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How to give software product demos that convince your prospects? [+9 Expert Quotes]

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If you are a SaaS founder or a C-level executive, you have 2 reasons to walk through our guide:

 

1) You give SaaS demos frequently and want to know all the rules of this game,

2) You want to know how to train your sales team and improve their software presentation skills. 

 

Or if you are a sales rep at a SaaS company, this guide again can become a goldmine for you and your teammates. You always want bigger commission checks, right? 

 

saas demo

 

So after reading today’s blog, you will be opening your eyes to SaaS demo best practices and closing more sales. Not later, not then, but before the end of the meeting with your prospective customer. 

 

Now let’s see what exactly to expect from our guide and what you’ll learn to know how to give product demos that sell:

 

1) We will quickly understand who you demo your SaaS at all and who is your audience during that process.

 

2) We are going to talk about careless and even strange mistakes that SaaS salespeople make during software product demos.

 

3) We will discuss how you can win your prospect’s heart and mind at demo without being unnatural, pushy, and salesy.

 

4) We will share SaaS demo tips from 9 leaders who’ve gone through thousands of demos and know the process inside out.

 

5) STAY WITH US TILL THE END. Because we are going to share FREE resources so you see even higher results in your demo-to-sale conversion rate.

 

But first, let’s have a look at some points that are worth paying attention to. Your demo scenario is not always the same. And people you are demoing aren’t always your prospective customers. Seems confusing? 

 

Let’s quickly jump to the first section.

 

Want to learn more about SaaS sales? Check out Top 10 Resources To Help You Manage Your SaaS Sales Like A Genius 

 

Making SaaS product demos successful: Who’s on the other side of the screen?

 

doing demo

 

Yes, sometimes you aren’t demoing to prospects. You are demoing to… investors. In this case, you will be more focused on your product’s USP, features only it has and/or benefits only your SaaS provides.

 

Investors need to know how competitive and innovative your product is, unike your prospect who looks for another answer: “How will it solve my problem?.”   

 

While pitching to your customer, emphasizing your company’s achievements is a good idea but only that factor will hardly convince him to subscribe. Since you will be pitching more to prospects than investors (probably), we are going to focus on this aspect. If you need more info on how to build relations with potential investors, just check out the link above. 

 

You may be giving software demo to a prospective customer (live  one-on-one). You may be live demoing to masses on social media or via on-demand video on your website. And naturally you will need either a pre-recorded demo for interested people or organize a live demo and answer questions throughout the session. 

 

What’s the biggest challenge of giving public software product demos? Of course, the fact that you can’t predict all users’ pain points. And even if you do, a 1-hour webinar will hardly suffice. Here again you’ll try to highlight as many features & benefits as possible, strive to impress with case studies.

 

So the most practical way you can put your best foot forward is one-on-one meetings. The company you are trying to close may be presented with 2-3 reps, but company’s problem is the same. What matters here is to be aware – who is the decision maker and who is entitled to say the final “Yes”. 

 

Are you ready to learn SaaS demo best practices, never make dreadful mistakes and increase your SaaS demo conversion rate? We are starting right now.

 

5 mistakes you [probably] make during your SaaS product demo

 

saas demo mistake

 

#1 You don’t get prepared – “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail” would sound quite relevant in our context. Do you know who will be present at the demo? What positions do they hold? Did you visit the prospect’s website to see what’s their business at all? You might not know your prospect’s challenges in full before the demo, but doing small research is always a must. LinkedIn, Facebook and their website’s Our Team section can help you with “investigation”: who will you talk to, what’s the company’s mission, etc.

 

#2 You are teaching how to use software – Demo is not a training session. Your prospect doesn’t even know whether your product is a good fit for his company. Why does he need to know every button on your dashboard? All you need to do is to show the result, the final destination. For example, keyword filter options, most visited pages, backlink analysis report, etc. Your audience wants to see the outcome, not the process.

 

#3 You can’t handle the situation when something goes wrong – Imagine that your software is loading too slow. Imagine you come across a… bug. Should you panic? Should you apologize? Should you cancel the call? No! First, you need to stay calm, second, you should be professional. 

 

If you notice a bug, contact your support team via live chat immediately and show your prospect how your specialists solve the issue quickly. If software speed is slow or you are aware of any issue beforehand, show that’s a small thing and try to avoid dead silence.

 

#4 You don’t engage the prospect and make him get distracted – No matter what you talk about, human’s brain gets bored after 10-15 minutes of monotone speech. To avoid this situation, you should agree upon turning on your cameras. So that your prospect has fewer chances to check his email or social media. Second, you should ask your prospect questions and let him talk too. Third, change your tone, emphasize your words where necessary and use body language.

 

#5 You don’t show the connection between the stakeholder’s problem and product’s solution – Remember point 1 of this section? We said that you might not be aware of your prospect’s all challenges in advance. And that’s natural. But if you don’t discover and address them during the call, that’s a big NO. Once you diagnose the pain, it’s time to offer the best-working medicine for it. Here’s what Quincy Smith says to better clarify this point (and this is the first out of 9 software demonstration tips we have for you):

 

Quincy Smith

Head of SEO and Content at Ampjar

quincy

 

The best piece of advice is to take 5-10 min before the SaaS demo call and do some research to put together a relevant use case for your lead. 

 

For example, our platform helps small businesses send emails. But I would focus on different benefits for a company who has never sent a newsletter vs a company who is already collecting emails and has different sequences set up.

 

Schedule a free discovery call for your SaaS growth

 

SaaS demo best practices: Your step-by-step guide to the closed deal 

 

demo deal

 

Before writing our 7-step approach to your successful software product demo, let’s see what Nancy Rothman has to share with you:

 

Nancy Rothman

VP of Marketing at Sideqik

nancy

 

Sideqik is an influencer marketing SaaS platform that helps brands grow their communities through influencers. We work with the biggest brands leveraging influencer marketing, including Coca-Cola, Under Armor, HyperX and more.

 

The success of our demos lies in the research we do beforehand. In order to best show companies and brands what our product can do, we cultivate the demo to cater directly towards their needs. 

 

Adding that extra level of personalization not only shows them how they can benefit from our product. It also showcases the care we take with each of our customers.

 

#1 Gather as much necessary information as you can in advance – Software product demo  may be your first ever interaction with that particular prospect. And all you have is usually a company name that can guide you in the research process. First, go to their website, find their page on LinkedIn and see whether you find your coveted info. If you are social media management tool, you’d like to know how active they are on the major networks. Company size matters too as the small, mid-size and large companies expect completely different solutions from you. 

 

#2 Introduce a clear agenda and stick to it – Your best option is to let your prospect know the agenda in advance. Thus, he will know how much to allocate to the call and what to expect from you. You can send them an email and say something like: “We have the following agenda for our 15-minute demo:

 

1.Product intro – 5 min

2.How our product can help your business – 5 min

3.Final Q&A – 5 min

 

Of course, depending on your SaaS company culture, your demo may last up to 30 minutes. But make sure you can manage it comfortably and won’t make the call tedious. No matter how many minutes the presentation will last, never ask for additional time. Second round of demo is not excluded and that’s ok to touch unanswered questions next time. Here’s the next tip on how to give product demos from Jon. Winther. Let’s see what he recommends about the length of your demo and the importance of product intro:

 

Jon Winther

Chief Marketing Officer at BestNotes

jon winther

 

The best way is to aim for 30 minutes of full product demonstration and for 30 minutes for specific questions. 

 

I have been on so many SaaS demos. And have had the sales rep asking  questions about my company for 15-20 minutes of a 30 minute demo. I want to see the product and see if it will work for our business. 

 

At BestNotes, we offer our prospects a look at our software right away and then ask questions about their business. 

 

We have a 60% close rate after our demonstration phase. So this route has performed the best for us.

 

#3 Initiate a dialogue, ask questions, be positive – Even clarifying questions like “You are facing A, B, C issues, right?” can help you engage your prospect naturally. And even after learning about their problems and goals, make sure to pose supportive questions. For example, what’s your criteria for choosing software for this situation? What didn’t you like the most about your previous software? It will help you emphasize those features that your prospect is especially looking for. No more, no less. 

 

#4 Show all your cards at the beginning – You have only a few minutes to grab your prospect’s attention. That means you don’t want to make your top statement after he is tired and disappointed. Come straight to the point and say: “Since you have X issue and Y is what you want to achieve, now I show how you can do it.” If your prospect is excited with your speech and your solution seems to be working, you come closer to closing a sale. 

 

#5 Listen to your prospect attentively and don’t interrupt – That’s just impolite! Even if you perfectly know what question he is going to ask, let him finish. Maybe you have been making a wrong guessing? 

 

#6 Turn problems into professionalism – Your prospect may ask you a question that seems complicated. Or you have to discuss the answer with your colleague. You definitely won’t say: “Sorry, I don’t know.” Instead, you should say that you are not 100% sure to answer and will get back to him via email shortly after the call. And make sure you remember and keep your promise. 

 

#7 Without further ado, ask for payment – Sorry? Credit card info? Yes! If nothing is left to discuss and your prospect is thrilled to use your SaaS, time to open the wallet. Of course, there are some situations when you organize another demo or you have to provide further info. But if none of them is available, don’t delay the sale.

 

What SaaS demo tools you can use for better “prospect experience”?

 

begin

 

In business relationships every detail can play a major role. Let’s check out what what Mr. Hempenstall recommends you about using specific video tools.

 

Adam Hempenstall

Founder and CEO at Better Proposals

Adam

 

My top tip is to use a platform specialized for giving customer demos, rather than going for something general like Zoom, Appear.in or Skype.

 

While these platforms are great for video conferencing, they are not ideal for demos. Because more often than not, we get embarrassed by notifications from Slack that come up in the middle of a demo.

 

Instead, you can use a SaaS platform for demos which creates a virtual machine that’s only used for giving demos. It’s more professional and convenient. And if you do a lot of demos every day, it pays itself off quickly.

 

Here are two software options you may consider:

 

Livestorm – No matter which Livestorm plan you’ll choose, you can host unlimited webinars and run unlimited meetings. Moreover, their basic plan is free forever! If you go for a higher plan, you won’t face the limitations in the free plan, like limited number of registrants, participants, minutes. Livestorm also provides benefits like analytics, integration with your CRM, high-performing registration pages, transactional/reminder emails. In addition, share your screen, send files and use chat to upload media. 

 

livestorm

 

Demodesk – With Demodesk’s basic plan, you get access to unlimited sessions, audio & video calling, local dial-in numbers. Higher plans offer you more advanced features, including recording, custom branding, dial-out numbers, custom booking pages, integrations with Salesforce and HubSpot. With their Business plan, you acquire Assistant package as well, with options like sales playbooks & talk tracks, cheat sheet for objection handling, in-meeting note taking, analytics and reporting, CRM logging.

 

demodesk

 

P.S. We are not affiliated with any of these tools.

 

Special for Incredo: +5 SaaS demo tips you won’t find anywhere else

 

If you love reading short and simple expert quotes, we have them for you. See what factors our contributors emphasize and how they can help you. 

 

Mr. Fici talks about the importance of customizing your software to the prospect’s company.

 

Jasen Fici

Principal and Founder at StatusCast

Jasen Fici

 

Here at StatusCast we have 1 BIG demo requirement:  Customize each demo to the customer’s brand.   

 

Potential customers love seeing their brand already integrated in to your service. It has a ton of benefits towards closing a sale: 

 

1) it feeds to the buyer’s ego of having their name and brand identity shown.  

 

2) it lets them know you’ve put some legitimate time and thought into how your product can solve their problem.  

 

3) it creates and reenforces ownership of your product by the customer while they stare at your screen for the next 30 minutes.

 

Mr. Chiba gives a powerful tip on how to handle objections during your SaaS demo:

 

Ryo Chiba

Co-Founder at Topic

Ryo Chiba

 

Use your customers to answer objections. 

 

Here’s how it works.

 

If you’re pitching leads, you know the most common objections to your product. The next time you are on a call with an existing customer, ask his/her opinions about those objections. 

 

For example, if the price is a common objection, on a success call with an existing customer ask him/her: “We’re doing some research on our customers and would love to learn about your opinion about our pricing.” 

 

You can then use your customer’s own words in targeted messaging during a demo that addresses these objections. 

 

This is much more powerful than trying to address the objection yourself.

 

Mr. Nathan highlights the role of telling stories, even during a demo!

 

Rajiv Nathan

Founder at Startup Hypeman

rajiv

 

In order to differentiate, you need to shift from a PRODUCT demo to a STORY demo.

 

3 steps to a story demo:

 

1) Spend almost half of your call asking questions to uncover their challenges so they feel you understand them. This builds trust.

 

2) Transition into a well-crafted sales presentation to sell the idea of making a change and getting their emotional buy in.

 

3) Finally, run your actual product demonstration (but spend the least amount of time here).

 

When you run STORY demos instead of product demos, you differentiate from the rest of the market. They buy into the vision, not just the product. This process has helped our clients at Startup Hypeman see their lowest performing reps see a 3x improvement in close rates.

 

Mr. Allen says – eye contact matters the most.

 

Andy Allen

Director at Hike 

Andy Allen

 

Turn your camera on!

 

When you turn your camera on, it typically forces the attendee to do the same. And there are so many benefits to seeing the customer, and them seeing you. 

 

First off, they’re less inclined to get distracted by their environment and switch off if they think you’re watching them. 

 

Secondly – and more importantly – it invokes the traditional adage “people buy from people”.

 

If they build more of a connection with you (which they do, if you are effectively looking at each other during the demo) then we have found this significantly increases demo conversions. 

 

We increased our demo-to-sale conversion rate from ~30% to ~50% by employing this single tactic.

 

Mr. Ravenhill mentions how important is to avoid generic statements and pre-written scripts.

 

Nigel Ravenhill

B2B Marketing Consultant at NigelRavenhill

nigel

 

The demo jockey isn’t married to the script 

 

SaaS companies create structured demos that usually run through an ordered A-to-Z sequence and covers all the main functionality areas. The issue is that many companies don’t have a general interest. 

 

They prioritize several key problems they want to solve. A general demo is fine for a first pass if the demo is a general intro/webinar type of presentation. 

 

I think, though, that too many SaaS companies waste the opportunity to narrow the presentation to the specific interests of the viewer. Because this approach requires advance prep, mental agility on the presenter’s part or both. 

 

Going off-script and abandoning a neatly ordered and structured presentation sequence is not something every demo jockey can comfortably do. Yet it’s critical because it speaks so much more specifically to the issues the viewer most wished to resolve through the presenter’s technology.

 

More FREE resources so you make awesome SaaS product demo videos

 

1) [Free Download] Product Demo Checklist

2) 6 Kickass ‘Request a Demo’ Page Examples

3) 20 Excellent Software Demo Video Examples Worth Watching

4) [Youtube Video] How To Overcome The Top 3 Sales Objections In Your Software Demo

 

Now it’s your turn to ask questions and share thoughts. Did you find our post useful? What’s your experience with software product demos?

 

Let us know in the comments section below. 

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