Tips for Conducting Better Technical Demos

During course of engagement with customer, one has to demo products/solutions at various stages in the project. Demos may be conducted at the very initial stage as part of pre-sales or during course of project after you have completed few iterations and want to showcase the functionality to the users.

Here are few thing you can keep in mind to deliver effective demos.

Prepare

Context: Getting into a demo without preparation is recipe for disaster. Make sure you plan and prepare for demo no matter how expert you on the topic. Every demo has slightly different context. In order to better understand that context, collect as much information as possible to understand the objective of the demo.

You may ask questions regarding;

  • customer industry
  • current products being used
  • Competitors
  • their financial situation

Logistics

Having a good quality setup is very important (laptop, internet connection, mic, speakers, noise/distraction free environment, projector). Occasionally your laptop resolution does not work well with projector, it results in a bad demo experience.

Attendees

Find out who is going to attend demos. What is their interest? what baggage do they carry in terms of their experience with your products? How your system can impact their life, both in positive as well as negative manner? Who is going to sign the bills? What are their political sensitivities with project?

Once you have this information, adapt your demo/script to address each attendee’s concerns, starting with most important person in attendance.

Delivery

Keep it Short

Demos should be short to keep audience engaged. Long demos, with too much detail, tend to become a training session.

Engage and Show Business Value

Instead of talking about long list of features, show an end to end flow. This helps audience build context to better understand the details shared later on in the demo.

Adapt

During demo, if you come across information/insight which is different than what you had assumed earlier, adapt your demo in light of new insight you gained. Do not stick to your initial plan. This happens frequently in pre-sales demos where you start with a prepared script but you come across user cases which are significantly different from prepared script.

Handle Unexpected

Be prepared to handle unexpected situations. E.g what if application becomes slow or internet connection dos not work.  Keep few lines ready to fill those gaps, e.g. you can share little bit more detail while a page is being loaded.

My favorite part from book “Product Demos That Sell” is where author says “Lay landmines for your competitor”. This is effective in situation when customer is looking at various products as part of product evaluations.

Outcome

What is ideal outcome that you want from this demo? Is it pre-sales demo and you want customer to purchase your product or is it first iteration in project execution and you want customer to approve the functionality? Make sure you drive your demo to achieve that objective. Frequently, we demo products and then say “Thank You” at the end, closing the meeting without any conclusion or follow-up actions.

Book Reference: Product Demos That Sell – How to Deliver Winning SaaS Demos

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