Thursday, May 29, 2008

Move and Stop, Move and Stop

Ken Molay, a web presentation expert, suggests the idea of “move and stop, move and stop” when delivering demos over the web. Specifically, he recommends using your mouse to deliberately move to a location and then stop and leave the mouse still while you offer a brief verbal description; then move and stop again.

This practice gives the audience sufficient time to follow the mouse movements, particularly if there is a delay or latency in the web session. It also provides the audience with a brief respite from an otherwise constantly moving mouse!

While Ken makes this suggestion with regards to Remote Demos, the same principle can certainly be applied to face-to-face sessions.

More on Ken and his thoughts can be found at

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Long Email Streams – Refresh Contact Info

When you are responding to customer email that is the result of a series of messages sent back and forth, you may want to occasionally refresh your contact information by including it in your most recent response.

This will help your customer find your phone number or other contact information more easily, should they wish to use it. Otherwise they may have to scroll all the way down to the beginning of the email stream to find your contact info.

This may be even more important for Blackberry (and similar device) users. In many cases, Blackberry users cannot scroll to the beginning of an email stream since the Blackberry is limited on the length of the message it supports – much of the original traffic may have been truncated.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Real Competition

According to statistics I heard cited in a recent webinar, executives today face the following daily “pile”:

- 59 hours of work to be done (that day, conceptually) is sitting on their desks
- Their day is largely booked with meetings
- They receive ~150 email messages
- They receive ~29 voicemail messages

Now tell me again why they should listen to your 20 minute corporate overview presentation or wait through 40 minutes of demo to hear the punch line?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Probe Probes

Very often, when a customer asks a question in a demo, you have an opportunity at hand to expand vision, achieve competitive differentiation, or reinforce value. Too often, we don’t take advantage of these opportunities…!

Frequently, we answer questions directly, rather than probe for further understanding before providing an answer. Jumping too rapidly to an answer is where we lose our opportunity.

For an example, let’s say that you provide a SaaS (software as a service) offering that runs equally well on Macintosh and Windows versions of Internet Explorer (but your competition only supports Windows)…

Case One – the Lost Opportunity:

During your demo, a customer asks, “Do you support Macintosh?”

You answer, “Yes, we do” and then continue with your demo. You’ve clearly squandered the opportunity to support this further. [They could simply be curious; they could be interested in a handful of machines or a pile of Macs; you just don’t know…]

Case Two – Opportunity Seized:

During your demo, a customer asks, “Do you support Macintosh?”

You answer, “Yes, we do” and then follow with, “Why do you ask?”

The customer replies, “Well, we are about 50% Macs these days and Mac support is critical. Some other vendors either don’t support Mac at all or do it poorly”.

You comment, “Thanks – the Macintosh is a key platform for us and our current customers, and our product roadmap for future releases continues to emphasize this.” [Ah ha! Mac is a very important issue for them and you have a huge competitive advantage…!]

The moral? Contemplate “probing probes” when you believe you may have appropriate opportunities.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Integrating Sales into Demos

Here’s a question regarding integrating sales people into a demo:

“I was wondering if you could point me specifically to any thoughts you have about Sales and Presales working in tandem in a sales call. Over the years I have personally experienced some Sales reps briefly introducing themselves, then introducing me - and then saying ‘now watch Bob for the rest of the hour’. They sit back and expect me to run the sales call with my demo.

I'm wondering if you have any best practices we can reference to improve this interaction?”

This is a terrific and very important topic..! Yes, there are a number of practices and methods to apply that integrate the sales people into the demo. Here are a few:

Use a “Situation Slide” to introduce the customer’s situation at the start of the demo – I recommend that the sales person does this part.
- Follow with an “Illustration” of the end result or results – sales or presales can do this. Sales should then “hand-off” to the Presales person, but remain engaged…
- Sales people should occasionally do a summary of the demo, or demo segment, to both help the audience remember what they are seeing and to break up what may otherwise be a gush of features…!
- Sales should help “queue” questions (via a “Not Now” List or “Parking Lot”) to help manage the flow of the demo and to avoid going off into technical details too early (or when high-ranking customer representatives are present).
- Sales should be prepared to step in if an AE encounters a serious bug or crashes – to call a break, cover the projector, and redirect attention to the list of questions (for example).
- Both parties can “rescue” the other (e.g., going too deep answering a question, remembering to summarize a key point or segment, etc.).
- Both the Sales person and Presales person should be in the front of the room during the demo, as well, to support the above processes and practices.
- Doing demos remotely (e.g., via WebEx or GoToMeeting) offers a broad set of opportunities for team play. Having the sales person present at the customer enables higher success rates, as the role of the sales person is to be an active set of eyes and ears for the technical colleague located remotely.

In our Great Demo! Workshops we suggest that a demo should be perceived by the customer as a conversation, rather than a one-way presentation. The role of sales is to help facilitate this conversation – and to be an active listener.

Other suggestions?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Change “Test” or “Demo” to “Production”

We've commented previously that using the words "test" or "demo" for file names, examples accounts and other similar uses in demos it not recommended - it tells the customer that the application they are seeing is not "real".

One simple solution is to change every use of "demo" or "test" to "production". This generates the impression that it truly is a real environment...!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Great / Awful Demo...

Here's a very interesting recorded demo to check out:


Here’s what I liked:

- REALLY liked the “before” situation – very compellingly presented.
- The groovy music, rather than a “professional” voice-over with background thrumming…
- The recording/playback technology looks like a nice tool.

Here’s what I thought they could do better:

- What the heck is the deliverable??? What business process is this improving (web searching and information collection, I assume)?
- Make it easy to take action. The company name and URL or phone should have been displayed long and last, with opportunity to click.

Vendors for Recorded Demos

What vendors have you worked with that build recorded demos for online or website use? What have your experiences been?

Here are the URL’s for three companies offering services in this area. Are there others to consider?

Monday, May 5, 2008

How Many Visits per $100K?

During a call with a prospect today, the idea surfaced that there appears to be a relationship between the number of customer visits (or virtual meetings) required to secure each $100K of an order.

For example, an order of $100K might typically require 2-3 visits, plus an additional customer visit for each additional $100K in the deal. A $1M order would thus consume 10-12 visits.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

The W Key in Remote Demos

In PowerPoint Slideshow mode, the “B” key can be used to toggle between your presentation and a black screen. This can be very effective in face-to-face presentations when you want to direct the audience’s attention away from the screen. You can achieve a similar effect in Remote Demos (using WebEx, GoToMeeting, etc.) by using the “W” key.

In PowerPoint’s Slideshow mode, pressing “W” turns your screen white. If you want to draw your audience’s attention away from the computer screen in a Remote Demo, use the W key and say, “I’ve just blanked the screen…” The white lets the audience know that the web conferencing session is still active.

It is a nice tool and technique – try it!