For the last 8-10 years or so, I have been an informal analyst of sorts in the social technology space. As a result of that, I’ve had to use, review and get to know dozens, if not hundreds, of software companies. Everyone who has launched a social media marketing toolset in the last decade has probably either demo-ed their product for me or asked if I would do a demo with them.
Typically, these companies ask for an hour of my time, which is unreasonable in the first place. No software package on the planet should take an hour to explain or sell. I don’t care how game-changing it is. In fact, if it’s game-changing, I should hear the first 2-3 sentences and say, “Holy Shit! That’s game-changing!” The longer it takes for you to explain something to me, the shittier the software (or perhaps the pitch) ultimately is.
That said, I have to do the demos every now and then. I need to understand what the software does, what are the possible use cases, what would be a use case for me and how much it costs. Those four things are the only four things anyone ever needs to know about any software package when doing a demo.
So why the hell can’t you sales and demo people make the presentation answer those four questions?
- We do not care about how your company was founded
- We do not care about your CEO’s biography. He’s likely either a presumptuous douche or an impersonal engineering whiz we’ll never meet or want to hang out with anyway.
- We do not care about how you are funded.
- We do not care about the other brands that use your software unless you can show us one who might use it the way we would and explain that we could replicate their success using the software.
- We do not care about your philosophy about the ever-changing landscape of consumer behavior.
- We do not care to hear your version of the history of the web, digital, tech, social media, marketing, advertising or innovation.
All that information is available on your website if we’re interested. If it’s not, put it there and send us a link.
With that in mind, please prepare your sales and demo decks and talks with these core tenets in mind:
- Try as hard as you can to keep your slides and talking part to 15-20 minutes
- Say hello, introduce yourself
- Allow us to do the same
- Immediately tell us in less than 60-seconds what your software does and what problem it solves
- Tell us how your software solves it differently or better than competitors
- Tell us how you might see us using your software (which means you need to do some homework ahead of time on who we are)
- Tell us how 1-2 similar customers of yours are using it and what kinds of success they’re seeing from it.
- Tell us how much money, time and resources it costs to get it going and use it
- Let us ask questions
- Say goodbye
That’s it. Email follow-up is awesome. Both us emailing you questions and you seeing if there is interest in next steps. And if there isn’t, then say, “Okay, thanks for the time. If you change your mind, you know where to find me.”
A product demo or sales call is not your chance to win the public speaking award. It’s a simple transaction: Tell us what you do, why you’re better and how we’d benefit from using you. Then be done.
Thoughts? Questions? Concerns?
The comments are yours.