October 10th, 2018 | by
6 min read

How many times have you run an awesome sales demo that didn’t close? They loved the product, everybody was super excited! But … no sale.

What happened??

Hey, everyone! I’m Monica Stewart from Skaled: A modern sales-consulting firm that helps increase the efficiency and effectiveness of sales organizations through the use of sales technology.

Welcome to another Whiteboard Wednesday video! Today, I’m going to show you how to run demos that convert into closed deals.

Here are the five stages of a good demo. Read on or watch and see what to do at each stage of the demo:

  1. Set an agenda for the demo
  2. Recap the prospect’s goals
  3. Introduce your company as a problem-solver
  4. Demo your product
  5. Recap the call and set next steps

Let’s dive in!


Step 1: Set an agenda for the demo

So, you’ve got the meeting. What’s the first thing that you want to do?

Set the agenda. This is really important, because there might be people on the call that haven’t talked to you before. They might not know why they’re there, and they kinda want to know what’s going to happen on this meeting that they have been asked to show up to. They might have questions, they want to see the product.

The very first thing that you want to do is tee up what the meeting is about:

[VIDEO] Whiteboard Wednesday: 5 Steps to a Killer Sales Demo

  • What you’re going to cover that day
  • Who you are
  • When things are going to happen
  • When they’re going to be able to ask questions
  • What they can expect coming out of the meeting

PRO TIP: DON’T skip the agenda

I know it can be really tempting to jump right into the product and show people what you know they want to see.

But if you skip this part, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice by taking control of the conversation – and making sure everybody gets what they need out of the call.

Read More: Software Sales Demo Tips

Step 2: Recap the prospect’s goals

It’s still not the demo yet! Now, you’ll want to re-cap their objectives.

[VIDEO] Whiteboard Wednesday: 5 Steps to a Killer Sales Demo

At this point, you already done a great discovery call, so you have a lot of information about this company: How you’re going to be able to help them, and what’s important to them.

Make sure that they know that. Bring it front and center on the call, and make it really specific.

So go back to your notes, write down some bullet points. Note:

  1. Pick three to five key objectives that they really care about.
  2. Use their language wherever you can, such as industry-specific terms that they use, or any little acronyms that you’ve picked up.
  3. Involve everybody in the conversation, and mention them by name.

There might be people in the room that have been invited into the meeting, but you haven’t talked to yet. Make sure to mention them by name if you can. If they’ve talked to you about some of the things that you’re re-capping, make sure to give them credit for it.

For example: “As Kevin was telling me yesterday, this is a big priority for you guys, going into 2019.”


Just make sure that everybody is engaged.

PRO TIP: DON’T talk about your product yet.

At this point, we’re just keeping it about their needs, and how you’re going to help them.

Read it: What You Can Do TODAY to Build Sales Pipeline for This Quarter

Step 3: Introduce your company as a problem-solver

The next thing you are going do is frame the conversation around what you do as a company. Introduce your world view.

Again, this is not exactly about your product; it’s about the problems that your company was built to solve. This has three parts:

  • Tell a story that shows why they should care about your solution: At this stage, you should be developing a story about why they should care. Start by speaking to a common issue that you know is probably top of mind for them. You’ll know this from talking to them and doing a lot of research about their industry.
  • Start to describe the bigger implications of this problem. What is this going to mean for them, and what are the costs of doing nothing? Right?
  • Explain … briefly: You’re not talking much about your product yet. Just briefly explain how you’re going to be able to help them overcome their challenges, and how they can succeed in the new world that will be created by that problem.

DON’T try to wow them – and don’t get into details

Don’t try to wow them. This is not a time to talk about your funding, or how smart your founders are, or even details about the future of your product. Again, we’re still keeping it really focused on them, and on what they think about in their business every day.

Read it: 9 B2B Closing Techniques from Our Top Closers

Step 4: Demo your product

Now that we’ve set up a really great foundation, we’re going to demo the product.

[VIDEO] Whiteboard Wednesday: 5 Steps to a Killer Sales DemoThis should be really easy, now that you’ve teed up all of this other stuff. All you have to do at this stage is just show exactly how your product is going to help them. You don’t have to show the whole system. Just focus on the features that you know will solve their challenges.

If you can, highlight use cases from relevant companies – maybe including their competitors, just to really drive the point home and make it very specific.

Keep the demo short. You should be able to do all of this in under 30 minutes.

PRO TIP: DON’T demo your whole product

Oh, hey … Do YOU want a demo?

Don’t show them how your product works. I know that that sounds a little counterintuitive – because what else is a demo for, right? But you just want to keep it super-focused on the things that you know that they care about.

Never show them your whole system. If you get to the end of the demo and you find yourself saying something like, “Well, that’s all I have to show you guys today.”

…You’ve shown too much.

Stay out of the weeds. If you get a lot of specific questions, technical questions about integrations, how your API works, things like that – that isn’t relevant to everybody on the call. You’ll want to address specific questions, but take it offline.

Keep it super high level and focused on the challenges that you know are relevant to everybody.

Step 5: Recap the call and set next steps

[VIDEO] Whiteboard Wednesday: 5 Steps to a Killer Sales DemoTo wrap up the call, we’re going to recap again. Only this time, we’re going to recap and confirm our next steps. This is a really important thing you can do for yourself, to make sure that this deal is moving forward.

Now that we’ve gone through all of these steps on the stairway to a successful demo: We’ve shown them why they should care about the product. We’ve talked about the challenges that are important to them. And we’ve them exactly how we’re going to help them solve those challenges.

Now it’s time to summarize everything that we just talked about.

You’ve probably covered a ton of the information in the last 45 minutes; now reframe this in terms that they’ll understand:

For example: “So, we’ve just gone over how we can help you do X, Y, and Z with these parts of our system. As we’ve discussed, this will help you achieve X objective, going into the next year. And X is what you will be able to accomplish as a result of that.”

Finally: Set next steps

Once you’ve got agreement on that, set the next steps.

It can be so tempting to just roll with the momentum! Everybody is really excited by what they’ve just seen, and you want to get off the call in a high note.

… But that’s a really great way to let people go dark on you. Also, people don’t know how to buy.

So let them know exactly what needs to happen next. Don’t skip this step, because you’re actually not helping yourself, and you’re not helping your prospects.

Let them know what needs to happen at this stage. In order for them to move forward with the contract, based on what you’ve typically seen with other customers. And then make sure that you understand from them, what information they’re going to need from you in order to move things forward on their side. And set that next meeting.

Read it: What 15k Demos Per Year Taught Us About Converting Inbound Sales Leads

All right, a recap of the takeaways here:

  1. Demos don’t close deals, conversations do
  2. Keep the focus on the prospect (not your product)
  3. Tell a story
  4. Recap, recap, recap
  5. Never leave a meeting without setting next steps

Thanks for joining us on another Whiteboard Wednesday! This is Monica with Skaled, we’re super excited to be a partner of DiscoverOrg. Learn more about Skaled on our website or follow us on social media.

I’m really excited to put this content out for you guys. Please subscribe to DiscoverOrg’s Youtube channel, follow them on social media – tell us in the comments what you think! What’s been working for you, what questions do you have?

We love to hear from you! Stay tuned for more great content.


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Charity Heller
About the author

Charity Heller

Content Strategist, DiscoverOrg

Charity Heller, DiscoverOrg's content strategy manager, has been developing, composing, and editing content since age 2. Before her dive into content marketing, she founded and operated a book-editing company for 10 years. Charity has a B.A. in English literature, Professional Editing Certification from U.C. Berkeley, and she's a certified Project Manager.