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Make your demo a “Choose Your Own Adventure” experience

When designing a technical product demo for your sales field, make sure you put lots of pauses and conversation points directly in their script. If possible, give them the opportunity to jump from place to place.
We have found that long, linear software demos with little to no interaction planned in will lead to wandering minds.
If, however, the demo can turn into a conversation and can shape itself real time, based on customer questions/interest, engagement soars.  This also helps with failure points. If the demoer has an issue with one area of the demo, they can jump to another point and keep going.

Showing the trailer vs showing the movie

One of the easiest ways to lose your audience when giving a technical software demo is to show too much. It’s better to show the highlight reel (of the product features that are most important to them) at their most compelling point, then to spend too much time on build up or walking through a massive feature list. Don’t waste time with setup or build up unless it is absolutely necessary to your point.

Consider a movie trailer. You get no back story, just a big explosion, a passionate kiss and a slap across the face. No time is spent on background as to why these happened, we just see the excitement and, if done well, have a very good idea of what we’re getting for our movie ticket.

Just be prepared to dive in to details if asked to.  This will lead to a lighter, more involved audience that will be actively engaged in the demo outcome.

May your software product demos be full of excitement and completely free of slaps across the face!