Sales enablement

4 SaaS Demo Best Practices for Better Conversions

The CloudShare Team

Dec 06, 2023 - 5 min read
4 SaaS Demo Best Practices

(Last updated in December 2023)

Sales demos can make or break your sales process. It’s your chance to convert an interested prospect into a customer. So, what kind of experiences are you providing for prospects at this crucial stage of a sale?

Here we explore why sales demos are about more than just closing a deal. They’re an opportunity to deliver exceptional learning experiences that shape the beginning of a healthy ongoing customer relationship from onboarding to training.

The Age of the Virtual Product Demo

Modern business users expect seamless digital experiences. The sales demo is an opportunity to fully engage prospects in your software, showcasing exactly how your technology is uniquely suited to overcoming their pain points and helping them achieve their business goals. To do this effectively, you need to provide interactive, personalized, and realistic experiences. Slideshows and video demonstrations do not go far enough in providing the levels of engagement required.

That’s where virtual product demo technology comes in. This technology allows you to spin up online environments where you can guide prospects through a hands-on remote simulation of using your software. It removes the need for long-winded how-to’s and videos that consist of amateur footage and a voiceover by Dan from Product.

Hands-on SaaS product demos are changing the game for sales departments.

Gartner’s research into B2B buying journeys found that the sales process is no longer necessarily the main route to purchasing. Prospects don’t want a traditional sales pitch; they want something more. Yes, they are looking for more information, so they can make a fully informed decision.

But they are also looking for the kind of digital experiences that not only provide a wow factor but showcase the true value of your product. That’s why we need to rethink what’s possible with sales demos.

How Long Should a SaaS Product Demo Be?

Before we dive into the SaaS demo best practices, let’s establish how long a product demo should be — this will be important to keep in mind as you prepare for your demo call.

Unsurprisingly, the ideal length varies based on industry, platform, and each individual lead. Speaking extremely broadly, 20 to 30 minutes is a good timeframe to keep in mind.

Your ideal time frame might be shorter or longer, so be aware of your own demo lengths and fine-tune the right duration for your industry and platform. Having said that, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • You should have the time to cover your platform’s core features without losing the lead’s interest or attention. Keep this goal in mind as you start building and refining your demos.
  • Focus on the relevant aspects of your SaaS platform for the specific lead, which won’t always be the same. Ensure that you understand the lead’s requirements and needs ahead of time to tailor your demo based on what they want to know.
  • Budget time for the lead to ask questions. Make sure to let them know you will answer questions later on. Doing so helps keep your presentation on track while also keeping them aware of any questions that come up.
  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking longer is better. A shorter, focused demo is often more effective than a more extended demo that doesn’t focus on the specific outcomes and features that a prospect finds attractive.
  • Do some competitive research to see how long your competitor’s demos are.

4 SaaS demo best practices 

1. Personalization

Before your demo, gather as much information as you can about the prospect’s pain points. Ask if they have any specific features that they would like to see and whether there’s something that they’re having trouble finding from other vendors (this could be an easy win). Then personalize your virtual product demo so it caters to the needs of your prospect, allowing them to learn about the specific parts of the software they will likely use the most.

However, if prospects are tackling a new problem for the first time, and may not yet understand the intricacies of the task at hand. This can lead them to underestimate some of the challenges they are going to face. Work closely with your customer success managers (CSM) to get a better idea of some of the less obvious challenges your customers might face, then personalize your demo experience preemptively.

2. Involving customer success early

While it may seem premature to involve customer success during the sales and pre-sales stages, it can actually be hugely beneficial. A study by Deloitte found that while 90% of pre-sales prospects expect some involvement from customer success, only 20% actually receive any.

Customer success managers provide a number of benefits in pre-sales, both for the buyer and your business. In speaking with the prospect, CSMs are able to better understand the challenges they face, even if they can’t articulate them for themselves. This helps to build trust with prospects, but it also helps to paint a clearer picture of their needs – so sales can tailor demos to them more accurately.

3. Hands-on experiences

We learn best when we do. Hands-on virtual demos provide the kind of interactive and engaging experiences that will drive more value from this vital stage of the buyer journey. A passive experience such as a webinar can pass on information, but it won’t necessarily stick in a prospect’s head for long.

By allowing prospects to actively participate in the session, you give them a more engaging experience that sticks. When deciding which product to go for, not only do they have a more real life understanding of how your software works, but they remember more about it too. This doesn’t just sell your product to them. It begins the first stage of the customer learning process. Starting this as soon as possible means that, as customers, these clients will be far more adept at using your software. If managed correctly, this can create a base of loyal customers and product advocates, helping to build customer retention earlier in the customer life cycle.

4. Real world simulation

Give your clients the reins and let them demo your software themselves in a sandbox environment. Your prospects want to see how your software can help them achieve their business goals. So, being able to set up environments that mimic their working landscape and provide real-world scenarios will help them see the full value of your product. This gives them a feel for the interface and lets them explore features that are meaningful to them, which may not have been covered in a traditional demo.

The average B2B customer consumes 13 pieces of content before they make a buying decision—why not make at least one touchpoint stand out? The software buyer of today isn’t going to be rushed into a decision. Demo software that showcases tangible benefits with this added level of realism will boost buyer confidence and trust, speeding up the buyer journey in the process.

Better SaaS product demos with CloudShare

At CloudShare we understand how important sales demos are. And we work hard to bring you the features and functionality to help showcase the best of your product to potential customers. CloudShare is used by a growing community of sales professionals.

With CloudShare you can:

  • Personalize demo experiences to suit your specific audiences
  • Help inform your CSM team using usage analytics during pre-sales
  • Provide the ultimate interactive, hands-on demo experience
  • Simulate real scenarios in sandboxed environments

To learn more about how CloudShare can help your organization leverage virtual labs to deliver better SaaS product demos, get in touch with our team