prospect for an hour isn’t entertaining, nor is it effective. DemoDesk helps you pull prospects into the conversation by acting as a live meeting room where reps and engineers can tailor their pitches ahead of time and offer interactive content.

Zoom

Features to highlight:

  • High-quality audio
  • Collaborative screensharing
  • Interactive content
  • Customized playbooks
  • Syncs with most CRMs

Video product demo software

Live demos are a hassle to schedule and can be unpredictable, with errors appearing at the absolute worst time. Videos, on the other hand, are consistent and can be reused for multiple prospects.

Consider tools like Loom and Adobe Captivate if you’re headed in the video product demo direction.

Software we recommend:

Loom

Loom’s free online video platform enables sellers to record and send screen share videos with the click of a button. Sellers simply copy a link, then paste it into an email, text, or LinkedIn message to the prospect making it easy to spotlight a specific use case or address a specific prospect question.

Loom

Features to highlight:

  • Instant sharing
  • Simple-to-install Chrome plug-in
  • Personalizable
  • Customizable CTAs

Adobe Captivate

Many sellers already have a vanilla slide deck that they then customize for each prospect. So why not make that a video? Adobe Captivate converts existing PowerPoint presentations to video format and allows users to add in screen capture audio, mouse movements, and keyboard activity.

Adobe Captivate

Features to highlight:

  • Course or lesson look and feel
  • Easy to make from already prepared slides
  • Add buttons or overlay videos

Interactive product demo software

Interactive demos eliminate the possibility of a botched live demo or a misinterpreted video by guiding users through your top value moments.

Interactive demos capitalize on the shift to product-led selling, allowing prospects to experience the best parts of your product in their own way, on their own time.

Software we recommend:

Navattic empowers anyone to create interactive product demos of your software. Using a simple front-end capture of your application as a foundation, you can customize a user’s interactions with your product by overlaying interactive guides, and editing screen captures.

Navattic

Consider sending a Navattic demo before a call to familiarize your prospect with key features or enable your champion with a custom demo they can share with other decision-makers.

Features to highlight:

  • No code, drag and drop functionality make building tours easy
  • Add text, pop-ups, or additional images to show users the value of your product
  • Share via a single link
  • Simple editor to make quick updates to your tour

Figma

If your software’s not quite developed, you may want to use Figma to demo a prototype. Within a Figma flow, prospects can click through various screens to see how your product might look in real life.

Figma

Features to highlight:

  • Preview user flows that may not be fully built out yet
  • Make slides feel more like an in-product experience
  • Test out different designs and gather user feedback

Regardless of the product demo software you choose, know that the rise of PLG has caused prospects to want to experience your product instead of just believing what your sales folks say about it.

With this shift, it’s important to consider moving your product demos earlier in the sales cycle一even as soon as a lead hits your website.

Learn more about incorporating more product-led selling into your go-to-market motion.

See an interactive demo of your product.Request a free demo build from our team.