2022 SE Trends: Customer Centric Demos with Natasja Bax

5 minute read

Natasja Bax is the founder and principal at The DemoScene, which delivers effective and pragmatic workshops for those who would like to excel in software sales. Natasja has years of experience in presales training and coaching and is an ambassador of the PreSales Collective.

To start, give a high-level introduction of your background

One thing I’ll add is that before I started The DemoScene — about 11 years ago — I was in presales myself. I was in the field, doing demos, doing discovery calls. It was quite a few years ago, so I’d be a bit rusty in front of customers now, but I’ve lived there, I’ve been there.

I know what it’s like to be thrown into a demo unprepared. And I also know what it’s like if you can work with a team, prepare for a demo thoroughly, and see the customer engaging with what you’re saying and getting excited about how you’ll help them solve their issues.

What are some tips for SEs to level up their skills?

The key has always been — and still is — to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Imagine how you would perceive the demo and how you would like to be treated if you were a customer, someone with severe issues in achieving your goals.

If you look at yourself from that perspective, you’re on the right track. That’s still my favorite tip.

Recently, I’ve also found that a lot of people deliver the exact same demo over and over again. I believe it’s important to differentiate between two types of demos. There should be an intro or teaser demo and a proof demo. And there are different objectives for each.

You deliver a technical proof demo when a customer is evaluating. The customer has a clear idea of what they’d like to achieve and what they need. Your demo should prove that your product is the best in the market to solve the customer’s problems.

But customers may also want to see demos earlier in the sales journey. They want a sort of vision generation demo, which can also serve as a valuable avenue for discovery. SEs can develop this demo a bit more and cater it to their objective of gaining information from the customer instead of pushing it on them.

What positive trends with presales are you seeing this year?

One of the most important positive trends is that presales has become a valued profession. A few years ago, presales professionals were treated as an assistant to an AE.

And now, their voices are heard, and they know how to influence the sales motion. They’re seen as a valuable resource with great ideas to win more deals. They’re becoming more equal. And in some countries, SEs are becoming even more valuable than AEs.

SEs influence when things are happening in the sales cycle, which goes back to what I said about different types of demos. Just showing a demo doesn’t mean you win a deal. There’s more to just showing a product. Everyone needs to prepare together and think strategically.

What trends are you ready to see end this year for presales?

At the beginning of this year, everyone was happy that COVID was gone, but now we are in a more precarious economic situation. And companies are more reluctant to spend their money. That happened quite quickly — it feels like overnight.

So now it’s more crucial to use your opportunities in the best possible way. That means spending time on the most important opportunities and being more precise in your qualification. You want to do your best work on the most promising opportunities to increase the chances of winning deals.

Now, that inherently means you have to spend more time with a customer. You need to find out more about where it hurts and the implication of those pain points so you can deliver a more poignant value pitch later. You can also use that information to help champions sell your product internally and win together.

What are some of your favorite resources or tooling for SEs?

My favorite resource is the biweekly blog post of Peter Cohan. He writes an article with pragmatic tips people can use to improve their demos and discovery calls. I find it valuable personally, but also feel it’s valuable for the entire presales community.

Try to find resources to help you keep your knowledge fresh, and deepen the knowledge you have. Look for tactical materials that allow you to do better tomorrow. Find leaders and their information.

Tell us more about DemoScene

In all of our workshops and coaching sessions, we focus on three pillars. First is customer centricity. It’s not always easy for people to put themselves in others’ shoes. Second, we turn monologues into conversations. You don’t want to be talking at people. And third, we show you how to start with what matters most so that people get engaged from the get-go.

If people would like a teaser of a great demo or would like to see how I deliver workshops, they should tune in to Great Demo! Mondays at 4pm CEST. And if they want hands-on training, please reach out to us, we are happy to help!

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