Monday, April 30, 2018

Chunking and Timing in Demos

Consider the following potential “chunks” for a database (e.g., CRM or similar) demo:

  • Set up the System
  • Put Stuff In
  • Put a Bunch of Stuff In
  • Find Something (Specific)
  • Report/Compare/Analyze

Which of these is the highest value operation? 

  • Setting up the system is important, but it is only done once (hopefully), during implementation.  So that can’t be particularly valuable…

  • Putting data into the database is also important, but what is the value of entering a single database record into the system (what is the value of a new entry in a CRM system, for example)?  Not much; it is simply one set of data out of hundreds, thousands, or millions of other records.

  • Registering a pile of new records has more value, since it represents an automated method of data entry.  However, data by itself is of little value – it only has potential value.

  • Searching to find a specific piece of information begins to get interesting.  It represents an answer to a specific question, such as, “What do we know about X…?”  The value of this operation is typically tactical; it is not strategic in nature.

  • Running a report, doing a comparison, and subjecting sets of data to critical analysis represent high-value operations – answering strategic questions, uncovering gaps, finding exceptions, trends and unanticipated insights.

So, when you are considering preparing a demo of this kind of tool, which chunk(s) should you present first (and to whom)?  [Hint:  Do the Last Thing First…!]

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Promoting Success as a Great Demo! Manager

Guest Blogger Paul Pearce offers the following:

Promoting Success as a Great Demo! Manager

It concludes with the typical energy and aspirations that new training provides. We hear comments like ”Wow, I can’t wait to go try this” or ”I have been in presales for 20 years and I’ve been doing it all wrong.” One of my proudest moments as a Great Demo! instructor was when a student thanked me and said, ”You have changed my life and my career forever! Thank you.”
As with every new adventure, students start off with the best intentions and with a passion for change in the way they demonstrate software. Yet, we find that after several weeks or months, many students revert back to doing traditional demos. While they incorporate many best practices shared in the training session, they start to revert back to feature and function diatribes that take 20-60 minutes to complete. The harbor tour returns.
This is why it happens and here is how managers can help.
Below are several reasons the Great Demo! Methodology (and all demo methodologies, for that matter) fail to recognize their potential:
1.     Culture: Altering the way a company does demonstrations is a dramatic change for many groups including Sales, Services, Marketing and Training. If Presales Managers and leaders do not fully share the value of the new approach with the company, the presales community will receive immediate pushback. There is an organizational change management opportunity that must be explored to ensure a successful rollout.

2.     Experience: As with anything in life, becoming an expert takes considerable practice.  Those who are coached effectively can move to an expert or mastery level sooner. Effective managers must create a safe, team-based environment in which the team can practice and receive constructive feedback. When I implemented the methodology, we promoted group conversations about successes and challenges as a standard topic on our weekly team calls. The most effective demonstrations of new features ever created were from Great Demo! demonstration competitions. These competitions were held at quarterly meetings where each team member was encouraged to perform their own Great Demo! After each group saw the demo numerous times, they were able to quickly master the topic. As a group, we discussed each demonstration, what worked best, and what the team would want to replicate. We did that across regions where within several days we had accumulated the best demo from each region. The results were complete buy-in, mastery level articulation of value and reinforcement of the methodology.

3.     Onboarding: Technical Proof demonstrations require significant discovery and preparation. They cannot typically be created, rehearsed and presented in 24 hours. That notion is a hoax and thoroughly undermines a company’s ability to articulate personalized value to clients. However, Vision Generations Demos can be created, rehearsed and presented in 24 hours! Presales Managers and leaders need to create a repository of Vision Demonstration Situation Slides and Illustrations that highlight the value the organization has created for other clients. These stories are a brilliant way to train new employees (not just in presales). If you are not doing this today, this is a must for increasing the effectiveness of your demos while increasing the onboarding potential for new employees. In Chris Orlob’s recent post: VP of Sales Success Comes Down to These Two Levers, he suggests that, ”The best way to equip reps to understand what “good” looks like is by giving them a repository of call recordings to learn from.” Applied to presales, the repository can be a master presentation deck of Situation Slides and Illustrations that the team can use to share similar customer experiences while painting enough information to drive additional discovery.

4.     Share Success: Every win should be celebrated and supported with the Situation Slide and Illustrations created for the demonstrations. Want to be on stage talking about your deal at the next sales kick-off meeting? Share your Great Demo! slides. This is a no-prep way to re-illustrate the value you created for the win. It’s perfect. The Situation Slide explains what the customer’s critical business issue was, the problems they were having, the features needed and the value created. The associated Illustration provides a quick overview of the end result.
One of the greatest sources of pride we have as a Great Demo! Training team is seeing our clients successfully implement the methodology. That is why we offer post-training consulting packages to help coach and mentor presales leadership teams, provide ongoing deal coaching for strategic deals and share ongoing best practices.  
Many organizations have now extended the initial Great Demo! Training to include the Master’s Series, which provides advanced training focused on helping organizations extend their use and provide higher win rates on deals. Topics are typically organized to focus on your company’s biggest need and provide for better discovery techniques, presenting multi-solution demonstrations and further insights on making demonstrations remarkable.
If you are interested in learning more or helping take your team’s demonstrations to the next level, please contact Paul H. Pearce at or visit