Software Sales Demos: Live Demo vs. Slides

Software is created to solve problems. Salespeople work to make sure that as many potential clients see how your software solves their problem. Saves time. Saves money. Makes a process more efficient.

Whatever your software does, whatever problems it was created to fix, you need to know that potential customers understand that this is a solution. Ideally, you want them to clearly see that this is the right solution for their business at a price that makes every sale profitable.

It’s easy to mess up a demo

It’s even easier to mess up a demo that only involves slides.

Sales Executives

Robert Falcone, now VP Sales at Zoomer, experienced this many, many times when he was Co-founder of his own startup. “I thought it was just as easy as telling people what the product was and what it did,” Falcone said in an interview. “But then I’d finish and people would either be confused or just politely say, ‘Thank you,’ and we’d never hear from them again.”

It took time, but he understood he was too focused on what the product did, the technology, and what was exciting for the founders, rather than what the potential customer needed to know: How does this solve my problem? He learned from this experience, even went onto write a book about it, Just F*ing Demo!

One takeaway from his experiences that anyone responsible for selling and marketing software ought to know: “Good demos don’t have to be perfect for the product. They have to be perfect for the audience.”

How you present the software - whether you use slides or a live demo - won’t put the right words in the mouth of your sales team. That requires training. A clear understanding of the problem and solution. Marketing and sales materials, case studies and other documents and articles that can support the sales campaign. However, if you want prospects to see how your software solves their problems, then you are at a disadvantage if they can’t experience the product.

Advantages of a Live Demo: 1. Speed

Potential clients don’t need to wait until the free trial to get a feel for the product. Seeing static images on a screen isn’t the same as navigating around the user-experience. Software demos are even more effective when they are instant, which you can do with CrankWheel - conversion rates are 22x higher with Instant Demos.

Sell when the interest exists. Don’t wait for that interest to cool. Good leads go bad when sales teams don’t respond quickly enough. Even a few hours is enough time for a prospect to move onto other things.

Advantages of a Live Demo: 2. Problem Solving

Screenshots are not an adequate substitute for a live software experience. Potential customers need to understand the features that will make their life easier. They want to see the software in action. More importantly, they need you to answer questions with real examples, on the call, how it solves specific pain points.

Software is designed to scale. But it’s pointless explaining to a small business owner with a team of twelve how great your product is at solving problems for teams of three hundred. Salespeople need to listen to the challenges a potential customer is experiencing before explaining how the product solves those. Live Demos are the best way to show someone this in real-time, making it easier for them to make a decision.

Advantages of a Live Demo: 3. Faster Trials

With a demo, you are already giving a potential buyer an idea how the product performs. You need them to see this. It will help them make a decision on a free trial quicker since they can report back to their team and budget holder (unless you are speaking to them). Slides don’t achieve the same results.

When it comes to closing a sale: Show don’t tell, listen and solve problems and make sure they can see themselves using the product; all of which is easier to achieve with a demo.