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Binge-Demoing: A Guide to Explaining Complex Concepts with a Demo Storytelling

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In today's fast-paced digital age, the way we consume content has drastically evolved. For example, we've witnessed a major shift in the entertainment industry from movies to TV series. One of the reasons for this shift is the ability of TV series to dive deeper into characters and plots, making the viewing experience more immersive, engaging, and memorable. 

Similarly, the shift towards storytelling in B2B product demos is changing the way we showcase and sell software. Now it's not just about showcasing features and functions or “how to use the product” demos anymore! 

This is where the storytelling approach comes in. By creating a narrative around your product, you can give your audience a deeper understanding of how it can solve their pain points and improve their business processes. This approach can be particularly effective when demonstrating complex concepts, as it allows your audience to follow along with a clear storyline and connect with the "characters" of your software. Thus making your demos more engaging and providing deeper understanding. 

As companies continue to prioritize customer experience and engagement, this trend will only continue to grow in the years to come. In this blog post, we'll explore how you can apply this storytelling approach to a complex software product and make a lasting impact on your audience.

Wait, what’s storytelling in product demos?

Storytelling refers to the practice of using narrative techniques to create a compelling and memorable experience for potential customers. By narrative techniques, I mean using character development, conflict, and resolution to convey the value proposition of a product.

For example, a B2B SaaS company that provides project management software might use storytelling in its demo by creating a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say a team struggling to meet a deadline due to poor project management! The demo could then show how their software can streamline the team's workflow, improve communication, and ultimately help them meet the deadline with ease.

Rather than simply highlighting features and functionality, a storytelling approach uses a narrative structure to help customers understand how the product or service can be useful. Such an approach can help companies differentiate themselves from competitors and ultimately drive sales and growth.

Before we get into mastering the art of crafting demos, let's understand how the buying journey of complex products is different that regular software products.

The B2B buying journey for complex products is different

B2B buying journey for complex products is more involved, time-consuming, and collaborative. Here’s why, 

1. Thorough evaluation process:

Complex products often require a more thorough and involved evaluation process. They usually involve multiple stakeholders within the buyer's organization, each with different needs and perspectives. Additionally, the implementation and integration of complex products may require a significant investment of time, resources, and expertise.

2. The sales cycle is longer than usual:

More complex products often have a longer sales cycle, as buyers take more time to evaluate and make a decision. This may involve multiple rounds of negotiations and presentations, as well as the need for extensive documentation and contracts.

3. Requires a higher and more dedicated level of adoption and change management:

Complex products often require a higher level of customer adoption support, which can influence the decision-making process. Buyers may prioritize vendors that offer superior customer service and support, as well as a track record of successful implementation and ongoing change management.

4. Requirement for a greater degree of customization:

Complex products often require a greater degree of customization to meet the specific needs of the buyer's organization. This can involve extensive collaboration between the buyer and the vendor, which can further extend the sales cycle.

How to master the art of crafting engaging demos with storytelling?

How do I explain this to my potential customers? The most common questions we have heard from sales teams! This is because complex products or concepts require more character involvement than just simply selling. Here are the following steps we recommend to craft engaging demos that help you be effective.

Step 1: The art of preparation before a demo

Before you even start creating your demo, learn the art of preparation. The crux is in the pre-research and understanding of people. A robust preparation step comprises three main aspects, 

  • Understand your audience: 

It's crucial to understand your audience's prior knowledge of the product or concept you're presenting. This is to gauge the familiarity of your audience with the product or segment they are exploring. If they're new to the concept, you need to start at a beginner level to avoid overwhelming them. By tailoring your demo to their level of understanding, you'll keep their attention and make the demo more effective.

  • Using a pre-knowledge test: 

Now to understand the familiarity of the product or concept you can use a pre-knowledge test. This test can be a simple self-assessment survey or multiple choice quiz or an open-ended survey that assesses the audience's familiarity with the product or concept. By using a pre-knowledge test, you can get a better understanding of your audience's knowledge level and adjust your demo accordingly. 

For example, let's say a sales rep is presenting a new software product to a potential customer. They could create a short quiz with questions such as:

  • Determine where to start from: 

After conducting the pre-knowledge test, you can use the results to determine the right level of depth to start your demo. Based on the test results and your analysis, you can adjust the content of your demo to fit the audience's level of understanding. This might mean simplifying the language or providing more detailed explanations, depending on the audience's familiarity with the product.

If the majority of the audience is new to the concept, start with the basics and gradually move on to more advanced topics. If the majority of the audience is already familiar with the product, you can skip over the basics and dive straight into the complex features.

Overall, by understanding your audience's level of understanding, using a pre-knowledge test, and adjusting the depth of the demo accordingly, you can create a demo that effectively showcases your product while keeping your audience engaged and informed.

Step 2: Unleashing the power of storytelling in demos

Now, I know that some of you may be skeptical about the role of storytelling in B2B sales. But let me tell you, storytelling is not just for entertainment purposes. In fact, it's a powerful tool that can help you grab the audience's attention, make your demos more engaging and attentive, and ultimately, sell complex products with ease.

So, what is storytelling? As i said before at its core, storytelling is about using narrative techniques to convey information, emotions, and ideas. It's about taking your audience on a journey, and creating an emotional connection that will stick with them long after the demo is over. This is true for product demos, where it's easy to get lost in a sea of technical jargon and lose the audience's attention. 

Stories are 22 times more memorable than facts alone! This is because stories engage both the logical and emotional parts of the brain, making them more memorable and impactful. When it comes to product demos, storytelling involves a narrative arc that comprises the beginning, the middle, and the end. How to incorporate the structure of using storytelling in a product demo? Start with a case study example that includes context, and then connect with interactive user interfaces to help users relate.

One of the key rules of storytelling is to start with action, instead of exposition. This means that instead of starting with a long list of features or a dry explanation of how the product works, we should start with a compelling story that grabs the audience's attention and draws them in.

Another technique we can use to make our demos more engaging is to incorporate cliffhangers. Cliffhangers are moments of suspense or tension that leave the audience wanting more. By using cliffhangers, we can create anticipation and keep the audience engaged throughout the demo.

The power of storytelling is a critical tool for B2B sales. By starting with action, using cliffhangers, and taking your audience on a journey, you can make effective and interactive product demos and improve brand recall. By using storytelling strategically, you can enable buyers through the decision-making process and ultimately close more sales.

Step 3: Structuring the demo the right way! 

The success of a product demo is largely dependent on how it is structured and presented. Here are some tips for structuring a demo that is engaging, effective, and easy to follow:

  • Breaking down the demo into smaller sections

One of the biggest mistakes that sales reps make is trying to cover too much information at once. This can overwhelm the audience and cause them to lose interest. To avoid this, it's important to break the demo down into smaller sections, each with a specific focus. This not only makes the information easier to digest but also allows the presenter to highlight the most important features and benefits of the product.

  • Incorporating Visuals, Storytelling, and Interactive Elements

Visuals, storytelling, and interactive elements are powerful tools that can help make a demo more immersive and engaging. Visuals such as images, videos, and animations can help illustrate key points and create a more dynamic presentation. Storytelling can be used to provide context and make the demo more relatable to the audience. Interactive elements such as polls, quizzes, and live demos can also help keep the audience engaged and involved in the presentation. Using interactive product demo tools can help you incorporate all of the above-mentioned elements that give you an edge over your competitors. 

Read: Engaging Your Audience: Strategies for Increasing Interaction in Sales Demos

  • Using a narrative arc to guide the demo

A narrative arc is a storytelling technique that involves a structured approach to presenting the information. This involves breaking the demo down into three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the end. The beginning should set the stage for the demo, providing context and background information. The middle should be the core of the demo, where the features and benefits of the product are showcased. The end should wrap up the demo, providing a summary and a call to action for the audience.

Let’s understand the structuring of demos with an example, 

Interactive product demo tools make it easy to sell complex products or concepts

Using interactive product demo tools can help you sell complex products better by providing a more engaging, tailored, intuitive, and real-time experience of your products to users. 

Here are the several advantages of using progressive product demo software, 

  1. Users can engage with the product in a hands-on way with the help of cloned digital interface, leading to better retention of information and a more positive impression of the product.
  2. Users can explore the features that are most relevant to their needs, leading to a more tailored experience that is personalized to the user's interests and goals.
  3. Users can visualize complex concepts and workflows easily, which works well for complex products that are difficult to explain through text or static images.
  4. You get real-time feedback from users, allowing you to see the impact of their actions and decisions.

Read: Top 10 Product Demo Software Tools of 2023: To Close More Deals Faster

That's All Folks! 

By incorporating storytelling, structuring the demo, and utilizing interactive tools, you can create engaging demos that resonate with your target audience. An effective demo not only showcases the features and benefits of a product but also tells a compelling story that connects with the audience on an emotional level. Remember to tailor the demo to the audience's level of understanding, incorporate visuals and storytelling, and provide real-time feedback to keep the audience engaged. 

At the end of the day, mastering the art of demonstrating complex concepts is all about creating a connection between the audience and the product. By crafting an engaging demo that tells a story, you can create a meaningful and lasting impression on their potential customers, leading to a successful sale and a loyal customer base.

Wondering how you can craft an engaging product demo? Connect with our team

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Anna Decroix
Co-founder and CMO at Demoboost

Anna serves as the passionate and curious Chief Demo Methodology Officer. As the driving force behind Demoboost's Presales Advisory Board, Anna actively engages with the presales community, accumulating invaluable insights and showcasing front-line expertise in demo thought leadership and practice.

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