Online Sales DemoOnline sales demos are a popular use case for screen sharing software: Prospects are interested in buying a new product/service and want to learn everything they can. The sales rep wants to answer all of the prospect’s questions and clearly demonstrate the product’s benefits – and all this without being in the same room together. Online sales demos work wonders for both prospect and sales rep.

But the sales rep has to nail that first impression to ensure they have any chance of closing the deal. Sales reps can do so by incorporating the following four topics into how they plan and manage their online sales demos.

Qualify:

Executing the perfect online sales demo starts well before the demo itself. Step one is to qualify your prospect as a buyer, and not just a window shopper.

  1. Is the prospect a decision maker?
    Not all prospects are decision makers in their company. They might just be testing the waters but not permitted to spend company money on your product.
  2. Timeframe for purchase?
    Before your demo, check when they are looking to purchase. If you demo too far in advance, you run the risk of your prospect forgetting your product benefits by the time they are ready to make a purchase.
  3. Does your product fit most of your prospect’s needs?
    A skilled sales person would like to believe they can always sell ice to an Eskimo. But in reality, if your product doesn’t match your prospect’s needs, you’re going to have some trouble convincing them otherwise and time could be wasted.

Prepare:

Of course you should be prepared prior to any sales pitch. But with an online demo there are a few points, specific to online demos, to remember:

  1. Prepare some point form notes of what you will show
    This refers to a short list of your product features which match your prospect’s needs and which you must not forget to demo. As an avid fan of your product, you no doubt have many of your own favorite features. But you won’t have time for all these and they won’t necessarily impress your prospect. Focus on the features that match their needs and which they will place value on.
  2. Research your prospect
    Have you ever attended a sales call as the prospect and the sales rep has no idea about you or your company? It’s frustrating and you get a poor impression of customer service from that company. Don’t make that mistake.
    It will pay off greatly to know just some basic details: company name, size, industry, target market, etc. Based on the info you gather, you can try to think of how your prospect could use your product so you can customize your demo accordingly.
  3. Send the prospect a calendar invitation
    Don’t assume that the prospect will save the day/time of the demo. Sending them a calendar invite allows them to save it with one click so they don’t forget. Otherwise it may slip their mind and then when you call them you could catch them off guard leading to either them postponing the demo or you having to rush through the demo content because the prospect is busy.
    You could also send them a quick reminder email one day before the demo. This also gives you a chance to ask any last minute questions about their needs which will better help your preparations.
  4. Clean up
    The prospect isn’t going to see the state of your office or desk but they will see almost everything on your computer desktop. Clean up the shortcut icons on your desktop, set your IM status to “busy”, and log out of anything that might buzz or pop up on your screen during the demo.
    You can find a few more points on how to “Clean Up Your Desktop” in this white paper on Online Meeting Best Practices.

Deliver:

Now it’s time for the sales demo. There is only one main point I want to address here, but it’s a big one and has a few sub-points to go with it:

  1. Engage the prospect
    In other words, don’t just go through a script. Tailor your demo to their needs. If you’ve covered your bases from the Qualify and Prepare topics above, then you’re already halfway there. Now it’s just a matter of following through on your previous work (e.g. researching the prospect and creating your notes list) and being mindful of the following points during your demo:

  • Talk to them: Ask if they have questions/feedback throughout the demo.
  • Make it personal: Address them by name. Sounds like a minor detail but it’s so important. It will make the demo more personal and ensure they’re paying attention. To go a bit further, if it’s a group demo, try writing down all the names of the participants and recognizing them by voice during the demo.
  • Focus on the important features: I might be repeating myself here  but in case you overlooked this point above, only demo the most relevant product features and benefits for your prospect’s needs.
  • Keep it short and simple: It might sound impossible to demo your product in just 10-15 minutes, but chances are you will answer all your prospect’s primary questions in that time. You don’t want to overwhelm them with more info than is necessary. On top of that you should allow for a 5 min Q&A at the end where they can ask any additional questions – this leads on from point 1 under “Prepare” above.

Handshake

Follow-Up:

The demo is over. Your work is done. Now just wait for the prospect to send in a product order form… No, not quite. There are still a few things for you to do to make sure you have delivered the best experience to the prospect.

  1. Send a thank you email
    After the demo, drop them a short email to thank them for their time / interest, and send them any required information which was brought up during the demo e.g. pricing, features, contact info, etc.
  2. Follow-up call/email
    Set yourself a reminder for a few days following the demo to call the prospect. It’s more than likely that a prospect will have questions after a demo which they didn’t think to ask during the call. This is a good opportunity to give them a chance to ask those questions. If a call is out of the question because the prospect is difficult to reach on the phone, send them a follow-up email to touch base.
  3. Are they the decision maker?
    I touched upon this earlier. At times it is hard to establish this prior to the demo. But hopefully you can determine this during the demo. Then during the follow up stage make sure you’re in contact with the decision maker and not just the “information gatherer”. For example you could still be in direct contact with the information gatherer and at the same time CC the decision maker.

Currently the world of sales is buzzing with new applications and technology to facilitate the sales process. For those looking to reach more prospects in less time and increase productivity, add online meeting software to your arsenal of sales tools.

Discussion: Do you use screen sharing software to take your sales demos online? How have you and your prospects found the experience? Do you have any best practices or tips to share for others?