Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Here’s another option when responding to sales’ calendar requests for demo resources: Choose “Tentative”. You can leave your response as “Tentative” pending receiving sufficient pre-demo qualification/discovery information.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Remote Demos – Consider Using Two Computers

Consider hosting your Remote Demo sessions (e.g., using WebEx, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, etc.) on separate computer – not the one you are using for the demo. This can help with bugs, crashes, managing the meeting, etc. It also makes it safer when using IM between vendor participants and presenters (sales person, presales, etc.)!

Friday, December 18, 2009

“A Link and a Login”

Software has always been an “intangible”, making it difficult to understand the value of what the software offers – and it only gets harder.

In the mainframe era, a new software customer would expect to receive a box containing tapes and administrator manuals, plus several boxes with user manuals, quick start guides, and even keyboard templates (to help remember the arcane keyboard commands). Additionally, one might expect several people from the vendor to arrive on-site to perform the installation, migrate data, implement customization, and then train administrators and users.

When PC software became the norm, the physical deliverable might include shrink-wrapped boxes of floppy disks, installation and quick guides, manuals, etc. for each user in the customer’s organization. As users, our shelves often held more boxes of software than books!

Today, the “deliverable” for hosted, on-demand, and SaaS offerings may simply be a link and a login. No boxes, no installation, no physical manuals; everything is online and accessed via a link and a login. Talk about intangible!

This makes it harder than ever for vendors to communicate the value of the software – and why it is so important to uncover customer perceptions of value during qualification and discovery, as expressed in measurable numbers (time, people, money), and present that value during demos.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

‘Twas the Night Before The Big Demo

‘Twas the Night Before The Big Demo
(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

‘Twas the night ‘fore the demo and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, ‘cept my SC and his mouse;
I’d proposed a big licensing deal with great care
In hopes a big order soon would be there;

Management was restless and not in their beds
As visions of bonuses danced in their heads;
And my VP with his forecast and me with my own,
Had just started a long EOQ roam,

When out from my mobile there came a great ring-tone,
I sprang from my chair to answer my phone,
What could it be? Was it good news or no?
A last-minute order? A contract? PO?

Greetings, said my assistant, who spoke on the line,
It was someone to see me, offering help at this time!
Who could it be at this late eleventh-hour,
To make the deal sweet and avoid something sour?

Away to the door I flew in a flash,
And swept it open in my quest for fast cash,
When who to my wondering eyes should appear,
The DemoGuru! And standing so near!

He came in my office and, while dusting off snow,
Said, “I have some news that you’ll want to know.”
He drew up a chair and asked for some tea,
And said to my VP, SC and to me:

“Your deal is in trouble and I’ll tell you now,
Your demo’s confusing, complex and lacks ‘Wow!’
It’s riddled with features and functions and more,
And too many cool things, mouse clicks galore,

Don’t flog them with features and other neat stuff,
Stick with the substance, stay away from the fluff,
The more that you show is not always nice,
Customers may say, ‘Please lower the price!’

The Buzzword-Compliant Vocabulary list,
Are words, I’m afraid, that are better-off missed,
Not Flexible, nor Powerful, nor Easy-to-Use,
Not Robust, nor Seamlessly Integrated abuse,

And no corporate overview, please don’t do that,
After ten minutes they’re grabbing their hats,
Present as a team, so if things get hairy,
Sales folks aren’t lost in the back with Blackberry.

Your customer’s queued and ready to go,
They love the vision you’ve built with them so
They want Technical Proof in the demo you’ve planned,
Just the key capabilities, everything else banned.”

“But how can we do this?” I heard myself cry,
“We’re victims of momentum, we’re nervous to try,
Another approach, a new way to go,
We have to admit we’re just a bit slow!”

“Do the Last Thing First!” he said with a smile,
“Then peel back the layers, and Do It with style,
Peel it back in accord with their interest,
Stay focused and execute, and you’ll find it best,

Your customer’s Situation is a great way to intro,
Their Reasons and needs, from CBI flow,
Review these and check – is this still the case?
Are we aligned or are we off-base?

Start with the end, that big pay-off piece,
Illustrate and describe, those are the keys!
Capture their interest, compel their attention,
Make sure it aligns with their mode of consumption.

When it clicks and they’re hooked, they’ll then ask for more,
There’s absolutely no way that they’ll head for the door,
They’ll say, “Please show us, prove that it’s so,
Show us the rest, please do demo.”

Then Do It, just Do It, with no extra clicks,
To return to that Illustrative image that sticks,
Make it simple, make it fast, make it easy and clear,
Then they will realize they’ve nothing to fear,

Encourage their questions, most are not new,
Good ones and Great ones and Stupid ones too,
Treat Hostiles with courtesy, use your Not Now List so
Those mean, nasty folks can’t damage your flow,

Peel back the layers, Do It Again,
Show only what’s needed, put nothing else in,
Let them drive the demo, let them think they’re in charge,
While their Vision Solution you work to enlarge!

Summarize, summarize, tell them again,
‘Cause adults do learn by repetition,
And when you show a key take-away screen,
Leave it up, let it linger, so they’ll know what they’ve seen!

“I get it – I’ll do it!” exclaimed my SC,
“This is all so obvious, it’s way clear to me!”
And he sprang into action, his mouse flew like lightening,
(Frankly, his speed was a little bit frightening!)

And with that the DemoGuru smiled and he said,
“Your way is now clear, put that baby to bed,
Your deal’s now on track, your order secure,
You’ll make your numbers at the end of the year,
Then he strode from my office in a blink of a pun,
Turned ‘round and he said, “My job here is done,”
Ere he drove out of sight, I did hear him say,
“Great Demo! to all and to all a Great Day!”

Friday, December 11, 2009

Remote Demos – Three Audio Considerations

[Many thanks to The Webinar Blog for these ideas]

If they can’t hear you, it is all over even before you begin…! Here are a few ideas specifically regarding the audio for Remote Demos:

International Call-in Numbers: A few U.S. collaboration software providers still list “800” numbers as the sole connection possibility – make sure that non-“800” numbers are also provided, so that participants outside the U.S. can call in.

“Barge Tones”: Have you ever been participating in a webinar and noted the annoying “bonnnnng” sounds announcing the “arrival” and “departure” of participants? Even worse, an automated voice often announces, “John Doe has joined the call…” During set up, before a webinar, find out if these alerts can be turned off!

Muzak madness: Along the same lines, who hasn’t heard “muzak” playing from a participant who has put the call on “hold”? During set up, learn how to mute individual participants or the entire audience, if possible.

There are other guidelines at The Webinar Blog if you are interested in exploring them…

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Implementation Strategies – For Great Demo! and Other Methodologies

When presenting new ideas to teams that may include sales, presales and marketing, there are some strategies that work better than others, with respect to the degree of implementation and ongoing improvement of the overall team’s level of practice.

Many organizations simply ask for a Workshop as an “event”, where methodology information is presented and practiced in role-play exercises. Without any follow-up or coaching on the part of management, these situations yield the lowest levels of implementation – not surprising.

Along similar lines, an event that simply includes presales participants – and no sales people – may result in some levels of frustration on the part of the presales team, as they have to “train” and coach their sales counterparts on the new ideas and processes. With the support of good presales management, this can still be a very successful plan.

Better, however, is to include sales (and marketing) folks in a Workshop with their presales peers, so that everyone is exposed at the same time. Role-play exercises reinforce the team-play aspects, and the team overall is clear about the specific roles for each job title.

Coaching, by management, is often key to seeing new ideas take hold. This means, implicitly, that managers need to participate in the Workshop, so that they understand what they are coaching!

Other activities that help with implementation success include:

- Weekly calls with the presales team to present success stories and discuss new challenges
- Harvesting and communicating success stories
- Capturing and sharing good example Situation Slides and corresponding Illustrations
- Holding period “Demo Days” so the team can see one another’s demos, props, tricks, etc.
- Creating Mentors who can coach and train new (and existing) team members.

One non-obvious strategy that yields very high levels of successful implementation is to invite managers to a pre-Workshop Coaching Seminar. This event exposes managers to the key ideas – and provides specific guidance and tactics on coaching staff and team members.

This is a starter list – other ideas and experiences solicited…!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Performance Challenges - (Not) Waiting For the Hourglass…

You’ve just started a process that will take several seconds to complete, in your demo, and now the audience’s attention is riveted watching the hourglass cursor do its thing, emphasizing the delay.

A recent Great Demo! Workshop participant noted that moving the mouse to the far right of your screen (or bottom-right corner) hides the cursor from view, reducing the impact of what might be perceived as less-than-optimal performance!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fuze – Another Entry in the Web Collaboration Marketplace

Fuze Box, Inc. ( has announced three offerings to enable presentation and sharing of information over the web:

- Fuze Meeting – (
- Fuze Messenger – integrates multiple IM accounts into a single app
- Fuze Movie – ability to share, view and annotate video, audio and pictures.

Unfortunately, Fuze Meeting does not support annotation over a live application. This continues to leave GoToMeeting, WebEx and Adobe Connect as the leading packages suitable for Remote Demos.