Presales Tools Summary – April 2022

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Here is a listing of presales tools that we’ve explored, including a paragraph from the vendor and our comments for many of these offerings. This is not comprehensive! The market is developing rapidly, with new tools appearing every month (it seems) and existing tools evolving briskly.

These mini-overviews are likely already out of date, but are designed to alert you to the range of possibilities available. I recommend contacting the vendors directly to get the latest information!

Top-Level Summary

(Listed in alphabetical order)

General Presales Management and Process Facilitation

Cuvama

Homerun

Hub

Prelio

Vivun

Managing POCs and Related

Eval (by Vivun)

Homerun

Hub

Instruqt

Provarity

Success

Live Demo Presentation Platforms

Demodesk

Gondola (formerly Demoflow)

Demo Automation/Enablement

Caply

Consensus

DemoMonkey

Demostack

Fake Names Generator

Navattic

Reprise

Snackwyze

Tolstoy

Walnut

Demo and Call Recording Tools

Balto

Chorus

ExecVision

Gong

Jimminy

Refract

General Presales Management and Process Facilitation

Cuvama

From the Vendor:

“In the competitive world of B2B software, everyone wants to differentiate on value.Unfortunately, very few do a good job.Cuvama is changing this.Cuvama is a tech platform that helps B2B Sales and Customer Success teams collaborate with customers to discover the real value of solving their unique challenges and then align on the outcomes they will achieve.‘As a pre-sales leader and value-selling evangelist for over 25 years – I see Cuvama as a breakthrough solution in scaling value selling efforts.’– Kevin Male, Head of Pre-sales & Value Engineering, Zellis UK Ltd.”

Our Comments: 

Cuvama focuses on uncovering and communicating value both in the sales process and post-sale – and is a terrific platform that enables vendors to rather dramatically improve their discovery processes and associated skills. Sales leaders report that while 80% of their teams think they do a good job with discovery and value exploration, sadly only 20% actually do! Given this low-mediocre level of discovery skills in the industry today, Cuvama provides an opportunity for vendors to significantly change the game in prospect and customer communications. Check it out!

Homerun

From the Vendor:

Homerun Presales is unified presales platform to track and optimize presales performance, deploy a structured presales process, and efficiently scale your presales team. Presales teams using Homerun increase win rates (up to 15%), decrease sales cycles (up to 16%), and save time (2-4 hours per SE per week). Homerun modernizes presales and connects it to the organization to help presales team show their extended corporate value through more revenues, more competitive products, more data-driven marketing, and easier pre-sales to post-sales transitions.”

Our Comments:

One of the biggest challenges for presales managers and practitioners is assessing and communicating the “fit” of a sales opportunity prior to investing substantial presales resources in demos, POCs, and other activities. Sadly, these communications often take place well after that investment has been sunk. Homerun includes a rich range of capabilities to support, manage and track presales activities on a day-to-day basis, plus the ability to enable presales input and comments regarding deal sentiment, including health, fit, and features, well before a QBR or similar deal review takes place. This is extremely useful and important, enabling presales teams to focus on the opportunities with the highest likelihood of success (for both vendor and customer). Check it out!

Hub

From the Vendor:

Hub is a technical sales productivity platform designed to help sales engineers, presales, solution architects and system engineers win more business. Hub is the only platform that addresses the day to day operational needs of both managers and individual contributors. Hub helps managers analyze daily activities, gather business insights, understand gaps blocking growth, contribute to forecasts, help define where to make investments and take corrective actions based on leading indicators. Hub also helps individual contributors improve their capabilities with technical discovery meetings, give presentations and demonstrations, develop solutions, scope out services and manage evaluations, also referred to as proofs-of-concept (POCs), proof-of-value (POV) and guided trials, without burdening them with mundane CRM data entry tasks. For more information visit www.hub.inc.”

Our Comments:

Whereas many tools are created to track, manage and report on activity, Hub is designed to be an environment that presales practitioners and managers live in on a day-to-day basis (hence the name, “Hub”).For practitioners, Hub looks to enable pre-call planning, executing Discovery, preparing and presenting demos and POCs, handling objections, as well as communicating with Product folks.Hub seeks to streamline processes and provide consistency within a presales team, without burdening folks with CRM data entry tasks.Hub supports playbooks for practitioners across a range of presales tasks – and provides rating capabilities to evolve and improve playbook efficacy.Hub automates activity data collection, enabling managers to analyze daily activities, surface business insights and gaps, as well as contribute to forecasts.Hub communicates with CRM systems and productivity applications to complement existing workflows. 

Update:Hub now has embedded Great Demo! Situation Slides as well as our new Great Demo! 5 Imperatives methodology as configurable playbooks, making it easy for presales and sales practitioners to complete Situation Slides during discovery calls, and for management to track and improve their team’s processes.Implementing other Great Demo! constructs in Hub is also fast and easy, including Menus, Illustrations, Informal Success Stories, and playbooks for Vision Generation and Technical Proof Demos.It’s like getting a running start in a race – check it out

Prelio

From the Vendor:

Prelio turns presales practitioners and leaders into strategic business partners.Prelio is a Presales Management and Productivity System designed specifically for Sales Engineers and their teams to be organized, understand their impact, and identify critical needs of their product. Presales practitioners use Prelio to be more efficient and Managers use Prelio to understand what their team is working on and the challenges they face.”

Our Comments:

Not yet explored…

Vivun

From the Vendor:

Vivun is the world’s first AI-powered platform for presales, unleashing their strategic potential and creating a seamless interlock between sales and product.Vivun helps presales leaders achieve operational excellence by equipping them with the metrics they need as the result of individual contributors having a single place to manage their work.Using Vivun, organizations increase forecast accuracy by leveraging the technical conscience of every deal, find revenue by reviving dormant opportunities, and deliver winning products by tapping into the collective insights from the field.Vivun works with startups like Harness, growth companies like Seismic, and global enterprises like Autodesk. Visit Vivun.com to learn more and request a demo.”

Our Comments:

If you are a presales manager looking for ways to track, manage and improve activities and outcomes for your team this is a truly terrific tool.And if you are currently laboring using Excel to accomplish this, then you are the perfect candidate!

Managing POCs and Related

Eval

From the Vendor:

Eval by Vivun® arms PreSales teams with a powerful solution for guiding buyers through evaluations while fostering transparency, alignment, and trust resulting in faster deals, higher win rates, and happier customers.In a world where buyers demand a ‘sure thing,’ the pressure is on PreSales to deliver a hands-on, collaborative buying experience.Enter Vivun.Our first product, Hero, brings Product and Sales together with PreSales at the center of influence.Now, we’ve launched Eval to connect buyers and vendors by empowering PreSales with a shared digital workspace.Eval is a single destination to set objectives, craft requirements, track progress, and give your buyers the confidence to solve their business problems with your solution.PreSales can shape success criteria, set competitive traps, control scope creep, and win faster with mutual accountability.This is far more than a shared task list.Eval locks in requirements, enables two-party agreements, and creates immutable audit trails. Finally, a place for you and your buyer to call home.”

Our Comments:

Eval provides an environment to set-up and manage trials (including POCs, POVs, guided workshops, pilots, etc.) from two distinct perspectives:prospect and vendor.An emphasis on identifying evaluation success criteria for both parties makes this a compelling tool.For the vendor’s presales and sales team, Eval can recommend specific requirements to include in trials based on competition and other parameters, drawing from a library based on a vendor’s experiences and best practices – this is a terrific way to outflank competition and tune evaluations.Organizations that track “why did we win?” information will find this particularly valuable.Other capabilities include tracking trial progress, stakeholders’ actions, and dedicated prospect/vendor portals for discussions and document sharing.Check it out!

Hub

See above, in General Presales Management and Process Facilitation

Homerun

See above, in General Presales Management and Process Facilitation

Instruqt

From the Vendor:

Instruqt helps presales spend more time selling, increase win rates, and shorten the onboarding of new hires. To make your demos and workshops compelling, you need context.That’s where Instruqt comes in. Instruqt virtual IT labs platform lets you show a working version of your product in a pre-configured sandbox with scenarios and data. You can build environments that involve multi-cloud accounts, networking setups, and hardware/software configurations.Validation and feedback capabilities in the sandbox keep people on track.Virtual selling has never been easier with browser-based and embeddable labs built on Instruqt.Presales can now offer live product demos, shareable for customers anywhere! In addition, webhook integrations provide real-time, event-based data that shines a light on how customers interact with your demo so that you can drive the right action at the right time without leaving your CRM.In addition, you can free up time for presales to explain the basics with self-paced demos so they can focus on high-quality leads.Best of all, this is achievable without consuming your engineering resources.Tech companies like Hashicorp, Puppet, Red Hat, Lacework, and others use Instruqt to generate millions of dollars in the pipeline and account expansion.”

Our Comments:

Instruqt provides the ability to offer complete working versions of your software in “sandbox” environments, enabling rapid deployment for demos and (especially) to support guided workshops and POCs.They also offer a level of gamification in the form of task-based “challenges” to provide guardrails (and guidance), enabling a high level of self-service on the part of prospects.Analytics track prospects’ activity and progress.This is pretty cool stuff – check it out.

Provarity

From the Vendor’s Website:

“A Proof of Success Platform that closes the pre-sales process gaps and accelerates deal closing.”

Our Comments:

Not yet explored…

Success

From the Vendor:

Success is the Proof of Concept (POC) management platform purpose built for Sales Engineering teams. It is the first Sales Engineering platform that is listed by Gartner as Cool Vendor in the CRM Sales category. Success provides Sales Engineering teams the much-needed visibility into POC activities, customer engagements and overall health of POCs. Here are some of the key features that Success offers:

POC Dashboard with health and POC data

POC Reports, Insights and Analytics

Automated workflows (Salesforce 2-way sync with Pudding)

Customer engagement portal during active POCs

Scope library and templates

Task management and collaboration

Documents management (with one click document sharing with customers)

Notes for tracking POC activities (2-way synced with Salesforce)

POC status and health checks

Role based access control

Inventory tracking module

Success is SOC2 certified and already used by many well-known companies. [Our] Customers love Success for its simple, intuitive user interface, and ease of use. Schedule a time with the Success team (https://Success.app), experience the platform yourself.”

Our Comments:

Wow. Wow! If you have been looking for something to help manage POC’s (and POV’s, etc.) you need to check this out. This is not an “emerging tool”; it is surprisingly mature. It is intelligently designed and implemented, providing rich sets of capabilities for presales practitioners, presales managers – and for the customer, as well!

Live Demo Presentation Platforms

Demodesk

From the Vendor:

Demodesk redefines screen sharing for Sales and Success teams, by automating scheduling, preparation, and CRM logging time to help you sell more and increase customer retention. All while skipping downloads and compatible with any browser and device. Create a standardized, scalable process by setting up personalized talk tracks with every pre-loaded playbook to have the perfect structure readily available at all times.”

Our Comments:

While Demodesk has some similarities with Gondola (DemoFlow), they take a different approach, positioning their tool as an alternative to Zoom/WebEx/etc. – enabling interesting collaborative browsing and editing capabilities.Their playbooks offer a guided, structured approach to improving discovery conversations, in particular, battlecards support managing competition.

Gondola (formerly Demoflow)

From the Vendor:

“At Gondola, we believe it's now harder now than ever to run a great sales presentation and connect with your audience. Demoflow pieces together disjointed systems of record into a cohesive system of action to help sales reps show the most relevant sales content helping them connect with their audience remotely. Ensuring everyone tells a story about their product that sells... every single time.”

Our Comments:

Excellent for Vision Generation Demos, this tool enables consistent delivery of early-stage demos, in particular – and ensures that the full history of the interaction and follow-up steps are captured in your CRM.An enablement dream!

Demo Automation/Enablement Tools

Caply

From the Vendor’s Website:

Caply helps your prospects understand the value of your product with interactive tours that are customizable and easy to make.”

Our comments:

Caply offers the ability to provide guided demos for use by marketing (via vendor websites) and sales (emailed to prospects).Caply demos enable prospects run the demos themselves, prompted with text instructions (and comments) with highlighted areas to click. 

Consensus

From the Vendor:

Consensus enables you to scale presales effortlessly.Demos are critical to the buying experience, but presales teams often struggle to cope with increasing demand for live demos and growing a team of expert solution consultants takes time.Learn how interactive video demos provide a personalized demo experience on-demand, branching, summarizing, and expounding according to the responses of each prospect.”

Our Comments:

Consensus provides intelligent automated demo capabilities, enabling prospects to self-qualify, self-discover and generate vision on their own – while you, the vendor, uncover the buying committee and their specific interests.Even better, this all done without a live human – releasing presales folks from hours of repetitive “overview” (harbor tour) demos.It’s a “choose your own adventure” demo – truly a breakthrough technology!

DemoMonkey

From the Vendor:

DemoMonkey allows you to turn your software demo in a fully tailored demo for your prospect in minutes.As Sales Engineers we want every demo to be a meaningful experience for our customers.Setting up a system for a demo that fits these needs can often cost hours – valuable time we should spend otherwise.DemoMonkey will give you back this time:You simply provide text and visual replacements for your application's UI and DemoMonkey turns your "John Doe" demo into a personalized experience for your audience.”

Our Comments:

DemoMonkey is an elegant Chrome extension that operates a bit like Google Translate – it finds and replaces text (and images).What does this mean?For web-based applications, you can swiftly change from a “banking” demo to a “manufacturing” demo without making changes in your software.It is all done dynamically in Chrome.What a delight!

Demostack

From the Vendor’s Website:

’Demostack is our dream demo environment. Before customizing our dashboards and analytics to tell a story of WalkMe's impact was impossible. With Demostack we can easily edit graphs and showcase data-driven product stories for any deal. It's a total game changer for us.’Matthew Bigelow, Director of Global Revenue Enablement at WalkMe.”

Our Comments:

Demostack enables market, vertical, and persona-based “personalization” of web-based (SaaS) software – by providing capabilities to rapidly edit text and graphics, without the need to make changes to the underlying demo database or environment.The ability to edit graphics is particularly compelling, as it offers presales teams opportunities to generate compelling visuals that show problems to be addressed, opportunities to exploit, and exceptions to be investigated – even when the underlying data would otherwise show a boring, flatline scenario.

demostory

From the Vendor:

“Never again hear, “Wait, who are you logged in as?” or “Your product seems great, but I had a little trouble following what you were doing”. Founded by former SEs to simplify live demos and setup, demostory allows you to spend more time focusing on what really matters; the story you are telling. Demostory is a standalone browser ideal for persona or role based-demos.The multi-session browser allows you to be logged in as multiple users in the same window, edit tab names to help your audience follow along, as well as save and share your demo setup so you're able to launch in seconds.You can try demostory for free at demostory.io.”

Our Comments:

just saw a demo where the presenter had 14 (yes, fourteen) tabs open…!If you currently struggle to set up and work with multiple tabs to show multiple job titles using your system or have a similar challenge, check out demostory.This is a terrific tool to help make the complicated look simple!

Fake Names Generator

Our Comments:

In my article on A Perfect Demo Environment I note that one of our objectives in a demo is to “Suspend Disbelief” and the use of obviously fake names and data hurts our cause.Well, here’s a tool that generates realistic name, address, and related information for use in demos, POCs, and other processes:www.fakenamegenerator.com.This may be a terrific tool to support building your Perfect Demo Environment – check them out!

Navattic

From the Vendor:

Navattic’s demo platform is helping presales and marketing teams share interactive, guided product demos with prospects without involving engineering teams.With Navattic, marketing teams can share an interactive and dynamic alternative to a static video walkthrough to embed directly on a website or in an email outreach campaign.After the demo, presales teams can share a personalized leave-behind as an interactive alternative to slide decks and white papers.All demo engagement can be tracked for additional intel on buyer personas and feature interest.”

Our comments:

Navattic provides a self-drive, multi-dimensional demo experience for prospects, delivered via email or accessed from a vendor’s website.It enables a guided demo, with guidance including text, images and video, while also tracking what the prospect views.The demo looks and feels (largely) like the “real” SaaS or browser-based application, including the ability for prospects to explore multiple pathways, but without the need to manage delivery of the actual product. 

Reprise

From the Vendor’s Website:

“With Reprise, you can capture and customize any screens in your browser-based software to link together in an interactive demo or product tour.”

Our comments:

Focusing on Product-Led offerings, Reprise provides both a vendor-driven demo environment and a self-drive demo experience for prospects, with the later delivered via email or accessed from a vendor’s website.It also provides the ability to personalize demos based on markets, verticals, and personas.Prospects can explore products via guided “sandboxes” by themselves, while vendors can “drive” demos with or without “guard rails”, to map to reps’ level of expertise with the software.At the same time, analytics track what capabilities prospects explore along with who does the exploration.

Snackwyze

From the Vendor:

“Automated ignition demos ring a bell? How about automated micro demos?Snackwyze is the easiest, fastest and the most affordable way to create, share and track interactive ignition and micro demos at scale. ‘We love Snackwyze. It fills in the gap in TekStack's content marketing strategy.The clickthroughs are extremely easy to create, manage, distribute and measure.We embed them on our websites, blogs and or share them as links.’ -Marc DiGiorgio, Founder, TekStack”

Our Comments:

Occam’s Razor suggests choosing the simplest route when offered options.Snackwyze offers a rapid way to generate simple automated clickthrough demos, providing text or video clips to guide viewers.This should be an excellent tool for product-led scenarios, in particular.Check it out!

Tolstoy

From the Vendor:

Tolstoy is an interactive video platform that lets you easily create "choose your own adventure" style product demos.Using Tolstoy's branching capabilities, you can break down complex lessons into key components and tie them together with personalized questions and paths.These interactive videos can help you increase engagement rates by turning a demo from a monolog into a 2-way asynchronous conversation.Viewers can even ask text or video questions with a screen share at any point throughout the demo.Try today for free!”

Our Comments:

Video is hot – and here’s a way to combine the impact of real humans communicating via video and demonstrations of your software.The “choose your own adventure” motif can start with a video intro or a list of topics or job titles (excellent for Vision Generation Demos) and branch as many times as you wish, at multiple levels.The ability to combine screen sharing with a presenter’s speaking video helps to make the overall presentation feel authentic.And I really like the ability for prospects or customers to pose questions right from inside the platform.This could be a real game-changer for automated demos – check it out!

Walnut

From the Vendor:

Walnut is the world's first Sales Experience that makes the B2B sales process personalized, consistent, and efficient for prospects.The core promise of the codeless platform is to make the B2B sales process more customer-centric by letting prospects experience product demos at any stage of the process - via an embed demo on a website, a link in follow-up emails, or during live demos.Walnut’s solution enables sales teams to create customized and interactive demos without coding and collect insights into their prospects’ demo usage. The platform provides embed, sharing, and collaboration tools allowing prospects to interact with the demos as they land on a website, receive a custom link via email, and even collaborate with the sales team (or internally) on the demo creation to ensure the product addresses their unique needs - at any stage of the sales process. This customer-centric approach to the sales process is what makes the Walnut platform one-of-its-kind.”

Our Comments:

Walnut positions their offering as a “Sales Experience” platform to differentiate from more general demo automation tools.They provide capabilities to capture, edit, and link together your product’s screens into storylines for either generic or more custom automated demos, along with the ability to provide annotations and step-by-step guidance for viewers.Behind the scenes, Walnut is tracking who has watched, what screens, and for how long, along with other parameters.In addition to Vision Generation applications, Walnut may also be a candidate to provide direction to prospects for Guided Labs/Workshops and POCs – an interesting application!

Demo and Call Recording Tools

Balto

From the Vendor:

Balto is the first real-time call guidance software.Powered by AI, Balto analyzes speech on both sides of the call and immediately delivers critical information to reps using Balto.For leaders, this means your entire team can respond to the most difficult questions in your own words, every time.For reps, this means you’ll never have to worry about forgetting what you should say or how you should say it.Never forget your training again.”

Our Comments:

Balto’s intrigue is its real-time AI analysis and prompting, providing guidance and suggested scripts to reps during calls.While it is designed more for call centers, it offers capabilities that could rather dramatically improve demo delivery.For example, it prompts the rep when they are exceeding speaking 70% of the time – a common challenge for most demonstrators!

Chorus

From the Vendor:

Chorus provides a simple, scalable solution to capture and analyze all customer calls, meetings, and emails to create visibility, drive process and behavior changes, and deliver bottom line impact.Our proprietary AI helps Revenue teams capture, measure, and act upon every customer interaction to drive team performance, build stronger relationships, and gather unbiased market intelligence.”

Our Comments:

While Gong, Chorus and ExecVision have many similarities (and some overlap with Refract as well), Chorus appears to have particular strengths for onboarding.An intriguing capability is a view of presentation and/or demo activity as a “voice” (in addition to “vendor” and “customer”).

ExecVision

From the Vendor:

ExecVision provides sales leaders and enablement teams with data mined from calls and web conference conversations with prospects, which helps them close the Insights-to-Performance Gap.Discover the key words, phrases, and behaviors that generate pipeline and drive deals so you can replicate best practices that increase results.Insights alone won’t improve outcomes, which is why ExecVision is designed to facilitate human behavior change that improves performance and gives leaders the ability to make more informed decisions.No more assumptions or guessing on activity metrics alone.”

Our Comments:

Like Gong and Chorus, ExecVision enables reps, managers, and enablement folks to surface key moments, words and word phrases.However, ExecVision offers additional focus on coaching, with capabilities to track and manage coaching effectiveness.Further, this tool’s recommended implementation process includes training on how to coach – that’s a key differentiator.

Gong

From the Vendor:

“Trying to figure out what happened on a sales call?Reading the summary in your CRM is useless.30 written words never truly recap 6,000 spoken words.Gong captures and analyzes every word of every sales conversation (meetings, calls, and email) – so you have the unfiltered voice of the market.Gong then uses AI to help you win more deals, improve rep success and gain critical market intelligence.Gong helps you see what’s working and what’s not so you can respond in real-time.”

Our Comments:

Gong is focusing less on individual coaching and more on uncovering what contributes to closed business – “Revenue Intelligence”.Gong also continues to publish enlightening studies – they authored the seminal study on 67,149 demos that delightfully validated Great Demo! methodology.

Jiminny

From the Vendor:

“At Jiminny, we believe it is time to use technology to make coaching our sales people easier. Jiminny is the platform for all your customer conversations. Use Automation & AI to help your team grow and develop. Never before has your teams performance been this visible across the whole sales cycle. Now you can coach with impact. Imagine making your sales rep’s job 3 x easier, whilst giving you better data at the same time.”

Our Comments:

Jiminny focuses on enabling reps to coach themselves – and to want to coach themselves and be coached by their managers. Accordingly, this tool emphasizes usage and benefits for the reps themselves, first – a grass-roots approach. If the reps love it, then the data that managers need will be generated willingly.

Refract

From the Vendor:

Refract analyses every call and demo, profiling the revenue defining moments, revealing what leads to successful outcomes for your team today.Profile where revenue is won and lost in every interaction.Identify the most valuable conversations and key moments to review, coach, and share.Learn the DNA of your conversations that leads to successful outcomes.”

Our Comments:

Refract is a truly terrific coaching and best practices environment for presales, providing capabilities to “slice and dice” demos to uncover key moments, words, phrases, and software screens that “wow”.Libraries of “what great looks like” include snippets as well as full demos to enable rapid onboarding of new hires and ongoing development of existing team members.This is the best choice in the “coaching” category for presales.

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