This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Tom Edwards. He’s an advisor with Deloitte consulting and the founder of The Modern SC. Tom is a huge proponent for demo automation and during our conversation shared a number of the benefits of automating basic, standard demos in the early stages of the sales cycle, so that SE’s are freed up to engage in more strategic activities, such as discovery calls and highly qualified, bespoke demos. In fact, one of the unexpected benefits of demo automation is that it improves the discovery process. By weeding out unqualified prospects through automation, and by using a tool such as Concensus - which captures metrics on the areas that prospects show an interest in - it actually positions the sales team better to perform more well educated and targeted discovery, in addition to targeted demos. That was a bit of a disruptive truth even for me! In case you missed the interview live, you can hear the entire conversation on LinkedIn.
However, my favorite moment in the conversation was when Tom shared a story about a demo that went horribly wrong. It was the pinnacle moment of a LONG sales cycle - over 10 months of meetings, discovery conversations, preliminary demos, etc. came down to one large key presentation and demo for the key stakeholders. At the last minute, the customer - quite innocently - asked if the team could use their internal remote conferencing bridge and platform for the meeting, so that others could dial in remotely. Tom and his teammates didn’t think anything of it and happily agreed. What hadn’t occurred to him until it was too late, was that until that point, ALL of the meetings they had had were on THEIR own meeting platform, NOT the customers. And as you’ll hear in Tom’s story, it didn’t go very well.
What’s the moral of the story? There’s a reason Habit #4 of The Six Habits of Highly Effective Sales Engineers is to Practice. “Click every click”, as I like to say - using the precise setup that you will be using when delivering the demo, especially the important ones! That includes the web or meeting platform that you will be using.
Next time you go into a demo, leave nothing to chance. If you do, you might discover - as Tom and his teammates did - that there is a very unpleasant surprise waiting for you in the shadows.
Also available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rREImLn210c