Last week on Demo Diaries, we talked about how to make your demo magic. Today we’re talking about turning your demo into a symphony! I was joined by Nick Cegelski, Account Executive at SurePoint and Host of 30 Minutes to President’s Club, for a fascinating conversation.
Nick was a wrestler in college and started a company there with a wrestling buddy. They ran it for 2.5 years, and he found he loved the business development side. So when he graduated and was wondering what to do next, he decided to get into sales. Now he’s an account executive at SurePoint and loving it.
The best demo training he ever got
In his time as an SDR, his team did weekly demo teardowns in-depth where they discussed what went right and where things went wrong. Demos are highly complex, like a symphony. Every piece – the demo database, software, sales knowledge, and more – need to work together perfectly to sound good. The demo teardowns allowed the team to isolate which specific elements were going wrong so they could figure out how to all play in harmony. Now Nick still debriefs on each demo with his partner to do the same.
When demos go bad
The biggest problem for sales in a demo is not meeting the expectations of the whole audience. There are usually multiple stakeholders in a single deal, and they talk to each other a whole lot less than you’d expect. They’re not spending an hour debating the pros and cons of your product together after the demo – they’re running off to their next meetings. So you need to do the work to get the communication you need.
To avoid getting into the demo and discovering some people had different expectations for the meeting, Nick suggests calling each person who will be attending ahead of time. A few days before the demo is scheduled to take place, call each attendee separately and ask if there’s anything they want to see or discuss during the demo. They won’t all answer, but you’ll get enough discovery in ahead of time to avoid most potential landmines and ensure you’re at least meeting expectations.
What the best demos look like
Length doesn’t matter in a good demo. Nick has done five-minute demos and eight-hour demos before. But what you do need to do is begin with the end in mind – show the impact of your product before you show how it works. That means don’t start on the log-in page or show how you set up the product first. Instead, lead with how you solve the problem they have, and then later show them how it’s done. Demos are not a time for teaching and training – it’s a time to prove you can solve their problem.
How should sales leaders improve their demos today
Get an upfront contract at the beginning of the demo. Prospects worry they won’t get to voice what they want to hear or that you will dominate the meeting and talk on forever. Avoid this by covering the logistics of the meeting up front. That means you should check the time, engage each person to ensure you understand what they want to see, and break the participation seal with each person to be sure they can hear and speak online easily. You can also use the chat feature to check in with any less-engaged participants to set up a next step with them.
In demos, you really need to engage – there’s nothing more boring than just sitting at your computer watching someone else do something. If you notice someone seems less engaged, be disarmingly blunt – don’t push ahead and force-feed them info. You want to get to the truth more than you want to just get the sale. An effective salesperson helps both sides figure out if there’s a good fit instead of just pushing the prospect to buy.
Watch the full episode here:
I’m an entrepreneurial marketer, recovering salesperson now heading up content and community at Reprise. Over the last 20 years I’ve almost exclusively founded software startups or was an early employee. In my spare time I love playing my guitar, learning about esoteric topics, and meditating.