April 24, 2019

Advice on running demo calls while overseas?

I'm currently digital-nomading while building my SaaS product.

Recently started letting prospects book demos. Our customer base is primarily in the US, so I've been taking the sales calls around 9pm-midnight. Not that I currently mind, but worrying it might take a toll in the long-run.

Also, worried that West-coast based prospects on booking at the latest 8:30am (which is already pretty early).

Anyone been through this or have advice?

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    I used to work as a sales engineer for a startup and did over a 1,000 demos. I can feel your future pain here.

    Approaching demos as a way to close deals vs just another step in the sales process helped me a lot. Create as many resources, FAQ's, recorded demos, etc., as you can to help the prospect know the solution will fit their need. Use the demo to close them. In other words, live demos shouldn't generate interest.. they should close a deal.

    I found that most of the demos I gave were to people that were just excited about a new product but not ready to make a decision. As a salesperson, you think someone saying yes to a demo is a step forward but many times it isn't. People LOVE demos and many times schedule a demo with no real intention of making a decision off what they see.

    My trick was to always make sure I was getting something in return from the prospect before getting a demo. Don't just demo to demo. i.e., "If I take the time out of my schedule to show you a demo and you see the solution you need AND everything checks out: Are you ready to make a decision/move forward or sign up for a trial?". Then, if the person backs out you can get the real story why.

    Another good approach is to have hard and fast rules around qualification before giving a demo. i.e., The decision make must be on the demo (limit a 2nd follow up demo for the CEO or something), budget must be confirmed before demo, customer must have seen pricing before, etc., etc.,. Nothing worse than having to do a second demo once someone actually does the qualification work.

    Recorded demos can be just as effective if done correctly. Keep an eye out for specific personas that you can create a pre-recorded demo for. It's rare that one recorded demo works for everyone.

    I always wanted to throw out a sandbox to help curb the amount of demos. If someone used the sandbox and had specific questions about a feature, then do a hyper focused demo. Never got this approved though (makes sense why).

    Signup for a Baremetrics free trial and take a look at how they use mini demos to help move people along. I was really impressed. One of their sales reps did a personalized recorded demo for us and emailed it to us and that is what closed it for us.

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      Amazing advice -- thank you so much for this. You could make this into a standalone blog post -- so many insights in here!

      Our website and knowledge base is pretty sparse, and the feedback we've been getting makes sense that they can't find the info they're looking for. Also adding FAQs and Demo videos appropriately I already imagine will help tremendously.

      I've read that the point of demos is not to point out features, but to hit emotional hooks with prospects. I have some trouble balancing this (explaining relevant points) in the demo with a mundane explanation of feature functionality. I'd love to hear if you had any thoughts on this, or have a go-to protocol/script that you battle-tested from your experiences.

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        Glad it helped! Might need to throw this on https://theindiestartup.blog

        Get away from the feature heavy demos ASAP (we used to call it Buttonology: the study of buttons 馃槀). Eyes glaze over, no interesting questions are asked, but prospects always say "oh cool. Thanks for the demo!".

        Emotional hooks is closer but I think Storytelling is the best method for great software demos.

        First, remember that most people make decisions based on emotions and use logic to confirm the decisions to others.

        With that in mind, a great demo tells a story that resonates with the prospect and helps them see what their life will be like after they purchase the software and implement it.

        We don't want to hammer emotions into them but rather use a story that they "can see themselves in" that brings those emotions to the surface.

        The easiest way to do this is identifying 2-4 common personas that capture different types of prospects. Have different demo flows that match each personas and tell the story of that specific person or company.

        Example: If the prospect has PAIN that is experienced by their use of spreadsheets, tell the story of a person that has dozens of spreadsheets that they consolidated into the software. The demo could quickly show the spreadsheets, show what life COULD look like with the software, and then walk through the process of how the person made the transition and what their life looks like now.

        Hit me up directly if you want to go deeper. baird at wavve dot co.

  2. 2

    Hire someone else to do them?

    Or don't do them?

    Or pre-record demos?

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      Don't outsource this. You get way too many product/sales insights that you otherwise wouldn't get.

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        Definitely +1 on this. Way too many insights and talking to prospects, especially in our early stage. We've been identifying product pitfalls, finding where things get mucky for prospects, and learning more of who our target customers are.

      2. 1

        Good point.

  3. 1

    I went through this for a few months with PostPerk.

    Eventually, I started only opening up slots for demos on two days/week only (but went through til 1am).

    That was a decent compromise that worked for me, but YMMV.

    1. 1

      This is some good advice -- I may have to look into this to lessen the load. Already starting to feel it :P

  4. 1

    Nomad in Chile, Columbia or Argentina?

    Time zones are the worst! Being in the far east myself, I've found scheduling to be a real pain.

    1. 1

      Been traveling throughout Asia, now in Indonesia!