The Web Based Demo: Proceed With Caution
There are very compelling productivity gains by demonstrating your offering over the web. Reps don't have to visit each and every potential buyer in person. Thus, more time can be spent focusing on filling the pipeline with additional opportunities, and more time on high value opportunities where face-to-face meetings could bring the most benefit.
Sound great? It does for most, but for sales that require a consultative process, here are a few words of caution when using these systems for online demos.
- Consultative selling requires that the Rep get to the root of the problems and needs before presenting a solution. It is tempting to lead with an online demo. In fact, many potential buyers expect it. However, when the Rep performs the demo too soon, they have no understanding of the problems or goals of the prospect, since no meaningful discussion took place before the meeting. With no understanding of those specific problems or goals, it is unlikely that the online demo will address these “top-of-mind’ issues that will make or break a sale. In addition, the prospect has no vision of the offering for their organization,and the Rep has no understanding of the value the prospect sees (or doesn’t see) in the offerings. With no agreement as to how your offering can help, it is unlikely the Rep will win the business.
- Online demos, by their very nature, tend to focus on features and functions. The Rep is moving through a potential minefield at this point without knowing the background on the organization he is trying to sell to. The prospect may view a capability as not needed, not user friendly, etc. and raise objections. Your prospect may conclude, "This is not for us.", and will immediately disengage. Once this occurs, it is extremely difficult to reestablish dialogue with a prospect who has already concluded you can't help them. Even if this doesn't happen, the prospect may still see that parts of your product has value, but sees other features as of no interest at all. When the time comes to negotiate, the prospect will want changes to the system to remove those unnecessary features or demand a discount.
If you are using an online demo in your sales process and typically perform this as the very first step in your process, try adding a needs analysis step first and let me know how it goes for you.