Do you want to close the deal?

I'm assuming your answer is a resounding, "Yes!"

The technical demo could make or break the success of the deal. It allows salespeople to establish value, buyers have the ability to voice questions and objections, and it should ultimately result in a technical win.

Ready to learn how to perfect your technical demo? Let's dive in.

Access a guide to creating winning sales presentations.

What's the purpose of a technical demo?

A technical demo should be scheduled after a general demo is given -- this provides an overview of the product and is used to pique the buyer's interest and get them excited about your offerings.

The technical demo is often presented to the buyer's technical team. They are performed when the deal is later in the pipeline. As a salesperson, it's important to remember that you're in control of the deal progression. If a buyer asks for a technical demo early in the process, let them know they're not ready yet.

In some cases, multiple technical demos are required. I wouldn't provide the same technical demo to three different engineers who have varied roles and requirements. Instead, I'd provide three separate demos that address each of their needs.

Strong technical demos have a clear goal set for the close -- and salespeople should close for the technical win.

A technical win is an admission by a potential buyer that your product or service is the best out of all options. The prospect should be able to tell you if your products and services are better than the competition and why they're the best. As a salesperson, your goal is to close for the technical win.

How to Structure a Technical Demo

Before launching into the technical demo, have conversations with the buyer about their business environment, current product use, and platforms they leverage. You need the buyer to provide that information during your calls so you can tie that information back into your demo.

I recommend asking a customer who recently closed, and who's similar to the buyer you're working with now, about their experience with the technical demo. Which parts of the demo did they love? Which sections were boring or unhelpful? The answers to these questions will help you identify what you should keep in your technical demo, and what you should avoid.

If you start the technical demo too fast, you'll end it too soon. And if the demo is too long, the buyer will lose interest. Let's say your actual demonstration is one hour long, the first 15 minutes should be spent establishing value and the presentation itself should be done between minutes 15 and 40. This leaves 20 minutes at the end which allows you to address any questions, concerns, or feedback.

During the demo, if the buyer asks, "I'm sorry, could you repeat that?", resist the temptation to provide a quick response and move on with the rest of the demonstration. Most people are conditioned to remain quiet during presentations. So, when they speak up, you should take notice.

Something you said triggered something for the person who asked the question. They might want additional clarification on a certain point, they're genuinely interested in what you're talking about, or they have an issue with what you just said. Take a moment to pause and understand their reasoning for asking. There's likely something important behind the question. By asking, "Why did you ask about X?" you'll understand where they're coming from and be able to address the root of their question or objection.

Technical Demo Tips

1. Know who's participating in the demo.

Before starting out your demo, know who will be on the demo and what they want to know about your product or service. This is especially important if there are multiple people from the buyer's company who will be participating.

In addition to researching their roles, you should understand exactly what they're looking for in the demo. There's a good chance that the people on that call or demo will want to hear specific technical information. Providing this information will increase the likelihood of a technical win.

2. Make sure the buyer is heard.

When you're talking the buyer through the demo, allow the customer to voice questions or objections. If they're quiet throughout the entire presentation, this is a bad sign. It means they're either not interested or they have objections that they aren't actively voicing that they might bring to the table during the negotiation stage of the deal.

3. Ensure the buyer is engaged in the demo.

Technical demos must be interactive -- this keeps the buyer engaged in your presentation and gives them a better understanding of your product. Salespeople can share your desktop or provide the buyer with a sandbox environment to test out the user interface of your product.

For example, let's say a salesperson is selling a CRM software. Before the demonstration, the salesperson provides a demo setup of the tools. During the technical demo, the buyer builds a custom report with the salesperson coaching them along the way. This would be an example of an interactive technical demo.

By giving the buyer hands-on experience, you're better able to communicate the value of the product, build rapport, and get them invested in the solution you're selling.

4. Understand the recommendation history of your audience.

Who's your champion? Identify which members of your technical demo audience will play a role in championing your solution, and understand their recommendation history.

  • When have they endorsed products or rejected them at the technical demo stage?
  • What are they looking for?
  • How much weight does their input have?

With general demos, salespeople will often see if a VP likes what they're offering, but the director isn't swayed, the salesperson is unlikely to get the technical win. However, during technical demos, the technical team sitting in on the demonstration often trusts the individual on their team that's the most opinionated, regardless of role or title.

You'll want to understand your audiences roles from an influence perspective. This way you can cater your presentation to their interests.

5. Communicate the importance of the technical demo.

Educate your technical demo hosts and communicate the importance of the technical demo. Encourage your champion to understand that without the technical win, you won't be moving forward with the deal.

Once you've completed a general demo and the technical demo, ask the buyer: "With every solution you've seen so far, is ours the best?"

If the answer is no, then the deal is done. The salesperson shouldn't give a proposal or provide a discount to move the deal forward. When the importance is properly communicated, you'll create a sense of urgency for the buyer. They'll determine if your product or solution is a priority for them, and if they want to move forward with the deal.

With a strong technical demo, you'll get the technical win from your buyer, which will lead to the sale. Learn more at Hoffman and for even more demo tips, check out the best sales decks next.

Sales Presentations

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Originally published Apr 24, 2019 7:30:00 AM, updated April 24 2019