How to Create Product Demos That Sell Better

Win Risner
6 min read
Sep 5, 2018
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Product demo that sells

Recording or hosting live product demos are a great way for inbound sales teams to better connect with customers. No matter what you sell, the product demo can move a lead along by showing the range of features and benefits in one comprehensive experience.

A demo isn’t necessarily an opportunity to close deals, but rather a way to move a prospect toward purchase by giving them a real-life experience with your product. Think of it as the connection between initial interest and intent to buy.

Here are the most common types of demos, with a few SaaS examples.

Types of product demos

There are two main types of demos: a pre-recorded and produced demo video, or a live demo with either one or many customers (through a video chat, call, or webinar).

The first allows you to create the video once, and share it at any time, such as during support conversations, emails to prospects, or in paid advertising.

The second offers a more personal experience that can be tailored to that specific customer or customers’ situation.

Here are some inbound sales tips on how to approach each one, and what they can do for your business.

Recording a product demo

When you’re creating a demo video, it can vary in length and depth of information. Maybe you want a brief overview that’s only a minute long, or maybe you want a complete review of your product and what it can do.

If you’re creating a video that can be used in paid campaigns, you’ll want to know any relevant specifications before you get started. That way, you can create alternate versions from the beginning.

No matter which style you choose, you’ll want to include:

60-second overviews

The first common demo video style is the, “(Product name) in under 60 seconds” approach. In this version, the pace is quick, and the music and copy are more attention-getting. You won’t get a deep dive into the product, but you will get enough of an overview to learn more, or start a trial.

This type of demo can be used earlier in the sales cycle, where your customer is just starting their research or comparing similar products.

Longer demo videos

This example from Asana starts with an engaging introduction: “The way we’re used to working isn’t working.” The video quickly gets into how Asana can address this challenge, taking you through the platform from setup to reporting.

To follow this example, start your demo video with a customer pain point, and then show how your product or service can help.

At just over eight minutes, this example falls on the longer side, and requires some focused attention. For that reason, we’d recommend this type of demo video for customers closer to converting, or even once they’ve started a trial and want the in-depth information.

The short-but-effective version

For our own Hubstaff demo video, we opted for a balance: brief but explanatory. In this version, you can keep the tone energetic and exciting while still covering some of the main features you offer.

The key is to show example screens so it’s clear what you’ll get, but keep it to under a few minutes to hold your prospect’s attention.

Tools for creating recorded demos:

Schedule live group or personal demos

Live demos require more time because you’ll have to contact, schedule, host and follow-up on each one, but they can pay off in big ways.

If a prospect is interested in a 1-on-1 demo, they’re likely further along in the sales process and deserve more of your attention.

The live demo gives them a chance to ask specific questions, see the product in action, and kick off their trial or purchase with a better understanding of how to use it.

The more your customers use your product to the fullest during a trial, the more likely they are to keep using it once the trial ends.

Your live demo can be as short as 15 minutes, with the option to extend for questions at the end.

It’s always a good idea to have FAQs on hand in case you get to the end and your guest doesn’t have anything to ask. In group settings, you can have guests send questions over chat as you go through the demo.

Time-saving tools for live demos:

Pro tip: Record live demos so you can send them to guests who weren’t able to attend, or use them as your recorded demo in the future.

How do you get customer demos?

It sounds silly, but you’ll never know how necessary demos are until you start offering them to your customers.

At every phase of the sales process, there’s an opportunity to check-in and offer assistance as needed. Start by considering the places where your customers often reach out the most. That’s where demos can help.

Live chat for new visitors

You can partially automate the demo process by placing a chat window on your site. Offer a demo to highly qualified leads or customers who ask many questions in a row.

Emails for onboarding

As mentioned above, demos can be used during trial periods to onboard new customers. Add your demo video or a call-to-action around booking a time for a demo to any relevant email.

Here’s an example from our customer success team:

Hubstaff onboarding email

Time-saving tools for getting demos:

The most important part: following up

The success of your efforts rests on one very critical step: contacting your potential customers after the demo.

Plan to call, email, or message each person you talk to during a demo. It’s likely they’ve thought of more questions since you connected, or want to get started soon after you address their concerns.

Ideally, you’d send a message right after the demo, or within a couple of days while your conversation is still top-of-mind.

Measuring for success

Finally, make sure to review the impact of your demos. Is this helping to lead more prospects to a trial or sale? How can you improve the experience overall?

Using CRM platforms, tracking, and simply asking for feedback can give you a sense of how your demo program is doing and where you can evolve it over time.

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