5 Mistakes That are Hurting Your Sales Demo  

by Matan Mostov
August 19, 2023
Demo Skills
Demo Best Practices
Discovery Best Practices
Sales Efficiency
Sales Effectiveness
Sales Enablement Best Practices
Sales Execution
Sales Performance
Sales Productivity

Are you struggling with turning your demos into a sale? If so, you’re not alone. Plenty of companies have a hard time with their demo-to-close rate, and each could be suffering from a different problem that’s hindering their progress.

5 Mistakes That are Hurting Your Sales Demo  

Think about what’s keeping your close-rate stagnant. 

Is it the competitive landscape? Are you repeatedly pitching to demo unqualified leads? Has Covid-19 wreaked its havoc on your business? All of these reasons, as well as high sales turnover, are all solid reasons as to why you’re not seeing any progress. But in reality, these issues are not directly influencing your demo performance.

When we think about the demo conversion rate, we should first and foremost think about what is influencing our demos  and what we can do to deliver high-impact demos.

To help sales teams do so, we wanted to highlight the most common mistakes remote sales teams make during the live-demo process and provide new approaches to solve these issues. In this post we’ll explore the following five mistakes: 

  1. Lack of product and demo knowledge 
  2. Failing to adjust the demo to customer‘s needs ..  at scale
  3. Neglecting to validate the value using relevant information
  4. Relying on the wrong data to gain visibility into the sales demo process 
  5. Ignoring demo best practices (there are many of them) 

1. Lack of Product and Demo Knowledge

Based on our team’s years of experience and dozens of interviews we conducted with leading software companies, we realised that in most companies information is distributed across many different roles and departments. Which in turns means companies create an elaborate onboarding plan, in which new sales representatives sit in dozens of meetings and countless training activities with each department to learn as much as they can until they are pronounced ready. 

Imagine yourself in your new employees’ shoes, going through this process and attempting to learn a whole new product, product value proposition and sales playbook

It’s a lot of information, and the method itself isn’t incredibly useful. People are likely to forget more than 90 percent of what they learned after only a month! Meaning everything they’ve crammed into their brains during the onboarding process will quickly dissipate. 

As managers you can continue fighting the forgetting curve, or you can start looking into emerging remote sales tools that utilize real-time learning capabilities. 

2. Failing to adjust the demo to customer‘s needs at scale 

A great sales rep understands that a good sales pitch is about the customers and the value rather than about the company or specific product. So how can you help your team focus on the customer without decreasing sales effectiveness? 

A common mistake most sales managers make is spending a considerable amount of time training new employees on the entire product and asking them to build the demo flow. You won’t let your BDR wing it on every outbound call, so why would you do that with your sales reps?

Implementing a sales playbook yields better results. It’s best to think of a suggested demo flow that includes a unique product click path and talk track that emphasises a specific set of values.  

But won’t a playbook conflict with the rep’s ability to adjust the demo to the customer? On the contrary, the best sales teams build their demos according to one or more of the following elements: persona, industry, use case and company size. This allows your reps to immediately adapt to every customer; and it is much easier to gain control and to react to customer’s needs when you already have a good value hypothesis in place. 

Finally, working with a playbook helps new reps shift their pitch from a product focus to value focus and - for more experienced reps - to break their demo pattern. 

3. Neglecting to Validate the Value Using Relevant Information

Did you know that people are 90 percent more likely to believe you if you use numbers? 

This isn’t true, but I’m guessing you found the statement more reliable because of the statistic. Using proven data and statistics is key in remote sales.

When I began my career, I was hyper-focused on delivering value during my demos, always answering the question: “why should you care about our product?” At a certain point I realized my next jump in sales wouldn’t come by improving this particular aspect of my demos. 

I began researching the psychology behind the sales and quickly understood that one of the principles of persuasion is consensus. When you add relevant customer stories, statistics, industry news, and ROI benchmarks to your pitch, you gain credibility and encourage your customer to take this huge leap of faith and purchase your product. 

This is not necessarily the most important part of your sales demo, but in many cases it is the most neglected part of sales demos. 

4. Relying on the wrong data to gain visibility into the sales demo process  

As a sales manager you collect information about every aspect of the sales process: prospecting, qualification, negotiation and so forth. But do you have data that provides an objective view on what is effective and what isn’t? 

An objective view will provide transparency into your demo process. Once you gain this transparency you can start identifying winning sales plays, test and adopt customer propositions, onboard new sales reps faster, and improve consistency among your A-players and B-players; the possibilities are endless. 

During my professional career, I took part in dozens of CRM implementation projects. Over the years I noticed that many sales organizations heavily rely on manual input to capture demo related information. 

Some use notes or tasks, others take it a step further and mark a checkbox or a stage field to start measuring demo-win-rate. But I’ve never seen a company automatically log the demo and its highlights into the CRM without any manual work. 

At Demoleap, we call it a demo digital signature: an automated data entry process that captures the demo flow and pushes it back into the CRM. By eliminating the manual work of administrative tasks - including but not limited to the digital signature - reps can save at least ten to 15 minutes per demo. Just imagine what you can do with this time and information. 

5. Ignoring demo best practices

If you want to improve your demo conversion rate, you have to learn, structure, and implement demo best practices into your sales processes and playbooks. This includes:

  • Using technical tools. What are the standard tools you use to optimize demo performance? This ranges from which browser you use, to conference tool and which mouse. 
  • Properly preparing for each demo. Did you prepare all of your demo assets? Are you logged in? Did you reset your last demo? 
  • Creating a demo structure. Did you build your demos according to the attention curve? (I recommend reading Jacco van der Kooij’s blog post about running a great SaaS sales demo). 
  • Applying a demo methodology. Demo methodologies provide a set of tools that prevent mistakes and ensure high-impact demos. 
  • Reducing stress levels in the demo process. Providing your team with the tools and techniques to reduce stress and improve their workflow. You can read more about it here

At Demoleap, we are building the first underlying technology to support live demos, which is the most critical stage in the sales process. Our AI-based technology works as a “co-pilot” for sales reps, assisting them during every stage of the process, including the aforementioned best practices that are often neglected.  

The goal of this post is to highlight problems that might require the reader's attention. In future blog posts, we are going to dive deeper into many of the subjects covered here, offering solutions. 

Interested in keeping up with our latest posts? Stay tuned here.

Like, share, leave a comment below, or contact me directly to continue this conversation! 

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