Reprise News

Case studies and techniques to create the best software demo

Posts about sales demo:

When “Give to Get” Just Gets Annoying

Joe Caprio Oct 27, 2020 10:45:15 AM
When “Give to Get” Just Gets Annoying

“Give to Get” gives your prospects an excuse to get lost! Why? Read on -

I can’t credit one single source for teaching me about Give to Get. Google it and you’ll see 3.7 billion results (I’m not joking). Every manager I’ve ever had taught me to use it. Every sales book has some form of it too. And scroll the LinkedIn thought leaders and you’ll inevitably find the give-to-get logic permeating ‘how we do it.’

What is it?

Give to get is a simple concept. My favorite summary comes from Robert Cialdini when he talks about the basic law of reciprocity. Imagine you’re walking into a big building with a huge set of glass doors out front. Someone in front of you reaches the door first and holds it open for you with a smile. “Thank you,” you proclaim, as you suddenly reach a second set of doors.. Double Doors!

A Tale of Three Product Demos

Picture of Evan Powell
Evan Powell Oct 19, 2020 10:56:22 AM
A Tale of Three Product Demos

We talk a lot about the theory of demos - the right way and wrong way to do them - on this blog. But I recently had a purchasing experience that really threw the whole into sharp relief. 

Let’s call it a tale of three demos. It was an illustration of the issues we talk about here that was almost too good to be true, because the whole experience varied so widely. What I, as our Ops founder, wanted and what the vendor sales teams offered me sometimes seemed to be totally at odds with each other. 

My background is in sales, so I’m used to looking at things from that side of the table. But recently I needed to buy some software to help us coordinate with our tech team, so I got to see the other half of the equation. 

And boy - it was all over the place

Pre-Sales Podcast Learnings: Let’s Talk About AE/SE Aha! Moments

Joe Caprio Oct 9, 2020 9:25:41 AM
Pre-Sales Podcast Learnings: Let’s Talk About AE/SE Aha! Moments

A couple weeks ago, I posted on LinkedIn about a dynamic duo I knew - an AE/SE team that was unstoppable. One of my followers recommended an awesome podcast on the same subject, from the PreSales Podcast team. 

So I thought I’d share my notes from the podcast - and all the aha! Moments it gave me about the SE/AE relationship. Let’s go!

Leading and Learning

The AE/SE relationship is important - they’re different roles, but with the same ultimate goal - making a sale. Learning a few tips for working together smoothly, and how to see things from the other perspective, can make everyone’s job a lot easier - and more fun too.

The Sorry State of Software Demos

Joe Caprio Sep 24, 2020 9:35:26 AM
The Sorry State of Software Demos

If you had to lay down some basic rules of the road for demos…. Could you do it? Would you come up with a tight, functional system where everyone adopts the script, has the collateral they need, and everything gets updated in line with new product releases?

AE/SE Relationship Quotes

Joe Caprio Sep 21, 2020 12:36:14 PM

Last week, I wrote about my favorite AE/SE pair - Devin and Julian. I told a story about one of the best working relationships I’ve seen for AEs and SEs. The post inspired some of you to reach out and share your stories. My question was on the working relationship between your sales people and your sales engineers. Here are some of my favorite quotes!

Quotes From the Field

Here’s what you shared.

My first quote came from the product leader at a company that is in half our stacks right now. He shared,

“We sell to sales, so our sales reps give great demos that really resonate from a 'day in the life' perspective. But once we started moving upmarket, it became clear that we also needed SEs on calls.”

Nobody Owns your Demo - and Why That’s a Problem

Joe Caprio Sep 16, 2020 9:25:36 AM
Nobody Owns your Demo - and Why That’s a Problem

Nobody owns your demo.

Sure, you have a demo. And someone built it. Maybe someone even scripted a talk track or built a PowerPoint deck too. I mean, your demo exists… but does anyone actually own it?

Lack of ownership in your demo leads to inconsistent talk tracks and a bad buyer experience, which of course leads to lower win rates and lost revenue. It also makes for misaligned expectations with your prospects, with repercussions that extend well beyond lost deals. Specifically: churn and brand damage.

What’s broken? Well, everyone I’ve met assumes that someone else is on it, so in the end, nobody owns it.

As a friend of mine in Product Marketing put it:

“Nobody wants to own the demo. It’s thankless!”

But just because it's a complicated, shared responsibility does not mean that leaving it up in the air is acceptable. The largest and most mature enterprise companies assign true ownership of their demo, and the time is long overdue for small and mid-sized companies to get the memo.

A Study of the AE/SE Relationship

Joe Caprio Sep 11, 2020 9:51:29 AM
A Study of the AE/SE Relationship

Positive AE/SE Relationships

At Reprise, we’re creating software to help SaaS companies build and deliver the perfect demo. For that reason, it’s important for me to really, truly understand how demos work.

A good starting point is: Who does the demo?

Is there an easy process that companies use when deciding who will give their demo? Is it the AE or the SE? Both? How about the AE on the first call then the SE going deeper on the second? Is it like good cop/ bad cop?

Who decides? And how do they decide? Honestly, it feels like a decision you never really “make,” but rather just settle into overtime. It reminds me of the AE/BDR relationship. Yes, there are qualification and conversion rules, but these humans are sorting the rest out live while bumping into each other in the trenches. So, while your poor AEs and SEs are also ‘figuring it out’ - here’s what good looks like.

How to Tailor Your Demo

Joe Caprio Sep 8, 2020 11:32:18 AM
How to Tailor Your Demo

There’s a problem in SaaS sales right now. We’ve talked about it before - your buyers want a demo right away, on the first call, and you aren’t giving it to them.

But that’s not because you want to turn your process into a fist fight. You do have good reasons for pushing that discovery call before you get to the demo the buyer wants.

As a happy middle ground, sales teams are adopting a hybrid discovery/demo approach to the first call. Or, they’re offering a ‘business value’ demo on the first call (an overview), in exchange for discovery and then a full demo on the next call. Another approach we’re seeing is to demo “case studies” or "a day in the life" use cases of your product to test which value prop resonates with your prospect. It’s hard though...

How do you know “which pitch” to give if you haven’t done discovery??!

You Must be THIS Tall to Ride

Joe Caprio Aug 31, 2020 9:47:54 AM
You Must be THIS Tall to Ride


I'm dying for a freemium model. I want it so bad. The seemingly overnight success at companies like Slack are too tempting to ignore. I don't think I'm in the minority in saying this; I think we all wish we could win our market this way. 

  • The acquisition costs are lower, as it requires fewer sellers
  • Buying is more enjoyable, which leads to higher NPS
  • As a result, the expansions and renewals come easier 

A friend of mine that is currently crushing with a freemium model explained it to me: “We use the free trial for two things -- lead gen of c

ourse, but also it proves if there is 'skin in the game' from the prospect. Before we allocate real resources to a deal, we can simply ask if they've gotten started on our freemium account or not."

It's a beautiful model. So, why am I staring down an 0-2 count on my previous attempts to create a product-led sales motion?

Demos on First Calls

Joe Caprio Aug 26, 2020 9:18:23 AM
Demos on First Calls

Personal experiences with this

I've been in sales for twenty years; across five orgs, three industries, under six different sales vp/cro types. I've been trained on five methodologies. I flew in a seven seater puddlejumper to spend a week in Marshall, Minnesota at a sales training boot camp put on by USBancorp. Another week in Louisville for a Sandler all-in. I've had John Barrows, Winning By Design, Force Management, and Sandler all in my building. (and I signed the invoices.) Nevermind the one day seminars, the speaking sessions at field events, and the deluge of selfie-thought leadership I get hit with on linkedin. 

I have been trained in sales. I have gotten sales training. A lot.

One constant, universally agreed upon principle in sales, across all variables, is that you don't demo on the first call. (just ask anyone.)

"Discovery, and then demo."
"Don't show up and throw up."
"Don't spill your candy in the lobby."

Regardless of where you got your sales training, you've probably had it drilled home that you should not be doing a demo on the first call. 

So, why do your prospects keep freaking asking?!