Monday, May 23, 2011

Stories and Demos – Demo “Capital”

I often suggest that presales teams get together on a regular basis to share tips, best practices, and new ideas (these gatherings are sometimes called “Demo Days”).  The collection of knowledge, skills, and infrastructure is referred to as Demo Capital – an extremely valuable resource for a vendor.

One additional element of Demo Capital to contemplate is stories.  Stories used in demos that have proven to be particularly successful should be shared – and reused – within teams.  Consider including a “storytelling” segment in your next Demo Days event.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Remote Demos – Screen Resolution Statistic and Tip

A quick survey of the people who browse our website ( shows the following screen resolutions:

1280x800 – 28.80%
1440x900 – 21.76%
1024x768 – 19.74%
1366x768 –   9.47%
1600x900 –   6.88%
1115x697 –   6.06%
1920x1080 – 2.13%
1600x1200 – 5.17%

This suggests that the lowest common denominator for screen resolution for Remote Demos is (still) 1024x768… 

And, of course, one can always employ the “can you see my mouse in the upper left-hand corner; can you see my mouse in the lower right-hand corner” method to confirm that you audience is seeing your full screen.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SaaS Demos – Getting “Social”

Being “social” is an additional challenge for many SaaS demos…  Customers often want SaaS offerings to integrate with and/or feed a range of “social” tools (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, etc.).  This adds more complexity in demo preparation and delivery.  There is even an entire cadre of “social aggregator” tools designed to help address these efforts, including EventBox, twentyfeet, Flock, friendfeed, youmeo, ping and a pile of others. 

[Some of the names of these tools are really fascinating, for example:  Twitter Tools, Twhirl, TweetBeep, TwitBin, Twidget, TwitterBerry, and Twittalotor Pro.  Gad!]

Any thoughts on best practices in this regard?

Monday, May 2, 2011

SaaS vs. Traditional Software Demos

What are the challenges of presenting SaaS offerings vs. “traditional” software products?  I’ve been looking into this and note the following three major challenges (at least):

-          Vendors are trying to differentiate SaaS from “traditional” offerings, in spite of messaging that says that the SaaS offerings provide the same functionality as the traditional behind-the-firewall products.  Many of my (vendor) customers note that changing the way they demo has strongly helped SaaS positioning and uptake.

-          Customers are concerned about performance when operating SaaS products over the web.  Demos need to take this rather strongly into account to minimize clicks and other performance-related challenges.

-          Customers more and more expect to see a broad range of devices supported by SaaS product vendors, including “traditional” PC’s and Macs, iPads and smart phones.  New practices are needed to adjust and reframe demos to address this.

Other thoughts?