Monday, September 10, 2018

When Speed Kills! [by Guest Blogger Paul Pearce]

The essential elements of successful sales campaigns and demonstration best practices should not be discounted for the mere sake of speed.

The client has requested a demonstration and we will lose the chance if we don’t act quickly.”  “And it’s a huuuuuge opportunity…!”  Sound familiar? It happens to all of us…the last minute request from our sales counterparts.  The demo, at the urgent request of the salesperson, that must be done right away! 

With the emergence of new technology, including collaboration and communication platforms, it is now easier to connect and communicate with clients to provide a demonstration than ever before.  New companies seemingly appear weekly with solutions and recommendations on how to communicate with clients in an engaging way.  As examples, companies like Vidyard allow personalized video selling that dramatically increase marketing response rates.  Companies like Consensus provide intriguing, interactive recorded demo automation that allows marketing and business development teams to send self-qualifying, self-customizing demonstrations to prospects.  The technology is astonishing and these solutions not only help differentiate companies and solutions, they provide new ways to articulate value to clients in meaningful and compelling ways.  Even better, these platforms provide rich insights into how customers and prospects interact and respond to messages, marketing and solutions so that sales and demonstration teams can acquire intelligence crucial to improving the effectiveness of their company’s messaging. 

While these technologies offer many advantages, for them to be useful in your sales campaigns they must be utilized in alignment with effective and proven sales and demonstration best practices.  Many of the practices have not changed, yet are easy to overlook when rushed to provide a demonstration in as little as 24 hours.  Below are a few principles and best practices to consider.  These time-tested principles have not only been taught for years, but have been validated in recent studies. 
As I often share with students, our job is to illustrate value to clients and prospects – and enable their buying processes.  We should communicate value and benefits, in our endeavor to highlight specific capabilities known as features and functions.  Regardless of the vehicle and timeframe for delivering demos, we must do the following in order to have highly personalized and effective demonstrations that win!

1.     Discovery:  Sales are often won or lost in the Discovery phase.  The vendor that is perceived as doing a better job in Discovery is typically in a competitively advantageous position. 

Regardless of the platform or methodology, demos must be personalized in concurrence with each client’s situation(s), company uniqueness, buying processes and other parameters.  Without proper and sufficient Discovery, one cannot truly understand the business and personal implications of the client’s situation.  And without a full understanding of the Critical Business Issue(s), one cannot customize a resonating message that helps solve each challenge specifically.

Takeaway:  If you are providing the same demonstration time and time again and do not fully understand the personal and business drivers related to your clients’ challenges you are not likely conducting effective Discovery sessions.  Hold the demo if you can and invest in further discovery.

2.     Preparation and Prioritization:  While providing a demonstration quickly allows one to increase the number of demonstrations provided, it will not increase the quality and effectiveness of the demonstration nor (most importantly) increase your demonstration win rate.  Demonstrations must be tailored to the Specific Capabilities required by the client. Take time to review the needs of your client, prioritize and personalize the flow of your demonstrations by showing the most important features at the beginning of your demonstration.  Prioritization should be part of your Discovery.

Takeaway:  Take time to meet with your sales team – and your champion – to ensure you understand the priorities of the capabilities the client has requested. 

3.     Delivering Value:  As technologies evolve, use them to your advantage.  Whether you provide demo snippets that are constructed and recorded with demo automation tools or deliver your demonstrations live, take time to articulate the unique value to your clients. 
When describing value, remember to communicate three ideas:  What, How and How Much.  What – what the customer is seeing in the demo, as a deliverable.  How – how it can be used to address their problem, uncover an insight, or surface an opportunity.  How Much – the tangible value or benefit associated with using the capability and making the change from status quo – typically in terms of Time, People or Money.  When you can do this at a personal level with your audience you increase the probability the client remembers and prefers your solution.

Takeaway:  Sell value, benefits and solutions, not features and functions.

At Great Demo! we recommend you use technology as an enabler.  Differentiate your message and deliver it in compelling ways.  Speed for the sake of speed without taking time to invest in Discovery will only allow you to fail quicker and more often.  By applying the concepts above you will be ready to operate with not only speed, but precision.  Invest in Discovery, prioritize your solution delivery and support it with personalized value.  When you have the knowledge to craft a winning demo, technology can be applied to help deliver the message and analyze the results. 

Happy Selling!
Paul H. Pearce

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