Creating a strategy to enhance your B2B product demo experience can be tricky because it’s a sales activity you don’t often get feedback on.
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Clients are more than happy to critique the product itself if it falls short of their expectations, but many salespeople deliver demonstrations that aren’t even engaging enough to keep the audience thinking about their product.
Those salespeople are then usually left with a simple, “Thank you for your time,” and sent on their way. But product demos don’t have to be rote exercises; they can be viewed as part of a series of interactions that will allow you to prove to the customer your company’s commitment to value.
Set the agenda.
Before any live, hands-on demonstration, or video component begins in earnest, you’ll want to clarify the structure of the presentation for your audience. Not only will this help build anticipation, but it will help break up the presentation into more manageable segments, rather than seeming to viewers like one long, monolithic demonstration.
Show the attendees where the planned breaks for Q&A will be located, so they can plan ahead to note their questions and hold them until prompted.
Weave a compelling story.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “The greatness of this product speaks for itself. Now that I’ve made it this far, I can drop the sales call strategies and just wow them with a straight demo of features,” then you’re sadly mistaken. The product demo is a natural extension of the sales call, and many of the same rules apply: Your demo materials, just like your value proposition and supporting evidence, must be built around a story that has the customer’s needs at its center.
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A product demo has never been about the fancy features you or the product provide, and it isn’t now. Instead, incorporating storytelling into your sales product demos can help listeners remember up to 22 times more of your content. You can even take a page out of best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell’s playbook, and begin the presentation with an example that acts as a microcosm for the entire story; then build on it. This will allow your prospects to visualize themselves inside your story from the outset.
Incorporate a live demo/video marketing hybrid.
Live, interactive product demos are always preferable, both because 1) they allow audience members to begin experiencing how the product can solve their specific problems; and 2) they prove the viability of the product itself, at least in the short term. However, it’s important not to neglect how creative and compelling video content mixed in with live demos allows you to engage on a deeper level.
Showcase the experiences of real users.
One of the most effective uses for your video component is to include segments featuring actual customers demonstrating how they use your product. When choosing subjects for this type of content, always reach out to your customers who have a high level of both satisfaction and proficiency with your product. Also choose customers who can showcase some basic aspects of the product without leaving novices feeling lost and confused.
Never stop listening.
Most successful B2B sales professionals understand why it’s so vital to listen intently to their prospects during a sales call. They know that this is their best opportunity to learn as much as possible about the customer’s needs, habits and concerns. Then, when it comes time for them to present a product demo, they begin to command the floor throughout the presentation and shift their focus away from listening and into showcasing.
Even during these demos, you have to pay attention to how your clients are responding to what they are seeing. This can mean analyzing the progression of their questions or even paying attention to their tone or body language.
Represent the buyer’s pain point visually.
It can’t be overstated how much more of a visual impact your demo content will make if it’s tied to the customer’s needs, instead of the fancy features of your product.
Although it comes from the B2C sphere, SodaStream created a a sample visual representation of a problem that any B2B company can learn from. Knowing that its core customers are concerned about waste, SodaStream created an installation showing how many bottles and cans an average family could dispose of in five years (over 10,000!) without its product.
So, do the same: Brainstorm, in video format, ways to represent the issue your prospects need to solve, to help them connect your solution to their pain point.
Give your buyers the floor.
Hopefully, your product demonstration has told an engaging story that has kept the audience members interested throughout. Although they may have been rapt, they’ve still been asked to give up control of the narrative for that amount of time.
Once you have wrapped up, however, you should allow your clients to regain some control over the presentation format by giving them time to ask final questions. This period will also provide you one more opportunity to contribute lasting and memorable value.