Last week we were at a friend's place for dinner when our friend's 10-year-old daughter appeared from the kitchen wearing her chef's hat and holding a pan with some delicious-looking pudding. She announced, "Look what I have whipped up for you all." And at once, we're all curious!
Almost all of us asked in unison, "What is it?" She smiled and said, "Why don't you try it yourself?" We all took a spoon and tasted that yummy caramel pudding she had baked for us!
That's what a demo presenter is an expert in —-- to create a great demo experience for their potential client.
In fact, the famous Pepsi Challenge campaign gained its popularity because the brand asked the same question to its audience.
In the 1970s, Pepsi grew tired of being the second best to Coca Cola which dominated the soft drink industry at that time. To create a stir, Pepsi took to the shopping malls in America and asked the customers: Why don't you try it yourself? Shoppers were encouraged to taste both Colas, and Pepsi was preferred. The Pepsi Challenge became popular and has been in Pepsi's ongoing marketing campaign for years.
Software companies can create a similar buzz with their product demos. This article will discuss the different aspects of a great software demo presentation. Plus, there are some free script templates for those who can hang around till the end. 😉
What is a Software Demo Presentation?
A software demo or demonstration is a visual walkthrough of the software. Sales reps, solution engineers, and AEs heavily depend on product demos to show the product in action to their customers to engage, attract, and persuade them. A software product demonstration includes a complete rundown of its features, selling points, and how it solves the customers' pain points.
The Anatomy of an Effective Software Demo Presentation
Now that we know what a software demo is, let’s understand the key ingredients of a software demo presentation.
An Interesting Opening
Start your demo with something that sparks the viewer’s interest. It might be a fun welcome message, an interesting stat tying to their pain point, a success story of one of your customers with a similar problem, an image, or a video.
Relevance to Audience and Their Problem
Before you start creating a software demo, understand the purpose of your demo. If the purpose of the demo is to solve a customer problem, understand the problem you're trying to solve. Once this is created, you can better focus on your demo.
A Narrative that Ties Back to the Pain Point
Once you have gathered all the information, map the painpoints with your product features and how they ease your prospect’s painpoint. To maintain viewer engagement with your demo, don't just focus on guiding them through your product. Create a compelling narrative that ties back to the pain points.
A Strong Demo Script
To build an effective software demo, you need a strong demo script where you can weave in a storyline that engages the customer. For example, a story that starts with a problem and then tells the solution and the product's benefits works best for a demo script.
Product in Action
Of course, people want to see how your product works, but they also want to see and understand the step-by-step process of which button to click and how to make the most use of each feature button. So pay attention to breaking down the process in a small step-by-step guide.
Don't make your demo presentation too boring. Add visual elements like attractive title screens, icons, characters, and transitions to make the demo appealing.
A Clear Call to Action
Your demo presentation should be tied back to the purpose of your demo creation through a strong call to action or CTA. For example, if your purpose is to drive more sign-ups for a free trial, your CTA should say, "Sign up and enjoy a free trial”!
Examine the analytics like when the demo was viewed, which screen had the longest and shortest view time, who all have viewed the demo, etc., so your sales team can follow up with the prospect.
Some viewers might not reach the end of the demo. Encourage them to take action by placing a secondary CTA in the middle of the demo.
What Not To Include in a Software Demo
No matter how great your software is, if it's not presented well, it will fail to pique the interest of the decision-makers. In this section, you will learn where most sales reps go wrong so that you can learn from their mistakes.
Curse of Knowledge - The Cognitive Bias
Most demo presenters don't visually emphasize the mouse pointer on the screen and help us see what they're doing on the screen. This happens from the curse of knowledge or cognitive bias that arises when you have used any tool for a considerable period. As a result, the sales rep assumes the software is easy for everyone unless someone points it out.
How to solve it: Make sure to zoom in on where you're clicking so that everyone can see what you're doing. Highlight and mark important areas in the software so that everyone can see and understand easily. Zoomit.exe is a free tool that you can use for zooming and highlighting.
Overloading with Features
Your prospective client doesn't want to listen to all the features of your product and how incredible they are. They are only interested in how those features can solve their problem.
How to solve it: Highlight the features that will be useful for them. Remember to prioritize value over functionality.
Sticking to the Script
It's always advisable to create a demo script and prepare and rehearse well before going for a demo presentation. But it may look awkward if the prospect asks you any question in between, but you draw a blank simply because it’s not in your script.
How to solve it: Learn to be flexible in using the script. For example, if the prospect is asking some questions, pause and take a moment to respond to the question.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Software Demo Presentation
While you need to think and act quickly on the field while presenting a demo, it’s always helpful to think ahead and structure your demo to keep it under your control. It helps you stay prepared, feel confident, and have a structured flow to your demo presentation.
The main purpose of introducing yourself is to warm up with the prospect. Once you introduce yourself, give a brief context to your demo. Here’s an example as shared by Alexander Mackinlay of Qobra:
“I had planned 45 mins for our meeting today. Is that still okay for you? Do you have a hard stop afterward? What I had in mind for us today:
- We'll start with a recap of what we discussed last time so that we can readjust if anything has changed.
- Prospect X and Y *(who were not there at the first meeting)*, this recap will enable you to add your own points of view and to let me know what you are individually expecting from this meeting.
- I have listed a number of questions I would like to ask you;
- Then we can move on to the demo;
- We'll need to keep 20 minutes at the end, where I'd like you to be in a position where 1) either you tell me that you want to move forward with us and we plan a potential next step, 2) you'd prefer that we stop our conversations there.
How does this agenda sound to you?”
Ending the introduction with a question always opens up room for initiating a conversation!
Tie Back the Product Features as the Solution to Their Problem
As we mentioned earlier, don’t stuff your demo with all the features and every little detail your tool has. Instead, focus on the prospect’s pain point and tie back the features as the solution to those pain points. Here’s an example as shared by Gong.
You: As we discussed last week, it seems that (problem) is one of your major concerns at the moment. Is that right?
Prospect: Yes, that’s right.
You: Great, let’s dive in and allow me to show you how our product can solve your problem.
Create a WOW Moment
Create a WOW moment that will compel the prospect to remember you and your product. It’s the time for the showmanship and you don't tell but show it to your prospect. Using an interactive product demo is a great way to create this WOW moment sooner because it lets the prospect try out the tool themselves in a sandbox environment without the intervention of a salesperson.
Also Read: How Horizon Education eliminated manual sandboxes for product trials with Storylane
Here’s a sample script:
“Now let me show you how you can send emails to your entire email list by clicking this one button.”
Encourage Them to Ask Questions
Prospects who’re more engaged are more likely to buy. Encourage them to ask questions to ensure they’re still engaged with your demo. Here’s how Gong suggests doing it.
“I’ll pause here for you to ask questions, if any, before we move on to the next step.
Is this something you’ll use for [the prospect’s problem]
How do you see you and your team using this tool?”
Next Step and Close
Reiterate the message at the end of the demo presentation and close it with a CTA or the next step. Do you want the prospect to sign up a form, schedule a follow-up meeting, or move into the final stage of signing the deal? Whatever may be your next step, add it to your demo script and communicate it clearly before ending the presentation. Here’s a sample:
"How does this compare to your current process?"
"You previously mentioned one of the things you are looking to solve is X. I just showed you how our platform solves that. On a scale of 1-10, how well do you feel we address your issue?"
Keep the question open-ended and be specific. That will encourage the prospect to speak. Avoid questions like “Do you have any questions?” which will mostly lead to a no, in most cases, especially if the prospect has already lost interest in the product.
3 Software Demo Presentation Templates
Recap customer's issues and ask to validate again. Then ask if things have changed or if we missed anything last time. Ask those who were not there prior to this meeting for their challenges and expectations for this meeting. Ask all questions you might need answers to before starting the demo.
During the demo, ask validating questions after each feature presentation.
For example, if the prospect says, “My current pain point is X,” your script should say, “Based on X pain that you mentioned, this is how the feature Y solves it.”
Here’s another example.
If the customer says, “I’m concerned about data security,” your script should say,
“Y is a SaaS Cloud-based platform with SOC2 certification. This means that your data is very secure.”
CLOSING THE DEMO
At the end of the demo, don't say, "Do you have any questions?" which will only lead to a "No, that's okay.” Prospects who lose interest during your demo won’t usually tell you what they think unless you ask them. Add a personal touch. You’d better say:
“What about this is most interesting to you?”
“How do you see this helping with [challenge or goal they shared during discovery?”
“Was there anything you were hoping to see on this call that you didn’t?”
“Was there anything you saw on this call that didn't meet your expectations?”
If everything goes as planned, these questions above should then naturally take your prospect to set up the next step around pricing and ROI with decision-makers.
- As shared by Alexander Mackinlay, Qobra
While scripting for a product demo, one of the most important things to highlight in the product demo is what is in store for the end user in the form of a value proposition. Missing the focus on the key benefits and only explaining the features is the biggest demo mistake one does in a product demo.
The script should be organized in this sequence
- Pain points your solution solve
- How that problem is solved
- What is the value added to the customer?
Here’s a sample script template
“In our last meeting, you mentioned how vendor management is one of your biggest concerns at the moment. Our product just solves that! We have built an integrated solution that [ tell how it solves the problem].
One of our customers has been able to streamline their vendor management by [incorporate the result they have achieved here] and you can do the same”
- As shared by Disha Thakkar, PMM Expert
The first thing to understand is that a software demo is just an opportunity to understand prospects better and show how your software solves their challenges.
The actual software and its functionality - things everyone wants to show is irrelevant. No one can really follow someone quickly jumping from screen to screen demonstrating features (that can't sell) and any questions come only from some past experience with other software.
When you carry on a conversation based on features, it's hard to sell. So here is a sales-oriented software demo scenario below.
💡Note: You have to insist on more decision makers to be present on the very first demo because usually different people in business have very different ideas about their needs and you can win by catering for different needs.
1/ Ask questions and be inquisitive to understand what is the problem they want to solve.
2/ Ask what they see as a perfect solution
3/ Ask what software they are using currently (used in the past) to achieve that
4/ Ask what is not working or is annoying (chances are that your software does it as well, but at least you know what the person dislikes before showing proudly what your solution can do - you can annoy them that way too)
5/ Only then jump into screen sharing and this is where you have to be innovative and do a demo from the perspective of a solution this person is seeking. It's important to understand that whatever is cool about your software is only interesting from the perspective of solving their challenge and nothing else. Therefore showing features that they don't ask for is nice ... but is not a reason why they will buy. Why? Because your wonderful features often sound as "too good to be true".
6/ You have to show enough that they "buy" the idea and express their feeling that that's what they need. Do not proceed to discuss the pricing until you reach this point in the conversation.
7/ When there are no more questions they have and you answered them all, I recommend asking “if it's OK to talk about money now.”
After a positive response provide a clear, easy-to-follow pricing structure and ask how they wish to proceed.
If you did 1-6 right at this point any objections are about price and it's hard to object because they just stated they are happy and interested. Then there are special techniques to handle price objections.
- As shared by Assia Salikhova, Managing Director, Smarketing Lab Limited, author of "7 Keys to Successful Cold Calling" course.
Top 5 Tips to Keep in Mind While Creating a Software Demo Presentation
1. Know Who You’re Presenting to
Are you presenting to an employee (who's perhaps going to use your tool) or a decision-maker in the company?
Research and do your homework to learn as much as possible about the person.
What are their pain points?
What kind of solution they're looking for?
Knowing the finer details can help you stay prepared for all meeting scenarios.
For example, if the person is reserved, you need to prompt them with questions to initiate a conversation. If you get to know the person will ask many questions, come prepared with answers and customer stories to back them up. If the person is a multitasker and attending the demo while working on the phone or laptop, grab their attention by making a bold statement or humor that can grab their attention.
2. Prepare a Script and Practice
Always prepare a demo script, especially how you will deliver the humor, punch lines, or Twittable sound bites ( a short sentence or phrase in audio or video format that can be Twitted to give an essence of your message) that can grab the audience's attention.
Once your script is ready, practice and rehearse until you're comfortable delivering the demo. You can practice in front of a peer or a family member. Or, if no one is available, record your demo speech and review the flow by hearing the recording. While you don't need to memorize the whole script, you should know in detail each of the points and be able to speak in a conversational tone.
3. Support Your Claims with Use Cases
If you have solved a similar problem in the past, begin your demo with the same problem and how your product overcame that problem. Emphasize how the prospect can too achieve a similar outcome. Supporting your claims with a use case makes a strong case for you, and the prospect can better relate to your product.
4. Customize Your Demo
Not all audiences are the same, so you need to customize your demo accordingly. For example, if you demo a CEO, your demo should be customized with relatable use cases. Highlight the features that will be most relevant to the prospect.
5. Follow Up
Don't assume they will remember everything once the demo is done. A good practice is to follow up with a thank you note. Share a link to the automated demo so they can see it again internally, share relevant documents and brochures, and give them an actionable next step.
Elevating Your Software Demo Presentation with Storylane
Storylane is an interactive product demo software that lets you create effective demo presentations. The platform has some advanced features like analytics, personalization tokens, unlimited sharing, auto update of the demo when there is a new release, integration with CRM and Slack and many more.
Do you know that G2 has recently recognized Storylane as the Demo Automation category leader? Book a demo today to empower your sales teams to perform better.