Thought Leadership

Selling Software? 5 Online Demo Software Best Practices


May 20, 2021 - 4 min read
5 Online Demo Software Best Practices

Delivering a successful software demo isn’t easy. Getting the audience to fully understand your product’s benefits, keeping them engaged and attentive, and making that all-important conversion from prospect to customer – that can be a tall order. So, how do you make sure you tick all the boxes? The five areas of sales demo success

We’ve identified five key areas in which to focus your efforts.

  1. Groundwork – understanding your prospects in a ‘discovery’ phase
  2. Targeting – appealing to prospects’ specific needs and challenges
  3. Delivery – ensuring your demo is presented as effectively as possible
  4. Interactivity – giving prospects the chance to explore the benefits
  5. Next steps – nurturing their journey beyond the demo to a sale

We’ll explore these now.

1. Do your homework. Never neglect the discovery phase.

The more you understand a prospect, the better you’ll understand what they need – and why they need your product. Try to gain the answers to these questions:

  • What is their role in their organization? Which industry is it in? Etc.
  • What is their IT infrastructure? E.g., which cloud services do they use?
  • What are the “pain points” they’re facing? How can your product solve them?
  • How would they evaluate a product’s suitability/value? What are their criteria?
  • Are they the person making the ultimate buying decision? If not, who is?

Conducting research can help to provide you with this crucial information, but there’s no substitute for getting it straight from the horse’s mouth – asking questions. Don’t neglect this discovery phase, because it will set you in good stead for what comes next.

2. Target prospects’ needs and tailor your demo 

The information you gain in the discovery phase should now shape the demo you will eventually present. Present them with a scenario or problem that’s specific to their industry or even their own organization. A modern sales demo solution will make it easy for you to tailor your demos in this way, and you can even create a collection with each aimed at different industries, which you can then tweak for individual prospects.

For example: If you did your homework and found out about a lead’s IT infrastructure and situation, you now have a perfect opportunity: tailor your demo to match. With modern online demo software like CloudShare, you can replicate any real-world setup in your sales demo environments. That means you can demonstrate that your product will work for them – and work well.

3. Deliver a pitch-perfect performance

Since the first person convinced another to buy something from them, salespeople have always been performers, of a sort. And, whether it’s face-to-face, over the phone, or using today’s sales cloud demo capabilities, the quality and effectiveness of these performances are important.

One thing to keep in mind at all times is this: during a virtual demo, you’re not just using the product. You’re using it while being watched by others. It has to be clear what you’re doing, because otherwise they won’t grasp the product and its benefits.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Move the mouse cursor smoothly and directly around the interface. You may need to go a little slower than you would ordinarily. Keep the cursor still when it’s not in use.
  • Summarize at frequent intervals. This ensures your prospects can keep up and offers perfect opportunities for questions. This can be vital if multiple prospects are attending.
  • Don’t let technical hitches let you down. Performance problems, glitches, bugs – all of these detract from your performance. Your sales demo environments should be stable and reliable.

Ultimately, you want to give yourself the best possible chance of delivering the best possible demonstration – which, as I’ve outlined, depends on both the tools you use and the way you use them.

4. Provide as much interactivity as possible 

In its simplest terms, interactivity means providing your audience with the chance to ask questions and explore your product’s capabilities and benefits that way. You can demonstrate the specific functionality they request and show them how the solution performs – perhaps during a Q&A session after the main presentation, for instance.

But you can also go further. Today’s hands-on online demo software even allows you to provide product trials and proofs of concept (POCs) so they can test it out in their own time. These can be offered alongside your sales demos or even instead of them – whichever you think will be the best solution for a particular prospect or product. And, once again, with CloudShare, product trials and POCs can be built to perfectly simulate your prospect’s IT infrastructure – so they can be assured that your product will work just as well when they buy it.

5. Keep the momentum going. Nurture the next steps. 

Okay, so you’ve provided an award-winning demonstration of your prospect. But what now? Don’t let all that good work go to waste – pay attention to the rest of their journey to a sale.

Toward the end of your sales demos, agree on arrangements for your next contact with prospects. It could be as simple as scheduling when you’ll provide their quote and talk them through it or arranging calls with your channel partners or other members of their organization. It could also be setting up a product trial for them. Whatever it is, make sure you do it – otherwise, their journey might end here, not in a sale.

Choose the best online demo software for the task

We hope this article has been useful in helping you make every software demo count. And, as illustrated here, you’ve probably gathered that success today can be as much a matter of your platform as your approach.

CloudShare is a leading hands-on virtual demo platform for sales enablement, POCs, product trials, and more. You can spin up perfectly tailored sales demo environments in minutes, on any major cloud service (AWS, Azure, and GCP), to truly bring out the best in your product. And, with demo automation, it’s now even easier to provide targeted experiences that resonate with prospects’ real needs and challenges.

So, if you’re ready to start making better first impressions, let’s talk.

If you’d like to discuss how modern online demo software can make a difference for your salespeople, just get in touch with CloudShare.