Friday, April 26, 2013

Practice Your Demos with Existing Customers

In addition to practicing demos with: - Other SC’s/presales team members - Sales people - Your spouse/significant other - Dog (always positive) or cat (typically more cynical) - Customer Champion You can also consider vetting demos with existing, friendly customers who may be willing to give you honest and often very useful feedback. This strategy is particularly useful when testing new Vision Generation demo ideas (for new products, updates, or existing products targeted at new customers, etc.).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Menu Approach – Controlling the Content

A Great Demo! Workshop participant pointed out (today!) that the Menu Approach offers an additional advantage: it (by definition) enables you to control what content can be explored. With a restaurant menu, the range of offerings is limited to what is on the menu (with the exception of a few daily specials, perhaps). This keeps the diners “on track” with respect to what the kitchen can create and serve. The Great Demo! Menu Approach provides that same control when presenting topics to your audience as it limits the topics (hopefully) to what you are able to demo.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Demo Jedi Mind Tricks

Don’t you wish this would work in real life?

Customer:  “Can your product do X, Y, and Z?”
SC (while waving hand slowly):  “…These are not the capabilities you are looking for…”
Customer:  “These are not the capabilities I am looking for…”

Customer:  “We’ll need to try your software in a POC.”
SC (while waving hand slowly):  “…You don’t need a POC and you are ready to buy…”
Customer:  “We don’t need a POC and we are ready to place the order now.”

Customer:  “Your competition’s offering is much better than yours.”
SC (while waving hand slowly):  “…There is no viable competition…”
Customer:  “There is no competition and we are ready to place the order now.”

Have any other examples of Demo Jedi Mind Tricks to share?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

[Warning: Shameless Self-Promotion Alert] Upcoming Great Demo! Public Workshop May 22-23

Our next Great Demo! Public Workshop is scheduled for May 22-23 in San Jose, California – Registration information can be found here (

This is a 1.5-Day Workshop, with the first day focusing largely on core Great Demo! concepts and the morning of the second day addressing more advanced topics and techniques. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals, small groups or for teams that have new hires.

Register using the link above or contact me for more information (

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Situation Slides - Three Options for Delivery

In Great Demo! Workshops we teach the idea of using a Situation Slide to start demo meetings, especially for Technical Proof demos, with Situation Slides generated and presented using PowerPoint or Keynote.  A number of Workshop participants ask if this is the only way to present Situation Slide information or are there other options? 

There are (at least) three methods of delivery that practitioners use today:

-          As a slide presented using PowerPoint or Keynote
-          Presented verbally
-          Using a whiteboard or flipchart

Using PowerPoint or Keynote, some practitioners use the “controlled vocabulary” version of the slide:

Job Title/Industry:          VP Sales, Mid-size Software
Critical Business Issue:   Achieve/exceed quarterly and annual quota
Problems/Reasons:        Poor insight into pipeline/forecast
Specific Capabilities:      Rapid view of actuals, status, problems
Delta:                                $2M incremental revenue; recover 2.5 FTE
Critical Date:                    Implementation by June 1, 2013 to be ready for 2nd half forecasting session

More experienced practitioners remove the Job Title/Industry line (since the customer typically knows who he/she is…!) and translate the “controlled vocabulary” labels to words or word phrases that the customer might typically use, for example:

Challenge:                          Achieve/exceed quarterly and annual quota
Issues:                                 Poor insight into pipeline/forecast
Requirements:                  Rapid view of actuals, status, problems
Value:                                  $2M incremental revenue; recover 2.5 FTE
Timeline:                            Implementation by June 1, 2013 to be ready for 2nd half forecasting session

This same information can be presented verbally, without the need for a “formal” slide.  This can be particularly useful and compelling when the demo is intimate, with one or a very few players – and it also shows that the sales team has internalized the customer’s situation.

A third option is to use a whiteboard or flipchart and present the information verbally while writing a few key words on the whiteboard/flipchart to highlight the most important aspects of the customer’s situation.  This has proven to be particularly successful – and compelling – as it appears to be ad hoc (even if the sales team has carefully planned what they want to say and write…)!  Even better, these few key words tend to stay visible during the course of the, reinforcing the problem, solution and value.

Any other modes of delivery that people have tried?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Discovery - For Highly Transactional Sales Cycles

Doing sufficient Discovery is clearly critical for mid-size and large software sales opportunities – but what about situations where the sales cycle may be a few days or weeks and the size of the opportunity is on the order of $3K - $12K?  Is Discovery still important?

Yes…!  The challenge is to strike a balance between operating in a transactional mode (read “moving fast”) and enabling the customer to feel that you have invested sufficient time to understand their situation. 

It is not unreasonable to consume 15 minutes in a Discovery conversation with a customer in a 30 minute “demo” call – the end result will be a customer that, typically, feels good about the transaction about to take place.  Investing this time in Discovery will enable you, as the vendor, to focus on the key needs and capabilities, reducing what would typically be a 30 minute rapid “Harbor Tour” to 10-15 minutes of crisper, focused demo.

Should you use a script for your Discovery questions?  Yes and no…!  Yes, you should have a list of questions/topics to cover; no, I don’t recommend following it religiously, but rather be prepared to bounce around in accord with where the customer takes the conversation – but use the list to make sure you cover the key questions and topics needed.