Thousands of Websites Offer “Book a Demo” – Should Another Option Be “Book a Conversation”?


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Think about it…
Wouldn’t it be great to start the interaction with your customers with a conversation – or a substantial Discovery discussion – before offering a live demo? 
        Consider the time saved for both customers and vendors by focusing on the identified issues
        Consider the shortened sales and buying cycles, enabled by improved clarity
        And consider the reduction of wasted demos delivered by valuable presales folks (often over and over and over and…!)
Most websites have a “Request Demo” button featured prominently on the home page – very often highlighted in a contrasting color and eye-catching shape.  The intent, of course, is to entice the customer to engage.  The intent is fine, but it mis-sets expectations:
        The lead is often passed to a BDR or similar, whose job is to contact the lead, “quality” and set a follow-on appointment for a demo. 
What is the value to the customer in this first interaction?  Generally zero…
        Next, a demo is scheduled, often with a presales professional, who at this point understands very little about the customer’s needs, desires, or situation.  A live, but largely “canned” demo often takes place, sometimes with the presales person trying to do small amounts of Discovery on the fly.
Result?  Mis-aligned demos where the customer often doesn’t see what they want – and another “Harbor Tour” delivered by a valuable and limited presales resource.  Uncompelling and mutually frustrating.
And then what happens?  If the customer is still interested (or convinced by sales), another demo is lined up – often with a request by the vendor for an opportunity to (finally) have a Discovery conversation.
This pathway basically wastes 1-2 interactions for both parties – compared to this alternative…
What if the customer is comfortable investing a few minutes to outline their situation before moving to a demo?  Research suggests that many customers would prefer this…! (See Developing Your Sales Team: The Essential Sales Playbook for Founders and Entrepreneurial CEOs by Steve Kraner, page 72, Kindle version.)
So…  Let’s run the experiment! 
Add a button on your home page that offers a conversational alternative to “Book a Demo”.  Do some testing (e.g., have only the “Demo” button, have only the “Conversation” button, offer both) – then compare results!
Here are a few other possibilities for alternative buttons, with the “Button” text followed by a sub-title:
        “Book a Conversation”
o   Let’s discuss what you have in mind
        “Help Me Diagnose My Problem or Situation”
o   Before leaping to a solution, let’s make sure we both understand all of the important factors
        “Help Me with My Exploration and Buying Process”
o   If you are new to purchasing this kind of software, we’re happy to help – we’ve helped other customers many times before
        “Assist Me with My Buying Process – My ‘Buyer’s Journey’”
o   If you are new to purchasing this kind of software, we’re happy to help – we’ve helped other customers many times before
        “I’d Like to Explore the Options”
o   There may be things you haven’t yet been exposed to that could be important for you
        “Here’s My Thinking So Far”
o   Let’s start with an overview of your problem and your current vision of a solution – and then we can explore from there
Thoughts, folks?

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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