Presales

Avoid "feature dumping" on your demos

Avoid "feature dumping" on your demos
Larson Stair
Easy ways to segment your demos so you're not "feature dumping" when showing the platform to your prospect.

I have performed thousands of demos over my career.

But I have only witnessed hundreds performed by other reps.

In watching those demos I have realized a common mistake that I'm almost certainly guilty of.

Feature dumping.

It's the circumstance where a rep will walk through their platform and show them feature, after feature, after feature, after feature and ultimately never ask any strategic questions or point out the value of said feature. It happens with reps of all kinds but it becomes easier to avoid when you're tenured at a company. You know your way around the product and probably messed up the pitch more than a few times.

For newer reps...

It can be an instant fall back, especially immediately after going through a few weeks of product training. You're super anxious to get into the field and start selling.

Obviously this is a generalization. I'm sure you've never done this and are spittin' straight value all day.

On the off chance that you're curious how to "fool proof" your demo style to make room for more strategic questions and value statements. Follow me this way!

I want you to think of your demo as a story that has many chapters.

There is plenty to say about the Introduction and Ending of a demo. I'll be sure to write a few articles about those chapters.

I want to focus on the middle. Typically the meat of a demo. The part that prospects want to see. Your actual platform.

As oppose to pulling open a web browser and walking them through your platform, feature by feature, I want to propose a different strategy.

The "Tell-Show-Tell" sandwich

This principle was explained to me incredibly simple the first go-around: 

  • Tell you what I'm about to show you
  • Show you what I said I'd show you
  • Tell you what I just showed you.

More elegantly said... It's broken up into three parts.

The Set-Up (Tell): 
  • I typically like to utilize a slide or two here. I'll explain at a high level what this feature is and it's value. This is also a great time to pause and ask questions and confirm the use-case before showing them live.
  • For me, having a slide here reminds me to ask these types of questions (or I'll just prep slide specific questions ahead of time in Demoflow).
Live platform (Show): 
  • Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. You should focus on demonstrating the simplicity of the platform and demonstrating strategic parts of the platform. Remember, this isn't an onboarding and they don't need to know every single part of the feature.
  • It's important to remain disciplined here and not go astray and showcase other parts of the platform. If there are immediate tangents that need to be addressed, pull in an asset for that feature and repeat the Tell-Show-Tell process.
Value Statements (Tell): 
  • This is a really important part. This is what your prospect will remember and likely write down in their notes. Make sure your statements are concise and powerful.
  • My recommendation would be to keep it to three points and make sure they are high level, outcome statements.

Many professionals within the SaaS world seem to view slide decks in a negative light. If we're talking the old school way of presenting a deck, then I absolutely hold that sentiment.

I'm talking about the decks that drone on about the company, founders, product story, etc. Prospects don't really care about that. Plus, it's traditionally been presented in a binary fashion.

First half: Slide deck

Second half: Platform overview

If I were a prospect on the receiving end, I'd probably tell my rep to "lets move past this and get to the platform".

Here's my proposal

Let's change the way that slide decks are utilized.

Let's move away from this outdating binary way of conducting product demos.

Let's keep our prospects engaged during the demo and present the platform in an easily digestible fashion. One in which prospects leave with a few value statements and a general feeling of "I can see myself using that".

Let's win more deals.

Larson

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