Stunningly Awful Demo Strategy: Set-up vs. Daily Use Modes


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Most traditional demos follow an illogical pathway to show vendor offerings – they spend far too much showing “Set-up” mode vs. “Daily Use” situations. This results in confused audiences and customers’ perception that the software is “too complicated”. (Ever had that happen?)

For example, most traditional demos start by presenting how a user can set up a particular workflow or task framework, from scratch. “First we turn on this setting, then we build this form, which you can change and customize further; if you want to do this then click that; if you want this other thing then change this parameter here…”, etc. This process often consumes 20, 30 or 40 minutes of a traditional demo, as the demonstrator walks through the many options and choices involved with setting-up the workflow.
By the time the presenter has completed this process, the audience is already exhausted – waaaay too much stuff to remember, waaaay too confusing, and many audience members will have already “checked-out”.

Even worse, traditional demonstrators often never show how the user would actually use the workflow just created – it is assumed, by the vendor, that the user will somehow figure this out on their own (they won’t, typically).

“Daily Use” mode, on the other hand, is where most people spend most of their time. “I just want to see the current report”. In a demo, show how easy it is to run or access that current report (that’s the “Do It!” pathway in Great Demo! methodology). If the customer is interested in modifying the report (or learning how to create it from scratch), let them ask..!

Think about your own work day: How much time do you spend in “Daily Use” mode vs. “Set-up” mode?

[Along similar lines, how many “Day in the Life” demos focus on “Set-up” mode? Seems like a bit of an oxymoron…!]

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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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