Monday, November 30, 2009

Show Document – Web Sharing Tool

A reader noted another tool for sharing content over the web: Show Document (

While it doesn’t appear to have capabilities to support sharing of live applications for demos, it does appear to support sharing documents and PowerPoint presentations (and mutual editing of some document types). And it is free, currently. Any comments or experiences on using it?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best, Bester, Most Bestest

I was watching a demo yesterday and heard the presenter say, “Now here’s the best part of our software…” at least 5 times. Hmmmm.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Attention-Retention Curves – The “Serial Position Effect” – The Basis Behind a Very Important Concept

In Great Demo! Workshops we execute a wonderful exercise designed to help participants understand the importance of “chunking” information – of organizing demos into consumable components, rather than a long, serial delivery of features and functions. The “Attention-Retention” exercise enables Workshop participants to prove these ideas to themselves.

The basis for the Attention-Retention exercise is known as the “Serial Position Effect”. More on this can be found on Wikipedia for those who are interested (and who wouldn’t be?) at (Many thanks to the Great Demo! Workshop participant who provided this information!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Props for Demos

I saw a great prop yesterday in a Great Demo! Workshop: one of the participants used his laptop as the prop, holding it up for audience view while saying, “it’s like having mainframe in your laptop!” (They provide software to support mainframe emulation and some very cool related capabilities).

Props are interesting and energizing – they capture audience attention and reinforce concepts. They help bring life to demos – both for the audience and the presenter!

I typically use a range of props in Great Demo! Workshops, such as:
- CD
- Cell Phone
- Newspaper
- Book
- Telescoping pointer
- Stack of papers
- Customer collateral
- Raft of razor-sharp pencils…

What props could be used in your demos?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mikogo – New Web Collaboration Tool

Mikogo ( is providing a free web collaboration tool, for sessions with up to 10 users. My understanding is that they currently support Windows and have Mac support in beta testing.

Free? Yes – they are offering Mikogo free, in the hope and expectation that customers will move up to their for-sale BeamYourScreen offerings.

Mikogo appears to offer many of the “standard” capabilities you’d expect for Remote Demos – including, I believe, the ability to annotate over the live application being demonstrated. This appears to be part of their “Whiteboard” functionality – but needs to be confirmed.

Comments and feedback from users welcomed…

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DimDim NOT Recommended for Remote Demos

Another new player to the web collaboration tools space is DimDim (, who offer a range of web presentation and webinar tools. While part of their positioning is as a low-cost provider, which can be attractive, they do not offer the ability to annotate over a live application (e.g., the product you want to demo). This is an important limitation which prevents me from recommending it for use with Remote Demos.

They do offer a free version of their tool, but I’ve yet to see it in use.

Interestingly, I was unable to find out if they support annotations over live apps from exploring their website –and it took two emails and two calls to finally get the information, over the period of a week. Their sales/support was not impressive.

Equally (or more) interestingly, I had sent a single email to the folks at eConference Pro ( with the same question, with a much more positive outcome. A response came within a day – and it included a “player” version showing the capability in use. Very nicely done, remarkable, and memorable!

Other comments, notes and opinions solicited!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Great Demo! Implementation Tactic - Weekly

For Presales Managers:

Hold weekly progress calls with the presales team to encourage and uncover success stories, Illustrations, tips, etc. and to reinforce the key ideas. Teams that do this (or similar) report excellent success with the method for individuals and appear to achieve high implementation rates for their teams as a whole.

This shouldn’t be a surprise… Management support (particularly first-line management) is typically very important for achieving substantive change with personal skills and processes.

Management support, however, can be passive or active. Passive support is often weak and may manifest in terms of not being negative…! Active support, such as the weekly team calls, serves to catalyze positively the process of change. A little effort each week can yield enormous overall returns over time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Manager “Chaperone” for Demo Prep Calls

Here’s a terrific implementation tactic, suggested by a Great Demo! Workshop manager: Join pre-demo discussions (via phone, for example) between sales people and their presales counterparts as a “chaperone”. The idea is to both facilitate the conversation between the sales and presales participants, and to guide the discussion as necessary or appropriate.

Additionally, this approach can help identify those sales people who need more “encouragement” to gather discovery and qualification information that might be needed before a delivering a demo. Similarly, this tactic helps to train presales people to ask the right questions to get the information they need to prepare credible demos. Terrific idea!

Additional thoughts or comments on this are welcomed…

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Public Great Demo! Workshop – San Francisco Bay Area – November 19

[Warning: Shameless self-promotion alert!]

In conjunction with the 280 Group, we are offering an Open (public) 1-Day Great Demo! Workshop in San Jose, California on November 19th.

You can find more information including an overview, agenda, location and pricing at the 280 Group website. Registration for the event is available here.

This is a terrific opportunity for individuals or small groups.

[And this should be the last posting for this event on this blog...]

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

“Not Yet…”

Very often, presales managers are asked to qualify sales opportunities before assigning a presales resource for a demo. This often takes the form of reviewing the information entered into a CRM system by a sales person or submitted by that sales person on an internal form. There are typically only two answers:

“Yes” – you have provided enough information/the opportunity is sufficiently qualified (or senior management has decreed that it is…!) and yes, we’ll schedule a presales resource for your demo.

“No” – the opportunity is insufficiently documented; no demo resource for you. [“No soup for you…!” – my apologies for the Seinfield reference…]

“No” answers often cause trauma in the organization. Sales people may run to their managers to complain, etc.etc. Here’s a wonderful alternative to consider: “Not yet”.

“Not Yet” – you don’t have enough information yet; please go back and do a more complete effort of qualification/discovery. Here are a few questions we need answered – then we should be able to provide you with a demo resource…

A wonderfully gentle, but firm way of accomplishing the same objective!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Using the Bicycle Story to Get Customers to Talk

A recent Great Demo! Workshop participant noted that we can use the “bicycle story” (follows in a moment, be patient…) to encourage customers/prospects to talk about their needs and interests - rather than to show them a long stream of stuff they are not interested in. Here’s the story:

“You are riding a bicycle rather fast. You skid on some gravel and fall, scraping your legs and arms. You are bleeding moderately and you hurt, but your bike seems to be ok.

Someone sees you fall and comes to offer help. He offers you water – but you aren’t thirsty, you’re bleeding. He offers you a patch kit for your bike, but your tires are fine – and you are still bleeding. Now you are not only hurt, but also irritated! He offers food, music, asthma medicine, dancing girls, a new chain, a map, handlebars, bicycle bags, and a cell phone.

All are very nice offers, but clearly what you need is:
1) a few bandages and
2) a couple of aspirin”

The point behind the story, of course, is to present the Specific Capabilities the customer is interested in, rather than present a pile of features and functions that are of no interest for the customer at that time.

The Workshop participant commented that many customers will say, “Just show us what you have…” instead of allowing a discovery or qualification session to take place. He noted that sharing this story (via a PowerPoint slide) may help the customer realize that a conversation before doing a demo makes better sense!