Sales reps would take me to lunch or ply me with Frankincense and Myrrh to get me to help them with their demos or ask me to train them. It didn't matter the product - if it was hardware or software; if it was office tech or production; if it was cutting edge or leftover stuff on the backstock report.
They wanted me to help them demo it.
What amazed them about my demos was this - most of the time, I didn't even have to press the big green button!
For the under 30 crowd, the Big Green Button (BGB) was the button that starts EVERYTHING on a copier. Scanning, printing, ordering coffee....you can't do anything without pressing the BGB. If you need to know what a "copier" is...please email me at email@example.com
Reps knew my demos actually closed business...so much so I would often have lease contract paperwork in the conference room with the coffee and the donuts. It didn't work ALL THE TIME...but all you need is for it to work a few times...and a legend is born.
But I have to admit here and now, all these years later - my reputation as a great demo guy wasn't because I meticulously crafted an excellent product demo....I'm honestly much too lazy for that.
My reputation became what it was because before I became a copier salesperson, I was an IT decision manger...which just HAPPENED to be the the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) for that industry.
So the "power" of my demo (whatever power was there) could be surmised thusly: 1) I KNEW the customer 2) I KNEW what the customer cared about or didn't care about 3) I was able to show how X made this IT decision maker a "hero" in the eyes of their end users...which were the actually people that were going to USE the copier.
Which, humorously enough...were almost NEVER the people in the DEMO!
You see, I realized....my customer WASN'T going to be the person pressing buttons, making copies or scanning documents...so WHY would I build a demo showing all that stuff???
The secret to a SaaS demo - any demo actually - is to know the difference between your CUSTOMER and your product's END USER.
Imagine this scenario - you are a seller of fine meats...chicken, pork, because beef...and your CUSTOMER is a buyer for big grocery chain. Selling to this chain could make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. And you know the best way to SELL your fine meats is to fire up the grill and let 'em taste the meaty goodness.
So that's how you sell - you display your fine products, let the customer look, smell, even touch! Then you prepare, grill and serve.
MMMMMMMM. That's what SALES tastes like, right?
But imagine your grocery buyer is a vegetarian.
How do you sell those steaks now?
This is the mistake I see sales pros and sales orgs make with SaaS demos all the time - their demos are really end user training disguised as Decision Maker demos.
IMHO, out of the box, a SaaS "demo" should address the needs and wants of the customer, i.e., the person (or people) who make the decision to buy. The end user "button clicking" is only important to showing how clicking those buttons allows the END USER to MORE EASILY or MORE EFFORTLESSLY or MORE ACCURATELY or MORE ECONOMICALLY fulfill their job requirements that dial up to the wants and needs of the decision maker.
Your customer probably doesn't give a rats behind about what the Big Green Button does.
They care about how their much better their end users can do their jobs when these end users press the Big Green Button.
It's a subtle distinction, but I promise you it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the effectiveness of a product or solution demo.
And you only learn how to do this by knowing your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and identifying your End User Personas (EUP) properly.
No amount of product knowledge will help you.
And, ultimately, it really helps if your SaaS software actually does what you claim it does - but that's a post for another day :)
Interested in what you think...let me know in the comments! Cheers and happy demo-ing!
Derek Wyszynski is Chief Sales Hacker at ZynBit, a company dedicated to the proposition that salespeople shouldn't have to spend 8 hours a week entering data into their CRM- in fact salespeople shouldn't work for a CRM, the CRM should work for them.