6 Software Demo Tips That Lead to More Sales

Conducting software demos that help you close deals is a skill every ISV needs to perfect. It’s easy if you take the focus off the software and make the demo about the client’s needs.

You can tell a prospect everything about your software to try to convince them to buy, but it’s usually much more effective to show them how your application provides value. The ability to conduct a software demonstration that results in a sale, however, is a skill you need to develop. Here are six software demo tips that can improve your demonstration technique — and increase the number of sales that result from demos.

1Understand the Prospect

You may have a thorough understanding of the prospect’s industry and the type of business they operate. But don’t presume that you know everything there is to know about them. What you think should be important to the prospect may differ from their actual pain points and the goals they want to achieve with new software. Identify decision makers, learn what they care about, and ask what they’ll be basing their purchasing decision upon. Use that as your guide for the demo.

Software demo tip: One demo, exactly repeated time after time with every prospect probably won’t result in the greatest amount of sales. Tailor the demo to each prospect, even if it means changing course after you begin talking with the prospect. Be ready for anything.

2Enlist a Skilled Demonstrator

Choose the right people from your team to lead demonstrations. They need to be personable, great communicators, and knowledgeable about the application down to the last detail. If your demonstrators can’t answer questions or fumble their way through a meeting, it won’t end well.

Software demo tip: Even the most skilled demonstrators need practice. If you were leading a breakout session at a trade show, you’d practice, right? Is this presentation any less important? The goal isn’t to be able to recite memorized lines. It’s knowing ways to engage the prospect and guide them from point to point. Practice so much it doesn’t look rehearsed.

3Burn a List of Things Not to Say into Your Brain

In addition to the things you need to include in your strategy, also define topics to avoid. For example, don’t apologetically point out capabilities your software doesn’t have or make promises that your team will deliver extensive customizations. The prospect will hold you to them.

Software demo tip: Train yourself to leave developer lingo at the door. It won’t help to talk over a prospect’s head. Most likely, a prospect won’t care about how your team developed the software. They care about what your software can do for their business. You can have a tech expert with you or conferenced in should technical questions arise.

4Know the Competition

If the prospect uses a competitive solution now, it’s wise to fully understand that application’s capabilities and know how your application compares.

Software demo tip: Don’t bash the competition; it could backfire. You may insult a prospect if you point out, even inadvertently, how foolish they were for trying the competitive software. Instead, if prospects want to vent, let them. Then tell what your software can do.

5Offer Proof

Regardless of the marketing or sales activity, it’s always helpful to have statistics, case studies, or testimonials to incorporate into it — and demos are no exception. Use real-life examples of how your software’s features helped other clients. It may be helpful to have slides with this information included in the demo.

Software demo tip: You may also want to consider creating a leave-behind that includes this data along with key points from the demo.

6Let the Prospect Try the Software First-Hand

People communicate and learn in different ways, and allowing some people to actually point and click, enter data, or drag and drop may be more effective than performing these tasks for them.

Software demo tip: If it’s possible, put the prospect in the driver’s seat and let them experience how easy your application is to use and how effective it will be with their data or workflows.

A Final Software Demo Tip: Continuous Improvement

When it comes to effective software demonstrations, practice will definitely get you closer to perfect. Unfortunately, the only feedback on an unsuccessful demo is the fact that they chose not to use your software. Pay attention when something goes right and how those demonstrations differed from demos that didn’t result in a sale — and keep doing what works. Using each demo as a learning experience will help your team conduct them more effectively and improve conversions.

Jay McCall

Jay McCall is an editor and journalist with 20 years of writing experience for B2B IT solution providers. Jay is a cofounder of Managed Services Journal and DevPro Journal.

Jay McCall

Jay McCall is an editor and journalist with 20 years of writing experience for B2B IT solution providers. Jay is a cofounder of Managed Services Journal and DevPro Journal.