A demo center is the type of sales-enabling asset every self-serve customer journey must have.
And it’s not hyperbole!
Our brains were designed to love videos. They can process visual content with ease, retaining almost 90% of the information, as compared to textual content.
Early in the sales cycle, potential customers can get a “try before buy”, a 24/7 self-service experience with a demo center, so sales teams are not left off to do the heavy lifting.
This type of learning environment is conducive to better engagement and conversions as well. It can familiarize the leads with the product’s core functions and reduce the resistance to sales efforts.
But here’s the caveat. A demo center only works if the experience delivered to the prospect is a positive one. But how exactly do you provide that? Let us show you.
Here’s a deeper dive into the different components and best practices for designing the perfect demo center.
What is a Demo Center?
A product demo center is a digital library of self-guided product videos and demos that are hosted on a company’s website to showcase its B2B software. These demos typically highlight a product feature, use case, particular buyer persona, or integration. Some of the demos also focus on product launches, overviews, detailed walkthroughs, and interactive demos.
As such, the demo center doubles up as a learning hub as well as a sales-enabling asset for prospective buyers and curious onlookers. But why build a demo center in the first place? A couple of reasons!
Why Build a Demo Center?
With a product demo center, cleverly nestled in the “Resource” section of your website, you can:
- Optimize for a self-serve journey: The new-age buyers want to self-serve the buying journey. To aid the same, a hub of self-guided tours and walkthroughs offers the perfect learning environment.
- Show the product in action: Show how your product aids in avoiding loss, saving time, and improving ROI. You can demonstrate role-specific use cases and workflows to provide a personalized experience.
- Enable quicker sales: Having a widely shareable demo center helps your champions get internal buy-ins and takes some pressure off the sales team.
- Generate product-qualified leads: If you’re selling a complex product with multiple features, put the demo center behind a lead form to qualify the leads further. See how Salesforce does it.
Now that you know why, let’s get you started. Here’s how to build a demo center your potential customers will love.
How to Build the Perfect Demo Center?
We’ve covered the components of effective product demos before. Here’s a quick, visual refresher!
This should be table stakes when creating the product videos for the demo center.
Think of the demo center as a combination of a landing page and a video gallery, so the emphasis should be given to the structure (webpage layout, navigation, thumbnails) as well as the messaging (content, CTAs, video captions). Let’s explore in detail below.
Here are the 4 steps to build a demo center:
Video Content & Messaging
What type of demos should B2B software companies include in the demo center? Let’s unpack the three common types first.
Going by the Gartner classification, one thing is clear: Demos should be use case- and role-driven. This will bring depth and personalization to the otherwise straightforward video content. To take it up a notch, consider providing interactive, personalized demos instead of plain videos. Two reasons why:
- 80% of customers prefer self-service and interactive demos over a sales-led process.
- As compared to static content, interactive content is 650% more effective.
For example, SentinelOne’s Singularity Platform, an AI-driven endpoint protection platform, created professional-looking guided walkthroughs using Storylane’s no-code HTML editor. Each tour focuses on a key product capability.
But what type of product demos should you be making and including in a demo center? This will depend on your business.
Micro demos with strategic CTAs work well if you sell a horizontal product like Zapier. These are bite-sized, 5 to 7 minutes-long videos that help the viewer visualize the value you’re offering. Now, if you’re selling technically “complex” software, creating detailed interactive demos will make sense. You can do a deep dive into the features and use cases to convince the prospect.
So, when deciding on what type of demos to make, consider the following:
- Awareness level and pain points of the prospect
- Video type: pre-recorded, interactive, animated, etc.
- Video length
How to structure the demo gallery for maximum engagement?
This is important from the UX point of view. After all, the page experience is equally, if not more effective, in directing the visitor to take the desired action and improving engagement.
So, let’s start with the hero section of the demo center. It should be intriguing enough to get a click.
For example, Druva, a cloud data protection company, uses a compelling headline accompanied by an autoplaying loop of the product walkthrough. It acts like a teaser and tempts the visitor to try.
Next, you want to keep the design minimal. Video thumbnails should look interesting enough to click, with to-the-point captions, clearly communicating the value on offer. Take a peek at Databand’s neatly done demo library!
As mentioned earlier, you can also gate or ungate the demo center to qualify the leads further. If gating, make sure to add social proof and provide a sneak peek of the gallery on the lead form page, like Okta does.
For more tips to increase landing page conversion rates, check our guide here.
A Gartner study found site navigation a common point of failure in the self-serve customer journey, with 44% of website visitors seeking assisted services right after landing. That's why the page navigability of the demo center should be two-fold.
1) Demo gallery should be easy to locate for a website visitor. In most cases, it’s under the “Resources” section.
2) The demo center itself should come with proper tags and filtering options, if featuring more than 5 personalized demos. These could be use cases, demo types, personas, or feature highlights.
CBRE, for instance, segments the demos based on key features.
Meanwhile, Databricks, an AI-driven data analytics platform, offers a variety of functions. So they allow visitors to filter based on product use cases and demo type.
Remember, the purpose of a demo center is not only to show the actual product in action but also to drive action.
That’s why each demo in the center should end with a clear CTA. It could be requesting a slot with sales or viewing other demos. Just like Ironclad, a digital contract management platform, uses.
Also, the landing page for the demo center should also feature CTAs corresponding to the different stages in the customer journey. Druva’s demo library uses the following.
A Few Final Tips
Before we conclude, a few tips to create a highly engaging demo center experience.
- Product videos must be helpful, not overwhelming. So, focus on a single flow or sequence at a time.
- Start the demo with the “aha moment!” first. This will hook the audience from the beginning.
- Provide captions for better accessibility.
- Keep the software demos bite-sized. They should only provide top-level information.
Finally, a demo center is the ultimate knowledge hub for pre-sales engagement. To amplify the efforts further and reduce the work for the sales team, learn to set up a failure-proof process: Build a Winning Presales Process in 2023: A Complete Guide.
Q1. What are the different types of demos?
There are primarily five types of demos, including interactive product demo, pre-recorded product demo, live presentation, marketing product demo video, and product presentation.
Q2. What does a demo include?
A demo highlights the key features and built-in functionality of the product by showcasing how they solve a specific set of problems that the prospective customer is facing.
Q3. What to ask the prospect after a demo?
Scheduling dates for the next steps is the best way to close a demo. If the demo response is positive, go for an assumptive question like “October [date] will be the best option to get started. Would you agree?” Otherwise, ask “What’s preventing you from taking the next steps?” for better objection handling.