It’s a verifiable truth that a demo can make or break a deal. Historically, a demo refers to a technical demo, built to order and presented to the client as one of the last steps of the sales cycle. As buyers’ demands changed, the need to present demos to clients early in the buying journey arose. To cater to this need, organizations turned to video demos. However, as B2B consumer behaviour continues to shift toward more self-guided discovery tendencies, companies are looking beyond the one-direction approach video demos offer. This is where interactive product demos come into play.
In theory, a pre-recorded video walkthrough of a SaaS product may seem like a good sales practice, but even inexperienced buyers are seeking a place in the driver's seat when researching software features and building a case with other stakeholders.
In this article, we define video demos, discuss ways video demos fall short of materializing true sales potential, introduce a new era of demos and explain why they're the way forward for both SaaS buyers and sellers.
What are video demos?
Video demos are typically video content outlining the features and functionality of the software. They’re usually a continual stream of generic content from start to finish that offers buyers a chance to watch and listen, but not interact. While video demos rarely offer a personalized experience for viewers early in the buyer’s journey, there are some tools that help sales teams produce more personalized demos. These tools offer sales teams an opportunity to ask visitors questions before sending them a demo video. This allows sales teams to stitch together a longer demo video, incorporating other mini-videos that can provide more personalization.
There are different demo video styles that define the type of recording or video communication. These styles are usually screen captures, live teleconferences and animated pre-recordings. Software demo videos have been common practice for over a decade. Still, with new technologies and developing buyer preferences, many companies are choosing to enable their buyers with a more personalized, interactive approach that they can deliver in the early stages of the sales cycle. .
The downfall of product demo videos
Below, you can find several disadvantages demo videos may present compared to some more innovative demo options:
Video demos can be time-consuming for both buyers and sellers. A sales team needs to dedicate a significant portion of their time to creating and delivering it. Many sales professionals might also have limited training in video presentations, meaning many organizations are hiring external agencies to present video demos. Not only does this consume time, but it also increases expenditure. Another issue that often consumes time is the fact that a video demo might only be in one language, requiring additional production to be suitable for international buyers. This can be highly inefficient and reduce the economies of scale.
Video demos are also time-consuming for buyers. Maintaining a buyer's attention for several minutes while providing a product walkthrough can be challenging. It's even more challenging when the features on display don’t address their pain points. When the sales team member discusses features that don't solve the buyer's problems, the buyer can quickly lose interest, affecting their overall perception of the product.
A pre-recorded product demonstration video can be extremely disengaging for buyers. A video demo doesn’t involve the buyer. The buyer simply has to sit and watch it. While the video might provide insights into the functionality of the software, it doesn't provide a personalized experience that speaks directly to the buyer about solving their specific problem, resulting in disengagement. The issue with video demos isn’t necessarily the presentation, but the format itself. Once a prospect identifies a pain point that the software can solve, they want to click through the product, but they have to sit and watch sequences of pre-recorded content that don’t interest them.
The purpose of a video demo is to show a product's features in a way that converts leads into customers. However, the problem with demo videos is that consumers, more than ever, want to “touch” and a demo video only allows them to “see”. Many sales teams attempt to combat the disengagement by making demos short, usually less than five minutes long. This might result in a more engaging video, but it rarely provides an accurate overview of the software features in relation to the buyers' specific pain points. Video demos can leave buyers feeling like they don't have enough information to justify their purchase.
Data-driven decisions are a must. With access to data extraction and integration tools, businesses can accurately forecast performances to create effective strategies. Having access to data during the sales cycle can be crucial for staying ahead of the competition and closing sales.
One of the major downfalls of the demo video is that it provides limited analytical data to the presales team. They can’t identify the features and calls to action that drive the most engagement or discover where prospects spend the most time in a demo. The only information a demo video provides is when a prospect views the video and for how long. Without essential data in prospect interactions, it can be exceptionally challenging for solution engineers and presales teams to provide the right support to the right prospects to close more deals.
Only applicable to on-demand uses cases
Video demos provide many limitations to presenting SaaS products to clients early on. Sales teams can’t use them for live demo scenarios, hence they only cover a limited amount of features during the entire demo process. During live demos, sales teams need to present the actual product, which a pre-recorded video can’t do.
The alternative: Interactive product demo
A customer-centric alternative to a software demo video is an interactive product demo. Interactive demos provide buyers with an opportunity to explore a software product on their own terms. Through interactive demos, SaaS providers can offer prospects a replica of their software that they can interact with in their own time and with a focus on the features that interest them the most. Some of the most innovative interactive demo tools recognize the value of video in addition to the established format and combine both interfaces.
Organizations can create demo libraries with established templates of demos. Sales and marketing teams can then access and personalize them to create highly interactive versions with ease. In a buyer's pursuit to understand a product and an organization's pursuit to increase their bottom line, an interactive demo can be the ultimate tool. It's engaging, completely personalized, and efficient for the revenue team to individualize and deliver. And best of all, it provides sales and marketing teams with comprehensive analytics of what works and what doesn’t.
Why SaaS companies are making the switch
Below, you can find several reasons companies are making the switch to enabling their buyers and empowering their revenue teams with interactive product demos:
Engaged target audience
Unlike demo videos, an interactive demo is often extremely engaging for users. Rather than listening to someone talk about product features, users can experience the features first-hand. This puts buyers in control and gives them the ultimate glimpse into how the software can satisfy their unique needs. It helps prospects gather only the information they want and need for making a purchasing decision.
Engaging prospects and ensuring a positive buyer’s journey can be crucial for speeding up the process of taking prospects from one side of the sales funnel to the other.
Enabling presales to assist every deal
Close rates of deals supported by presales are twice as high as those without their support. However, because of the limited capacity of those teams, they can only focus on the most important deals that leave money on the table. With automated, interactive demos, presales create demo templates for the revenue teams to access and personalize at any time. Presales decide which demos to automate and which ones to assist with and build from scratch. In a nutshell, every deal receives adequate support.
Reduced wait times
With the increasing demand for demos across the funnel, sales teams frequently need to wait several weeks for a demo. Thanks to establishing demo template libraries, demos can be shared with the buyers without any delays, while the presales can focus on building technical demos quickly.
Freedom to personalize
Consumer behaviour and the overall buying journey in most markets are forever evolving. In today's era, it's now more important than ever to personalize product demonstrations. Product features alone are not enough to convince a modern-day consumer. After all, 71% of prospects become customers if they can develop good trust and rapport with a vendor.
The efficient and high-level personalization that interactive demos offer can allow sales teams to deliver a perfectly individualized experience to every customer.
Access to analytics
In today’s digital era, we can have information about every step of the buying journey. With the Introduction of interactive demos, organizations have insights allowing solution engineers and sales teams to track prospect behaviour and engagement in real-time throughout a buyer's demo experience.
When teams can identify exactly how prospects are experiencing and interacting with a product demo, they can improve the buyer’s experience, leading to a shorter sales cycle and a higher conversion rate. Thanks to knowing every click and every interaction prospects take in a demo, organizations can continuously improve the demo experience they offer. They can start A/B testing different demo flows and calls to action and attribute how much of the purchase decisions are linked to the demos themselves.
Create interactive product demos with ease
With the right tools, you can create engaging, professional and personalized product demonstrations quickly and easily. Enter Demoboost: the ultimate sales enablement tool to boost your presales and close deals faster than ever. With Demoboost, you can create demo templates in minutes, personalize them with a few clicks and gain access to real-time data.
Elevate your sales process and empower your sales team by joining the product demo revolution. Book a demo today!