webinar-sales-demo-disasters-mike-weinbergWebinars and demos are ubiquitous today, particularly in the high-tech sales world. Typically, tons of work goes into preparing and delivering a webinar or demo call with a customer -- and it shows.  

Unfortunately, what also shows is that the very same sins and bad habits from low-tech, old-school presentations have made their way into today’s online presentations.

Over the last few months I’ve been working with a number of high tech companies and have had the chance to observe more not-so-compelling webinar/demos than I’d care to. As a result, I see four key areas where there's significant room for sales reps to improve the power and effectiveness of these sessions.

Most sales webinars and demos …

  1. Are too long.
  2. Move too slowly.
  3. Aren’t visually interesting.
  4. Feel too much like a product pitch.

1)  Cut them down by 15-25%.

Spend less time presenting and more time discussing with your customer. How do I know what the right length is? Think about how long you can sit through a demo before your mind wanders and you open a new tab on your browser to surf Twitter … Your customer probably feels the same way.  

2)  Employ more slides.

What!? But you just said … I know, I know. It sounds counterintuitive but I’ve found that most webinars are actually sorely lacking in slides. What they need is less text.  Take that dense, text-laden slide you’ve been taking five minutes to walk through and split it into five slides with captivating images and pithy questions. You want more slides that move faster.

Not to be Captain Obvious here but your customer can’t see you through the phone. All they have to go on is the words you use, the tone of your voice, and the pictures in the slides. Use more captivating images and tell more stories (such as case studies).    

3)  Know your prospect’s situation.

Use this knowledge to create a slide that recaps your understanding of the customer’s top challenges/issues/pain points -- and present it very early on in the webinar. Doing so offers two immediate benefits:

  1. It enables you to tailor the focus of the presentation and optimize its relevance to the customer (Remember, your focus is always on what’s is interesting and important to them).
  2. It changes the way you're perceived. Once you put that slide up, your customer now sees you as working with them instead of pitching to them. It also creates a dialogue by asking your customer ...

    • “Would you rank these for us?”  
    • “Do we have them right?”
    • “Are we missing anything?”    

These three tactics can dramatically improve your sales webinars and demos. 

What other suggestions do you have for successful webinars/demo calls? Let us know in the comments!


Originally published Apr 9, 2014 10:53:00 AM, updated July 28 2017


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