So you’ve worked very hard on your website content, marketing and sales funnel, and now a sales lead has asked you to demo your software. What now?!?
You need to be able to deliver exactly what your prospective client needs to alleviate their pain points, yet still maintain a consistent enough story arc that you or your sales team are prepared to deliver a well-thought-out, cohesive presentation to represent your company, then also think on your feet!
This is a lot to execute in one presentation that could make or break an important sale for your company.
To help you knock your audiences’ socks off, we’ve consulted with experts to prepare…
5 Tips To Help You Deliver a Killer Software Demo
#1 Your Audience Has Already Vetted Your Product and Does Not Want To See the Typical Tour!
It’s true that your demos need to maintain enough consistency that your team is presenting messaging that is consistent with your company’s mission and vision.
However, chances are very high that at this point in your client’s sales journey, they have already researched and considered the “typical” features your software has to offer.
If there is an interactive demo or video on your website or a video pitch, they have likely already used it.
If an interactive demo isn’t available, or you’ll be running the demo for the first time, it’s not a bad idea to post an online job to hire college students to run through the software demo and try to find any areas where it may “break”.
This will safeguard you from a humiliating situation where the demo doesn’t work according to plan.
It’s also essential to make sure you have prepared a strong presentation that will set your demo apart from other pitches the organization has seen. Then don’t be afraid to deviate a little from the original story arc as you see fit and if questions arise.
During your perfect presentation, ensure you demo the key features your client needs, but also shed light on features you think will benefit their organization and make your software shine.
Whether it’s doing a surprise reveal of a brand new cutting-edge feature or sharing a funny and maybe intimate story about your company.
Instead of presenting a one-way demo, encourage questions and conversation throughout. These actions will help you form a relationship with your soon-to-be client (we know you’ll nail it!) and help set you apart from your competitors.
#2 Ask Then Analyze Your Customer’s Requirements
Just as your demo audience has researched your company ahead of time, you need to research theirs.
Then, imagine what questions you might have for your audience, and what questions they might have for you, followed by answers to those questions. This will help you go in armed with a more deep understanding of what your client truly needs, and then frame your proposal around this.
Expert Advice: Dorian Stone, the GM of writing-aid software Grammarly Business believes in tailoring the demo to the audience’s needs, and remaining flexible and agile during the presentation. I have sat down with them personally for a demo and speak from first-hand experience.
“You don’t want a rock-solid, set-in-stone plan. You want a playbook. You want to know all the plays but only run the ones you need at the moment.”
So, Do. Your. Research.
We’re not saying to stalk your prospective client’s social media profiles, but if you have not at the very least thoroughly researched their website then you are not doing a sufficient amount of preparation.
We guarantee if you point out and help address an issue they did not bring up in the initial discovery phase they will be thoroughly impressed. This shows you’re already invested in helping them succeed.
#3 Personalization Has a Better Impact
While you should always remain professional during a presentation, adding a personal touch can help set your product apart from other pitches your client has seen.
To do this, you’ll need to learn to read the culture of the organization you are presenting to.
Organizational culture is portrayed in many ways, including in the way your audience dresses for the presentation, sits, speaks to each other, and reacts to members management.
Once you’ve identified the type of communication appropriate in this working place, supplement your presentation with personal touches.
This includes introducing yourself, providing real-world examples, and even cracking an occasional (and I mean occasional) joke.
Ultimately, personalizing your presentation doesn’t have to be complicated or awkward.
If you are presenting virtually, there are other steps you can take to make things personal. This includes turning on your camera, using friendly body language, smiling, and looking at people when they speak.
Needless to say, certain things are always off-limits both virtually and in-person. This includes low-brow humor, political commentary, and revealing information about other clients.
Personalization will look different in every presentation, but the goal is always the same: make a genuine person-to-person connection.
#4 Include a Hands-on Demo With Real Data
While it is fantastic to have a clean demo site that prospective clients can interact with and kick the tires on, so to speak, it is useless during your demo without data to show.
Start from the reporting view and work your way backward to show off your software. If you are using sample data during your demo, use real-world examples – bonus points if they apply specifically to your audience’s industry!
Show off your portfolio too – if you’ve worked hard to deliver work you are proud of (and you should be!), it will show.
At the end of the day, the bottom line matters most. If your software has robust reporting that administrators can present to the organization’s decision-makers, these should be well represented in your demo. Then pop the hood and show your audience how you arrived there.
Note: Ease of use is important
Your prospective client needs to know their site users and members will be able to navigate the new platform.
Make sure the user experience (UX) is there – market tests and surveys help extensively with this process. Just as users evolve, so might your software, so this a continuous effort and should not be ignored.
Once you have thoroughly texted UX, make sure you present thoroughly and clearly how to use the product as an average user and as an administrator. If applicable, as well as whatever other tiers of users might be using the software.
When you’re finished with this portion of the demo, your prospect should have a good idea of what “a day in the life” looks like using this software, and how the software resolves their current issues.
#5 Follow up With a Survey and/or a Feedback Form
Regardless of how you think the demo went, it’s important to follow up with a gracious response and a chance for your audience to give vital feedback. Providing them with multiple channels of communication is a plus.
The data you get from your customers is quintessential for the betterment of your product and consequently your demos. Affective listening is what the customers highly admire about the brands they are dealing with.
Also, not only did your audience take time out of their day to learn more about your product, but your software may not have met your needs. Nevertheless, if you make a good impression (and that includes a follow-up message!), your audience could refer you to other companies.
Remember – a good impression can quickly be forgotten if there is no follow-up call or email.
Winding up: Don’t Forget To Learn Your Audience, Practice Thinking on Your Feet, and Have Fun!
Now that you’re armed with tips and tricks from experts in the software industry, you should be able to deliver a killer software demo and wow your audience.
Pro tip: Be transparent
Be sure to be upfront with your audience about what resources they will need to use the software – if the software is complex and may require some technical expertise, this is okay if it suits their organization’s needs and they are aware ahead of time.
Your level of transparency is very telling about the working relationship you will form with this client moving forward.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the above and if you feel like I have missed out on something crucial, please leave a comment below or connect with me on my social media accounts.
Happy demoing 🙂
Speaker at Business convention and Presentation -DepositPhotos