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?

1 comment:

Joe Baumgarten said...

During the technical part of the demo, I ask the sales rep to help me in the following ways:
1) take down all questions so I don't have to take time out to write them.
2) help me stay on time by tabling long questions. Sort of a "good cop/bad cop" routine!
3) help me stay on focus. Set up a verbal clue before hand. For example, if the sales rep asks the prospect "Is that enough information for you?" it is my clue that I need to move on. This is especially important if the rep is local and I'm remote. He sees that I'm loosing them.