Sunday, August 29, 2010

Demo Calendar Madness

Many presales people find that they are often overscheduled with demos – I’ve heard numerous situations where demos are scheduled back-to-back. This can be particularly challenging for teams with highly transactional sales processes. Here’s some self-defense against Demo Calendar Madness (a horrifying affliction!):

Block your calendar with buffer time both before and after each demo.

[After you’ve said, “Duh…!”, allow me to continue…]

In my experience, sales people will hungrily consume all possible demo time from their presales counterparts. And any unoccupied calendar time is considered fair game. Sales folks often don’t know (or care) that the slot before their desired demo is a really tough two hour demo for one our your roughest prospects. They simply see the open slot – and grab it!

So, consider blocking 15-30 minutes ahead of any upcoming demo as your time to prepare – and another 15-30 minutes after each demo to debrief, decompress and restore your laptop/files/demo image to its normal pristine condition.

Your sanity will thank you for this…

Monday, August 23, 2010

Are You a Demo Expert? – Why Experts Should Feel Uncomfortable

That’s right. If you are a Demo Expert, you should be consciously uncomfortable. You should always be alert to find ways to improve your practice.

Some seasoned veterans – those with 5 or more years of experience – are often the least likely to change their ways. Many perceive themselves at the top of their game; many believe they are experts. They are the skeptics in many training workshops, the ones who arrive thinking, “I’ve been doing this for 10 years – what could they possibly teach me?”

Given the (shockingly) large number of demos that don’t achieve the desired objectives, is it possible that some seasoned veterans – the putative experts – are part of the problem?

[This is the intro to an article I just completed - it is too long to post in a blog - but send me an email and I'll send it to you...]

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Public (Open) Great Demo! Workshop

[Warning: Shameless Self-Promotion Alert!]

Our next Public Great Demo! Workshop is scheduled for September 15, 2010 in San Jose, California, co-sponsored by SKMurphy ( This is a terrific opportunity for individuals or small groups to learn how to put Great Demo! ideas into day-to-day practice. An overview, agenda, location and pricing information is available here:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Post-Demo Email Practices

What should you include in a post-demo email to the customer, beyond “thank you”?

Clearly, it should include any materials or information promised during the demo meeting – or, at minimum, a listing of the items promised. It should also, in my opinion, include any action items promised by the customer, along with the dates agreed upon for completion of both sets of items (vendor and customer).

A more “complete” version of a post-demo email can include a summary of the key capabilities that were demonstrated. This listing helps to reinforce the customer’s memory and can also serve as a vehicle to support vision generation, up-selling/cross-selling and out-flanking competition.

Additionally, I often suggest wording along the lines of “I’m glad we were able to invest the time together yesterday in our demonstration meeting…” as opposed to “Thank you for giving us your time yesterday”.

Any other ideas?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Getting CBI’s Right

I note that Great Demo! Workshop participants often write Critical Business Issue (CBI) statements for their Situation Slides that are too low level or too detailed – and that we need to remind them to think in terms of a job title’s quarterly, annual or project-based objectives. What is initially written as the CBI turns out to be the Reason/Problem.

A simple solution is to go online to find example job descriptions for target job titles – this is a terrific way to ensure that CBI’s are at the right level.

I just did this earlier this morning, when I felt a bit uncomfortable about the CBI I had written for a Payroll Manager. It only took a few minutes and now I’m confident I have the right verbiage for a good Vision Generation demo Situation Slide.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Very Interesting Demo – What Did You Like; What Could Have Been Done Better?

A colleague forwarded me this link to a recent video-recorded demo – it is about 10 minutes in length – and has some wonderful examples of good practices and classic demo challenges:

[You might watch it first before reading my observations…]

Observations – What I Liked:

- Very engaging style and personable.
- Cool to see him writing code in front of the audience.
- Very cool to engage the audience (on both the “call the number” and “it is calling you…” segments).
- Clever set-up (“Turn your ringers on…”).
- Great interaction with audience.
- He is clearly enthusiastic and in love with his technology.

Observations – What Could Have Been Better:

- VERY interesting to hear audience question, “Why do you need it?”…! This is a fine demo for Early Adopters (most likely much of the audience in the video), but would be a failure for everyone else. In the demo portion, the presenter never explained what applications his app could be used for!
- Should have increased his session time-out time so that he didn’t have to log in again…
- Should have used a 518 number at first (rather than finding that there were no 212 or 646 numbers available…).
- Should have tested his AT&T connection and/or used another phone that did work.
- He noted that a pile of apps are available (~85) but didn’t cite what any of them do…

The moderator, at the end, asked for an example of a use-scenario for the application – and the presenter finally offered one brief example (voting by phone).

In summary, a wonderful demo for technical early adopters but, potentially, a failure for most others. Comments?