Our Survey Said:
The 2Win! “Rule of 24” Survey asked the question “Compared to 4 years ago, the amount of time I have to prepare for a significant product demo or presentation has decreased by X percent…”
This question was posed to the Software Industry Sales Engagement teams or in other words the Account Executives, Solution Engineers, Business Dev Reps and the like. 87% of respondents believe there has been a decrease in the time to prepare and more importantly, 52% of respondents said their preparation time had been cut in half.
Let’s examine specific skill sets that will help you prepare for a demo in a world that requires more, with less preparation time than ever before.
So Now What?
Just about every software demo starts with a “company overview” and a high level, 30-thousand-foot view of the solution. Instead, have pre-recorded videos that cover these initial subjects and send them to the stakeholders ahead of the demo. Sending overview and user experience demo videos before your live event will free up they precious time you need to prepare for key elements of the demo like competitive differentiators rather than preparing for overviews.
Today, more people are involved in the buying decision than ever before. Research revealed that the number of stakeholders involved in the decision has grown from 6 to 8 in just the past couple of years. Short, perfected overview and UX videos establish an excellent baseline for your live event. Share these videos with each stakeholder, and you receive viewing analytics of what each stakeholder watched the moment they watched. These videos provide everyone with the same perfected, consistent message, and allows you to start your demo with a “James Bond” opening…your key differentiator.
Preparing for a Demo
“Rule of 24” establishes the fact that B2B sales processes are compressing. Preparation time is shrinking from as much as 24 Days to 24 hours and is rapidly moving to 24 minutes. How about 2.4 seconds?! The digital age and the expectations of stakeholders from their B2C lives have carried into your live events resulting in a dramatic reduction in preparation time.
B2B Sales engagement teams need to step back and rethink the processes and tools you use when preparing for key client engagements like a product demo.
Ahead of the Demo
With less time to prepare, formalize and lean into eDiscovery to learn more about each stakeholder and the prospect’s key initiatives. If this opportunity requires you to assemble a team for the demo, have pre-defined eDiscovery roles and responsibilities. For example, the salesperson performs individual stakeholder research via LinkedIn and sends the results to the other team members. Next, assign investigation into key prospect initiatives to one of your subject matter experts. Assign discovery with the sponsor stakeholder to a third member of the team. This level of eDiscovery will provide every team member with professional and strategic context that is easily integrated into the demo resulting in an unexpected client experience during the event.
Put an exclamation point on stakeholder experience by adding a “Personal Video” in front of your Demo Videos. The personal video will address the stakeholders or prospect by name and sets the context for the demo videos that follow. Send his “playlist” of videos to your sponsor stakeholder and he or she endorses it with an email to the remaining stakeholders. Now, before you and/or a team member begins the demo (either in person or virtually), you have delivered value, created a differentiating experience and established a connection with the stakeholders.
During the Demo
Now that you have positioned your audience and they are “warmed up”, it is critical that you have a defined structure for the demo so that each of your key benefits and takeaways is delivered in the right place at the right time. You might be thinking, “I don’t have time for this level of preparation.” With a Demo “framework” you can use that framework over and over, something I refer to as “Mass Customization.” The framework is just that, a framework. If you have to go outside of the framework due to a key stakeholder request, you are free to address the request with discovery on-the-fly, and a responsive demo then returns to the framework for the continuation of your key messages.
After the Demo
How many Demos have you either delivered or participated in where there are unanswered questions?
A personal video that addresses each open question or request is an impactful and differentiating way to follow up with stakeholders. You send the follow up to your sponsor stakeholder, and he or she forwards it to the other stakeholders. You never had to schedule another meeting. You didn’t send them a 3-page email that no one reads. You’re personally in front of them again without the expense of time and travel. However, more importantly, your entire demo process closes with one more example of how your customer experience is different from anyone else. Cha-Ching!
The Rule of 24: The Future of B2B Client Engagement written by Bob Riefstahl and Dan Conway is a best selling book on Amazon! Buy it here.