6 Winning Tactics For Remote Sales Demos
With so much uncertainty and major new events that are happening in the world, it’s harder than ever to get time with prospects. Everyone is getting fewer “at-bats”. And when we do get a chance to step up to the plate, it’s even more challenging to captivate the attention of our prospects, articulate our value, and drive to a close.
Everyone has a thousand things on their minds so connecting with our prospects from a remote setting can be challenging - particularly if you’ve never done it.
In this blog post, I wanted to cover my personal best practices for remote demos in hopes that you can take appropriate measures to conduct a sales demo that resonates with your prospect. While I can’t guarantee that these steps will ensure you close one deal immediately, I can guarantee that if you do these steps over time, you will win more deals and have a more smooth sales process.
Step One: Use Dynamic Content
We’ve all been there. The presenter who drones on while flipping through a generic slide deck with paragraphs of words. You know… the time where you can get caught up on emails?
Well, one key way to avoid becoming the “Bueller? Bueller?” guy is by switching up the type of content you’re presenting.
Don’t use static slides for the first half of your remote demo and then switch into full platform demo. It’s predictable and quite boring. You’re doing the same thing your competitor is doing and immediately putting yourself and product in the same category as them.
In an article by Think Outside the Slide titled “Best Practices for Using Video Clips in Sales Presentations” the stress the importance of utilizing video in your sales presentations. They also speak to how that should be presenting - By embedding videos into your presentation.
Finding ways to bring in more content makes your remote demo more interactive, interesting, and engaging. Examples of great content to bring in:
- Live Platform URLs
- Mobile app live demo
- Customer testimonial videos
- Product videos
- Google Docs or Spreadsheets
- Live Polling in a demo
- Home Page URLs
- Customer Home Pages
Step Two: Personalize everything
“Insert Generic Company Logo Here”. Ever seen a software demo where the deck still has a generic logo in the deck? It’s a small but powerful example of a lazy way to run a remote demo.
You should personalize the content to the prospect and company you’re presenting to. And I’m not only referring to adding their logo, name, etc to your slide deck - that is a fantastic habit to create. I’m also saying the actual content you’re presenting should resonate with their pains, industry, etc.
One of Peter Cohan’s blog posts titled “Stunningly Awful Remote Demos – The Top Ten List of Inflicting Pain at Distance” covers a few bad habits that sales reps can pick up when doing remote demos. One that stood out to me was “Present to a Large, Unqualified Audience”.
You should be telling customer stories that are relevant to their pains. If that requires more discovery before going into the demo - do it!
You should also be conscious that you're catering the language throughout the deck to their vernacular. All this plays into running an effective and engaging remote demo that closes deals.
Step Three: Clean up your environment
We wrote an article titled “Three best practices to up your remote demo game” where we go into specifics around how to clean up your presentation environment.
The bottom line is you should do these key things every time before starting your remote demo.
- The desktop is clean - no icons.
- The toolbar is clutter-free - minimal icons
- Do Not Disturb - Stop all notifications during your presentation
- Remove your bookmarks and toolbars.
- Full Screen your browser
These are easy task to accomplish that make a world of difference. Once you make a habit to have a clean presentation environment it becomes easy to spot those that don’t do it.
You know the reps who’s desktops look like a tornado of icons, open tabs, bookmarks, and other distracting elements?
Don’t be that guy. Keep it clean and it will help you close more.
Step Four: Use slides to stick to value
There is a general debate about whether a rep should use slides during their remote sales demos or not. I am a huge believer in the use of slides because they can be great ways to break up a presentation, explain the high-level functionality of a platform, and drive home the value with proof points after walking through it.
Horrible: Droning on through a 20 slide deck before walking through the platform..
Engaging: Walk through 3-4 opener slides. Show a 1-2 key features/functions. Showcase 3-4 slides on a customer use-case and results. Show 1-2 key features followed by 3-4 more business value slides. This is a great process.
We wrote a great article with Bob Riefstahl over at 2Win! called “The #1 Most Important Foundational Demo Technique on the Planet: Tell-Show-Tell”.
It walks through strategies on how to best use slides in your remote demo to articulate value.
Even with the slide count being identical, these are very different presentations. It’s not about the number of slides in your deck, it’s how and when you present them. Prospects have limited attention spans, make sure you’re catering to that.
Step Five: Active Documentation
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone where you’re listing off important items and it feels like the person on the other end has completely zoned out?
Their eyes glaze over. They say things like “yup, mkay”, “gotcha”, or “oh great” with a lackluster tone. This is how your prospect feels sitting in demo after demo after demo.
They get reps that say they’ll follow-up, answer a question, or “get back to them” giving the prospect no tangible proof that this will happen.
This is why I’ve made it a practice to work on “active documentation” during every single remote demo.
Meaning, I will either have an open note document in a public view of my prospect and when questions/next steps arise will make it a conscious effort to document that. I have also utilized multiple screens at times and documented these questions off-screen.
With that said, I ALWAYS make it a practice to review this note document with my prospect at the end of my call. That way they can see that I’ve taken notes and will actually get back to them with follow-up items.
Step Six: Collaborative Consensus
The post demo “black hole”. I know you’ve been there.
You run an amazing sales presentation with personalized content and a relevant story.
You drive value utilizing slides and even document notes throughout the call.
You followed all the steps but your prospect seemingly fell off the edge of the Earth and you can’t get them to respond to email outreach.
The problem? Maybe you didn’t build as much consensus on the next steps as you thought.
A post by Klenty titled “7 Steps to Deliver Product Demos that Convert” covers a few objectives you should have post demo. Building consensus on the value of the platform and the steps needed to move forward.
We completely agree!
To ensure I have the best shot at avoiding this post-demo “black hole”, I have made it a practice to build consensus at multiple steps throughout every single remote demo that I do.
Any time I need to document a question or next step, I do it in view of my prospect to consistently remind them of what they’ve agreed to. I take the last 10 minutes of my demo to review this document (actions, assignees, and due dates).
I’ll actually select the dates/times of our follow-up and send off the calendar invite. After my prospect has left, I’ll send a summary email that outlines all the steps we agreed to move forward with and ask for additional “buy-in”.
And when we meet again, I pull those notes back into the presentation and gain buy-in again before proceeding with the call. Building a process of building consensus will only result in a more process-driven sales cycle and makes sure you avoid the classic “happy ears” sales situation.
A few months back, the whole world made the transition to remote work. All of their sales motions had to be conducted remotely via screenshare. Subsequently, budgets tightened, active initiatives were halted, and seemingly everyone froze in place waiting to see what would happen in the world.
Now that businesses are opening back up and picking up their previously halted initiatives, it’s more important than ever to run an incredibly tight remote sales process.
The story that you tell needs to be more relevant than ever. All bets right now can be perceived as risky bets. It’s more important than ever that you drive the value of your product, articulate why it’ll solve their problems and give them reassurance that this purchase isn’t a bet at all - it’s a path to a successful future.
So regardless if remote demos are a short term fix or the long term path forward for you, these six steps are the building blocks to help you crush every single presentation you run.