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How do I turn sales demos into opportunities?

It’d be fantastic if interest in your business equated to instant sales, but more often than not, you’ll need to put in some extra work to turn prospects into customers. Product demos and a seamless follow-up strategy are two of the best tools in your arsenal to close the sale. Usually, this requires your marketing and sales teams to work together to design touchpoints that can nurture your prospects through their sales journey—looking for ways to optimize your strategy? Here’s how to get started.


Designing a sales demo that gets results


Have you ever tuned out halfway through a sales demo because the information was irrelevant to your use case or too complex to be useful for where you were in the sales process? Yeah, you want to avoid that happening with your prospects. Your job is to convince them what you’re offering is compelling and unique, and that starts with an engaging demo. Here’s how to make sure your demo is optimized for engagement.


Customize your demo


You should not have a standard demo that you run for every prospect. Hopefully, you’ve spent some time understanding the specific use case for your prospect, either through a sales discovery call or by reading as much as you can on the internet about your prospect (or maybe a combination of both).

It’s helpful to have updated industry statistics related to your prospect’s business — this might require you to research their particular industry and needs. Anticipate their current pain points; you’re going to need to prove how you can solve these. You’ll also want to gather information on their competitors, industry regulations, and corporate culture.

Design your demo to be personalized for their needs. This might lead you to emphasize unique features or offerings that are specific to their niche.


Elevate the small talk


You’re probably used to finding connection points during periods of small talk in a sales demo that help build rapport with your audience. If you’re struggling to find common ground, lean on your prior research to cover topics related to common business goals or industry trends. You can even use small talk as an additional form of sales discovery, giving you more insights that you can use throughout the actual demo itself.

Here are some fresh conversation starters:

  • I just read the recent LinkedIn article you shared; what are your thoughts on X, Y, Z.
  • Did I notice your company just announced X, Y, Z; how is that impacting your role?
  • I read a report that stated X, Y, Z about your industry. Have you heard anything about that?

There’s nothing wrong with standard small talk about sports, interests, and hobbies, but finding a way to glean more insights from the conversation can help you find more opportunities to understand the best use cases for your prospective customer.


Develop a narrative


It can be challenging for an audience to stay engaged amid a busy workday with email notifications, distractions, and endless open tabs. Ensure your audience isn’t losing attention, especially if you’re showing them something complicated where they could be tempted to zone out. Telling a story related to what you’re demonstrating help. You can pull reports from:

  • Your founders: Did they design this product to solve a specific problem? Share that story.
  • Yourself: Has the product or service you’re demonstrating helped your life in some way?
  • Case studies: If your marketing team has not prepared any case studies for you to share, this should be a top priority. Memorize the stories and key statistics from the case studies so you can share them naturally, and offer an official copy after the demonstration so your prospects can share internally.
  • Current events: Scan the news for examples of how your product has helped or could have helped in a specific scenario.

Create a hands-on experience


Test your demonstration on others in your organization to solicit honest feedback about how engaging it is can be helpful. Be relentless about revising the boring parts until you have a sales demo optimized to engage your audience all the way through.


You’ve given a demo; now what?


After the sales demo comes the marketing team’s time to shine. You’re going to want to follow up with your prospects following the demo to get them to complete their purchase. There are a few different ways you can do this, with the caveat that you want to find that sweet spot between staying engaged but not coming across as spammy.


Personalized emails and texts


Does the thought of writing and sending multiple personalized emails and text messages for all of your prospects overwhelm you? Here’s where you can often get away with a simple template that you automate or a drip campaign. You don’t have to get fancy with the wording; you’re just trying to stay top-of-mind and make it easy for your prospect to take action.


Incentive to purchase


If you’re having difficulty converting a prospect, offering a limited-time discount, add-on, or special offer can help close the sale. Be sure to create a recommendation specific to your prospect’s pain point and communicate when the offer will end. Don’t forget to include a call-to-action directly within your message.


High-value insights


To create additional engagement following your sales demo, ask your marketing team to develop an email campaign filled with high-value news and insights that your prospects will want to read. The more segmented this information is, the better. Ideally, you’ll want to create specified email nurtures related to each industry or use case you are targeting. For prospects that don’t convert within several personalized emails, a high-value drip can be a way to nurture the long term.


Support the internal champion


Ideally, you’ll be giving a sales demo to a decision-maker within your target organization. But there are times when you’re working directly with an internal champion for your product which needs to convince the organization to move forward with you. Please do whatever you can to support this person with assets, statistics, case studies, or anything they need to work on, on your behalf. Follow up-to understand who the key decision-makers are and how you can get involved in the internal conversation if this becomes a roadblock after the demo.


Bottom line


The sales demo and your corresponding follow-up are some of the most pivotal components of the sales journey. You’ve done the work to get prospective customers interested enough that they want to see what you can do — now you have to wow them. A personalized, professional demo is essential, but you’ll usually need a targeted follow-up strategy to seal the deal. If you’ve made it this far, you’re almost at the end of the process. Keep your prospects engaged and prove your value to bring the sale home.