SaaS Product Demos That Sell
The Software as a Service (SaaS) industry is reliant on businesses being able to sell customers something that isn’t tangible. Whether for B2B or B2C companies, the challenge in the SaaS industry is finding a way to convince prospective customers to purchase something that they can’t hold in their hand or experience for themselves.
SaaS sales teams must find ways to operate around these inherent obstacles. Product demonstrations are one sales process solution that companies across the SaaS industry can focus on to achieve sales goals.
Also known as a sales demo, these marketing tools are a great way to showcase product features to a potential customer. These demonstrations will show the product's value by running through basic features, proof of concept, and how it can help the customer it is being targeted towards. They are essentially a presentation that shows the service in action and the utility it provides.
A lot goes into successful product demos, and knowing how to develop an effective strategy is an important first step businesses need to take.
Do Product Demos Increase Sales?
For product demonstrations to be worth the valuable time that companies pour into them, they need to result in actual sales. While every marketing strategy has its risks, and there are no guarantees with any method, the general consensus in the SaaS industry is that demo usage is an effective way to convert leads into sales.
Beyond being a way to spotlight your product and its features, these presentations are a way to better connect with leads. The typical product demonstration is a step deeper into the sales funnel. Whether it is a virtual or an in-person meeting, pre-recorded or live, regardless of the type of demo, it is an opportunity to continue the pitch of your product and a necessary part of the SaaS sales cycle.
According to Smart Karrot, for SaaS B2B companies, demo rates close between 20-50%. This makes them a highly efficient conversion method and a great way to filter out leads that may not be the right product fit.
Not every product demo is going to be executed at the same level of success. Let’s take a look at some of the strategies business owners can utilize to convert potential sales with product demos and what they should be avoiding with these pivotal presentations.
Best Practices for a Persuasive Product Demonstration
A successful product demo is centered around the product but is also built on forging a better connection with the lead. Like all sales, a big part of the equation is appealing to someone on a personal level, and there are many different ways you can do that with your product demonstration.
One way to appeal to your prospective customer is through personalization. If you have an in-person one-on-one demo, the sales team should focus the presentation around the pain points that a specific decision maker might be facing. Pain points are an even stronger area to focus on than upside because, according to loss aversion theory, the pain of losing is psychologically twice as impactful as the joy of gaining. Focus on how your service can protect buyers from some of the issues closest to them.
If your product demo is recorded, personalization can still be achieved. Have your marketing team create buyer personas and ideal customer profiles to get a more in-depth sense of the exact type of consumer you are targeting. Tailor your recorded demo extremely specific to your target market. If that means recording multiple demonstrations, it is worth the investment to have a more personalized marketing outreach.
The impact of personalization is worth some of the additional time and costs because it builds a better relationship with your customers. According to data from Hubspot, 99% of marketers say personalization helps advance customer relationships, with 78% claiming it has a strong or extremely strong impact.
In terms of structuring your product demo, keeping it short will help intrigue the potential buyer. According to Gong.io, top sales reps keep their demonstrations to 9 minutes, so their presentation is punchier and more impactful. It also gives customers the chance to ask questions of the sales representative, which is extremely important. The same report by Gong.io details that the most successful sales reps get 28% more questions from prospective buyers.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to be creative. Utilize a variety of different media, even in an in-person meeting. According to consensus, product demo videos dramatically increase conversions up to 85%. Utilizing animation explainer content and other forms can lead to stunning software demonstrations that leave a lasting impression. Branch off from the typical PowerPoint; your customer will thank you for it.
What to Avoid in Your Demo
There are some common pitfalls that sales teams fall into during their product demonstrations. Avoiding making these mistakes will lead to a smoother, more polished demo that maximizes the time of both the presenter and the prospective buyer.
One surprising thing you should steer away from in your presentation is trying to prove ROI. Many presenters spend ample time on this, and it does make sense to try and exhibit your value to the prospective customer in clear terms. However, according to Gong.io, attempting to prove ROI correlates to a 27% drop in the likelihood of closing a deal. This is because definitively proving an actual return is difficult, and customers will question your assumptions and feel doubt—instead, present successful customer stories as case studies that showcase the same messages in real-world situations.
However, be careful with this as well. Social proof is a valuable way of highlighting the current customer successes you have, but it can also alienate some prospective buyers. According to the same data from Gong.io, people who use social proof in their calls have a 22% lower close rate. And this isn’t because showcasing examples of happy customers is a bad idea; it is because the social proof techniques salespeople use can be lacking.
When spotlighting your company’s success stories, knowing your audience helps. Personalization is always important, and in these situations, knowing who you’re targeting is a must. For example, in product demos for B2B companies, salespeople tend to spotlight the biggest name clients they’ve worked with. But it is much better to highlight the brands most similar to the one you are selling to in terms of size and industry to make them feel like the fit is right for them.
Critical Takeaways Before You Begin Your Sales Demo Process
A lot of planning should go into an effective product demo before you launch this strategy. Every business will have to go about this process differently depending on their software and the client base they are trying to target. However, we've talked over several guiding principles that should shape how you develop this process.
For starters, focusing on a personalized presentation is vital. Tailor your pitch to your buyer’s unique pain points and show how your software can alleviate these pain points with a personalized product demo. Be creative in the style of your presentation, and use multimedia to leave a lasting impression.
Product demos are a valuable tool that can help SaaS companies achieve high-level business goals. Begin your process with these takeaways in mind, and your product demonstrations are sure to be an essential sales solution that drives big results.