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Running an effective software sales demo

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What you’ll find here:

  • A script you can follow
  • Tips for High Velocity Sales Demos
  • Virtual Sales Demo Tools

The Script

The Sales Demo Introduction

Don’t over think the intro - people tend to overestimate the importance of the introduction in a sales call. In SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham & team found no correlation between the quality of the opening and the likelihood of closing a deal.

That's not to say you should ignore social norms entirely. The one consideration you should make when it comes to your introduction are the cultural expectations of your client and industry. In my experience, most people working in tech are taking video calls all day and prefer to get straight to the point vs spending a lot of time on chit chat.

My friend who sells to European chemical industry executives finds that they don’t like to talk business until they’ve spent some time building rapport.

Fact Finding

Before you show a demo, you need to identify an important problem your prospect is facing that your software can directly solve. It pains me how often I sit through a demo as a potential buyer and am shown features that are completely irrelevant to my use case.

I’m not sure if it’s a function of people thinking that more features = better, or just a lack of understanding of what I’m trying to achieve. Either way, don’t be these people.

The Demo

If you’ve done an effective job fact finding and know your product well, the actual demo should be the easiest part of the process. My goal in a demo is to get to a “wow” as quickly as possible.

Say, for example, you’re selling a Sales CRM. If you found during fact finding that you’re talking to an account executive who’s having trouble staying on top of email follow ups, you should start your demo by showing off your email sequencing & automation. If you find that you’re talking to a sales manager that’s spending 20 hours a week building reports manually to share with the CEO, demo how you can spin up 5 custom reports in 5 minutes.

Often, the most “impressive” or complicated part of your software won’t be interesting to your prospect. At Cuda, we offer call lead routing software for B2B sales teams. The most complicated part of our software might be our CRM integration or all of the complex routing rules you can configure. The thing is that people have used software in the past that integrates with CRMs so while it’s important it won’t lead to them saying “wow”. The fact that we can take a qualified lead from their landing page into a zoom call in 5 seconds is one of the more technically “simple” parts of our product but since they’ve never seen it before I start my demos there.

Throughout your demo, tie the value of your features directly to the benefit they provide. If possible, reference customer case studies or testimonials.

If they don’t share without prompting, ask your prospect directly whether they believe what they’ve seen can directly solve the problem you identified earlier.

Demonstrating Urgency

Demonstrating urgency is the most important, and difficult, step of the process. Many people have seen a demo, agree that it solves their problem, and never signed up as a paying customer.

The reason is that they don’t see it as a priority. As a sales person, you are competing with hundreds of distractions. Of course, there are competitors. There’s also other fires that come up in day to day business, and more importantly, the distractions of day to day life. You’re competing with the release of a new show on Netflix, helping with a child’s homework, and countless news alerts blaring all day long.

When I’m demonstrating urgency, I’m working with a prospect to understand what life looks like if they adopt my solution to fix their problem, and what life looks like if they leave it unsolved.

Leave with Clear Next Steps

If you’ve done everything right up to this point, you’re in the final stretch. At the close, you want to make it as simple as possible for a prospect to sign up. Articulate exactly what you want them to do next. If you need a follow up meeting, schedule it now. If you want them to sign a contract & wire funds, then make sure you ask!

Tips for High Velocity Sales Demos

  • Schedule the demo (and follow ups) as soon as possible: One guaranteed way to add days onto your sales cycle is to let (or force) your prospect to schedule a time far into the future. Whenever possible, encourage them to meet now rather than later (you can use Cuda to get your sales team on instant sales demos).
  • Demonstrate urgency: I already shared how demonstrating urgency is key to improving close rates, but it will also keep you top of mind and encourage prospects to act quickly!
  • Provide clear follow ups (in writing!): During your sales call, articulate clear next steps and also present them in writing. As soon as the call ends, share them via email.

Virtual Sales Demo Tools

Strong Remote Setup: This will be basic information for most remote workers but it’s worth repeating - you need to have a crisp video set up. This means no background noise, a tidy background, reliable internet and good lighting.

Call Recording: The most crucial tool in my sales demo stack is By recording my demos, I don’t need to take thorough notes so I can focus on the prospect without missing anything. I always find that when I go back to listen to my recordings I find tidbits I didn’t catch the first time around. Moreover, I can see the exact language my prospect used when describing a problem and incorporate their language directly into my messaging.

For larger organizations, Gong is the gold standard. It has a great read/write integration with Salesforce and I’ve heard some teams do more pipeline management in Gong than they do in SFDC.

Of course any call recording platform can also be used for reviewing sales strategies and training new & existing reps.

Interactive Demo Software: I find that the best way to demo my software is to just show them the real thing! If it’s a high value lead and I have time to prep, I’ll create an account on their behalf before the call and use it during the demo. If they want to move forward, all I need to do is invite them to the account that I already set up for them.

If the product isn’t ready, or you need to pre sell features you don’t have yet, Figma usually does the trick.

You can also check out Walnut and Navattic if you need to create custom demos at scale.