Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Demo Tragedy (In 2 Acts) – And That Tragedy Could Have Been Averted

I was recently listening to a recording of a truly painful, stunningly awful demo from one of my prospects – and the more I heard, the worse it got…! 

It began poorly with a traditional corporate overview presentation that consumed the first 12 minutes, referencing and listing (among other things) that the vendor serves a broad range of markets – note that the customer operated in a single vertical and had no care about the others…

It deteriorated as the product overview began and detailed a range of options and non-relevant capabilities – including most of the words listed in (but not limited to!) the Content-Free-Buzzword-Compliant Vocabulary List – “flexible, comprehensive, seamless, integrated, robust, best-of-breed…”  Sigh.

The demo went stunningly awful when, after 35 minutes of actual demo, the customer interrupted and said, “You’re showing stuff that is all associated with XXX; we already have tools to deal with that.  We had asked to see how you handle YYY – would you mind moving to that?”


The demo presenter apparently had not received this information from whoever did Discovery.  Gosh – could this possibly happen?

But wait, there’s more…  The presenter could have rescued the demo at this point by (1) apologizing and then (2) asking a few Discovery questions about the YYY topic, before moving the mouse any further…  However, what do you think happened?

Sadly, the presenter simply changed scripts and commenced his “standard” demo for YYY…  Stunningly awful!  Needless to say, they didn’t get the business!

Bonus observation:  Numerous times the presenter asked, during the demo, “Any questions so far?”  After the first few times the customer simply answered, rather tersely, “Nope.”  That should have been an indication that things were not going well – and an opportunity to change!

Bonus observation #2:  For Great Demo! practitioners, the use of a Situation Slide to facilitate communications between sales and presales would have averted this tragedy...

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