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Interactive Product Demos - The Ultimate Guide For Software Companies

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This ultimate guide explores the benefits of interactive product demos, their key characteristics, and provides insights into creating effective demos. Discover how interactive product demos can improve user engagement, enhance pipeline quality, and shorten the sales cycle, ultimately driving better business outcomes.

Today’s software landscape is highly competitive, and buyers have countless options - yes, we know this and agree! 

And believe it or not, the importance of product demos cannot be overstated here. They serve as a powerful tool to influence buyers and keep them hooked. 

While there is a consensus in the community about the importance of product demos, there still seems to be a division about when to present the demo to the buyer. 

There seem to be two contradicting viewpoints:

  1. A successful demo should be customized to specific challenges the buyer is facing, otherwise, it will fail to make an impact. The quality of your demo depends on the effectiveness of the discovery and there definitely is no one size fits all approach to software demos
  2. Present your demo as quickly as possible. Avoid prolonging multiple calls without giving the buyers the opportunity to see your product

This contentious issue gained more attention in a LinkedinPost by Breezy Beaumont, sparking a debate with nearly 1,000 comments discussing the best approach. 

Our voice in this opinion is that the interactive product demo and their skillful usage can be a great solution. Right from lead generation, and prospecting through discovery to closing the deal - interactive product demos are the progressive method to engage with the modern buyer. 

Modern buyers today are self-guided, well-researched, and informed. They want a demo of your product that is interactive and engaging, contains relevant information but above all, is available on-demand. 

An interactive product demo presented to the prospect early on in their journey can have a stronger influence as it reaches the buyer when they are still open-minded and willing to form their opinions through materials available online.

Now, creating interactive product demos is not a quick and simple task. While building those no-code demos is definitely easy, creating demos that truly influence the buyers is a challenging feat. It requires a strategic approach, the proper set of tools, a framework to build the demos, and more. 

That’s why I wrote this ultimate guide where you will learn everything you need to implement the interactive product demos. 

Let’s start!

What is an interactive product demo?

An interactive product demo refers to a demonstration of a product, that lets the prospects into a clone of your product but is structured and narrated to guide and actively engage the visitor. Interactive product demo provides prospects with an opportunity to gain hands on experience in a safe environment. It goes beyond a passive presentation or static video and instead takes a progressive approach. 

An interactive product demo offers an immersive experience where the user can actively explore and experience the product, its functionalities, and benefits even before meeting the sales team.

Users are typically given access to a simulated version of the product, which allows them to navigate through the interface, explore different features, and perform actions as if they were using the actual product. 

The key characteristic of an interactive product demo is that it allows users to actively engage with the product by performing actions, inputting data, and seeing immediate results. This interactivity can involve clicking buttons, filling out forms, interacting with visual elements, or even simulating real-world scenarios relevant to the user's industry or use case.

Interactive product demos aim to provide a dynamic and engaging experience that goes beyond static presentations or text-heavy descriptions. By allowing users to interact with the software, they can explore its functionalities, test its usability, and gain a deeper understanding of how it can address their specific business challenges. 

Why did B2B software companies start using interactive product demos?

As software buyers increasingly lean towards self-serve purchasing journeys, software companies are adapting their strategies to embrace the concept of user-first products demos using the product itself as the primary driver to acquire, activate, and retain customers. With this shift, the role of product demos has become paramount in showcasing products and solutions in creative ways.

G2’s B2B Buyer Behaviour report showcases the increasing demand for a self-guided buying process where buyers want to explore the process by themselves.

In the past, software buyers might be stuck to the sales process without seeing the demo till the very late stage. However, today's buyers seek more resources to guide their decision-making process and unless they receive it, they wouldn’t engage with the vendor at all. 

Interactive product demos play a crucial role in catering to these needs by providing prospects and buyers with a hands-on walk-through of the product]. These demos empower buyers to conduct independent research, aligning with their preference for self-guided exploration.

With interactive product demos, you don’t sell but rather show the product, building trust before the buyer engages with yoru sales team. This puts buyers in the driver seat allowing them to opt in to the sales process when they are well educated and ready to buy. 

Related Read: Why Your SaaS Company Needs Interactive Product Tours in 2023

What makes an interactive product demo different from a traditional product demo?

The key difference between the interactive product demo and a traditional demo is that the first ones are available to the buyer on demand, even before they engage with the sales team while the latter are delivered by the sales team during a face-to-face meeting. 

Because the buying journeys are non-linear and convert multiple touch points, interactive demos offer an opportunity for the vendor to present a reacher product story thanks to applying storytelling techniques. 

Another challenge of the traditional demos is the fact that they are presented per screen share in a live session to the buyer, without giving the opportunity to click themselves through it. The buyer is expected to watch the demo, engage with a passive presentation, and take a decision. 

That is very different in the case of an interactive demo. In this case, the sales team too can present in a live session, but later they share it with the buyer as a follow up- pointing out specific discussion points and clarifying any open questions from the meeting. As the demos are shared with the buyer, they can also be distributed internally allowing all the stakeholders in the purchase decision, even those who couldn't attend the meeting, to see the demo for themselves. 

Last but not least, the interactive demo allows us to capture a multi-channel journey. In traditional demos, the salesperson jumps through different apps to showcase how their tool interacts with the digital ecosystem of the buyer. In an interactive demo, this experience is seamless and can also be shared with the buyer on-demand building a fantastic buying experience. 

The key differences between an interactive product demo and a traditional product demo can be summarized as follows:

1. User Engagement: 

An interactive demo actively involves the user by allowing them to interact with the software, perform actions, and explore its functionalities. In contrast, a traditional demo is typically a more passive experience where the presenter showcases the software without letting them play with it. 

2. Hands-on Experience:

Unlike traditional demos, an interactive demo provides a hands-on experience where buyers can navigate the software, input data, and see immediate results, all in safe and controlled environment. This enables higher involvement of the buyers in the demo making the recall strong and building trust. 

3. Real-time Feedback: 

Interactive demos offer real-time feedback opportunities to prospects through the collaboration/ comments feature. The prospect can ask questions and post comments, even before they engage with the buyer.  Also, their actions within the software, provide valuable information for the vendor about the interests and pain points of the prospect. Regular demos may lack this immediate feedback loop and be more qualitative in nature

Overall, there is a time and place for both types of demos. Interactive demos will not replace the Technical Proof or Proof of Concept demos built by the presales teams, but they enrich the sales process and help vendors meet the buyers where they are in order to speed up their purchase decision.  

Related Read: Why Companies Are Looking Beyond Product Video Demos

What are the benefits of using interactive product demos in the sales process?

When it comes to showcasing your product, interactive demos focus more on experience and buyer’s education. The engagement creates a deeper understanding and connection with the product, making it more memorable and impactful for the buyers. 

1. Improves user engagement: 

Buyers can experience the product right from the very first stage of the buyer journey. The ability to engage right from the start leads to better understanding, increased interest, and improved retention of information about the product.

2. Better pipeline quality: 

By offering an interactive demo on the website, leads who are only curious and not yet ready to buy will self-select out, resulting in a higher quality pipeline. This allows the sales team to focus their efforts on converting leads who are more likely to make a purchase, increasing the overall efficiency of the sales process.

3. Improved bottom line: 

Traditional methods often involve expensive resources, such as presales time, and building multiple repetitive demos for each deal. By utilizing an interactive demo platform that allows for the creation of a set-and-forget demo gallery, significant cost savings can be achieved in the short term. This frees up valuable resources to focus on other sales activities, ultimately improving the company's bottom line.

4. Higher pipeline conversion: 

Skillful utilization of interactive demos at every stage of the buying journey ensures high engagement with prospects. Interactive demos not only satisfy prospects' curiosity but also encourage them to keep coming back for more information. This becomes especially crucial in the current economic climate where leads are scarce. To maximize the conversion rates of those entering the sales pipeline, it is essential to provide the best possible experience throughout the various stages, and interactive demos play a significant role in achieving this goal.

5. Shortens sales cycle:

Thanks to the pre-created demo galleries - AE’s can now deliver demos without any delay and can significantly reduce the sales cycle.  Currently, there is a delay of at least a week between a demo request and its delivery. During this waiting period, leads can lose interest and become disengaged. With an interactive demo platform, the lag time is eliminated, leading to a shorter sales cycle and preventing potential disengagement from the buyer's side.

Related Read: The Do’s and Don'ts of creating interactive product demos

What are the steps to create an effective interactive product demo?

Follow these 7 steps to create an effective interactive product demo that effectively engages potential buyers, highlights key features, and showcases the value of your product in an immersive and personalized way.

1. Understand Your Audience: 

The first step is to define your target audience and understand their needs, pain points, and preferences. This knowledge will help you tailor the demo to resonate with their specific interests and challenges.

2. Understand where they are in their buying journey and present relevant information 

The buyers go through different stages of their buying journey and need different information at each of those stages. For example, somebody who is still verbalizing their problem will need a different demo than somebody who already understood the category and is choosing among different vendors. 

3. Create a Storyboard: 

Plan the flow and structure of the demo by creating a storyboard. This involves mapping out the sequence of actions and interactions that the user will experience, ensuring a cohesive and engaging narrative.

4. Build engaging elements 

After the story of your demo is ready, make sure you insert a video where you introduce yourself as a person- that builds rapport even before the prospects meet you. Inform them about the comments functionality, to stimulate conversation. Last but not least- always add a Call to Action- share the demo, visit my LinkedIn profile, see another demo or simply - schedule a live session. 

5. Test, learn, and Iterate: 

Thoroughly test the interactive demo to ensure it functions smoothly and provides a seamless user experience. Collect feedback from testers and potential customers, and iterate on the demo based on their input to continuously improve its effectiveness.

6. Choose the Right Tools: 

Ensure you choose the right product demo software to create an interactive demo. Consider factors such as ease of use, compatibility with your product, and the level of interactivity they offer. 

Detailed Read: How to create an effective Interactive Product Demo 

What are the interactive product demo use cases?

1. Demo library: 

By creating a collection of demos that showcase different features, use cases, or industry-specific solutions, companies can provide a comprehensive resource for buyers. The demo library serves as a self-serve tool, allowing prospects to explore and engage with the demos at their own pace, gaining a deeper understanding of the product's capabilities.

2. Outbound campaigns: 

By incorporating interactive demos into outbound campaigns, you provide leads with an opportunity to experience your product firsthand, enabling them to visualize its benefits and explore its features and functionalities. By showcasing your product's capabilities in exchange for their time and attention, this value exchange establishes a more equal footing, significantly increasing the likelihood of a positive response and higher engagement rates.

3. Qualification questionnaire: 

Prompt buyers to complete a short survey before diving into the interactive demo during the qualification stage. This helps gather essential information about the buyer, builds rapport, provides valuable data insights, and allows you to disqualify leads that are not a good fit, focusing your efforts on those with genuine interest.

4. Menu approach for the discovery stage:  

Create a demo library with a menu-like selection for the sales discovery stage. This allows your sales team to navigate pain points, corresponding benefits, and success stories, prompting a thoughtful discussion and deeper understanding of the buyer's needs.

5. Live demos

Incorporate interactive demos into live demo sessions to enhance message consistency, showcase multichannel journeys and track what is happening in live sessions. This ensures message consistency, addresses complex scenarios, and provides valuable data for sales strategies.

6. Leave-behind demos: 

Interactive product demos can be packaged and shared as leave-behind demos or materials after sales meetings. By providing a tangible and interactive demo that potential buyers can revisit at their convenience, sales teams can reinforce the product's value proposition and keep the engagement alive. 

7. For stakeholder mapping and deal-closing:

Share interactive demos with your champion to be shared internally, building engagement with all stakeholders involved in the decision-making process. In the closing stage, tailor the demo content to address the unique perspectives and priorities of each stakeholder, creating a highly relevant and compelling experience that increases their confidence and likelihood of proceeding with the purchase.

8. Onboarding & Improving sales ramp time: 

Interactive product demos can significantly reduce the time it takes for new sales team members to ramp up their product knowledge and selling skills. By providing access to interactive demos, new sales reps can independently explore and learn about the product's features, use cases, and benefits. This hands-on experience expedites their learning process, enabling them to confidently pitch and sell the product sooner, leading to faster sales cycles and improving overall team performance.

These are just a few examples of how interactive product demos can be utilized. By leveraging the versatility of interactive product demos, software companies can drive customer engagement, improve sales effectiveness, and ultimately achieve better business outcomes.

Detailed Read: 8 ways to include interactive product demos throughout the buyer’s journey

How to choose the right tool for creating interactive demos?

When it comes to choosing the right product demo software to create and scale interactive demos, there are several factors to consider. Here are some steps you can follow to make an informed decision:

  1. Define your requirements: Take the time to clearly define your goals and requirements for the interactive demo. Consider the specific features and functionality you need, such as interactive elements, customization options, analytics, or integration with other tools in your sales stack. Understanding your needs upfront will help you make an informed decision.
  2. Identify your technical skills: Evaluate your own technical skills and those of your team. Some product demo software may require more advanced technical knowledge to create and customize demos. Assess your team's capabilities to ensure you select a tool that aligns with your skill set.
  3. Evaluate ease of use: Look for product demo software that offers a user-friendly and intuitive interface. Consider the learning curve involved in using the tool and how quickly you and your team can create engaging demos. A tool with a streamlined workflow and intuitive design will save time and make the demo creation process more efficient.
  4. Assess customization options: Determine the level of customization you require for your interactive demos. Some tools provide extensive customization capabilities, allowing you to tailor the demo experience to your brand and specific customer needs. Assess whether the tool offers the flexibility and control you need to create personalized and impactful demos.
  5. Consider compatibility and platform support: Ensure that the product demo software you choose is compatible with the platforms or devices you intend to target. Whether it's web browsers, mobile devices, or specific operating systems, verify that the tool supports the platforms your customers use. This ensures a seamless experience for your audience.
  6. Review multimedia capabilities: If your interactive demo involves multimedia elements such as videos, images, or audio, verify that the software tool supports these capabilities. Assess the ease of integrating and managing multimedia content within the demo. A tool that can handle a variety of multimedia formats and provides smooth playback will enhance the overall demo experience.
  7. Consider support: Check the availability of customer support for the tool you are considering. Responsive customer support can be crucial if you encounter any issues or need assistance during the demo creation process. Teams that work for your success are the ideal ones to evaluate.
  8. Budget considerations: Evaluate whether the tool requires a one-time purchase, a subscription fee, or additional costs for premium features. It's essential to strike a balance between the features you need and the budget you have allocated for the tool.

Detailed Read: How to choose the Right Product Demo Software: A Comprehensive Guide

Examples of interactive product demos in practice

Here are the top 5 examples of how other software companies are using interactive product demos across the buyer journey,

1. Demo Library - Celonis

Celonis, created the demo library, a curated collection of interactive product demos tailored to different industries, personas, and use cases. This strategic move allows prospects to explore and engage with the demos at their own pace, gaining a deeper understanding of the product before entering the sales pipeline. By empowering prospects to become educated buyers through the demo library, Celonis ensures that the MQLs passed to the sales team are well-informed, increasing the chances of successful conversions.

2. Homepage - Octivfitness

Octivfitness, has embedded an interactive product demo right on the homepage, giving website visitors a chance to experience the product even before they sign-up. This enables the visitor to make informed decisions and engages them at a very early stage of the buyer journey

3. Community - Atlassian

Atlassian uses interactive product demos to communicate product updates effectively and provide a hands-on experience with upcoming or new features. 

4. Demo Experience - Zendesk

Zendesk created a unique demo experience for users to visualise how their product would work on a website. This helps users to visualise the outcome of a product, thus accelerating the lead velocity. 

5. Demo Experience - Gong

Gong allows users to experience their platform right from their website without asking for any user data. This gives user a chance to experience the product early and also come up with right questions during the live demo session.

Top 10 interactive product demo software to choose from in 2023

As a sales leader, you understand the crucial role that a product demo plays in sealing the deal. It's no secret that organizations invest significant time, effort, and resources into crafting the perfect demo experience. 

However, with the increasing demand for product demos at every stage of the buying journey, the manual process of creating demos has become a bottleneck in delivering the best possible buying experience. Scaling and personalizing the demo creation process is a pressing challenge in B2B sales.

Fortunately, the emergence of product demo software addresses this challenge head-on. These innovative tools provide a solution for creating and delivering demos efficiently and effectively. We have reviewed and compared several providers in this space to help you navigate the options available. Here’s the snapshot of our curated tools review

Detailed Read: The Best 10 Interactive Product Demo Software Tools for Sales & Marketing in 2023

Nail your interactive product demos with Demoboost

Crafting an interactive product demos is often more challenging than it may initially appear. Specifically, revenue teams would face numerous obstacles and hurdles in consistently producing top-notch demos, finding the necessary technical expertise, and delivering demos efficiently. 

With Demoboost, all these challenges and pain points are addressed thus making demo creation a seamless process. Using Demboost you can, 

  • Easily create personalized and interactive product demos without coding skills.
  • Utilize a dedicated browser extension to effortlessly replicate your product in just a few clicks.
  • Showcase the key features of your product while adding unique storytelling with multimedia support.
  • Share your demo instantly by embedding it on your website or sharing a direct link with potential customers.
  • Analyze viewer behavior and capture leads to drive business growth, gaining valuable insights into buyer engagement.
  • Assist sales teams during lives demos with scripts and live demo analytics for enhanced demo delivery.

Demoboost’s demo experience platform supports the entire revenue team

  • Your solution engineers will be able to co-own the sales narrative across all the steps of the journey and will provide adequate support to every deal
  • Your sales team will be enabled to independently run the live sessions and to deliver a perfect live demo every time 
  • Your marketing team to generate more marketing-quality leads 
  • Your customer success team to empower your customers and track progress of their onboarding journey
  • Your channel partner teams to unlock the true potential of your partner network

Case Study Snippet: How did interactive product demos help channel partner enablement?

Veritas, a leading data management company, operates a robust global channel partner network to expand its reach and offer its solutions to a wide range of customers worldwide. The company recognizes the importance of equipping its partners with the necessary tools and resources to effectively promote and demonstrate its products and services. 

To achieve this goal, Veritas leverages Demoboost, a powerful platform that enables the seamless creation and sharing of external demo libraries among its channel partners.

  • Challenge:Veritas faced the challenge of ensuring that its global partner network had access to the most up-to-date and best-performing demo flows. In a competitive market where attention from third-party sales teams is crucial, Veritas needed a solution that could facilitate efficient sharing and utilization of demo resources, while also providing valuable insights into partner performance and usage statistics.
  • Solution:Veritas adopted Demoboost, a cutting-edge platform that revolutionizes the way companies manage and distribute their demo content. By leveraging Demoboost's capabilities, Veritas empowered its partners to access and utilize a centralized repository of demos, ensuring consistency and accuracy in their presentations. The process of creating and sharing demo libraries became effortless, enabling Veritas to quickly disseminate updated content to its entire global partner network with just a click of a button.

How Demoboost helped:

  • Easy Demo Library Creation: Demoboost simplified the process of creating external demo libraries, allowing Veritas to compile and organize its demo resources efficiently. With a user-friendly interface that enables Veritas to curate the most effective demo flows for its partners.
  • Seamless Sharing with Partners: Veritas can effortlessly share demo libraries with its channel partners, ensuring that the entire global network has access to the most up-to-date and high-performing demos. This streamlined sharing process eliminates the need for manual distribution, saves time and resources for both Veritas and its partners, and keeps the messaging and branding consistent.
  • Usage Statistics and Performance Insights: Veritas receives comprehensive usage statistics per partner through Demoboost. This invaluable data allows Veritas to gain insights into partner performance, identify areas where support is needed, and tailor its support efforts accordingly. With a clear understanding of partner usage patterns, Veritas can strategically allocate resources to maximize partner success and drive overall business growth.

Veritas introduced partner accreditation through specialized certificates. By offering accreditation opportunities, Veritas motivates and incentivizes its partners to enhance their skills and knowledge, empowering them to extract maximum value from the partner network. This initiative also helps Veritas compete for the attention of third-party sales teams, further expanding its market presence.

Curious about the impact of interactive demos?
Experience the interactive demo calculator for a revolutionary metric transformation.

Frequently Asked Questions about interactive product demos

1. What is an interactive product demo?

An interactive product demo is a simulated environment of a product that allows users to actively interact with the features and functionalities. It goes beyond traditional static presentations by providing a hands-on experience where users can explore, test, and experience the product's capabilities while being guided throuygh a structured journey.

 

2. Can I embed an interactive product demo on my website?

Yes, you can embed interactive demos on your website and allow users to experience the product right from the browser. 

3. Are there any specific tools or software required to create interactive demos?

Yes, there are several tools available specifically designed for creating interactive product demos. These tools offer features such as drag-and-drop functionality, interactive elements, customization options, and analytics tracking. Some popular interactive demo software includes Demoboost, Consensus, Walnut, and Demostack. It's recommended to explore different options and choose a tool that best aligns with your specific needs and requirements.

4. Are interactive product demos customizable?

Yes, interactive product demos are highly customizable. They can be tailored to match the specific needs and preferences of different prospects or target audiences. Customization options may include showcasing relevant features, incorporating branding elements, and highlighting use cases that align with the prospect's industry or business challenges. This level of customization enhances the demo's relevance and effectiveness in capturing the attention and interest of potential customers.

5. How does an interactive product demo help sales teams?

For sales teams, interactive demo helps by achieving the following goals,

  • Increase conversion rates
  • Shorten the sales cycle
  • Improve prospect engagement
  • Deliver best-in-class demo with confidence

6. How does an interactive product demo help marketing teams?

For marketing teams, interactive demo helps by achieving the following goals,

  • Increase brand awareness and visibility
  • Generate high-quality leads and increase conversion rates
  • Enhance buyer engagement and foster customer loyalty

7. How does an interactive product demo help presales teams?

For presales teams, interactive demo helps by achieving the following goals,

  • Increase prospect engagement and interest
  • Accelerate the sales cycle and shorten deal closure time
  • Improve collaboration and alignment between presales and sales teams.

8. How does an interactive product demo help support teams?

For customer success, interactive demo helps by achieving the following goals,

  • Increase customer engagement and satisfaction.
  • Improve product adoption and usage.
  • Reduce customer churn and increase retention.

Interactive Demo White Paper, 2024

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author
Pawel Jaszczurowski
CEO at Demoboost | EX - Salesforce | Forbes 30U30 Polska

Pawel is a Software Sales Expert and frontline practitioner with extensive experience in selling Salesforce solutions. Drawing on years of firsthand experience, Pawel has dedicated 100% of his focus to addressing the pain points encountered in software demoing to clients.

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