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Death To The Demo: Increase Customer Value

Customers hate the traditional sales process that many SaaS companies still rely on.

The process that do not increase value goes somehow like this:

  • The buyer researches solutions for a problem they currently have.
  • They go to the page of the product that solves the problem and try to get their hands on the software.
  • Only to find that they can’t.

In most cases the only option that is given to them, is “Request Demo”.

At this point many software buyers experience frustration. They then get round to speaking to a sales person, who gives them time to jump on an initial demo call.

The buyer at this point needs to coordinate with internal stakeholders so that everyone involved in the buying process can attend.

+1 on the frustration level.

The initial call comes around, and the buyer hopes for a quick walkthrough of the product, leading in turn to pricing and then having the option to buy.

What actually happens is usually a “qualification” call, where the sales rep makes sure the buyer is the right fit, before laying out the further 2-3 calls that are needed before they will be able to purchase.

+3,4,5 on the frustration scale.

You might be shaking your head and thinking “Our sales process is so much better than this”, but if you truly think through your process, are you letting the customer drive the sales process in the way that they want?

Or are you forcing them through a sales process defined by you?

The current way of selling is broken, and has been predicated on the traditional ways in which we have been told to sell.

Things are changing in the market and the world, with the latest stats showing that 60% of buyers are now millennials, buyers who are used to getting information when they want it and on their terms.

If non- millennial buyers are frustrated, you can imagine this being ratcheted with this new informed buyer type.

Companies have tried to solve this through things such as Product Led Growth.

Companies like Loom and others have increased the customer value where buyers can swipe a credit card and start using their product without ever having to talk to a human.

It’s a start.

However, for more complex products it’s not always the best option especially for complex software which requires input from multiple stakeholders, IT and Legal.

There needs to be some form of hand holding when it comes to the sales process.

That is why customer-led growth is the future.

Customer-led growth puts the buying process in the hands of the most important person… the potential customer!

Wouldn’t it be great if the customer could access the software before engaging with the sales team?

There is a shift happening in the market right now where forward thinking software vendors are reframing the sales process to be more customer centric, and I’m very bullish on this trend.

Imagine a buying experience where an organization can create fully custom, data populated demo environments that allow for customers to test your product in all its glory, inviting in key stakeholders, and ensuring that your tool is the perfect solution to their business needs.

To make this happen you have a few options…

Option 1: Get your dev team to build out new functionality to spit out product instances with data sets. This would be a project that would need to be owned by the Product team and it would be time consuming. Not to mention hard to prioritize given the existing product roadmap

Option 2: Consider using a self guided tour software. There’s currently a slew of vendors offering these types of capabilities but it’s not a true product integration and the software only allows the buyers to interact not play with the full product. That said, it’s a start in the right direction.

Option 3: Try a demo automation solution like TestBox, which builds integrations to software vendors, allowing buyers to test the full functionality of the product with dummy data. They also offer sales and marketing teams insights into the buyer behavior of these prospects.

Only then, after experiencing the tool can they request to speak to the sales team, in order to complete the purchase and/or have any additional questions answered.

On the sales team side, you have all the data from their “test” including what features they specifically cared about, and how much they have been inside the tool.

From the buyer’s side, it puts things on their terms, and they can move through the buying process at a cadence that is preferable for them.

From the seller’s side, you can increase the customer value, and are able to complete more demos without the need for numerous calls that add no real value, and turn off the buyer.

In the current economic climate, where every deal counts, buyers are likely to go with solutions that make it the easiest for them to purchase.

If you are still stuck in the traditional, slow, frustrating sales motion, it’s time to change.

It’s time for a customer-led sales experience.

You may think: Okay, deals are dead, I can follow these steps, but what buyers are the most concerned with when it comes to sales? Don’t say more, we have the answer for your question! – What buyers really care about?

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Olivier Labbé is a GTM leader with 20 years of experience with a focus on B2B SaaS. He currently runs GTM at TestBox. Over the years, Olivier has led revenue teams for early stage companies that have scaled significantly such as G2 & Metadata. He specializes in identifying product-market fit, monetization, building processes & workflows, automation, marketing & sales.

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