How To Run a Flawless SaaS Product Demo
To run a flawless SaaS product demo, you must:
- Ensure you and the prospect align on the demo's objective.
- Then, summarize their pain points with a short discovery recap.
- Walk them through a tour of the product’s key features and engage the prospect in a conversation to prevent boring monologues.
- Avoid feature dumping. Tailor each portion of the demo explainer to the prospect’s unique needs. If there are certain aspects of your product which are less important to the prospect, don’t spend too much time on it.
- Handle pricing questions carefully. Use this expert talk track to avoid getting yourself into hot water.
- Recap key points, take questions, and end the demo with recommendations for the next step.
Watch Chris Orlob explain the mechanism behind this playbook and why it has helped thousands of sales teams run SaaS product demos that generate millions in revenue.
In the following sections, you’ll learn how to use this playbook and other frameworks to crush your next demo.
The Significance of Interactive SaaS Product Demos
Product demo videos have become pretty lame in B2B. There aren’t many great examples out there, and most companies just throw pre-recorded lightning demos on their YouTube channel, which ends up becoming a place to collect dust.
Interactive product demos are therefore growing in popularity. These enable prospects to interact with the product in real time, whether in a self-guided or sales-led environment.
In a self-guided interactive demo:
- The user interacts with an embedded product interface on your website where they can use specific features and understand the product's functionality.
- That way, they can experience what solving their pain point with your product feels like– and decide whether to buy the product or not.
- The entire demo happens without meeting someone from your company.
In a sales-led interactive demo:
- The account executive guides the user through a live demo.
- They set up a remote control access that allows the prospect to not only see but to also interact with specific features and see how the product works.
- The AE engages the prospect in a conversation throughout the demo by resurfacing their needs, handling their objections and helping them decide the next step.
Tired of asking “what questions do you have?” and “Does that make sense?” during your demos? Get Instant Access to 14 Questions That Create Super-Engaging SaaS Demos.
Why Are Product Demos So Important Today?
Both the self-guided and sales-led interactive demos have a high user activation potential and are crucial for engaging and converting today’s B2B SaaS buyers– who now prefer a contactless experience for most stages of their buying journey.
Therefore, hosting an interactive product demo or a live demo can enable a seamless discovery-to-purchase process and increase retention.
Here are more reasons why product demonstrations are important today:
- Self-guided interactive demos are crucial for executing a Product-Led Growth strategy, which 91% of SaaS companies will adopt, because it enables SaaS companies to offer value upfront before asking the target audience to commit.
- Product demos generate a higher user activation and conversion rate compared to alternative acquisition tactics.
- Product demos facilitate a shorter buyer journey because it primarily attracts product-qualified leads, not MQLs.
- Product demos enable a more personalized engagement, which 89% of marketing and sales attribute to positive ROI.
- Interactive product demos can increase sales cycles while reducing SaaS churn rates because they activate better product-fit users.
How to Run a Successful Demo
Running a successful demo begins with having a clear knowledge of your target audience. That is why activities like lead generation and qualification in the pre-demo are as important as the demo itself.
We’ve covered the fundamentals of an effective sales discovery in this online course. But here are the best tips your salesforce should implement to guarantee a demo that closes deals.
Want to plan demos that sell? Get instant access to a simple, powerful and free cheat sheet that has led thousands of closed saas deals.
Prioritize the Quality of Lead, Not Quantity
The aim of pre-qualifying leads is to fill the funnel with prospects likely to yield desired results and enhance SDR efficiency.
This is vital in today's tight economy.
- B2B prospects face abundant options.
- With an overload of sales intelligence tools available on the market, decision makers are getting bombarded with dozens of email solicitations per month.
- They have more Fear Of Messing Up with a wrong purchase (FOMU) than missing out on offers (FOMO).
The most effective way to stand out is implementing strict lead qualification filters that ensure only high-potential prospects enter the funnel.
- Developing an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) based on customized criteria,
- Leveraging incentivized surveys with targeted qualification questions,
- Using CRM systems like HubSpot with various integrations can enhance your CRM data intelligence to develop a predictive modeling system to identify accounts with the highest likelihood of closing.
Craft a product tour agenda
A custom product demo agenda boosts engagement because it aligns the demo with the prospect's pain points and needs. You’ll have a clear objective for the tour and focus on the product's value while maintaining audience engagement.
Schedule the demo
Find the right timing that suits the prospect's availability and ensures your sales team is well-prepared. This increases the chances of engagement because you have time for adequate preparation, which enables a smooth customer experience.
Prepare for the demo
- Research the lead for more qualitative data that can promote interactivity.
- Set up necessary tools such as Zoom and Slack for real-time interactivity.
- Customize the demo with templates, case studies, and social proof the prospect can relate to.
- Create a “show” and “don’t show” list to limit the product tour to relevant features.
- Prepare questions to progress the sales process and anticipate buyer queries with planned responses.
Bonus: As sales organizations grow and expand, sales leaders end up facing challenges with standardizing the demo process across large sales teams. One way we’ve seen companies improve the standardization of sales documentation and process is by implementing a corporate learning platform for sales teams.
Step-by-step Product Demo Process
Step 1: Align on the objective
Before you start the demo, ensure you and the prospect agree on the demo's objective. The way you do this will depend on who you’re running the demo for.
If you’re demonstrating to a person who doesn’t have the buying decision power.
You should make them understand that the purpose of the demo is to enable them to relate the product’s benefit to a senior executive.
You should say something like this:
“The purpose for this demo is to get you SO fired up about what we do that you’re willing to sponsor a meeting with your CMO.”
If you’re demoing to a group of decision makers, you need to align them on a single objective.
You should make them understand that each of them have unique needs, and the best way to run the demo is to aim for a Northstar solution that works for everyone.
Consider this demo opener example:
The key here is to ensure your target audience can picture and agree on a specific outcome.
Step 2: Break the ice with a 10-second discovery recap
We call it spending tens.
What that means is that you spend 10 seconds framing the pain point before presenting the product.
So, after setting expectations for how the live demo would go and the agreed outcome, you want to spend ten seconds reframing the pain point your prospective customer shared in the discovery.
Doing that serves three purposes:
- It helps everyone have a clear picture of the biggest problem you’re here to solve
- It prevents the software demo from being product-centric by putting the customer first
- It makes the product walkthrough interactive and engaging by focusing on key features.
So this is how you do a 10-second recap:
Use the “What we’ve heard” slide
So, if you’ve done a great job at discovery, you’ll use the “what we’ve heard” slide to recap the four essential ingredients of your sales opportunity.
- What makes your prospect want to spend money (compelling event)
- Why they want to spend it now (urgency)
- How they’ve described an offering that can solve the problem (solution-fit)
- How much your prospect is willing to spend (budget)
So, you can say something like this:
“So, I've talked to Dave. I've talked to Courtney. And here's what they've shared with me about their challenges.”
Then, you present the slide that recaps those four areas while summarizing it in other words.
So, after you do that, you can now jump into the demo, right?
After you recap the problem, you want your prospect to speak to the problem and keep them engaged.
So, instead of going ahead with the product tour, engage the room like this:
“Jeff, what's your take on this?”
“Sally, what's your take on this?”
Why this is important
Framing the pain point and getting your prospect to weigh in before the demo is important for two reasons.
- Getting those different voices to speak makes the demo interactive because everyone feels heard.
- You can take some of the things they say and interweave it into the demo that’s to come.
So, the key is to
- Recap from the thinnest layer of their pain point
- Remind them of how they described the ideal solution
- Remind them of the urgency of the situation by framing the big loss they are trying to avert.
Then, just before you start the actual demo, do this next step:
Step 3: Provide Context to the Sales Conversation
What you want to do here is to give context to the conversation to come.
Most sellers run a 40-minute demo full of colorful charts, slides and buttons. But the prospect doesn't know exactly what those things do.
Even when they tactically connect the product feature to the prospect’s problem and tie it back to the solution-statement, some prospects will still have questions that keep taking the seller back into the demo and repeating the same sequence.
At the end of the day,
- The prospect is overwhelmed by product features.
- They don’t feel like their concerns were effectively addressed.
- The seller fails to close the deal.
To avoid this, we teach reps to always orient the prospect to the screen before doing the actual demo.
It’s like showing them the big picture before showing the specific use case. Practically, a 60-second pitch for your product is tailored to the prospect’s situation.
Here’s what that looks like:
And they'll let you know if they're confused. Usually, they're not by that point.
Then you go
“Great. Let me show you how this solves your problem.”
Step 4: Begin The Product Tour
If you follow our process from the top, you’ve already set a great first impression. It is most likely that your prospects– even the executives, now perceive you as a leader.
You don’t want to botch all that effort by launching a long monologue or running an exhibition of features. Doing that will guarantee two things:
- The product demonstration becomes a snoozefest and bores the prospect to death
- The time to value (how fast you deliver value) becomes longer, and prospects struggle to see how you can help them. Executives are busy; provide value ASAP so they leave the meeting with your value proposition on their minds.
- They might feel they would be overpaying because you are showing a host of features they probably don’t need.
So, to prevent losing the deal after all that effort, strive to deliver value within the first five minutes of the demo.
There are several ways to do that, but we typically recommend the following three:
Flip the pyramid
Flipping the pyramid means addressing the biggest issues first– to create an exciting beginning before going to the small stuff.
This way, you let the buyer's reaction decide how much detail they want to know. If they're impressed right away, they'll want to learn more about everything.
Limit your demo to three features
Showcase the essential capabilities your potential customer would require, prioritizing them from most to least important and leave the remaining onboarding to customer success.
This structure helps you to keep the focus clear and concise.
Want to make it even better?
Make sure you have a powerful story for each one. The story should begin with the final business outcome before leading into the core pain point and compelling event.
This structure adds an extra punch and makes your demo more impactful.
Show how product features close the gap
What this means is that you show the potential customer how your product closes the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
Consider the following example:
The company's customer satisfaction rate is at 65%, while your service has led other companies to achieve 85% satisfaction.
You don't need to showcase every aspect, just the steps that can bridge the 20% satisfaction gap.
So, the core features you’d demo would link their issue (65% satisfaction rate) to your solution (achieving 85% satisfaction).
That way, the customer has a clear understanding of how your product helps them achieve business outcomes.
That means, before you describe each feature, do the following:
- Orient them to the screen
“So over here on the left, this chart does Y. Over here on the right, this graph shows X, Y, and Z.”
- Reveal the workflow
“When you do X, Y happens so that you can achieve Z.”
You already know this.
- Implant the value
“To sum up, this will help you accelerate your new sales reps’ demo skills and stop wasting MQLs.”
Implanting value is crucial because if you don't, you leave it up to chance whether or not your demo resonates with the buyers.
So, remember to start the demo with value and end it with value.
But you don’t just stop there. Do this before you move on to the next feature.
Initiate a conversation to compare your competitors
“Talk to me about how that compares to how you're doing it today.”
That helps you weigh in on their level of satisfaction and excitement. You get to know whether your workflow is easier or more complicated.
If they raise an objection– “it’s quite complicated”, for example– you get to rebut that objective right there and keep a positive atmosphere instead of piling it up until the end.
That can be overwhelming.
Step 5: Summarize The Key Points and Re-engage
Usually, your prospect is not taking notes, and they tend to forget more than 80% of what you said.
After you finish your demo, summarize the key points you covered to draw them back into the moment and re-engage.
By repeating your value statements, you implant the value in an actionable and memorable way—something they can take back to their team for further deliberation.
After the summary, re-engage the prospect.
How to re-engage the prospect after the demo
You can ask this
“Talk to me about what excited you the most about what we've covered today?”
If you’re presenting to a team, go around the room with similar questions. That way, you avoid having one voice dominating the narrative.
Address them directly by calling their first name. Like this:
“Dave, what resonated with you the most?”
You’ll practically get them to start talking because what excites them most can typically be mapped back to personal pain.
In the process, you’ll get one or two hands-up for clarifying questions and even find the objections that come up when you’re not in the room.
PS: A great sign that this is going well is if they're talking to each other. In that moment, you, as the seller, should go mute and allow them to talk to each other and take notes.
Step 6: End The Demo With Recommendations For Next Steps
Sales is about demonstrating leadership. And there is no better way to demonstrate leadership than providing intelligent recommendations at the end of a well-run demo.
If you’ve followed the guide and prompts above, you’re pretty much in a comfort zone right now. Your prospects trust you. And they are looking forward to the next step.
But your prospect usually doesn't know how to initiate that next step. They won’t just tell you they are ready to buy.
Typically, their first instinct is to request some time to go over everything you’ve said and come back with a decision– which is good.
But you don’t want to leave anything to chance. You’re on the final lap now.
Luckily, you’ve been here many times. You’ve run 100 demos. You know the best way to end it that’s beneficial for your company and your prospect.
So, you’re NOT going to whimper and ask the customer, “What do you think we should do?”
Instead, you will present a very strong point of view about what should be done based on historical data of what you’ve seen to work very well for your past closed-win deals.
You’ll put it this way:
“Look, I have a pretty strong point of view on what we should do next. But before I offer my point of view, you know your organization better than I do. Do you have any strong opinions?”
9 times out of 10, they will choose to hear your point of view first.
When that happens, you do these three things:
- State the next steps you’re going to recommend
- Describe why you are recommending that next step (in case there's any pushback or you need to justify it.
- Discuss who should be involved in the next steps.
If you can answer those three questions at the end of every call, you are poised to lead your customers to a successful outcome.
That’s how you run a product demo that sells. Luckily, these techniques work for sales demos too.
Want to learn even more advanced tactics? Sign up for Chris Orlob’s signature course, Win The Demo
How To Follow Up and Get Prospects To Buy
Your post-demo follow-up sequence should appreciate the prospect of taking the time to talk to you, recap the key discussion (focus on the areas they said excited them), and outline the next steps and CTA.
Here are some tips you should consider:
- Build a post-demo follow-up cadence to re-engage the prospect and drive decisions with an effective call to action.
- Use post-demo automation to save time. But watch out for engagement signals that might require a human-led and personalized outreach.
- Share tutorials, product tour snippets, and the latest case studies in your follow-up emails to accelerate decision-making.
- Don’t send them the full recording. Instead, extract and share the three or four most interesting segments of the call with them. The extract should be followed by an email summarizing the meeting. That way, you’re making life easier for your sales champion by sharing key areas like the ROI they need to convince the procurement person or CFO.
Achieve Better Outcomes From Your Product Demos With Pclub
If the demo methods we’ve shown resonate, you’ll benefit greatly from Chris Orlob’s Win The Demo – the online course where he shares the Exact 'System' he used to close $100,000,000 worth of SaaS business.
What Do You Get With the Course?
- 6-Step System for SaaS Demos That Sell. You’ll practice how to transition from mere feature tours to powerful interaction demos that deliver maximum sales impact.
- Click-by-Click Formulas that help you approach every demo with unwavering confidence because you know precisely what to articulate, demonstrate, and present in diverse demo scenarios.
- Practice engaging Demo Tactics that help you eliminate monotonous demos that feel disconnected.
- Get access to over 50 tools, cheat sheets, techniques, and queries to captivate buyers and leave them wanting more.
- Master how to sell to executives with varied needs without demoing them to death.
- You’ll watch and practice real demonstrations of how to use demos as a Competitive Weapons
- You’ll get access to the 7-Step Messaging Framework for discussing every feature in a way that resonates with the current audience…and the next.
Ready to win more deals? Unlock Win The Demo now.