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The art of navigating sales demo disasters

Software demo disasters can be an excellent opportunity to dive into the inner workings for a given system.  They can give you a chance to be super technical and understand deeply how products work.  However, when presenting a sales demo and a failure occurs, you don’t often have time to delve deep into the innerworkings of your demo to figure out a solution.  So, what do you do??

Cue the back-up plan

Always have a backup plan.  If you do enough sales demos, things will fail – usually during the most inopportune time.  Have a backup plan ready to go in the event a demo disaster happens.  At most, have a second environment ready to go.  At the very least, have saved screen shots handy.  This level of preparation will be sure to bail you out when you need it most.  There is nothing worse than presenting a high-visibility sales demo in front of an audience of executives and having a demo disaster preventing you from conveying your target message.

Sales demo disaster prep

Just as we can’t prevent natural disasters, we can’t prevent demo disasters.  Alternatively, just as we can prep for natural disasters, we can also prep for demo disasters.

When crafting your software demo, pay close attention to the entry and exit points you have and think about where the possible failure points are. If possible, steer clear of crafting a demo that can potentially fail and leave you stuck with no place to go.  Create a plan to re-enter your demo at its fragile points, with the goal of creating a software demo that doesn’t require a prior step to advance the story.  Granted, this approach can border a somewhat obsessive level of technical marketing prep, but doing this will ensure that you’re better prepared than most.

Sales demo prep best practices

We recently asked our Demo Wizards for their best practices to ensure a sales demo runs smoothly, and these are the steps they recommended:

  1. Practice, practice, practice…then practice more.
  2. Prepare and plan – Have the correct connections and have the right configurations.
  3. Double and triple check everything!
  4. Fix it or forget it – just don’t dwell. Your confidence in your demo drives your audience’s confidence in your product.
  5. Expect the unexpected – Be ready to solve problems.

“Your confidence in your demo drives your audience’s confidence in your product”

No matter the type of demo disaster you experience, the real disaster that can impact the success of your demo is not being able to properly convey your target message.  In the event of a software demo failure, you can still leave your audience feeling that their time was properly invested by being prepared. Stay on script, land your talking points, and you are on your way to a successful sales demo despite the disaster!

We are technical demo experts

Product demos and keynote support are a few of our favorite things. Learn more about 3Sharp’s 15-year history supporting keynotes and demos for Microsoft executives like Julia White and Bill Gates.

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