Web conferencing has unearthed an entirely new world of sales opportunities for software demos. Before the onset of webinars, business owners promoting any type of product often had to rely on an in-person appointment to ensure consumers had an authentic product experience. This proved especially true for software products. Technology consumers often required a live, hands-on immersion into the application in order to gain a genuine understanding about capability and functionality as well as how it could enhance their internal operations.
Fortunately, video conferencing has completely changed the promotional blueprint for software demos. An authentic product experience is still paramount to closing the deal. However, sales executives no longer have to waste invaluable time, money, and resources traveling back and forth from client sites to endorse a particular product or product line. Instead, account reps can simply schedule a user-friendly, intuitive webinar to effectively and efficiently grant prospective and current clients alike a realistic user experience in a virtual environment.
Online Software Demos: Create A Webinar That Delivers Maximum Audience Impact
While online software demos offer a host of undeniable advantages, it’s important to remember that it is still, at its core, a product pitch and will require some of the same selling techniques utilized in successful face-to-face engagements. However, unlike in-person meetings, using webinars for software demos brings the added nuance of not being in the same room as your audience.
In order to successfully combat distraction (and potential boredom), it’s critical to go into your conference prepared with proven best practices that both command attention and pique listener interest. Following a few simple tips can ensure you incorporate strategic webinar tactics for hosting software demos that yield maximum audience impact and, most importantly, help you close the deal.
Know Your Client
A successful pitch means performing all necessary client due diligence before everyone logs onto the session. In short, do your homework. Familiarize yourself with key details such as what the organization does, specific software needs, existing program applications, and how your product can solve an existing problem (or problems) they consistently encounter. Current client information is vital; however, you should also find out details about the organization’s expected growth objectives and anticipated trajectory. These facts will help you develop a webinar that addresses how your product offers a solution for present requirements as well as identifies how it evolves with them as their broaden their corporate scope.
Customize Your Presentation
You may be able to use a standardized template for in-person presentations (although, you probably shouldn’t). However, webinars eliminate the opportunity for eye contact, body language and other personal touches, making client-centric software demos are a must. Up your game by creating a one-of-a-kind, customized webinar experience for your audience. Use all the information garnered during your research phase to create a distinctive session that truly resonates with them as an organization.
Get To The Point
Saving time is a major webinar benefit, both to you and your client. No travel hours required – Users simply log in from the comfort of their own office. Don’t squander an opportunity to show your audience that you value their busy schedules by taking the long road to the big picture. Your prospect has probably already done their homework on you and your company and already knows enough about what you have to offer; kicking things off with extended introductions and long-winded company credentials/accolades will only bore (and possibly frustrate) them. Make the intro brief and delve into your message as soon as possible.
Dodge The Data Dump
You will also want to keep things concise with the actual software demo as well. Yes, it’s tempting to show your captive audience everything your product does. But how much of it will they actually find relevant? Wasting time with bells and whistles they can’t apply to their internal operations immediately can feel off-putting to your listeners. Plus, droning on about irrelevant functionality makes it seem like you’re out of touch with their specific needs. Avoid the product data dump at all costs. Instead, focus on the features that offer a solution to their existing problems. This instantly lends value and credibility to the session, proves you understand their needs, and demonstrates how much you value their time.
Show Don’t Tell
Once you’ve pinpointed relevant product features and capabilities, create a presentation that allows you to show your audience how they work, rather than simply telling listeners about it. Online software demos offer you the ability to connect with your attendees on an audio and a visual level; it’s important to tap into both for an optimal sensory experience that informs and captivates your crowd. Rather than simply listing product features, create a compelling story with your slide deck that clearly:
- Identifies your clients’ biggest obstacles
- Illustrates the significant impact of these issues
- Explains how your software delivers an ideal solution
Highlighting scenarios where your product provides value in their day-to-day routines has a more significant affect then simply listing its benefits.
Discuss Key Differentiators
Also, when developing your narrative, you should always showcase your software’s unique selling points. Chances are, you aren’t the only option available to consumers. What makes your product stand out from the competition? What do you offer that others don’t? Your slide deck should illustrate your biggest differentiators for enhanced audience influence.
One critical factor that you should always highlight? Your company’s ability to offer remote support. Remind your customer that webinars aren’t just for sales demos. You can also utilize video conferencing for staff training on your products after a purchase has been made.
Additionally, you should also reinforce your ability to use webinar hosting anytime there’s a functionality enhancement or system update so their team receives the support they need to perform their jobs as effectively as possible at all times. This helps sets your business apart from the competition as a company who values convenience, affordability, and efficiency. It also allows your clients to view your organization as a long-term partner who provides ease of use with all purchased products.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Yes, web conferencing eliminates any in-person sales presentation jitters. However, while a webinar may not be in-person, it’s still a live session. Additionally, you’re not just speaking about your product; you are actually incorporating a real-time demonstration into the webinar. Before your session you will want to rehearse three key features:
- Webinar services: Test the functionality of the webinar software you’ll be using
- Talking points: Create a clear list of agenda topics you aim to cover during your demo
- Software demo: Run through the demonstration you plan to perform during the webinar
Any glitches in your software demos will reflect poorly on your salesmanship as well as your product line itself. It can make your organization look incompetent as well as make your audience feel like they weren’t worth the time needed to iron out potential hiccups.
Practice each component in advance to ensure a seamless execution when you go live. Work with your internal team to smooth out any possible technical difficulties. Also, don’t underestimate the value of dry runs with your demo. Gather up colleagues and go through your entire demonstration from start to finish. Finally, always check in with your client before the session to understand their specific technology setups and determine if you can assist them with any logon questions/concerns before the webinar.
Adapt and Adjust
As a salesperson or marketer, you already know that there’s just no predicting where your sales session will go. Creating an outstanding client story and relevant demo is mandatory, but it doesn’t mean that your client will want to stick to the script throughout the duration of your meeting. In fact, chances are, they won’t…and that’s a good thing.
Don’t get frazzled and flustered if your clients try to change the direction of the meeting. Instead, adjust as needed to maintain the natural flow of the discussion. Allowing your audience to redirect the session shows your adaptability to change and acknowledges the customer is ultimately in charge. Also, their involvement in the presentation instantly makes it less of a monologue and more of an interactive exchange. Stay flexible during the webinar to encourage an extensive collaboration with the audience.
Allow For Questions
Even if your clients seem more than happy to let you lead them through the session without interruption, you should still make an effort to include them in the discussion as much as possible. Allow for spontaneous inquiries at any time. Also, consider using designated Q&A sessions throughout the demonstration to get the conversation going. Their questions can provide added insight into how your company can enhance its value in a professional partnership. More importantly, interaction enriches the attendees’ experience, increasing the odds that they will want to make a purchase from you.
Stick To The Facts
When using webinar tactics to highlight product solutions, it’s important to stick to the facts. Don’t over-promise with deliverables or embellish on capabilities. Also, if you don’t know an answer, say so. While you may not want to end your videoconference without answering every question, sometimes you may have to. Your webinar audience will appreciate your honesty and it can build trust in your relationship even after the demonstration has ended.
Close The Deal
No, it isn’t a face-to-face sales call, but it’s still a sales call. It’s always important to offer informational sessions to prospects, but your ultimate goal is always to close the deal. If the webinar has gone smoothly, and you feel like all questions have been answered, look for an opportunity to ask for the business. If you feel like the timing isn’t right, at least create a call-to-action at the end of the videoconference. Send follow up questions, setup a trial session, or ask to schedule the next webinar to keep things continuously moving towards the sale.
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