What tips do you have for creating effective sales demo scripts - ones that both convey the key info about your product while still being something sales will actually use?
In my view, a demo should talk directly to the persona you are dealing with. This means you need to tailor the flow to address that persona’s key challenges, needs, and the situation they live in.
I am not a big fan of super-scripted demos. Every salesperson or sales engineer will have their own way of presenting the story, so I like to focus more on the key value proposition I want to make sure it gets clearly articulated at different points.
Some may see a product demo as the opportunity to tell the prospect everything that there is to know about the product they are pitching, and that’s when you get into an hour-long boring session where the prospect just says “ok thank you for the demo, we’ll be in touch” and you never hear from them again! A good demo will focus on what is important for that prospect and the personas represented in the meeting while pulling them into the story and facilitate a conversation.
When thinking about demo flow, make sure to:
- Build a story: what is this demo about? Who is the main character, what are the challenges we are trying to solve, and what is the end result?
- Create story hooks: these are moments you want to pause and ask the prospect about their opinion or to give them a moment to talk about their own challenges and how they related to what was shown.
- Don’t boil the ocean: it is better to have them wanting to see more details about a specific product area than trying to show every little feature.
- Make it about them: a demo disconnected from the prospect’s reality will fall flat. If you can’t use data that is related to the prospect’s own industry or situation, make sure to address their needs and situation by drawing parallels and similar examples.
Demo scrips and pitch decks can be very difficult to land, especially if you're dealing with a generally successful sales org which may be less open to change. It's super important that you get alignment with Sales so they don't just look at your deliverables as just a "marketing" thing and ignore them. Some tips:
- Make sure you have alignment with Sales leadership on the need for a demo script and the overall positioning/messaging they want their reps using. The last thing you want is for them to directly or indirectly discourage collaboration.
- If your team is growing fast, it can be helpful to position your demo script as a way to help Sales teams scale. Hey, wouldn't it be great if you could use this as a training script and save a ton of time showing new sales reps how to demo?
- Itertate, iterate, iterate and be ruthless about collecting feedback. If your reps aren't using your demo script, why not? Set up a feedback loop where you really action on the feedback you get so that reps don't just put your demo script in a drawer and forget it. Also helpful here to "pilot" the script with a few more middle management level enthusiasts who will give you candid feedback and support you in front of more junior reps.
The best demo's i've seen in my experience we're not super scripted but rather were adapted to the buyer/prospects needs. In an ideal scenario the discover and first calls have helped set the stage well ahead of a rep jumping into a demo. This means a rep has the information required to start on the highest level overview of the product, and then digging into the parts of the product that will bring the most value to the buyer. Stay brief and highlevel and let the buyer guide on where they'd like to see more, and be ready to be adapatable.
A good demo script is basic in nature, and highly flexible - where the rep feels knowledgable on its audience to tailor respectively.
This one ties back up to the question about good sales partnerships. :) I think the best way to create successful scripts is to do so in partnership with your pre-sales team. They have more knowledge of what is going on in a buyer’s head during each stage of your sales process.
Hopefully, this means someone in sales engineering or solutions consulting that can partner up with you on any new demo or updates to existing demos. If that is not available to you, then go to your account executive BFF. You need to make sure it is the type of AE who is more strategic and can think on their toes. This is not something I find in all reps.
- Tie to your Pitch — ...so that your combined pitch and demo tells one cohesive story. Tell-show-tell. Tell = pitch where you describe the value of your solution. Show = demo where you demonstrate the capabilities that align to your value. Tell (again) = summarize and connect the value together between pitch and demo.
- Use User Scenarios — Think of specific user scenarios that you can tell a story around. This makes it easier to follow and easier to remember. By using a set of core scenarios, you can draw out the value of what you're trying to show.
- Check the Language — Simple language / use your buyer’s language — This helps your audience quickly relate to your demo. If you use a term they don’t understand— they’ll likely not ask what it means and thus not understand what you’re trying to say.
- Script Formatting — This may not be as intuitive, but I would treat formatting of the demo script to almost the same degree as formatting other marketing collateral. The actual demo script document will need to be easy-to-scan through, easy-to-follow (with labeled sections, images side-by-side by talking points, a demo summary, etc.) and very, very clean. This is often underestimated and the result is that good content and talking points are lost within a densely formatted document. Personally, I use different colors to denote talking points vs customer stories vs stats. Take advantage of the fact that this is an internal document, but treat this like it will be an external one.
Work closely with the highest performing sales reps to understand how they're pitching the product. They typically have "road tested" a bunch of different approaches and have figured out what works already. Take the best sound bytes and incorporate it into your script. The best part about this approach is you have instant buy in from the biggest influencers on the sales team. I've even had success in asking the successful sales reps to participate and even lead part of the script training...they really get a kick out of leading the team and teaching their approaches.