Stop Making Product Demos So Damn Difficult

The traveling salesmen of the 1960s had a simple process: knock on the door, demonstrate the product, and let it sell itself. Then technology advanced, the world sped up, and software replaced many of our physical products. Soon, sales teams found themselves working sales funnel CRMs, personalizing PowerPoints, and engaging with engineering teams. Demos became complicated. Or did they?

The truth is, the simple sales process employed by your friendly door-to-door salesman still works today. Product Led Growth remains one of the most effective growth strategies for companies who are ready to rapidly scale their business. Today’s no-code product demos enable sales and marketing teams to let the product speak for itself. Best of all, they can be effective for SaaS businesses of almost any size, location, and industry.

No-code software opens up a world of possibilities for product demos – but if they’re not done right, they can harm more than help your sales process. After sitting through a few thousand sales and demo calls, I’ve identified that most mistakes fall into the following four categories.

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Mistake 1 – Over-Gating Your Demo

The number one mistake most businesses make is creating too many hurdles for prospective customers to access a basic product demo. If someone has to fill out a form, talk to a sales representative, then answer a series of interview-style questions before they get to the demo, they’re going to give up.

Instead, take the path of lesser resistance. Embed your demo on your home page, your solutions pages, or both. Share it freely. Give users a glance at the goods so they can decide upfront if your product meets their needs.

This doesn’t mean you can’t ask them to fill out information or share a bit about how they’d use your software; it simply means that you are making it easier for them to see behind the curtain so they can decide if they want to schedule a sales call.

This transparency and accessibility will build trust, but more importantly, it will provide better-qualified leads and accelerate your sales funnel because prospective customers who schedule a sales call will already understand the fundamentals of your product and service.

Mistake 2 – Creating A One Size Fits All Demo

Many companies come to us asking to create one perfect demo. But unless you have one product that does one specific thing and serves one type of customer, you’re going to need multiple product demos. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all customer, and that means there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all demo.

Product users are no longer interested in the promise of a product that is for “everyone.” They’re interested in individual use cases that solve specific problems for their industry. They need to see themselves using the product and deriving ROI from it.

The bottom line: for 99% of prospective customers, a generic demo simply won’t do. Identify your use cases and create multiple demos that speak to the challenges in those target markets. Give your prospects more than a promise – give them a proven solution.

Mistake 3 – Overwhelming The Prospect

Too often, we get overzealous on that first call and try to show every single feature to impress the customer, but this has the opposite effect. Instead of imagining themselves using the product successfully, they log off that Zoom call exhausted. Seeing all the features at once can make learning new software feel like climbing Mount Everest without oxygen.

Most prospective customers aren’t going to look at one demo and then buy your software, so use the first demo to secure a second one. Research the customer beforehand using the information they filled out on your website.

Instead of starting the sales call with questions, show them a demo and confirm that the use case you’re presenting – with a few key features –  fits their needs. A simple, “Here’s this feature, and this is how I think you’d use it – is that correct?” goes a long way to helping the customer understand exactly how your product works. Then, once they explain the nuances of their business, you can create a second demo that digs deeper and shows off more features that they may use.

Mistake 4 – Using Demo Software As A Short-Term Solution

Every company wants to grow, and that means you need software that will scale with your business every step of the way. There are many solutions out there that claim to create product demos, so do your research before buying, or you may find yourself looking for a new solution in a few months.

If you’re serious about creating quality demos, look for a product that:

  • Can support you at all parts of your sales process, from the initial demo on your website to a customized demo with sales, then a leave-behind demo that showcases your product to decision-makers.
  • Is on the market and can show use cases from real customers who are using their product. Any demo company worth its salt is going to be willing to show off examples of the amazing things customers are doing with their demos.
  • Can support and reproduce your software in a reasonable amount of time. Consider how many demos you need, and then multiply that by the amount of time they say it will take to create one. Are you willing to wait years to get the demos that customers need now?
  • Meets the minimum requirements for enterprise-level security. Remember, demo companies are essentially capturing your content at some level. Whether you’re a startup with three people or an established enterprise of 1000 employees, you need high-level security.

Product demos don’t have to be complicated. With a little planning and the right platform, you can have a robust library of quality product demos that will engage your customers for years to come.

Author Bio: Evan Powell – Evan Powell is Co-Founder and Head of Operations at Reprise, a demo creation platform that helps companies sell their product with their product. Prior to Reprise, he worked at InsightSquared, Glasswing Ventures, and F-Prime Capital. Evan studied International Finance at Tufts University and received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. When he’s not exploring Boston with his wife, he enjoys traveling and singing with his a capella group. Website:, LinkedIn: Evan Powell.

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