go_cards
I'm new to this so bear with me. At what point do you decide to demo? I feel like I have wasted a lot of time demoing that has led to nothing (no sales) and I'm starting to think that the demo is not really necessary?

I do virtual demos over the phone and computer for our SaaS.
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timcall
This is a great point to raise and a common concern.  The fact that you are raising the question indicates you have some good ideas of when to use a demonstration.  We could discuss a standard list of qualifications to determine if a demonstration is appropriate.  But one challenge I have encountered is more about who is driving or pushing the demonstration.  How much influence is yours versus an account executive making the choice for you to show a demonstration?  My experience has seen both, and when the rep and SE are in sync, they can use a process to determine if a demo is warranted.  But many times, the sales person chooses to just rush to a demo, without real qualification.  Ultimately, how much the SE is allowed or willing to push back makes a big difference.  The management or culture of the organization has to support a model where the SE can discuss strategy and timing of demos and presentations.
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go_cards
Hi timcall, thanks for your response. Do you think it would be reasonable to ask the customer something along the lines of "will seeing a demo help you make a decision?" or "is a demo the next step, or what else do we need to discuss?" to help qualify the situation better? Do you suggest any tricks for determining how much influence the demo is really going to have on the customer? 

Thanks in advance for your continued help. [smile]
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datatron
I agree with timcall. There are a lot of factors that come into play here, but the simplest answer is good qualification beforehand to understand WHY you are giving the demo in the first place. go_cards I think the questions you mentioned are reasonable and would fall under the 'qualification' phase of the sales interaction. Again, the better you can qualify the whole situation the better use of your, your team's, and the customer's time! 
"If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein, Physicist
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techwhale
Hey go_cards...this is a common problem which is actually rooted in a larger issue.  A lot of inexperienced salespeople let the PROSPECT drive the buying process, but what is usually far more successful is when the seller DRIVES the sale process.  After all...we SELL every day, they don't BUY every day, so who are they to dictate the process!?

I have seen many prospects try and 'skip steps' for example and then it comes up at the 11th hour before we sign a deal.  I have found it really useful when talking to a prospect to say - "OK Mr. Prospect, I am excited that you are interested, so here are the steps our customers go through in order to go from an initial level of interest to actually signing up with us..."

(For example...this is what I did in a past company with pretty complex deals)

1. I will do a short discovery with you to learn about your business and needs (and qualify them)
2. We will conduct a demo with yourself and anyone else on your team who has a keen interest in solving the issues you raised (get a broader audience)
3. We will discuss any gaps you may have seen with our solution and your needs (handle any objections)
4. We will introduce the system to your IT team (who are often a barrier on a larger deal)
5. We will present the benefits and business case to your management (get to the financial buyer)

If you fail to have a prescribed process, you will be at their mercy and may end up doing seven demos to people who have no authority and get nowhere.

Hope this helps.

Dave

http://www.techwhale.com
get big in tech.






http://www.techwhale.com
get big in tech.
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go_cards
Thanks for your response, all. I really like the statement that Dave (techwhale) made...

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After all...we SELL every day, they don't BUY every day, so who are they to dictate the process!?


I also like how you said "so here are the steps our customers go through in order to go from an initial level of interest to actually signing up with us...". It sounds professional and provides some level of comfort for the customer that we do this often and this process will be the most beneficial for the customer. I'm looking forward to giving this framework a try! 
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cloudcomputing
Very actionable tips here for when to demo
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