Here’s a non-obvious tip: start your demo in email, showing an “unopened” email message – which could contain or link to an alert, report, or notification of some kind. Opening the email and clicking the link, for example, takes the user to the details of the alert or opens the report for examination (for Great Demo! practitioners, these are likely good candidates for Illustrations). Why start in email?
In spite of vendors’ desires, most users spend most of their time in two applications. What are they?
- Web browser
Intriguingly, most vendor software demos ignore that reality and present a vision of customer users operating largely in the vendor’s software. While there may be some packages where this is the case, the sad reality is that most users spend their work-day lives reading and responding to email and searching, reading and browsing on the internet (some of which may even be for legitimate business purposes!) .
Do the experiment yourself: what percent of each work day would you say you spend in which applications? In my case (probably representative of a typical sales person, sales manager or CEO of a small business), the breakdown is something like:
- Email: 40%
- Browser: 30%
- Excel: 10%
- Word: 10%
- PowerPoint: 5%
- Other Apps: 5%
For many software products, once they are installed and configured, they are only accessed when there is an issue to resolve, exception to explore, or report to review. Why not map to that day-to-day paradigm, accordingly? If your offering sends email messages that contain important alerts, exceptions, or reports, consider starting your demo with an example unopened email that then takes the user into the product or shows the desired report.
Very simple, very elegant!