Great Demo! is all about the customer’s perspective – what is the customer is looking for in the demo, what do they want out of the interaction. This suggests a recommendation:
For the Seasoned Presales Veterans: Go be a customer.
Many presales practitioners have forgotten what it is like to be on the customer side of the table. Regain that lost perspective by signing-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 was it simply a few quick “qualification” questions)?
- Do they inflict a corporate overview presentation on you – 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?
For Those New to Presales: 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 on the customer side of the table.
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, and what does the resulting demo seem like to you?”
Summary: People often report how surprised they are at what happens and how they are treated – it can be eye-opening. Go be a customer…!