The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

The Art of the Demo w/ John Kaplan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

As part 2 to last week’s episode “Leveraging the technical mind”... we’re covering how to conduct demos in a way that is value-based and improves your ability to win. 

 

All too often, companies push for a demo too early and this can take away from key value-based conversations and discovery that leads to higher margins at close. 

 

John Kaplan joins us to explain why timing is everything. He shares the process their sales teams used at PTC to execute great discovery and ensure they had the right people in the room before moving forward with a demo. Tune in to hear how this process helped them improve their win rates dramatically.

 

Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

 

Here are some additional resources on demos:

 

Leveraging the Technical Mind [Podcast] 

https://apple.co/3gPafnG

Playing Back Your Sales Discovery Sessions [Podcast]

https://apple.co/2E4HFQD

Executing Great Discovery [Podcast]

https://apple.co/2TC1kv5

In my opinion, technology is not impressive unless it solves the critical business issue, and so your job as the settling company is to use the demo to connect the two. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. Will feat your sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team at force management, a leader in BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audible ready podcast. I'm Rachel Clap Miller. Last week we talked about leveraging the technical mind, bringing that technical expertise into your sales conversations. Today we are going to get a little bit more specific and talk about conducting great demos. John Kaplan is here to talk about that art of the Demo, the art of the Demo. Yeah, when you have a great product, why not show it right? So hopefully today we'll talk about and explain why timing is everything. Yes, so if you found this podcast and you haven't listened to last week, stop here, go back, listen to last weeks and then come listen to this one. So when we talk about a demo, major part of doing a great demo is to make sure you're doing it at the right time. So many companies push for it too early. I've even been the recipient of email sequences and phone call calls where they just say, let is just show you your demo. It pushed for it too early and if you do, it really puts you in that features and function sale instead of that coveted value conversation. Yeah, you know, I really saw this firsthand at PTC and my first customer demos. So I wasn't an engineer. So we were selling engineering and manufacturing solutions designed through manufacturing solutions. So I wasn't an engineer. I've never sold software before. So he can just kind of actually the...

...environment. And on my first customer Demo I saw the CEO of a manufacturing company. He was in the room for the demo and his jaw dropped to the floor and I remember thinking, so if I was excited because here's the you know, the economic buyers in the room, and he was very excited about what he was seeing. But it really hit me a different way. I thought to myself, but, but what if he hadn't been in here. And what about all the other stuff that has to be in place for us to win? And this is why, you know, at PTC, we committed ourselves to a process that led to a high probability of US winning. You know, unfortunately today I still hear many companies tell their sellers show the product, show the product, show the product. So I think we gotta, I think we got to dig in here on this one. Yeah, yeah, know, there's a lot of software. Software is that you look at the platforms and you look at and your jaw does drive be like wow, that's so cool. All that would be awesome, but if I don't have a problem that I can get budget for, or if I don't have a problem that's big enough for me to allocate money for, it's just a g wiz and not a solution to my problem. So we always say right, you have to do some discovery to find out that the problems that you're trying to solve so you can align the demo. So what's important to the customer? So let's say I've got those components right. We talked about in the last call of the required capabilities a positive business outcomes. We know about the important things that are important to the buyer. How do I transfer that knowledge to the people demonstrating the software? If I'm not doingning myself, if I'm bringing in engineers or technical experts, how do I make sure I'm transferring that knowledge effectively so the demo goes in a way that moves the deal forward? Yeah, I mean, in my opinion, technology is not impressive unless it solves a critical business issue, and so your job as the settling...

...company is to use the demo to connect the two and then also to remember it's also the job of the buyer. And when I thought about this over the years, when I really learned that as the same challenge that I have of you know, attaching technical capabilities to business capabilities. This exact same challenge that the buyer has, in fact, in technical situations. I know we don't only sell to software companies that you know deal with it or what have you, but I'm just going to give you just a quick example. I don't want to leave anybody out, but I'll just give you a quick example. Like CTOS CIOS and their biggest challenges over the last ten years. What has shown up in surveys, at least in the top three every year is always a line it with the business. And so, once I remembered that, my job of attaching what I do for living to the biggest business issues facing the customer is the exact same problem and challenge that my buyer has, that my companies that I sell to have. So my job is to bring it together and I do that by using a common language and building a story around positive business outcomes, required capabilities and metrics, and one done properly, the demo tells the story of how those three come together. Yeah, and that's part of the precol planning that you're doing, the call prep that you want to do with everybody who's going to be speaking on a half of your company to this customer. Yeah, I mean you talk about precall planning. So you know how many of you right now are going to give a demo to a customer, and so I want you to just write down the customer right now and ask yourself what's the biggest business issue facing this customer? Go head, write it down. What's the biggest business issue facing this customer? Do I understand anything that I'm going to show them in this demo, today,...

...tomorrow, whenever it is, do I understand how what I'm showing them attaches to that critical business issue makes it easier for them to achieve that critical business issue. That's like topic number one. A topic number two is is it going to be crystal clear to the customer how what I'm showing them is highly differentiated from my competition? Will they clearly understand that what we do is better for them, how we do it as better for them and specifically how we do it and how it's better for them? If not, what do you precall planning? Where is this pre call? And and then the third one is, will anybody be in the room that will be impressed by this story of the intersection between the technical world and the business world? Will anybody be in the room with authority that can connect the to with urgency and funding? And if I'm waking up in the morning, those are the questions I'm asking and if I can't answer them successfully, why am I doing the demo? It's a good question to ask. So, falling on that one point that you brought up, how do I is the salesperson and ensure that I had the right people at the prospect company in that Demo Conversation? How insured that the right people there to see it. Yeah, well, again, if you're doing it right. You know, it's the intersection of where the technical world meets the business world and both those voiceous voices, should be present, if not in person. Like I have a lot of people sank me, John, you know, the economic buyer. I can't get the economic buyer, you know, into the demo or would have you. I think a lot of that has to do of how you've positioned. I'm doing air quotes here the demo. So so I'll come back to that later. I...

...don't want to. You know, people fight me on that. Economic buyer now has to be in the demo. That'll elongate my sales cycle. I'm not going to. I'm not going to get into that argument right now, although I have some great arguments around it. But I want to make sure that then, that that you are the advocate for the party that's not in attendance and your story about positive business outcomes requirements and you know require capabilities and metrics is what will always connect the two. So regardless of WHO's in the room, their voice, their position still has to be in the room or in the zoom or whatever it is. We're dealing with as we're doing these demos, and you have to be the advocate. You have to force your customer to connect the two worlds. You have to force yourself and your your team that's going to be doing the demo to connect the two worlds, to practice the story, to stand in the moment of time when the economic buyer here is the story. What will they say when the technical buyers here this story? What will the say and what will they think? Will it be highly differentiated and will be a strong connection between those two worlds? Some people might be thinking of this and saying, God, you know, my company's just telling me to show the Demo, show the demo, show the demo. Well, it's our experience that, you know, your time is valuable, your customers time is valuable. If you're not doing these these things that we're talking about, you could be not only wasting your time but the customers time. And once you show up in that category of like you're a waste of the customers time, it's really hard to recover from that. Yeah, and it on that point you're we're talking about, of getting everybody aligne on the on the business issues. Some of those people in the demo may not have been part of your initial discovery if you've done great discovery. So before you launch into present go on the demo level setting, prior to your running...

...into those features and functions on the PDOS, required capabilities and metrics before scenario after scenario is critically important. That's such a good point, Rachel, is that you know as a seller you're out talking to a number of different constituents, you're asking a number of discover upree questions, you're putting the story together and it's one of the reasons why it's a mandated force management. I'm sure some of our customers listening, they're going to they know about the what we heard slide from force management because we show it over and over and over again, and so it's just a concept that you know. We call what we heard. So it's a playback of what you've heard from the customers. So these are the positive business outcomes, these the required capabilities and these are the metrics. It does a couple of things. It proves that you understand the customer, which is incredibly important for relevance and confidence and conviction in that you have the basic understanding and you've taken the time to understand our business. It's the data screams of that. Most people do not believe that sellers understand their business. A second thing that it does is it proves that you listen to them. I love to show this at the beginning of conversation because it also allows you to get new insights if anything has changed, and so we do it at the beginning of every call. We call it what we heard conversation, and I'm also looking for things like new things that companies want to talk about, our new things that are discovered, because a lot of times you're going to start to get a lot of information about, well, where did that new requirement come from? Did it come from a competitor? That it come from a competitor's Change Campion, who therefore could be your enemy. It's just a great place to start with the what we heard concept. Yeah, there's nothing wrong with sending that in advance of the call to get people level...

...set before the Demo, which always helps if you know your you get short on time or people are late, and that's the point that you often make. John of sending setting an agenda in advance great to do when you have a demo scheduled as well. Yeah, I don't I don't know why people don't do it. I mean the answers I get are a little alarming. The majority of the answers I get is the number one reason why people don't send the agendas is because they don't want the customer to cancel the meeting. And we just cannot live in that world. You cannot live there. If what you do is not credible, of what you do doesn't matter, then go find something else to do. But if what you do matters, and then your time matters, their time matters. I always send an agenda beforehand because, again, what I want them to know is I want them to be fired up about what we're going to do. It's got purpose, it's got next steps of our sales process. There's a reason why we're taking this time and also, like I said, I love to give them the opportunity to ask if anything has changed because, as great sellers do, they are intellectually curious about any changes. What changed? Why did it change? And if you have require capabilities that change, they change for a reason. In many times, require capability that are changing. Are that the it's a it's a it's a great insight to something is changing inside of your customers buying process. Somebody's with power and influence has changed. Those require capabilities. They just don't change on their own. So I'm always keen to understand. If not things change, great, let's keep going, but if something has changed, let's dig in. Yeah, we just recorded a podcast with frank as Lena, who's on our team, and he dropped a lot of gems in that conversation. Of You guys have listened to it. You know that. But one of the things he said is always be discovering. Discovering doesn't stop once you align on those initial pbios required capabilities. I love that. That's a Hastag yeah, but you know, also going back to your point about sending...

...them the agenda, sending kind of those Montra components pbios required capabilities and metrics in advance. I mean, why would you miss an opportunity to remind the people you're talking to of the PBIOS that you can help them drive? It also sets the bar right. It's like we're coming here to talk about how what you're doing for a living, Mr Mrs Customer, is critically important to the business success of your company. We're coming here to talk about challenges. So we're going to talk about positiveness. Outcomes require capabilities, and then how you're going to measure those require capabilities. I mean you're going to you're setting the bar for everybody else. When your competitor shows up and says, Hey, let's do a Demo, stop me when you see something you like. Like they'll be such a disparity between how you sell, which is sometimes just as important as what you sell. That's so true. You know, I just did testimonial interview with Fred Hell out of plex and he told a story of when they got in front of the executive team, the one of the important decisionmakers came up to them after and had said how plex had rose above other competitors just from that one conversation because of the way they approached the conversation. And your demo is an opportunity to a proach the conversation in a different way than your competitors. To your point, absolutely, but I also you know, the Demo's not going to do anything for you if you don't push to the what's next, to push to the next step, and this has to be part of the internal preparation you're doing with your team as well well. I'm going to use this as my bottom line and my wrap up. Rachel, I the most elite companies have a sales process that properly positions the demo. So you don't do it too soon, you don't do it too late. It always has critical actions that lead up to it. So,...

...for example, why would you do it demo if you did not have the require capabilities established and influence to show and to showcase your differentiation? Should it can't be stop me. If you see something you like and if you demo capabilities that are outside of what people think they need, then you're going to make yourself too expensive. So you have to make the demo meaningful, tie it to the business outcomes and get commitments. This is what you're asking for me about. Is like the next step. Get commitments from economic buyers for successful completion. If I go to an economic buyer and say, here's what we heard, these are the positive business outcomes that you told me are hugely important for you. Yes, they are, and here's what your team, your technical team, has come up with to ensure that, if you can do these technical capabilities, you now have the ability to achieve these positive business outcomes and here's how they're going to measure success. Well, John, that's outstanding that. That's just outstanding information. I agree with all that. So, Mr Mrs Economic Buyer, we are going to enter into a demonstration phase where we want to demonstrate and validate our critical capabilities as they relate to your technical requirements. We want to show how highly differentiated they are, which means it's that we can do it better than anybody else in the marketplace and we want to prove to you that we can do this. Story when I'm asking for you, Mr Mrs Economic Buyer, and then what the most appropriate next at is. I love for that Demo to be far enough in the sales process that I'd like an order after after demonstrating the positiveness outcomes, require capabilities and metrics. But I know there's a lot of different situations. There's big accounts for you, multiple technical buyers. My point is this. Don't do...

...any stop me when you see something you like. Demonstrations be purposeful, have a purpose in a next step with power and influence and authority that moves your campaign forward. That's the best advice on the best bottom line I can give you will leave it there. How to properly position the demo. Thank you, John, for your in sight today. My pleasure. All right, and thank you to all of you for listening to the audible ready podcast. At force management, we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (198)