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SaaS Demo Best Practice

Demos are practically the lifeblood of SaaS businesses. So many brands rely heavily on live video demos to successfully convey the value of their tool to high-intent customers, nurturing them to the point where they convert. 

Sales demos should do the following:

  • Explain why customers should purchase
  • Demonstrate your unique selling proposition (USP)
  • Highlight how the product works, along with key features
  • Answer customer questions
  • Overcome objections 
  • Potentially present pricing
  • Set up next steps 

And while your marketing team is working hard to generate more leads signing up for demos, it’s the sales team’s job to knock the demos out of the park.

That’s what we’re going to discuss today: 10 SaaS demo best practices to help you convert more high-value leads (and potentially retain them longer, too).

1. Qualify Leads Pre-Demo 

The first thing you can do to put together a successful SaaS demo happens long before the demo begins— you want to qualify leads in advance.

This may actually come down to the marketing team who sets up the lead generation forms and demo sign-ups, but the sales team should have a say in what qualifying information is requested on the form itself.

In many cases, firmographic data can be helpful in qualifying leads and assessing whether or not they align with your ideal customer profile (ICP). This may include:

  • The lead’s name and job title
  • Company name
  • Company industry
  • Company size
  • Company revenue
  • Products the lead is most interested in 

This SaaS demo sign-up from Agorapulse is an outstanding example: 

Agorapulse SaaS Demo Sign-up form

Get as much relevant information as possible without risking that you’re asking so much (aka too much) that it drives the user away. Marketing and sales can find the sweet spot here to get you the information you need.

2. Research Your Leads in Advance 

Qualifying information (as we discussed in step one) is an important first step, but SaaS demo best practices go beyond looking at the information the client shares. You also want to consider looking for additional information.

Research all prospects in advance, including both the company and any individuals who are scheduled to participate on the call. 

Start by checking out the individuals’ LinkedIn profiles (incognito mode of course, unless you want to send a connection request in advance of the demo and do your research then). Look at their activity; sometimes, people actually ask their network about tools they should use based on specific pain points. You’ll also learn a lot about how their organization works.

You can also take a look at contact databases like Cognism to learn more about your potential leads. See how long they’ve been in the industry. Some tools even offer insights into individual companies like whether they’re hiring, if they’ve recently received funding, and more. These can be important growth or buying signals, which may impact your presentation.

Research your Leads in Advance

This information will all be vital during your preparation and the SaaS sales demo itself.

3. Tailor Demos to Each Prospect 

At this point, you’ve likely invested some solid time and energy (and potentially contact database credits) to learn as much as you can about both the company and the employees that you’ll be meeting.

Use that information when preparing for the demo itself. You should tailor your presentation to each prospect that you’re speaking to. It may influence which features you highlight or which use cases you share. And if you are conveying pricing information or trying to close the deal during the demo, coming with knowledge of the company’s background can help you determine which plan to push.

Tailor demos based on the following:

  • Known growth (or regression, like recent firings) of a company 
  • Industry
  • Intended use case of the tool
  • Expected pain points
  • Company size

4. Ask Smart “Small Talk” Questions 

Once it’s time for the demo to start, you’re prepared and as ready as you can be. 

As the demo begins, there’s often some initial small talk. This is important to build rapport because people are most likely to purchase from those they like and trust— even for major B2B “business-first, it’s not personal” decisions.

Use this small talk time to your advantage. After asking about how the customer is doing, use this time strategically to get information that can not only provide invaluable insights for your marketing, sales, and product departments but also help you fine-tune your demo in real-time.

Consider asking the following questions:

  • So what motivated you to get in touch for the demo today?
  • How did you discover us?
  • What motivated you to start looking for [insert tool type here]?
  • So how can we help your business? 

Listening is an often wildly underrated sales skill, and it’s essential as a SaaS demo best practice. What you learn should impact how you proceed with the demo and can help you make sure you’re addressing pain points and needs the customer really cares about.

5. Start Brief and Then Dive Into Features That Interest the Customer 

No one wants to feel like their time is wasted, and since the average demo is only 20-30 minutes long (including small talk and pleasantries!), it’s essential to manage your time correctly.

Starting with a brief overview of your tool is always a good idea. Think about it like a slightly longer elevator pitch or explainer video. 

Talk about the basics of what the tool does and how it can solve common client problems, showing a few basic features and the core interface.

Once you do that, you can dive deeper into specific features. At this point, consider what features the prospect seemed most interested in during the demo, and what they may be most receptive to based on what they’ve shared about their needs. 

Watch their reaction carefully so you can pivot as needed to focus on other features. Signs of interest and approval are good; questions are also great.

6. Explain Use Cases & Benefits, Not Just Features 

It’s critical that when you’re going through the demo, you’re not just listing off features without really explaining how those features can be used to benefit the prospect.

Here’s an example: If I’m selling social media marketing software, I might say “You can use scheduling features to facilitate ideal posting schedules. 

That’s a great feature, but plenty of customers might think “Sure, but my team works 9-5 so that’s fine.” Until you explain the following benefits and use cases:

  • By using the scheduling software, you can ensure that your social media calendar goes off without a hitch, even if a team member is out sick or you’ve got a peak posting time outside of their work hours
  • Scheduling software ensures that no one gets too busy and forgets, even just by a few hours 
  • Scheduling makes it easier to organize content based on a strategic calendar and ensure that everything goes in order

Consider how specific prospects will use the feature in question. A small business will worry about their one social media employee being out sick and not being able to post, whereas a larger business may want to allow an agency to go through and set up a schedule in advance that they can review before it goes live. 

Again— personalization is everything. Tailor your presentation accordingly. If you have different “use cases” listed on your site like Calendly does below, implement them here. 

Calendly explaining Use Cases on their website

7. Keep Asking Questions 

Once you get on a roll, it can be hard to stop— as someone who has worked as a salesperson, I totally understand. You want to get through the presentation before you lose their interest, and you know that time is ticking.

Trust me here— slow down. 

You don’t want to get so focused on the presentation that you end up monologuing. This can not only prevent you from properly engaging with the customer, but you may also prevent them from asking questions you can answer or raising objections you can overcome.

Plus, no one wants to feel like they’re just being sold to; they want to be given the information they need to make a buying decision that’s right for their business. Going on a long sales rant doesn’t help buyers buy.  

So, make sure you ask questions, even if it’s “What do you think about this feature?” or “Do you have any questions I can answer for you?” Even if the answer is “No,” it may end up more like “No, that is really exciting, I can really see how that would benefit us.” No matter what follows the “no,” you can get direct feedback to better understand where the prospect is at.

8. Mention What Makes You Different 

Your entire sales team should know your product and brand inside and out, and one of the most important SaaS demo best practices involves using that information strategically.

What makes you different, and why should customers purchase from you?

Throughout the presentation, talk about this.

Do you have award-winning customer service? A top-rated tool by popular review sites? A proprietary feature that no one else offers?

This is your time to shine. A quick “We’re the only content editing tool on the market that offers this specific feature” or even “most competitors have this issue, which we’ve resolved by doing this” can be wildly impactful.

Consider phrases like:

  • “No other tool”
  • “We’re the only tool that offers”
  • “We’re unique in that”
  • “What makes us different is”

You don’t want to trash-talk the competition, but competitor research and clear market positioning can go a long way in creating a successful demo when you know how to use that information to your advantage.

9. Be Ready with Pricing Information 

If you don’t have pricing information listed online (or even if you do and the prospect is looking at a custom quote), be prepared for the demo to end with interested leads asking about pricing.

Ideally, the demo will include basic pricing information if the customer asks. The pricing of your SaaS product (and the pricing structure you choose) understandably has a massive impact on a buyer’s decision. It can influence which plans they subscribe to, or if they even purchase at all.

If you can’t offer pricing information immediately, explain what the process looks like. Tell them what’s involved in getting a quote, and potentially even get the information that you need to give them a quote. Explain how they can get pricing and when they can expect to have that information.

Answer as many questions as you can. Even if you can’t answer about pricing, you can likely explain about how your pricing model works and what’s included.

10. Move Users to the Next Stage

After the demo, what next? 

What action are you hoping users take?

Do you want them to:

  • Sign up for a free trial with your business, during which you help them set up the system?
  • Submit information so you can provide them with a formal pricing quote?
  • Begin contract negotiations?
  • Sign on right then and there? 
  • Access more information?

In many cases, you may have several different options to keep moving users to the next stage at their own pace. 

No matter what, you want to make sure they understand what the next step is and how to take it during the demo. You want to use the momentum that you have to keep things going.

And, after the fact, follow-up. Follow up immediately after the demo, thanking them for their time and sharing any information you promised to send. Then follow up a week or several weeks later (depending on your specific sales cycle) to check in.

Following up is essential. Don’t skip it. 

Final Thoughts 

These SaaS demo best practices will help you create stronger presentations that appeal to each lead you talk to. This can help you attract higher-value clients that align with your ICP, and even retain them longer.

Remember that the best thing you can do is prepare in advance, understand both your competition and your prospects, and actively listen and respond to the prospect’s needs in real-time. If you’re able to do that, you’re off to a great start.

Ready to rock your demos? Knowing where you stand against the competition is the first step. See our post about B2B competitor monitoring here

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