Recently, I was lucky enough to sit down with Dan Adams of Trust Triangle Selling. He shared with me a common mistake new, hotshot salespeople make. They focus on their company’s sales pipeline instead of their prospect’s buying journey. This is a subtle, but an extremely powerful, point that resonated well with me. At 3Sharp, we can have the most detailed and most powerful sales pipeline inside of our CRM system, but in reality, the customer is going to follow their own journey. Ultimately, it’s their show, not ours.
Frequently, these two journeys don’t fully align. The sales pipeline usually only represents a portion of the buyer’s journey. Our sales pipeline ends when we receive an open purchase order from our customers. For the customer, however, this is only the beginning. Of course, we have other processes that kick in to handle the project and program delivery, but it is an interesting realization nonetheless.
Likewise, the purchasing process certainly begins much earlier than the sales pipeline. This is why I think it is so important to have a well-defined marketing pipeline, along with well-integrated marketing and sales teams.
Different demos for different stages of the buyer's journey
Of course, demos can occur at any stage of the buyer’s journey. Your prospect may watch an explainer video while in a marketing-oriented, “needs recognition” stage. They may even sit through a video walkthrough of your product online. This is well before most sales pipelines kick in. Likewise, you may find yourself giving a technical deep-dive demo to the implementation team, which is way more training and education-focused than you would ever feel comfortable giving during the buying process.
I’ve been guilty of misaligning my demo to the current stage of my buyer’s journey. For me, my biggest problem was trying to teach the features of my product instead of showing the benefits before our customer was ready. It is an easy mistake to make – a trap that is particularly dangerous for product managers and product marketing managers! For those of us who have thrown our heart and soul into a project, we tend to look to educate the world on our awesome product or feature, when we should help the world understand how our product can help them.
In short, the type of demo you’re giving to your prospect should be determined by where they are in their own journey. Focus on giving them what they need to move to the next stage of their journey.