Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Are Half of Your Demos Simply Wasted?

Think about the following – then ask yourself about your own demos and sales processes:

“No Decision” outcomes:  B-to-B software sales teams suffer from a surprisingly large number of “No Decision” outcomes (where the customer doesn’t purchase your offering, they don’t go with a competitor, they choose to do nothing – they remain with status quo).  The best B-to-B software companies report ~20-25% of their forecasted opportunities ending as “No Decision”, the worst are around 75-85%, with most running around the 45-50% level.  This means several things…

  1. First, it means that likely nearly half the sales projects that you pursue end up going nowhere…
  2. Second, would you like some of that time back in your life?
  3. Third, there are typically three reasons why deals end as No Decisions – Great Demo! practices help qualify-in or quality-out deals before investing time with any substantive demo.  Far too many sales projects languish, “Living in the Land of Hope…”

[To be fair, some of these deals may eventually close – but typically close dates are waaaaaay after those originally forecast…!]

Overview Demos:  Software vendors often offer an “overview” demo to start a dialog with a customer – and may try to use these to do Discovery along the way.  If you ask presales managers how many of these “overview” demos lead to a qualified lead, the answer is again a range:  “wasted” overview demos may often run as high as 50% and as low as 10-20% (and it gets worse with inside sales teams). 

Multiple Demos per Opportunity:  Very (very!) often, vendors present multiple demos per opportunity.  This is frequently due the above, where vendors offer “overview” demos followed by one or more “deep dive” demos for various players on the customer team.  One needs to ask the question, “Was the overview demo needed…?”

  • Or would the customer have been willing to invest in a Discovery conversation – and avoid that first demo
  • Or would the customer have been satisfied with a brief Vision Generation Demo (think in terms of 2-4 minutes of software screens – that’s all) – and again avoid that first longer demo…
  • Or would a few minutes of Discovery rule the customer out as a qualified lead, again avoiding that overview demo and possibly many subsequent “deep dive” demos – also potentially avoiding a No Decision outcome – hmmmm…

As a wise colleague said, “Just because you could show them a demo doesn’t mean that you should…!”

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