The perfect product demo—does it exist?
I’m here to say yes.
While there’s no magic bullet that guarantees a 100% conversion rate for all companies across the board, there’s most definitely a formula you can follow that will allow your reps to build instant rapport, show why your product is amazing, and inevitably convert the maximum number of leads into customers.
Be sure to read the article, 12 Ways to Deliver a Product Demo that Converts for specific techniques for delivering product demos. This article and that one go hand-in-hand.
Here’s how to create the perfect product demo step-by-step.
But first, let me make a quick point.
Pareto’s Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule applies to many aspects of business.
And product demos are no exception.
Robert Falcone, co-founder of marketing software maker Monetate and author of Just F*ing Demo! says, “About 10% of your demos will go great regardless. Another 10% will go bust no matter what you do. But then there’s that 80% in the middle where you make most of your money and where you need to win.”
And that’s the 80% of leads that we want to focus on here.
While 20% of a product demo’s results are essentially out of a rep’s control, 80% are within their control, and “prepping diligently is what makes the difference with this 80%,” Falcone points out.
This slightly stoic approach is what tends to yield the best results.
So, let me break it down.
Although the key points will basically be the same for every demo your reps give, there should always be a certain level of personalization based on different factors like:
This will shape the specific product features a rep focuses on and the unique value propositions they highlight (something I’ll discuss further in just a bit).
A simple way to gather the information needed to help guide your reps is to ask the right questions on your demo booking form.
For instance, on the Chili Piper demo page, we ask for what CRM a lead is using and what country/region they’re located in.
And enterprise automation platform, Workato, straight up asks leads what they’re looking to do.
In turn, this should give you a baseline reading of the basic direction to take.
It’s also important to perform some research on the exact person from the company your rep will be giving the demo to.
These are some of the questions that should be asked to gain a better understanding of the context.
In turn, your rep can put themself in the lead’s shoes and flesh out the details of their demo.
Check out this guide from Content and SEO Strategist of Nutshell, Jack Virag, for tips on efficiently researching prospects.
“Sales demo experts are like chess grandmasters,” says Director of Sales at Gong, Chris Orlob. “Not improv comedians.”
I think this quote perfectly articulates the importance of developing a coherent structure for product demos.
Like I just pointed out, each situation will be a little different depending upon the specific needs of each lead, which calls for personalization.
That said, it’s vitally important to have a sound game plan in place where your reps follow a systematic flow.
Orlob notes that top performing reps have an organized product demo structure that looks like this.
On the other hand, average/low performers have a disjointed, disorganized structure that looks like this.
That’s why I suggest borrowing from the first example and basing your structure around it to create the perfect product demo.
Of course there will likely be some tweaking required to get it just right, but this should serve as a great starting place, which brings me to my next point.
It’s important to give leads a heads up of what they can expect during the demo.
An outline ensures that your rep and the lead are on the same page right from the get-go and that the lead sets aside enough time in their schedule.
It also gives them an idea of the specific topics your rep will be covering.
Here’s an example of what an agenda might look like from Quantum Learning, Inc.
Notice how it mentions:
In terms of timing and communication channel, I recommend sending the demo outline through email a few days in advance so they can plan for it.
This sounds insanely counterintuitive, I know.
Conventional wisdom would dictate that you should go through the entirety of a product demo and then let leads know what the next steps are.
But hear me out.
Gong analyzed three million sales demos using AI and found that, on average, the deals that were closed the fastest explained the next steps at the beginning and at the end.
On the other hand, when reps don’t at least touch on this, their close rate drops by a staggering 71%.
It’s all about getting the lead to agree to discussing the next step, but without using annoying high pressure sales tactics.
Here’s an example of a potential script a rep could use.
Notice how it sets expectations but lets leads know there’s no hard feelings if the product isn’t right for them.
This sets the right tone for the perfect product demo from the beginning and greatly increases the chances of converting.
Odds are your product has a ton of amazing features, and a passionate rep could go on for hours about how those features could improve a lead’s business and fuel massive growth.
But as I mentioned before, the perfect product demo will always be tailored to each lead’s unique situation.
Therefore, a rep will want to pick out the most relevant UVPs (I find that that two or three tends to work best) and fully unpack them.
Say, for example, the primary pain point of one of Chili Piper’s prospects was lead routing.
They weren’t having any trouble generating quality leads, but they were really struggling to efficiently route them to the right rep and missing out on huge opportunities as a result.
In this case, we would want to focus on Chili Piper lead routing features like round robin routing where leads are automatically routed to the next rep going in a circular order for even distribution…
…and more advanced routing where leads are sent to particular reps based on predetermined routing rules.
That way they could see how seamless Chili Piper can make their lead routing and zero in on addressing the specific challenges they’re facing.
On the other hand, trying to cover a laundry list of features in a single demo will only leave them feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
So, always have your rep strategically choose the top UVPs to cover — the ones they feel will be of most interest to the lead.
When it’s all said and done, a lead needs to be convinced of one main thing before they’re willing to buy.
That your product has real value that will make their team’s lives easier on a daily basis.
It’s about demonstrating the practical benefits rather than painting an abstract picture.
The best way to go about that?
Give them some everyday examples.
I find that case studies are a great way to do this because they A) demonstrate how your product helps in a very practical way and B) leverage one of your existing customer’s authority to lend credibility to your brand.
For instance, Chili Piper has a case study featuring Madeline Anderson, Business Operations Administrator at Buildertrend, a construction management software and app.
In it, Madeline talks about how Buildertend used to struggle with scheduling meetings with prospects and customers, saying how chaotic the process used to be.
Reps were consistently overlooked and meetings were frequently missed.
But then she goes on to talk about the Instant Booker feature from Chili Piper which automates the booking process and makes it so reps can book meetings with just a single click and that they don’t have to worry about missing meetings because of reminders.
She also mentions how Buildertrend uses the Suggested Times feature which allows leads and customers to confirm meetings via email with a single click.
In Madeline’s own words, “When they (leads) go through the sales process it looks the same to book a meeting, when they go through the training process it looks the same to book training, and so the ease of use and the consistency for the customer has been one of the best parts of using Chili Piper.”
You can learn the full details of Madeline’s experience in this video and see screenshots of the features her team uses.
So, by offering everyday examples like this, your reps can help leads connect the dots and see the impact your product can have.
Another big part of creating the perfect product demo is ensuring your reps truly listen to leads.
Conventional wisdom often dictates that the rep should do most of the talking, giving a full pitch where they go over the ins and outs of a product in great detail.
But new data from Gong has found that modern reps benefit more from doing less talking and more listening.
More specifically, top reps talk 46% of the time and listen 54% of the time.
This graph illustrates the correlation between more listening and better performance.
And here’s another interesting stat.
“Successful sales demos have 21% more ‘speaker switches’ per minute, signaling there is much more back-and-forth dialogue taking place than outright pitching.”
This clearly shows that you should encourage reps to take a conversational approach where they’re continually getting feedback from the lead rather than giving a long-winded, one-sided monologue.
In fact, Gong found that no demos with more than one minute and 16 seconds of interrupted pitching resulted in closed deals.
To wrap up the perfect product demo, a rep needs to close strong.
A big part of that is going over what they just talked about and discussing how to proceed moving forward.
“At the end of the demo, recap the main points and how your product can help solve the customer’s problems,” writes Tom Taulli of Forbes. “Then, you need to talk about the next steps.”
Going back to the Chili Piper example I used earlier, the rep would want to reiterate that the platform offers automated lead routing, which greatly streamlines the process and prevents users from having to do it manually.
Round robin routing allows for even distribution, while more advanced routing allows users to “cherry pick” based on predetermined rules.
The key is to wrap everything up nice and clean so that a lead understands the value they’ll get by making a purchase.
Then, make it super simple to proceed to the next step (e.g. choosing a plan).
Ideally, you’ll verbally recap everything at the end of the call, as well as send an email where the lead can review everything for quick reference and share it with decision makers.
Check out this guide from Copper CRM for advice on writing a great follow up email.
Product demos are a vital piece of the conversion puzzle, and 14% of prospects think brands should give more of them.
Most reps have a basic understanding of how to deliver a demo.
But in order to truly knock it out of the ballpark, they need to work out the kinks and follow the proven series of steps outlined above.
This, you’ll find, is what means the difference between creating an okay product demo and the perfect product demo.
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