Sales enablement

Deliver Exceptional Demos with This Complete Product Demo Checklist

The CloudShare Team

May 06, 2024 - 5 min read

Your SaaS company needs a few things to stand out from its competitors.

A strong product with a unique selling point is a must. Excellent customer service is also essential. But above all, you need to make a positive first impression.

Now more than ever, that means delivering exceptional demo experiences. Today’s business customers are tired of sales jargon and passive marketing materials. They want to see what your software can actually do and, more importantly, how it can solve their problems.

This comprehensive demo checklist will walk you through everything you need to know in order to host demos that deliver exactly what your prospects want to see.

Before We Begin: Sales Demos vs. Product Demos

There are actually two distinct kinds of demos in B2B SaaS: sales demos and product demos. Although the two terms are frequently used interchangeably, there are a few key differences between them.

  • Sales demos attempt to persuade a lead to commit to a sale. Their focus is largely on convincing decision-makers about the merits and unique value proposition of your software.
  • Product demos focus more on educating a qualified lead or existing customer about your software’s features and capabilities. Because product demos are typically delivered to existing customers or prospects that are close to converting, they tend to be much less sales-focused.

Other than what we described above, the two types of demos are similar enough to one another that the steps in this demo checklist can be applied to both.

CloudShare’s Virtual Product Demo Checklist

Define KPIs

Before you start planning your demo, think about what you want that demo to achieve. What is your core objective, and how do you intend to measure progress toward that objective? Sit down with your team and a few other stakeholders within your organization to iron out both your objectives and your key performance indicators.

Know Your Target Audience

Next, you need to make sure you have a high-level understanding of your target audience. This will allow you to craft more effective outreach messaging while also providing you with a baseline for researching individual leads. Key information to understand at this stage includes:

  • Preferred social networks
  • Industry and vertical
  • Average company size
  • Average budget
  • Primary use case
  • General pain points
  • Decision-makers — background, roles, etc.
  • Most frequently used competing tools

Research and Screen the Prospect

Once you’ve got your general market research on hand, your next step is to look at the individual prospect. Get as much relevant information about them as you can prior to scheduling your demo. Make sure you understand the following about the prospect:

  • Needs
  • Pain points
  • Background information about key decision-makers
  • Tools and solutions they currently use
  • Features or functionality they’re most interested in seeing
  • Business objective and KPIs

Try to tie each piece of information back to your software if you can. In terms of where to perform this research, you have a few options. Registration forms and email outreach are both decent starting points, but you can also look up the prospect’s website and search for them on a professional network such as LinkedIn.

If possible, you might even consider providing them with an interactive self-paced demo of your software prior to actually meeting with them so you can learn a bit more about their usage habits and behaviors.

Prepare Your Presentation

Plan out an agenda for your product demonstration, including general timing for each step:

  • Introduction
  • Background information
  • Problems and pain points
  • Product benefits
  • Testimonials and success stories
  • Product demonstration
  • Q&A
  • Next steps

Depending on what kind of demo you’re hosting, the above agenda might change somewhat.

For instance, a sales demo might set aside time to discuss pricing and plans. A more focused product demo would likely skip everything but the introduction, demonstration, and next steps. A technical product demo might set aside time to discuss integrations and use cases.

We advise creating a flexible, generalized customer-facing framework that can be easily tailored to individual prospects. Alongside the above, you’ll also want to create an internal script that lays out the basic phases of the demonstration from the salesperson’s perspective and allows them to plan, in broad strokes, what they will say.

This script should include:

  • An introductory hook that’s both compelling and relatable to the customer or lead.
  • Brief context about your company and its software.
  • An overview of your software’s relevant features pertaining to the customer’s needs and pain points.
  • The most important outcome your salesperson should convey.
  • Any technical information they may need to discuss, such as deployment or integration.
  • Strategies for handling objections or concerns about your software.
  • How the salesperson will run the demo itself — what’s the best means of conveying what your software can do?

Scheduling

Provided your lead has not already done so, the next step is to actually schedule your demonstration. Send them a short, direct email requesting that they choose a date and time that works for their business and advise them on any software or tools they may need prior to the demo.
Include the agenda you created, with precise timing for each stage.

Technology and Supporting Materials

Prior to the demo, do a quick inventory of the tools and information your salesperson will need to bring along with them. Typically, this will include:

  • A product demo platform, ideally one that is easy for your salesperson to use, integrated with your CRM and LMS, and capable of supporting hands-on live demonstrations.
  • Videoconferencing or collaboration software.
  • Case studies and customer success stories that may be relevant to the customer or prospect’s use case.
  • Personalized digital brochures or data sheets detailing the most relevant features of your software.

Make sure you test and troubleshoot all your technology at least a day prior to the demonstration.

Final Preparations

All that’s left before your demo is a bit of housekeeping:

  • Consider running at least a few rehearsals or practice sessions before meeting with the client.
  • Send out automated confirmation emails to remind the client of the upcoming demo.
  • Ask a few questions about the client and their representatives — what are they most interested in discussing?

Running the Demo

It’s showtime. Everything else is in place, and all that’s left is to meet with the customer. During this meeting, there are a few best practices we recommend:

  • Use simple language wherever possible. Avoid jargon your audience won’t understand. If you absolutely must use technical terms, leave time to explain them if need be.
  • Remember that this demo is about the customer, not your product. Don’t focus on features or generic benefits; map every single product feature to one of the customer’s pain points or objectives.
  • Avoid information overload. Narrow the demo down exclusively to features you know the client wants to discuss.
  • Don’t adhere to a rigid script. Approach your demo as more of a discussion than a sales presentation.
  • Pause occasionally to ask for feedback and see if the customer has any questions or comments.
  • As things begin to wind down and wrap up, go over the next steps with the customer.

Post-Demo

Once your demo has concluded, you have a few last things to take care of:

  • Send a follow-up email thanking the prospect for attending, along with a customer satisfaction (CSAT) or Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. If necessary or relevant, suggest a time for your next meeting.
  • Produce a summary or transcript of the demo detailing any questions and objections, along with what the prospect found most compelling.
  • Send the prospect a link to the transcript, recording, and/or interactive demo.
  • Gather any insights you gained from the demo and sit down with stakeholders from your company to discuss what you can do better next time.

Take Your Product Demos from Excellent to Exceptional

Product demos and sales demos are the bread and butter of a SaaS company. A compelling demonstration can be the difference between a new customer and a lost lead. The good news is that once you know what it takes to run a good demo, the process becomes much easier to repeat.

With this checklist, we’ve given you what you need to get started — the rest is up to you.

Interested in reading a bit more on how to create a better demo for your products? Check out 4 SaaS Demo Best Practices for Better Conversions.