Monday, October 31, 2016

When Was the Last Time YOU Were a Customer?

Great Demo! is all about the customer’s perspective – what is it the customer is looking for in the demo, what do they want out of the interaction. 

This suggests two recommendations:

Recommendation Number 1:  Go be a customer.

Many presales folks that were hired fresh out of school (or a few years out of school) have never interacted with a vendor as a customer –and have never seen any other vendors’ demos.  This makes it very hard for them to understand what it is like to be a customer.

So, give them homework.  Tell them, “Go find a software product you are potentially interested in and request a demo from that vendor’s website – and see what happens.  Go through their process:  how long before someone calls you, what do they ask about you, what does the demo seem like, etc.  Go be a customer…!  (No obligation to purchase, of course). 

People often report how surprised they were at what happened and how they were treated – it can be eye-opening!

Recommendation Number 2:  Go be a customer.

Many seasoned presales veterans have forgotten what it is like to be on the customer side of the table.  Regain that lost perspective by executing the exact same homework, as above – sign-up for a demo of a product you have some interest in – and see how you are treated as a customer.  Some things to note:

- How long before you are contacted by the vendor?
- What amount of Discovery do they do (or is it simply a few quick “qualification” questions)?
- Do they inflict a corporate overview presentation – and/or a product overview?
- Do they present a standard “overview” demo or really try to customize it to your specific situation?
- If they are presenting over the web, how much interactivity do they drive?

Now, contemplate your own organization’s demos – how different are they from what you just experienced?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Remote Demos: What Are THEY Seeing?

WebEx, GoToMeeeting, Zoom, Join.Me – there are a large and growing number of web collaboration tools used for presenting demos.  Each tool has its own idiosyncrasies, strengths and weaknesses – and each new release often brings surprises.  Additionally, some customers prefer that you use a tool of their choosing, with which you may be unfamiliar.

Accordingly, here’s a new tip to apply when you are first starting your web session with your customer:  ask them what they are seeing on their end, after you’ve started sharing your screen.  Here’s a quick checklist of items to explore:

- Ask if there are any grayed-out or hashed-out areas (may happen with WebEx). 
- Ask if they have gone full screen or need help to do so. 
- Use “Can you see my mouse in the upper left corner; can you see my mouse in the bottom right corner…” to confirm that they are seeing the same screen real-estate that you want them to see.
- Do a latency check – time how long it takes them to see a new slide or change to your screen.
- “Pause” check – what do they see when you click on “Pause” with your collaboration tool?  Do they see the screen that you were last showing, or a blank screen, or something else?
- Color check:  confirm that what is red/green/blue on your screen is red/green/blue on theirs.
- Font-size check:  confirm that they can see and read your smallest font (or you may have to tell them what it says…).
- Audio check:  can they hear you clearly?  If you are using VOIP (not recommended, generally) confirm that your voice is not breaking up.
- Audio check:  can you hear them clearly?  You may need to have them move microphones around, turn up the volume, or have someone repeat questions and comments.

Any others to add?

Monday, October 3, 2016

[Warning: Shameless Self-Promotion Alert!] Great Demo! Public Workshop – October 12-13

There just a few seats remaining available for our next Great Demo! Public Workshop scheduled for October 12-13 in Sunnyvale, CA (Silicon Valley).  Registration and additional information can be found at

Public Workshops are excellent opportunities for individuals, small groups or for teams that have new hires.  They are 1.75-Day Workshops, with the first day focusing largely on core Great Demo! material and the second ¾ day addressing more advanced topics and techniques. 

We’ve found that these sessions are most productive when there are two or more participants from each organization – and best when a combination of sales and presales participants are present (singletons are also fine). This helps to mimic real-life interactions as much as possible, both when preparing demos and delivering them in the role-play sessions.