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What is the best way to prepare and present a demo to a potential B2B client?

assume customer wants to see: a roadmap for the startup, how the website works, and how it will be valuable for the client. It sounds like a sales pitch. The time slot for this demo is one hour. I am interested in ways to prepare for these requests along and how to organize the presentation/demo from start to finish.

15 Replies

Ed Jeffers
1
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Ed Jeffers Entrepreneur
MD at EDGE +
Go right to the source http://guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule/ Watch his video on you tube and you will be alright. Guy is the master. Ed Jeffers Regards, Ed Jeffers 0404 835 176
Peter Johnston
7
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Peter Johnston Advisor
Businesses are composed of pixels, bytes & atoms. All 3 change constantly. I make that change +ve.
This is an old fashioned methodology designed for the days when travelling to the client was expensive and the only pre-work you could do was a brochure. Think again.

They always say that the best work in a meeting is done outside the room. The meeting itself is only where you ratify the deals done elsewhere. Adopt this as your strategy. And use the modern methods.

You have multiple people at your client, all with different needs, concerns and goals. Identify them. Use the forthcoming meeting as a chance to find out what each one wants from the meeting, and from your product. Send them links, useful background reading, ideas etc. and get their feedback to agree what it can do for them. Get them on side as your evangelist in the meeting.

Pre-send the demo - which should include a video, an interactive "you do this, then this" and an FAQ list. Encourage them to add their own questions in advance - promise you will answer at the meeting. Who cares how the website works - if it matters it should have been well enough designed that how it works is obvious.
People buy "people like them". Way beyond the facts, they want to see how this stuff plays out in real life. So show them how it works in practice with real clients - if you haven't got any, then show them your customer research, your target sectors and Use cases for each.
Work out some financials too - how do clients get ROI, how quickly and how safely.
Then minimise risk - show why it is a safe option.
Cover competitors. Don't pretend they don't exist. Create a tickbox chart, a financial costs and returns, a problems solved comparison and a Gartner segment (it doesn't actually have to be from Gartner).

All in advance.

Now when you get to the meeting it can be all about action. What are the next steps, how do we work together. Build momentum up to the commitment.

Now this is the client strategy.

For investors, there is one addition. What's in it for them. Show how the deal progresses - seed to A to B. Show how they make returns at each stage. Justify your valuation. Make your equity for cash pitch. And show them the team, progression planning, resilience built in (what happens if someone leaves).
Lonnie Sciambi
1
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Lonnie Sciambi Advisor
"The Entrepreneur's Yoda"- inspiring, guiding entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams - CEO Mentor/Advisor, Author/Speaker
Javier,

Great advice from Peter, especially about "outside the room.". It's all about preparation. Let me add some thoughts.

Before you start, know your audience, who will be in room, their backgrounds, etc. Do in-depth searches on each and the company. Make the meeting about them, not about you or your product. Spend a lion's share of the meeting understanding their unique requirements, issues and problems. As Peter, suggested, if you can get these ahead of time, you can prepare a pitch that is totally about meeting those unique requirements, issues and problems, head on.with your solution.

Finally, don't try to do too much. No "drinks from a fire hose." They don't need to know everything about your solution; initially, only what's relevant. If your solution fits, you'll be back. Remember, selling is about creating relationships. You don't propose on the first date!

Hope this helps.
Lonnie
Karl Schulmeisters
1
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Karl Schulmeisters Entrepreneur
CTO ClearRoadmap

I'm not so sure it is such great advice. If they are asking what the benefits to the client are - they are unlikely to invest a lot of time in running the demo and often a stock demo will lead to a misunderstanding of the value proposition.

I agree about finding out who the persons in the meeting are going to be and what their needs are, as well as others whom they work with (nothing sells better than a solution that can help them help a co-worker making them look good).

but I'd be careful about the "roadmap for the company" - if they are a customer, it means they are concerned about your long term viability. OTOH if they are an investor, then your value prop needs to be generalized to the market


Peter Johnston
1
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Peter Johnston Advisor
Businesses are composed of pixels, bytes & atoms. All 3 change constantly. I make that change +ve.
There are different stages of demo, Karl.
The bespoke demo uses the client's own data and is designed to show exactly how good the fit is between client and your company. It should lead to a strong discussion on who is responsible for what, whether a pilot is required etc.and be the final stage before the documents are signed. But to get there you have to go through the arms and legs demo first - the one which uses your data and shows that you have something to offer - enough for them to give you the data to do the bespoke.

We're a long way from that here. We're basically at first sales pitch. The binary isn't between bespoke and stock demo, it is between salespitch and demo. The more you can do through connecting with the employees you've been given access to, the better the fit which can be demonstrated. And you never know, it could even happen that one of the people you talk to says - come and talk to us and we'll give you some of our data so we can do something more useful to us.

Now that's a buying signal.
Javier Solorzano
0
0
Javier Solorzano Entrepreneur
Founder at Elektet
This is all great advice! I appreciate the responses.

Peter, your advice to pre-send the demo makes a lot sense. If I were the client, I would want to have a strong understanding of what I am about to get myself into. I imagine the actual meeting should be mostly about filling in the gaps in the client's mind about anything that was sent.

Lonnie, your point about not trying to do too much is great advice. It is easy to start talking about every single feature of the service or product without realizing it until the client starts to fall asleep. It is supposed to be about them and only focus on key features that bring value to them.

Karl, I understand your concern about the roadmap and it is something to keep in mind. I'm wondering if it is possible that they want to understand how soon they can start to do business with you, especially if your website is in beta mode.

A huge question for all of you is: how long should the demo be if you are given an hour? A follow up question to that is: what information should be presented in order? I imagine starting the meeting off with the demo of the website and give them and example of how a user would use it. In that process, show the features that matter the most and add the benefit and advantage. Once the demo is complete, put up a quick slide showing a roll out plan for the web site. Then, conclude with a Q&A session.

Any thoughts?
Ed Jeffers
1
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Ed Jeffers Entrepreneur
MD at EDGE +
You have 13 seconds to get their attention, 13 minutes to hold their attention and don`t tell them more than you have to. Ask open ended questions to start or better yet submit them before the meeting and ask for the answers and then stick to those issues specifically and do not offer up any more unless asked. Remember with those number the audience retention rate is around 30% if its not Friday afternoon. So make the point and sit down, they will take care of the rest and avoid feature dumps at all cost. Last and by far not least, do your homework know who is in the room and think about how you can affect their personal wins. Good luck! Regards, Ed Jeffers 0404 835 176
Javier Solorzano
0
0
Javier Solorzano Entrepreneur
Founder at Elektet
Great feedback Ed! Stick to the value the service is creating for the client and reiterate that in those 13 minutes. Better yet, show them with the live demo.
Rob Gropper
1
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Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
Javier;

you are getting some very solid advice here from what appear to be experienced sales people. without knowing what you are selling and to whom it's tough to offer more than generalizations. This isn't something you will master overnight and your process will likely change over time. A few clarifications/additions/tactics:

1. if you truly have just 60 minutes in front of these people then your 'demo' time will likely be around 40 minutes or less depending on how you elect to handle questions and objections: address them as they come up OR acknowledge them, write them down and cover them all at one time at the end. Demo time is also affected by how much upfront work you have done prior to the demo.

2. Bring at least 1 other person along with you to the demo and preferably on your 'needs analysis' meetings/skype calls as well. Try not to have more people in the room than your prospect does. When you are in the middle of a demo there are simply too many balls in the air at one time for one person to juggle. Even if the person you bring along knows little about your product they can still relieve you of important tasks so you can focus on more important tasks. This person can:
A) keep track of time
B) capture questions and responses - write them down and who asked and make sure they are answered even if the answer comes after the demo - can be a good opportunity for more face time in a follow up meeting/skype call.
C) monitor audience feedback (you want to know who is jotting notes, who is scowling or shaking their head, who is not paying attention, who is smiling, who appears to be the leader in the groups,, etc.
D) a second set of ears regarding questions and objections to be sure you understand them. When you are in a demo you are often too focused on YOUR message and often don't/can't hear the real essence of a question or objection. questions and objections tell you a TON so it is vital that you soak up every detail.
** i can't over emphasize how important a second or third set of eyes and ears is.

3. when you get questions and objections make absolutely sure that you understand the question/objection. Never hurts to bounce the question back to the person in your own words to be sure you are on the same page before you answer. Objection handling is an art to it's own, but the basics are:
A. be sure you understand what the REAL objection is in addition to the expressed objection - they are often 2 different things.
B. Don't argue or get defensive.
C. if you don't have a good answer right there then acknowledge the objection and offer to address it in detail one-on-one if you can.
D. Understand that often times an objection is mealy an attempt for the person to show off in the meeting and/or to show that they are smarter than you. Developers (technical buyers) are famous for this in demos. Don't try to go toe-to-toe with them. Lots more on objection handling than we have time for here, but try to anticipate objections and formulate some answers before the demo. This is where a second and third set of eyes and ears in a meeting can be invaluable. If you have a champion already in the account then ask them who is likely to offer technical objections and financial objections and suggestions on how to handle them.

4. Buying influences: it is unlikely that just 1 person will make the buying decision. At the very least you will have a technical buyer (this person decides if your technology is compatible with their's, security, training, implementation support, etc.), an 'economic buyer' (who is focused on how your solution makes them money or saves them money), an executive sponsor (will make the recommendation to the ultimate decision maker(s) - they are the one who is spearheading the overall initiative if not running the eval process, and you will have one or more "user buyers" - super users or team leads who will implement and use your solution. They all have different needs and questions. be sure you understand each of them.
5. Champion: you can almost always find/build a champion in the account - someone who wants to see you win and who will help you win. If nothing else they can provide you will guidance and feedback as to process, influencers, pitfalls, status, etc. Put effort into building this relationship early and often and try to find/build 2 champions if you can.
6. don't rely on just one source for the answers to important questions.
7. demo tactics:
A. "tell em what you are going to show them, show them, tell them what you showed them": summary overview, mid-level details, a few low-level details, high-level wrap up summary, Q&A, next steps.
B. don't get lost in the weeds!
1. High level summary first so each person knows that you plan to show what they came to see. Before you drop down into lower details, ask the audience if there is any general subject that they want to see that you didn't cover in your "Here's what i'm going to show you" overview. This keeps the inevitable "what about this" questions to a minimum.
2. be selective in the details that you show. you don't need to show every function. Typically it is best to just point to a menu item and say "and here you can do this...". If something is of particular interest they will ask you for more detail.
3. People get lost in demos. use secondary visuals where you can to keep them on track - perhaps a whiteboard or secondary presentation page/screen that you can refer back to that "checks off" the important items as you go along: "ok, we said we were going to cover these 8 topics, we've finished these 3, now onto #4. any questions before we move on? ...."

8. Try to listen and ask questions as much or more than you talk. constantly elicit feedback - "how are we doing for time?" , " is this too much detail or not enough", "did that address your question?", "what do you think, does that solve the xyz problem that we have listed here on the white board?" (check it off so they have a visual that you addressed their issue), etc.
9. use open issues as an opportunity for more face time.
10. close for follow up: don't just leave the demo with 'ok, let us know'.
11. If you get solid buying signals then shut up and and stop demoing. focus on the transaction. If you don't get strong buying signals then probe for why and move for more 1 on 1 time or group time. If you are getting 'no' signals then probe for why right then - be professional about it. If you wait until you leave the room you won't get the detailed feedback that will help you overcome the objections or win the next deal.
In about 5-6 years of doing this every week you will have it nailed. In the mean time you can reference "Strategic Selling by Miller and Hayman (sp?)". Good luck, let us know how it goes.
Javier Solorzano
0
0
Javier Solorzano Entrepreneur
Founder at Elektet
Rob, thank you very much for taking the time to go into the details. This is great! A huge takeaway from what you have suggested and others is to make it about the customer, keep it simple, short, and clearly explain the value. Thank you for the support and I will be incorporating everyone's suggestions into my demo and hope for the best. I will post an update after the demo.
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