Tuesday, April 28, 2020

UPDATED! Great Demo! Virtual Public Workshop Scheduled – June 9-11 – Americas

Learn how to create and deliver surprisingly compelling and effective demos using this proven methodology – from the comfort of your home office!

This is an interactive workshop geared especially for you who demonstrate B2B software to your customers and channels. You’ll work with your demo and we’ll help you turn it into a surprisingly compelling demo that Wow’s your audience in the first six minutes!

Facilitated from Denver, the Workshop is scheduled to take place in a series 90-120 minute sessions over 3 days.  You’ll learn how to Great Demo! and have time to get other work done in between sessions – what a delight!

More information, including registration and pricing, can be found here – or contact JHansen@GreatDemo.com.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Million Dollar Demo and the Good Little Salesperson

Once upon a time, there was a software company, with a Good Little Salesperson.  One day, the Good Little Salesperson came across a customer that looked hungry for a solution – a solution that the salesperson knew his company could provide. 

He said to the customer, “Hey, we have a solution for you – would you like to see a demo?”

And the customer said, “Sure, but wouldn’t you like to know more about our situation?”

He responded, “Nah, once you see our product you’ll love it!” 

So the Good Little Salesperson organized a demo for the very next morning, then contacted his presales Solution Consultant (SC) and told her, “We have a huge opportunity and I’ve scheduled you to do a demo tomorrow at 8:00 AM.”

She answered via Slack, “Well I am available – what do we know about the customer’s situation?”

He replied, “It’s a huge opportunity and they want to make a decision right away…”  And yet it wasn’t really a huge opportunity and the customer wasn’t really in a hurry…

And so the very next morning, the Good Little Salesperson started a web session at 8:00 AM with his SC and the customer joined a few minutes later. 

And the Good Little Salesperson didn’t ask who was on the call on the customer’s side or what they wanted to accomplish, but he did consume several minutes introducing himself and a bit about his SC.

And the Good Little Salesperson didn’t ask if the customer was already familiar with the Good Little Salesperson’s company, background, history, sales offices, revenues and product line, but he did consume the next 20 minutes with corporate and product overviews.

And then the Good Little Salesperson introduced the SC and said, “Now she’s the expert and she’ll show you everything…!”

And so the SC did her typical “overview” demo, hoping that she might uncover some areas of interest, but the customer didn’t offer any information. 

And the customer didn’t frequently interject, “Wow – this is terrific!” but was strangely silent for the full 60 minutes of the demo, other than brief “We’re good” responses to the Good Little Salesperson’s periodic queries of “Any questions so far?” and “Does that make sense?”

And at the end of the demo the Good Little Salesperson asked, “So, what did you think?”  And surprisingly, the customer didn’t answer, “Wow – we gotta get some of that!” but rather responded with a non-committal, “Interesting, thanks…”

And so the Good Little Salesperson said, “Great – I’ll send you a proposal!”  And he did generate a and send a proposal for $100,000 of software and services.  And then the Good Little Salesperson added this $100,000 opportunity to his forecast for the quarter and he did give it an 80% probability of closing.

And a week later the Good Little Salesperson had heard nothing from the customer, so he sent a follow-up email.  And the customer strangely didn’t send a purchase order or respond at all, in fact. 

And two weeks later the Good Little Salesperson did the same…

And a month later…

And a month after that…

And it turned out that the Good Little Salesperson never received an order from the customer, who meanwhile had engaged another vendor who didn’t dive immediately into offering a demo and who did have several Discovery conversations with the customer, ultimately culminating in a $450,000 three-year subscription, that did increase over the next couple of years to a total of $1,000,000 over 5 years.

And then the Good Little Salesperson did get fired…

And that’s the story of The Million Dollar Demo and the Good Little Salesperson

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Take Your Webcam Cover Off!

Many of us have placed covers over our webcams – often to avoid unintentional video of ourselves and/or because we simply don’t like to see video of ourselves…

However, today we need to humanize the web communication experience – and establish personal relationships with our audiences. 

Consider face-to-face meetings:  I’ve never seen anyone walk into a meeting room with their hands covering their face…! 

So, let’s connect with our customers and audiences.  Take your webcam cover off and turn on your webcam – and encourage the same with your customers.  Wave or do a virtual “elbow bump” when you do introductions.  Smile and gesture, as you would if you were face-to-face.  Use props or visual aids, when possible. 

Let’s humanize the web communication experience – take your webcam cover off!

Monday, April 20, 2020

A Surprising Stance on Demos and Some Startling Data

By Steve Kraner, Guest Blogger
Where does the demo fit in a software or SaaS sales cycle?
As a sales coach, you might be surprised, but I am all for product-led growth – I am also all for dropping salespeople out of the process.
All friction and cost should be removed.
If your software can be sold with a standard demo, you should create a slick demo and put it on your website.
But, why would you ever have salespeople do a standard, one-size-fits-nobody demo?
The only reason to have salespeople or SE’s do a demo is to tailor it to the customer.
However, most demos I see in my baseline observation of customers are the same long, generic demo, given up front for every customer. These demos are really training in how to use the software, accompanied with unconvincing assertions about results attained with other customers. The customer response is apathetic and the calls end with no traction.
In a few short weeks, we can turn that around by doing a proper discovery call prior to a demo. As a result, the demos are short and to the point. In fact, there is often nothing that resembles a traditional “demo.” These calls end with one of these outcomes:
1.     Respectful disqualification and appreciation by surprised buyers who are thankful for a refreshing dose of disarming honesty.
2.     A Mutual Action Plan that is truly mutual.
But the that belief that we need to lead with presentations and demos is strong and has resulted in some intentional and accidental experiments in my work with clients.
Black Duck
In 2019 at Black Duck Software, we gave buyers the choice of starting with:
1.     An overview of the solution
2.     Questions to get a deeper understating of the buyer and their goals
 94.2% of buyers in the study chose #2.
Accidental Experiment
In 2019 an accidental experiment resulted from a sales manager who was so committed to leading with demos that he instructed his team to offer a demo at the beginning of the call. I was surprised to hear this modification to the methodology we were deploying, as I reviewed the call recordings.
Interestingly, the recordings proved that when offered a demo, buyers declined in all cases except one, in which the response was unintelligible. In this team’s fervor to offer (force) demos, they still sometimes did the demo even after buyers declined. Forcing demos into discovery calls resulted in:
2.     Salespeople missed needs that buyers, in an attempt to be heard, stated clearly
3.     The buyer’s subjective preferences were not revealed
4.     Cost/benefit was not discussed
5.     No business case was developed
6.     The decision process was not understood
7.     The demo was a generic, one-way delivery that was rushed
8.     It caused the conversation to move away from the buyer’s need, toward the seller’s solution, before their need was fully understood.
9.     Buyers were confused by fast-paced screen changes that were not synched with the talk track
10.  Buyers pushed back on assertions made about results with other customers as ‘not relevant to our situation’
11.  These demos resulted in buyers who said, “We’ll call you.” And sellers who said, “If I don’t hear back in a week, I’ll ping you!”
Since this was one team of two, we were able to compare with the other team who adhered more closely to the suggested methodology. Their calls were not perfect, as they were mastering the process. But they did not include suggesting or forcing a demo in the discovery call. Given greater focus on discovery and more time, these calls resulted in:
1.     The buyer’s unique needs were more fully understood
2.     Salespeople were less likely to miss needs that buyers stated
3.     The buyer’s subjective preferences were stated in a description of the Utopian Vision
4.     Cost/benefit was discussed
5.     A business case was developed
6.     The decision process was understood, often in great detail
7.     There was no demo during that call, unless a customer specifically asked for one, which was rare
8.     The call ended up with clear next steps outlined in a Mutual Action Plan (MAP).

That plan included a future demo if it was a part of the buyer’s due diligence process. Many MAP’s did not include a demo, in favor of other forms of proof the buyer found more compelling.

These MAP’s were truly mutual. For example, in one case the buyer asked for a demo, but he wanted a private demo so he could help tailor it to the other decision makers. He explained that he feared the result that so often results from a standard demo.
2020 Progress with Another Client
At the start of this engagement with a new client of mine, the team was in the habit of presenting and doing the same generic presentation over and over. 100% of the initial call recordings included the same generic slide deck and talk-track for every customer.
However, at week five, one of the reps had progressed in his mastery of the diagnostic process. He did the first presentation that was truly tailored to the customer.
By week 10 of the mastery process half the team had done diagnostics followed by a tailored presentation/demo. The week 10 call recordings make it clear that the level of engagement from these customers stands in stark contrast to those upon whom a standard pitch was inflicted. It also became clear to the team that it was not unusual to find the buyer’s real, immediate and entirely unique need 30 minutes into a call. In these cases, the opportunity would clearly have been lost had the need not been revealed.
30 years of recorded sales calls
Buyers do not bring up demos. Salespeople do. If you search 1,000’s of call recordings, you will find only a small fraction in which the buyers say the word “demo” first.
I have said that to tens of thousands of salespeople, and no-one believes it applies to them. So, when it happens, I point it out in the call notes. An analysis of 1,435 calls for three clients who applied the methodology in 2019 and 2020 reveals:
·       269 in which the seller said “demo” first
·       44 in which the buyer said “demo” first
·       1,122 in which “demo” was not mentioned
That’s 3% in which the buyer said “demo” first…
These results are unlikely to be typical, since all of these recordings are done by salespeople at some point in one of my mastery programs, in which we do not push demos. We co-build Mutual Action Plans.
30 years of call recordings lead me to suggest that salespeople are better off not forcing a demo into a discovery call.
Buyers are better off, too. It comes as no surprise to me (as someone who has been a government buyer and one who sold to the government) that a recent Government Services Administration study shows:
·       83% of IT projects are late
·       74% are over budget
·       67% never produce the desired goal
Gartner provides similar sad statistics for commercial projects.

Prescription without proper diagnosis is malpractice.

Steve Kraner, Your Sales Trainer

Steve Kraner is NOT a natural salesman.

He describes himself as an engineer who crossed over to the dark side.  Steve’s delivery is generously spiced with humorous and relevant stories garnered during a colorful, 23-year sales and sales management career. He invites audiences to challenge him and the highlight of his programs is the “no-holds-barred” interaction.

Learn more about Steve and his program at https://softwaresalesgurus.com/

Friday, April 17, 2020

Does That Make Sense?

We hear questions on the use of this phrase in nearly every Great Demo! Workshop (and, more recently, in our Great Connection! sessions).  Should we be using this phrase in our demos and/or are there alternatives?

No, Yes, and Yes…


There are many folks who are violently opposed to “Does that make sense?” – and we can see why, as the customer’s response options are rather limited:

Vendor asks, “Does that make sense?”  Customer responds,

  • “Um, yes…” (meaning, yes, it does make sense and I understood)
  • “Um, yes…” (meaning, I’m not sure I understood)
  • “Um, yes…” (meaning, no, it didn’t make sense to me – but I don’t want to look stupid!)
  • “I think so…” (meaning I’m not sure either way…!)
  • “Sorry, no…” (meaning, I’m getting angry at being asked this over and over…!)
  • “No!” (meaning, I’m getting very angry and if you ask me one more time I’m terminating this demo!)

The ambiguity here is very high!


Using the phrase occasionally is likely acceptable – particularly if other check-in phrases are distributed (richly) in between its use.  Additionally, it is adequate if you are answering a specific question with a detailed answer – in this case you are likely looking for comprehension and testing the completeness of your response. 

However, it can get pretty oppressive when we ask, “Does that make sense?” every 2 minutes in a demo.  Worse, it can result in confusion.  So are there other options?  (Of course…!)

Yes – Alternatives

The intent of “Does that make sense?” is to check-in with the customer and get feedback.  So, here are a few options you can consider:

General Check-in Alternatives:

  • “Questions?”
  • “Questions or comments?”
  • “Your thoughts?”
  • “Feedback?”
  • “What do you think so far?”
  • “Comments, questions, observations?”
  • “Does that resonate?”
  • “What are your thoughts on this?”
  • “How does this look to you?”
  • “Is this the kind of capability you have in mind?”

When Responding to Specific Customer Questions:

  • “Does that sufficiently answer your question?”
  • “Is that sufficient?”
  • “Have I adequately addressed your question?”
  • “Is that what you wanted to know?”
  • “Is that sufficient or do we need to go deeper?”

Another (terrific) option for both cases is to do a brief summary:

  • “So, to summarize…”
  • “To recap…”
  • “So what you’ve seen so far…”
  • “In conclusion (on this point)…”
  • “To sum up…”

The act of summarizing lets your customer know it is their turn to comment or ask questions.

Any other suggestions?

Monday, April 13, 2020

Thousands of Websites Offer "Book a Demo” – Should Another Option Be "Book a Conversation"?

Think about it…

Wouldn’t it be great to start the interaction with your customers with a conversation – or a substantial Discovery discussion – before offering a live demo? 

-        Consider the time saved for both customers and vendors by focusing on the identified issues
-        Consider the shortened sales and buying cycles, enabled by improved clarity
-        And consider the reduction of wasted demos delivered by valuable presales folks (often over and over and over and…!)

Most websites have a “Request Demo” button featured prominently on the home page – very often highlighted in a contrasting color and eye-catching shape.  The intent, of course, is to entice the customer to engage.  The intent is fine, but it mis-sets expectations:

-        The lead is often passed to a BDR or similar, whose job is to contact the lead, “quality” and set a follow-on appointment for a demo. 

What is the value to the customer in this first interaction?  Generally zero…

-        Next, a demo is scheduled, often with a presales professional, who at this point understands very little about the customer’s needs, desires, or situation.  A live, but largely “canned” demo often takes place, sometimes with the presales person trying to do small amounts of Discovery on the fly.

Result?  Mis-aligned demos where the customer often doesn’t see what they want – and another “Harbor Tour” delivered by a valuable and limited presales resource.  Uncompelling and mutually frustrating.

And then what happens?  If the customer is still interested (or convinced by sales), another demo is lined up – often with a request by the vendor for an opportunity to (finally) have a Discovery conversation.

This pathway basically wastes 1-2 interactions for both parties – compared to this alternative…

What if the customer is comfortable investing a few minutes to outline their situation before moving to a demo?  Research suggests that many customers would prefer this…! (See Developing Your Sales Team: The Essential Sales Playbook for Founders and Entrepreneurial CEOs by Steve Kraner, page 72, Kindle version.)

So…  Let’s run the experiment! 

Add a button on your home page that offers a conversational alternative to “Book a Demo”.  Do some testing (e.g., have only the “Demo” button, have only the “Conversation” button, offer both) – then compare results!

Here are a few other possibilities for alternative buttons, with the “Button” text followed by a sub-title:

-        “Book a Conversation”
o   Let’s discuss what you have in mind

-        “Help Me Diagnose My Problem or Situation”
o   Before leaping to a solution, let’s make sure we both understand all of the important factors

-        “Help Me with My Exploration and Buying Process”
o   If you are new to purchasing this kind of software, we’re happy to help – we’ve helped other customers many times before

-        “Assist Me with My Buying Process – My ‘Buyer’s Journey’”
o   If you are new to purchasing this kind of software, we’re happy to help – we’ve helped other customers many times before

-        “I’d Like to Explore the Options”
o   There may be things you haven’t yet been exposed to that could be important for you

-        “Here’s My Thinking So Far”
o   Let’s start with an overview of your problem and your current vision of a solution – and then we can explore from there

Thoughts, folks?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Great Demo! Virtual Public Workshop Scheduled – May 5-7 – North America - FULL!

Sorry - this Workshop is FULL!

We'll likely schedule another session for June...

Learn how to create and deliver surprisingly compelling and effective demos using this proven methodology – from the comfort of your home office!

This is an interactive workshop geared especially for you who demonstrate B2B software to your customers and channels. You’ll work with your demo and we’ll help you turn it into a surprisingly compelling demo that Wow’s your audience in the first six minutes!

Facilitated from Denver, the Workshop is scheduled to take place in a series 90-120 minute sessions over 3 days.  You’ll learn how to Great Demo! and have time to get other work done in between sessions – what a delight!

More information, registration and pricing can be found here or contact JHansen@GreatDemo.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Introducing “Great Connection!” – Dramatically Increase Interactivity Over Zoom/WebEx/GoToMeeting

These 90- to 120-minute sessions for small groups will have you connecting and driving interaction with your audiences effectively and confidently when using Zoom/WebEx/GoToMeeting and similar tools.


 - We’ll introduce and discuss the best practices and tips
- And each participant will put the ideas into practice in the session.

We’ll practice:

- The use of annotation tools
- Whiteboarding over the web
- Parking questions over the web
- Enabling audience members to drive or annotate
- The Pause button
- Improving your webcam interactions
Pre-meeting set-up practices (e.g., checking latency and full screen mode)
- And (gently but firmly) pushing audiences for feedback and responses

And for those doing webinars or large sessions (with microphones muted):

-        Using chat and Q&A along the way
-        Individual unmuting and muting of audience members
-        And other (rather clever) tips and best practices

You’ll putting these skills to terrific use in your very next web demos and presentations – driving interactivity like you’ve never seen before!

Great Connection! Pragmatics

- We’ll use the tool you typically use (e.g., Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting).
- Group size is limited to 8 participants per Great Connection! session.
- Duration is 90-120 minutes (plus 10 minutes of set-up).
- Pricing is $475 per session.

Contact us at Info@GreatDemo.com to book a Great Connection! session right away – because your ability to communicate successfully over the web is more important now than ever!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Tomorrow's Great Demo! Tuesdays - Europe

Tomorrow’s Great Demo! Tuesday is about 'CBIs', hosted by Natasja Bax, in Amsterdam (NBax@GreatDemo.com). If you have time, mark your calendar to join us at 11 AM CET. To attend use the link to the Zoom meeting below. Critical Business Issues are business-critical issues for which people and/or companies are willing to invest time, money and resources. We will discuss why knowing customers' Critical Business Issues is essential for successful demos and how to differentiate pain points from CBIs. This is an interactive session, please prepare a set of questions. If you have urgent issues, please send them to us before the meeting, to ensure we'll discuss them. I look forward to seeing and hearing you online. Please, unlock your camera and mic so we can all become friends. This meeting is part of a series of Great Demo! Tuesdays.

Zoom ID: 897 104 180 Access code: 066881 Link: https://lnkd.in/d2mzkpU