Your Demo May Stink if it’s Only Focused on You

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How a Leading Fortune 500 Company Successfully Shifted their Demo Focus

There is a legend in the sales world about four finalists in an RFP process that were invited to give a two-hour demo of their solution. Each company’s sales representative was given the same basic agenda —you have two hours, show us these 10 things.

Sellers from companies A, B, and C — all dressed to the nines — showed up and did what they were told. They each presented two-hour demos that highlighted each and every feature.

Then in walked the Seller from Company D. Seller D approached the conference table and offered the buyer not one, but two options for the demo. Option 1 was the same two-hour demo that Sellers A, B, and C presented, but Option 2 was a 20-minute version that only touched on the features that specifically addressed their pain points. Which do you think the buyer chose? Yeah, Option 2. Do you think Seller D won the deal? Of course they did!

Differentiation is Key

So what is it about differentiation that is so essential not only in the sales process, but even more importantly at the demo phase? The enemy of differentiation is “sameness.” The human brain craves contrast, and sameness will cripple the buyer into a state of no decision.

While the greatest sellers and sales engineers understand its impact, the element of differentiation is still absent from many demos. While it sounds simple, too many demos are the same old show up and throw up feature dump that we all dread.

“Companies that tie the demo back to specific pain points and articulate the value of the solution, are 35% more likely to be selected as the preferred vendor of choice.”

Sales Benchmark Index captured this perfectly, “Companies that tie back the demo to specific pain points and articulate the value of the solution, are 35% more likely to be selected as the preferred vendor of choice.”

How a Leading Fortune 500 Company Successfully Shifted their Demo Focus

There is something in our DNA that makes it difficult to shift the focus of our demos from us and to the buyer. World class sales organizations understand this challenge and are taking proactive steps to equip their sellers and sales engineers with a safe environment to practice and develop their skills.

One organization demonstrating this approach is is a leading financial management company. A division within this organization partnered with CommercialTribe to improve a specific sales stage where they noticed a drop in conversion rates. This particular sales stage involved a solution demo.

As a way to level-set the effectiveness of their consultants and measure progress, the Sales VP and team utilized CommercialTribe’s Seller Development Coaching Guide (sample below) to assess the team’s recorded demos against the key components of an effective and impactful demo. Having this visibility into exactly where the skill gaps were, the team was then able to develop targeted activities to improve skills and behaviors.

Over the course of three activities in the CommercialTribe platform, the consultants were able to practice, and receive coaching on:

  1. Effective agenda setting — Focus on audience and pain points
  2. Demo orientation — Position solutions that solve the customer’s specific challenges
  3. Solution differentiation — Create distinction by leading to unique strengths
  4. Connecting the dots — Help the customer see themselves using the solution

As a result of these activities, the Sales VP saw 57% of his team members grow in overall effectiveness.

The Sales VP saw 57% of his team members grow in overall effectiveness.

“Before Commercial Tribe, we focused on telling our buyers about the solution and what it does. Now, as a result of our practice initiative, we are back to what matters most—what it means and why our customers buy.” – Sales VP

When you think about how much is riding on each and every demo, the revenue lift in effective execution, and the time it takes to develop a seller or sales engineer, this investment in a development loop involving observation, assessment, practice and guided coaching following a framework like the Seller Development Coaching Guide, will yield dividends in a condensed timeframe. The proof is in the results!

Download our Sample Seller Development Coaching Guide and see how these guided coaching paths can not only improve and develop your reps, but also activate your frontline managers to be better coaches.