More on Auto-Demo Hell …


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A recent Great Demo! Workshop participant (from his marketing department) shared a challenge he was facing: His boss asked him to prepare a recorded demo that could be hosted on their website right away to support the launch of a new version of their product.

When he (wisely) asked some of his sales counterparts for input on the draft demo, he was told:

– Looks great!
– Looks awful!
– Perfect for my customers!
– Totally wrong for my customers!

What was happening?

After discussion, it became clear that the sales team is organized into two major groups: “Hunters”, who work to secure new business and “Farmers”, who’s role is to develop existing customers. The Farmers loved the demo and the Hunters despised it. Why? Because the demo focused on the new capabilities recently released.
Current customers are, generally speaking, attuned to the typical use cases for the software. They generally “get it” with respect to the possible uses for new features and capabilities that are provided in a new release. A demo that focuses on these new features may be adequate for current customers. (Note that using Situation Slides that summarize the intended use cases will be more successful than a demo that simply highlights capabilities).

On the other hand, new prospects may have no context and will likely be confused when presented with a feature-based demo. A demo that focuses on a set of new features will be even more confusing – it assumes a base understanding of the software already released.

Consider your sales organization and the nature of your customers when preparing recorded (or core) demos. A demo prepared for a users’ group meeting may be terrific for existing customers but will fail horribly when presented to new prospects!

Copyright © 2008 The Second Derivative – All Rights Reserved.

Peter Cohan
Have you ever seen a bad software demonstration? Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of Great Demo!, focused on helping software organizations improve the success rates of their demos. He authored Great Demo! - how to prepare and deliver surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, and business development. He has also been, and continues to be, a customer.


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