Interactive product demos are an influential movement, swiftly dominating the digital space by empowering businesses to create and share engagement-increasing, action-driving assets. It's a given that a buyer is likely to value your product more once they experience its benefits for themselves. And a buyer who sees value in a product is far more likely to pay for it. But, how do you deliver this valuable, first-hand experience to a buyer who hasn't purchased your product yet?
With a well-designed interactive product demo!
In this article, we explain what an interactive demo is, share steps for creating an outstanding one, explain the benefits of doing so and finish off with some top tips to help ensure you get the most out of the product demos your sales team create.
What are interactive product demos?
Interactive product demos, also known as self-guided demos, interactive product tours, value-in-use showcases or self-serve mid-funnel demos, are augmented virtual representations of products. These kinds of demos offer prospective customers interactive and accurate user experiences. They give buyers the opportunity to not only learn about the benefits a software product can offer but also allow them to actually experience them first-hand as they explore relative features.
Interactive demos enable presales teams to have full control of the sales narrative across the sales cycle while giving their prospects full control of their buyer’s journey. This is unlike other types of product demonstrations, for example, video demos, that take a one-direction approach in which the buyer has little to no control.
Innovative interactive demo tools can allow you to present a 100% clone of your actual product simply, quickly, and cost-effectively. You might embed them on your website, share them directly with prospects, or perhaps have them available for buyers to play with on exhibition touch screens during sales events. The interactive nature of these demos facilitates prospects exploring on their own terms; at a time that suits them best and with a focus on the parts they deem most exciting.
In a nutshell, interactive product demos are tools for enabling your prospects to envision their use of your product in the future.
How to create an effective interactive demo
While the best interactive demo tools on the market do a lot of the hard work for you, there are still some important things to consider for being able to create interactive demos that wow prospects. Below, you can find some helpful steps to consider when approaching the creation of an interactive demo to showcase your product in all its glory to increase your conversion rate:
Clearly define your audiences
A critical first step to creating effective product demos is knowing your audiences. Without an in-depth understanding of their intent and expectations, it's challenging to deliver interactive demo experiences along with a narrative that inspires. There are two key things to consider here: who they are and at what stage of your sales funnel they're in.
Who they are
When considering who your audiences are for a demo, it's helpful to consider these three typical levels of B2B consumers:
Executive: These might be directors or c-suite executives, for example. They typically seek high-level overviews of products and are commonly less concerned with technicalities and features and more concerned about how implementing them can benefit their overall strategy.
Business: Operations managers and sales team leaders typically make up this business-level audience. They seek specific solutions to the unique problems they face.
Technical: This common audience in the SaaS space comprises technologists, for example, demo engineers and other people likely to physically use the software as part of their role, for example, sales representatives. They seek to explore the functions and technical aspects that can enable their performance in detail.
Outside of these common levels, you may target particularly unique segments, industries or markets that may require you to take a completely unique approach to your product demonstrations.
Where they're at
It's important to identify where your audiences may be in their buyer's journey. Prospects in different phases of the buyer's journey require different styles of nurturing for them to progress through to the next stage of the sales funnel seamlessly. Below, you can explore the three key phases:
Awareness: Audiences in this phase of the buyer's journey have identified their pain points and are beginning to investigate potential solutions.
Consideration: In this phase of the buyer's journey, the audience is aware of available solutions and is now making comparisons to find the best one.
Decision: Audiences in this phase of the buyer's journey are typically ready to purchase if the features are a perfect match and the pricing is right.
Design a captivating product story
Successful interactive product demos have narratives that tell a captivating story highlighting outcomes, solutions, benefits and value. It's important that your product story appeals to the demo audiences outlined in step one. Quality interactive demo software lets you give your audience control of their experience. Because of this, it's essential your product story offers paths suitable to the journeys each of your audiences may be interested in going on.
Here, you can review the typical product stories and the B2B audience types they commonly appeal to:
Strategy-based: A strategic product story usually appeals to an executive-level audience. It highlights a clear understanding of their challenges and demonstrates a viable method for achieving organizational goals.
Solutions-based: A product story that's solutions-focused typically resonates with a business-level audience. It clearly demonstrates how the product can overcome specific issues and encourages technical exploration.
Technology-based: Product stories with a technological focus are usually favored by a technical-level audience. These stories are often highly detailed, showcasing technological architecture and driving audiences to journey through and experiment with a variety of functional capabilities.
2. Map out the demo experience
Now that you're clear on who your target audiences are and what product story you want to tell to each one, you can begin mapping out your interactive demo. This is essentially what the demo experience looks like. The map of your interactive demo should encompass the entire experience from start to finish, including the various paths prospective customers can take when guiding their own demo journey. It can be a great idea to use visual storyboarding to assist with this step. Think of it as your demo-building cheat sheet that illustrates the layers of your product story.
It's important to consider an appropriate amount of detail for each stage of the experience and that it's targeted to each of your audiences. While it's important to let your prospects guide their own journey in line with their interests, it's beneficial to reveal information in an order that aligns with your sales narrative. During this step, it's also a good idea to determine where you may integrate various videos or animations to keep prospects engaged and drive measurable action. These videos or animations may be, for example:
tours of specific features
snippets of success stories
graphics illustrating industry statistics
video insights into various product architectures
call to action pop-ups
3. Get personal
Generic product demos, interactive or not, not only fail to showcase your product at its best angles but can also cause prospects to simply lose interest because of a lack of relevancy. Prioritising personalization during your demo creation process is key to engaging prospects and winning more deals. In an era of automation, an individualized experience can have a big impact on a prospect's perceived value of a product.
Top-shelf interactive demo tools provide countless options for personalization. For example, you can personalize images, icons and logos to align with those of the prospect company. You can enhance your product story with graphs that contain personalized, for example, industry-specific, data. And of course, you can personalize titles, text and more to address your target audience directly.
Benefits of delivering effective interactive demos
For SaaS companies with complex products, delivering interactive software demos can present a range of benefits, including:
Enhances the buyer experience
A well-designed interactive demo can provide a personalized, engaging experience that helps a prospect grasp what it feels like to use a software product and enjoy its benefits. It enables them to guide their own journey of discovery that's 100% on their own terms; at their own pace, at a time that suits them, covering only the information they care about and at a level of personal interaction they're happy with. This can yield quantitative enhancements in the overall buyer experience your brand delivers.
Delivers consistent messaging
A great demo tool allows your presales team to own the narrative at every point of the sales cycle. The interactive nature of self-guided product tours means prospects (and sales reps alike) don't miss out on any key messages throughout the process. This includes after prospects receive the demo, in the form of interactive follow-ups.
Supports buyers in the early stages
Supporting a prospect through the early stages of their buyer's journey can be fundamental to securing their business, and essentially, building a better pipeline. Prospects in this exploratory stage are often not ready to start having conversations with sales reps. However, an effective interactive product demo can offer them a high level of engaging support from the get-go, where input from a salesperson is always an option but never an obligation. Having an interactive on-demand demo also lets you stand out from competitors. While customers are in the exploratory phase, they want to understand the offering. If your demo is available instantly, while your competitors take several days to jump on ‘Book a Demo’ request, you have a high chance of building a competitive edge by delivering a personalized interactive demo without delay.
Shortens the sales cycle
Changes to buyer behaviour mean buyers are likely to spend as little as 17% of their purchasing process in direct contact with the vendor. They're usually spending the rest of their time conducting research and building a case for key stakeholders. An effective interactive product demo enables them to do this. It empowers your champions to self-educate and get your product across the line on behalf of your sales team. So, not only does an interactive demo reduce the amount of input required from your sales department throughout the sales process, but it can significantly speed it up too.
Top tips for creating exceptional interactive product demos
Here are a few top tips to take with you on your journey to creating epic interactive product demos that engage and impress:
Personalize, personalize, personalize. Create persona or need-based demo libraries on your website. This can enable your prospects to quickly identify which demo is most relevant to them.
Prioritize audience engagement from the beginning. It's common for a low-commitment CTA early in a demo to evoke a positive response from those interacting with it. For example, after a short intro, having a get started or let's begin button pop-up can engage viewers and help set expectations for active participation throughout the demo.
Build trust. 81% of consumers say trust is the single most important factor in their purchasing decisions. By continually asking for feedback and providing your audience with content relevant to their pain points and objectives, you can show them you're listening and understanding.
Give your final CTA adequate attention. While not all interactive demo participants see a demo through all the way to the end, don't leave the ones that do thinking 'ok, what now?'. Whatever stage of the buyer's journey they're at, the right CTA, for example, share with a colleague or request a follow-up can be integral to them taking action.
Use analytics to power up your future messaging. Top-tier demo tools have the integration and analytical capabilities to offer you the ability to gather valuable insights into your audience. This can help you tailor your future messaging to perfection and contribute to an enhanced and focused product marketing strategy.
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your solution engineers to provide adequate support to every deal
your marketing team to generate more, higher-quality leads and maximize your ROI
your sales team to shorten your sales cycle and win more deals
your customer success team to inspire your customers and team and track their progress
your channel partner teams to unlock the true potential of your partner network
Are you ready to give your buyers on-demand access to quality product demos that allow them to seamlessly self-select what matters most to them?