Back Button

The Ultimate Guide to Sales Demos That Close More Deals

Chris Orlob
June 13, 2023

Chris Orlob is the Co-founder of and QuotaSignal, and the former Director of Sales at He grew Gong from $200k to $200M+ ARR and a $7.2B valuation and built and led the #1-attaining sales segment, achieving 141% annual ARR. He trained Gong’s sales org on these techniques, with record-breaking President’s Club auto-qualifiers. 

How confident are you in your sales demos?

How much more revenue (and income) do you think you’d generate if you improved your sales demo processes?

This guide is going to help you close that delta and become a top-earning sales professional.

Implement everything in it correctly and it can 10x the quality of your sales demos and more than double their success rate.

Why we wrote a guide about sales demo training:

  • Most sales methodology is too theoretical, and we wanted to go mega tactical with very hands-on examples from the real-world. 
  • Most sales enablement programs within B2B companies are too soft, and don't provide sellers with enough practical knowledge to succeed. 
  • Account executives, sales engineers and others who run demos can get rusty — even if you’re an A player, there’s always room for improvement, especially given B2B sales is more complex than ever before. 
  • Onboarding help for new hires — the reality is that most training programs within B2B companies aren’t adequate enough for new hires. They get thrown into the lion’s den, show up to demo meetings with prospects, present their company slide deck and wonder why they fail. 

What you’ll learn in this guide:

  • You’ll learn the foundation of sales demos, the first principles that win.
  • Then I’ll show you how to create sales demos that win using value mapping.
  • I’ll walk you through exactly how to structure great sales demos using a repeatable and winning formula.
  • You’ll get a grab bag of dozens of sales demo techniques that increase buyer engagement.
  • And finally, you’ll learn what to do and say in tough sales demos.

Section 1: The first principles of sales demos that sell

There are four first principles of sales demos that sell:

  1. Catalyze the decision
  2. Flip your demo upside down
  3. Solve exactly
  4. Sell pain relief

1. Use sales demos to catalyze a decision

Many sellers believe that the main goal of a sales demo is to inform or educate buyers. However, that's not entirely accurate. The true purpose of a sales demo is to catalyze a decision.

When we say "catalyze a decision," it doesn't necessarily mean getting someone to immediately make a purchase. It's about guiding them through a series of mini-decisions that ultimately lead to a purchasing decision. 

To do this effectively, it's crucial to understand the distinction between a "product demo" and a "sales demo" approach.

Product Demo:

  • Makes the buyer aware of your capabilities
  • Showcases your differentiators
  • Highlights the most valuable parts of your product
  • Emphasizes the "art of the possible"
  • Builds as much value as possible

Sales Demo:

  • Defines the next decision that will advance the process
  • Understands what conditions need to be met for a positive decision
  • Showcases your product in a way that impacts a decision
  • Emphasizes problem-solving
  • Shows only what is necessary to catalyze the decision

To implement this principle effectively, you need to be clear about the next decision your buyer needs to make. This will allow you to leverage your sales demo to catalyze their decision-making process.

The specific decision you want your buyer to catalyze depends on where they are in their buying process. 

For example, if you have an inbound lead without decision-making power, your goal is to clarify their lack of power and then guide them towards making a decision to introduce you to the decision-makers.

2. Flip your sales demos upside down

Great journalists know this one – Don’t bury the lede! It's all about grabbing your audience's attention from the start and then diving into the details as needed. Sales demos can benefit from the same principle!

Many SaaS sellers are unaware that they bury the lead in their demos. They often follow a build-up formula, saving the "grand finale" for the end. But here's a test for you:

Is there a mind-blowing moment within the first five minutes of your demo? 

If not, you're likely burying the lede.

So, what's the goal? 

You need a mic-drop moment that wows your prospective customer right at the beginning of your sales demos. To achieve this, you can "flip the script" in your demo. Here's how it works:

During the discovery call, you uncover the prospect’s challenges they’re facing. The order in which you tackle those issues shapes your demo.

Instead of following the traditional pyramid structure, where you start with smaller issues and work your way up, successful software demos are shaped like an upside-down pyramid. You address the biggest issues first, creating a captivating opening reveal.

This approach allows your buyer's reaction to guide the level of detail they desire. If you knock their socks off, they'll be eager to learn everything.

Here's why this approach works:

  1. Executives want the "last slide first" because their time is valuable.
  2. First impressions matter, and buyers remember the first thing you show them.
  3. By solving their main problem right at the beginning, you double your odds of winning.
  4. Avoid landing with a whimper; instead, make a strong impact from the start.

SaaS Example:

Suppose you're a land developer presenting to an important politician. Instead of logically laying out the community's growth stages in a traditional manner, you should start with a big opening reveal of your spectacular city vision. 

This grabs people's attention and sets the stage for further details.

By amazing your buyer right at the beginning, you can spend the rest of the demo validating the value you've already established. If you save the grand finale for the end, your buyer will spend the entire demo searching for value, which is not an ideal use of their time.

3. Solve exactly

The goal is for your buyers to leave the demo thinking, "This exactly meets our needs. It addresses all our pain points, no more, no less."

Now, here's a counterintuitive principle: You should resist the urge to show all the features and pieces of your product as a way to build value and justify your price. It's common for sellers to try to get buyers interested in aspects they haven't considered yet. 

However, this often backfires.

In reality, anyone can watch a demo and appear fascinated, but that doesn't necessarily indicate a buying signal.

Real buyers are focused on solving their specific problem and don't care about anything else. When you show them a bunch of things they don't need, even if a small percentage is perfect for them, it gives the impression of a poor fit.

If the buyer's problem isn't clear during the discovery phase, you need to conduct better discovery or run a mini discovery session during your demo to uncover their main pain point. Avoid demonstrating your product before you have a clear understanding of a prospect’s needs.

Here are three reasons why over-sharing backfires:

  1. It distracts from simple and accelerated decision making.
  2. It complicates the decision-making process.
  3. It creates objections and confusion.

Instead, introduce value mapping into your sales demos. 

Involve value mapping

Value mapping involves mapping your product's capabilities directly back to the buyer's pain points and explaining how it solves those pain points using value-oriented language. This approach aligns your solution with the root causes of their business problems.

SaaS Example:

For example, let's consider a scenario where you're selling to a sales leader using Gong. In value mapping, you outline the buyer's problem, identify the root cause of the problem, map your solution's capabilities to the root causes, and create value statements that describe those capabilities. 

These value statements become your intro and outro for each part of the demo, emphasizing the value your solution provides.

It's important to note that you may leave out critical parts of your product in the demo. This is because including them would dilute the message, confuse decision-making, and potentially create objections.

The focus should be on giving the buyer exactly what they need to make their next decision, without any extra complexity.

(Get the template for “how to sell using a root cause” in my Win the Demo online course.)

4. Sell pain relief

You may have been taught that "money follows benefits," but in reality, it follows pain TWICE as often. What does this mean? 

It means people are more motivated to spend money to address their pains rather than to achieve gains.

Let's dive into an example to illustrate this concept

Real-World Example:

Imagine you're a wealth advisor with a client who has $10 million. It's 5 AM, and the global stock markets were highly volatile overnight. You call your client and say, "If we act right now, you can earn $50,000. Are you in?"

Chances are, your client will ask why you're calling and might even hang up. She's not interested.

Now, picture a different scenario. You call her and say, "I'm sorry to call at 5 AM, but you're about to lose $50,000. If we act now, we can prevent that from happening. Are you in?"

This time, she thanks you and agrees to take action.

But why? The difference lies in loss aversion. People are more motivated to prevent a loss than to make a gain. Loss aversion demonstrates that the emotions associated with a loss are twice as intense as the emotions related to a gain.

Harnessing the power of loss aversion in your sales demos can help you close more deals. The language of loss and gains is incredibly powerful. In fact, a Nobel-winning study showed that people would rather "keep $30 of the $50 in their hand" than "lose $20 of the $50 in their hand." 

Mathematically, the options are identical. The only difference is the framing of the options as keep or lose.

So, in your sales demos, use this superpower for good by helping your potential customers and prospects avoid losses.

Start by answering this question: "What loss do your buyers fear that your solution can prevent?" 

Whether it's losing deals, leads, customers, market share, status, or data, identify their fear and frame your capability value statements accordingly.

Remember those value statements we crafted earlier? Let's transform them into loss-based value statements. Rewrite them to highlight the risks of losing rather than the gains. Take the time to write them down and then practice using them in your demos.

By prioritizing pain relief messaging and leveraging loss aversion, you can effectively connect with your buyers' fears and position your solution as the key to preventing those losses.

Section 2: Deal-closing sales demos need deal-closing discovery

We can’t go further on sales demos that sell until we address parts of discovery that lead to a good demo.

Because here’s an obvious-but-overlooked truth:

I’m not here to make you a rockstar at discovery.

If you want that, sign up for our  SaaS Sales Discovery Masterclass

(How you run discovery calls will change forever.)

Right now, we need to cover the parts of discovery that directly impact doing sales demos that sell.

If you’re a student of our SaaS Sales Discovery Masterclass, this framework will look familiar:

It’s the five-step framework we teach for highly effective discovery calls.

Just two sections of this framework can DOUBLE your odds of a successful demo:

Let’s start with the root cause.

Everything you need to know about root-cause analysis

Imagine your buyer is struggling with a lack of inbound leads. Your goal is to identify the root cause of this problem.

  • Is it poor landing page conversion? 
  • Low traffic? 
  • SDRs who aren't effectively converting to opportunities? 

By pinpointing the root cause, you can tailor your solution and map your value statements directly to their specific problems.

Real-World Example:

To illustrate the significance of root-cause analysis, let me share a real-world example. I once had a rep who was selling to an SVP of Enterprise sales. 

During the discovery call, the buyer expressed their pain point: a lengthy sales cycle that took nine months instead of the desired six months to close deals.

However, we made a crucial mistake during the demo. We focused on how our product (Gong) could help them secure next steps and increase deal velocity. 

Unfortunately, the buyer interrupted us and pointed out that our solution didn't address the root cause of their problem. They explained that the issue lied in securing next steps with the wrong people and not selling to decision-makers with power.

We missed the mark and failed to make a strong first impression. If we had understood the root cause, our demo would have been completely different. We would have "flipped the demo upside down" and showcased the most important aspect first.

Sales demos require finesse, and one way to handle this delicacy is by thoroughly understanding the buyer's perceived root cause before diving into the demo.

While there are advanced techniques taught in the SaaS Sales Discovery Masterclass, let's focus on a basic question you should ask: 

"What's your opinion on why that's happening?"

Asking this question prompts people to open up and share their thoughts, allowing you to gather valuable insights. Use their responses to create a value map for your solution, aligning it directly with their perceived root cause.

PS: Intrigued by the SaaS Sales Discovery Masterclass? Get a taste for what we cover here: How to Create Urgency In SaaS Discovery Calls (Three Dead Simple Steps)

Align with the desired solution

This is the final step in the framework we teach in the SaaS Sales Discovery Masterclass. It involves transitioning from understanding the buyer's problem and its root causes to understanding the solution the buyer believes they need. 

It's crucial not to make assumptions about the solution or impose your own ideas on the buyer. Instead, bring their perceptions to the forefront and use your demo to directly address their needs, hopes, and desires. 

This approach makes winning so much easier. 

Here's the psychological effect at play: If you can get the buyer to verbalize their desired solution, they will take ownership of it. This technique is widely used by sales managers. 

When a sales rep admits to a problem and collaborates with their manager to craft a development plan, it is ten times more effective than simply being told what to do.

By following this approach, you can achieve unimaginable success. 

So, here's the flow you'll use during the discovery phase:

  1. Summarize the impact of the problem.
  2. Open the floodgates with a question that invites the buyer to discuss their potential solution. This empowers them and puts them in control of the conversation.
  3. Ask targeted questions that align with your product's capabilities.

SaaS Example:

Let's consider an example using Gong as the product you're selling. Once the buyer has voiced their perspective on what a great solution looks like, it's time to demonstrate how Gong aligns with their words. 

This is where your demo becomes incredibly powerful because it resonates with their articulated needs.

When the buyer's desired solution is aligned with your demo, they take ownership of that perspective. This creates a strong connection and increases the likelihood of winning the deal.

Remember, during the discovery phase, it's essential to uncover the buyer's perceptions of the desired solution and let them guide the conversation. 

When you align your demo with their words, you create a compelling experience that speaks directly to their needs and increases your chances of success.

Section 3: How to structure sales demo calls (in 6 steps)

There’s a macro and a micro structure to sales demo calls that sell.

The macro includes the whole demo call, start to finish.

That’s what we’re going to talk about in this chapter. (We’ll get to the microstructure in the next chapter.)

For now, let’s dig into a framework that suits most early cycle sales demos: the S.A.F.E.T.Y. framework.

Keep this shot handy. 

Learn it like it’s going to help you win the demo. (It will.)

Let’s go through these steps one by one.

Step #1: Start with pre-call planning.

This is a crucial and detailed section where you need to get clear on your demo objective. Remember the first principle we discussed earlier: catalyzing a decision. 

Determine the specific decision you want your buyer to make based on your demo. Depending on the stage of the sales funnel, there could be various objectives.

Step #2: Clarify the business problem you solve for your buyer. 

If you haven't clearly defined the problem you address, the buyer will spend the call wondering what exactly your solution solves. Frame the problem again right before the demo, and there are three ways to do it.

Steps #3 and #4: Focus on clarifying the perceived root causes and mapping your product capabilities to those root causes. 

Value mapping is essential here, where you select the top root causes of the buyer's problem and align your solution accordingly.

Step #5: Create a "Don't-show list." 

Decide what doesn't make the cut and mercilessly remove it from your demo.

Step #6: Determine the customer stories you will share. 

Have two to five macro and micro stories ready. Macro stories should align with the buyer's overall business problem, while micro stories can relate to root causes or specific use cases for your product.

Step #7: Prepare the questions you will ask the buyer during the demo. 

These questions should help move the sales cycle forward. Consider discovery-related questions, buying-process questions, and vision-creation questions.

Step #8: Consider what beliefs your buyer needs to have in order to agree to the objective

This is crucial for moving to the next step or decision you'll present at the end of the demo. Make sure you know what these beliefs are before going into the demo.

Step #9: Anticipate the questions your buyer may ask and plan your responses. 

While you can't predict every question, prepare for the significant ones to ensure you're not caught off-guard.

By following these steps and properly planning your demo, you can boost your confidence and be well-prepared to deliver impactful sales demos. 

To further enhance your skills, consider taking the Win the Demo online course, which covers a wide range of sales demo scenarios to keep you prepared in any situation.

Align on the decision

Let's dive into the live call and the importance of aligning on the decision with your buyer. 

The call typically starts with some small talk before moving on to the up-front contract or its equivalent.

During the up-front contract, you'll align on the purpose of the call by filling in the sentence provided in the screenshot. Let's look at some real-world examples to illustrate this:

Example 1: If you're meeting with someone who lacks decision-making power, but you want to reach the CMO, you could say:

“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.”

Example 2: If your buyer didn't anticipate a proof of concept happening for months, you might go in with this:

“The purpose of this demo is to decide whether what we do solves [X PROBLEM] in a compelling enough way to justify kicking off a formal proof of concept.”

It's powerful to end these statements with the question, "Is that fair?" This approach makes it difficult for the buyer to disagree. If they do find it unfair, they will explain why, giving you an opportunity to realign for the call.

Keep in mind that if the buyer's only intention is to "find out what you do" or "just see the demo already," they may not be a qualified buyer. On the other hand, if you had an agreement at the beginning of the call and they try to back out of it when the demo ends, it's important to call them on it. The screenshot provides an example of how to address this situation.

By aligning on the decision and setting clear expectations upfront, you create a solid foundation for the demo. If the buyer feels you missed the mark, it's valuable feedback that helps you understand why you're in that position and allows you to take appropriate action. 

Aligning on the decision and addressing any discrepancies during the call ensures a productive and effective demo that moves you closer to a successful outcome.

Frame the problem

This is a powerful technique that significantly increases your success rate.

When you frame the problem effectively, it creates a fertile ground for your solution and its capabilities to resonate with the buyer. Without framing the problem, you'll have a solution in search of a problem, which is a big no-no.

Even if you've already conducted a discovery session with the buyer, it's crucial to frame the problem again during the demo. The buyer may not realize that the challenges they shared align with the solutions your product offers until you explicitly state it. 

If the buyer spends the demo wondering what problem your product solves, they'll be distracted and won't fully appreciate the value you provide.

There are three ways to frame the problem:

  1. The "What we've heard" slide: Summarize the key points you gathered during the discovery call. It's a simple yet highly effective approach.
  2. On-the-fly summary: Similar to the "What we've heard" slide, but without a prepared slide. This is commonly used in combined discovery-demo calls. Address the topics in the order shown in the screenshot, ending with the desired solution right before the demo. Validate what you've heard to make the buyer feel affirmed.
  3. Educational pain narrative: Instead of summarizing the buyer's pain, teach them about the pain you're going to solve. This approach is useful when you don't have the opportunity to conduct a thorough discovery or when the buyer's expressed problem is incomplete. Consider combining this approach with the first or second one to align on the problem and expand the buyer's perspective.

After framing the problem, you need to establish the big picture of your solution before diving into the demo. This step is crucial to help the buyer understand the fundamentals of your solution and make sense of the demo.

Without establishing the big picture, the buyer may become confused or disengaged.

To transition from framing the problem to the demo, use a script like this: "Let me talk you through how we solve this challenge, and then I'll show you exactly how it works."

Ensure you have a 60-second explanation of what you do and how it works. This explanation should clearly demonstrate how your solution addresses the framed problem. Share just enough information to make the demo coherent and understandable.

Lastly, highlight 2-3 value pillars that your solution helps buyers achieve. These value pillars should be tied to important business metrics, such as pipeline influence, improved reps' skills, accelerated hiring, or freeing up managers' time. Ending with these value pillars creates anticipation and eagerness in the buyer to see your demo.

Take them on a journey

Let's dive into the final section of your sales demo: the yield and pivot. This is where you stop the demo on a high note, engage in a discussion, understand the buyer's decision-making process, and make a firm recommendation for the next step.

Before we proceed, remember to allocate around 8-10 minutes at the end of your sales demos for this important work. Adjust the time if your demo is shorter or longer.

Yield and pivot

As you reach the end of your demo, if everything has gone according to plan, there should be fruitful discussion happening. Here's how you wrap up your demo on a high note, step by step:

  • Yield: Stop the demo and provide a summary. Do this slightly before you feel completely comfortable. Summarizing the call in three steps creates a sense of closure and leaves a positive impression. Keep your summary concise, speaking for only 30-60 seconds.
  • Pivot: Transition to a discussion using the "magic" question: "What excited you the most about what we covered today?" When they share their excitement, take a moment to dig deeper by asking follow-up questions. Peel back the layers of their interest and understand why certain aspects intrigued them or took priority over others. You can use additional questions to generate further discussion, as shown in the screenshot.

Clarify the buying process and close on next steps: Don't leave your deal to chance. Ask the following questions in this precise order to gain insight into how to move forward effectively:

  1. "What are your thoughts on what we've discussed so far?"
  2. "Who else needs to be involved in this decision-making process?"
  3. "What are the next steps from here?"

Asking these questions will provide you with valuable information on how to proceed with the deal.

Now it's time for you to make a recommendation. Use the following phrase to do so: 

"Based on what you've told me, here's what I recommend as the logical next step." Memorize this phrase because if you've followed all the previous steps properly, it positions you as a trusted advisor. 

Remember, selling is an act of leadership, so make a confident recommendation instead of asking the buyer what should happen next. Strike a balance between being assertive and flexible.

Great salespeople understand what should happen next, who should be involved, and why they recommend a specific next step. Embrace this leadership role and guide the buyer towards the logical next phase of the sales process.

Section 4: The $100M sales demo feature framework

You’re ready to learn about micro structures.

Remember the “Take them on a journey” section we skimmed in the last chapter? We’re diving into it now.

You’re going to learn to run software demos feature-by-feature using the “F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E” framework.

It’s the exact framework I created for my sales team at Gong. 

That’s right, the one they used to close $100M in deals.

(PS: Want more of the sales tips they used to close $100M in sales? Watch the “8 Sales Demo Tips That Closed $100,000,000 Worth of SaaS”.)

The F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E. framework comes in — you guessed it — eight parts:

It may seem like a lot of information as we go through it, but in real life — during your demo — each section should last mere seconds.

You read that right: only seconds.

In fact, you’ll apply the whole thing from start to finish several times throughout your demo.

We’re only breaking it down in detail so you fully understand the ins and outs of each step.

F: Frame the pain

This step is a breeze. 

Before you demo each new product feature and functionality, take 10-20 seconds to frame the pain point or root cause that the feature solves. 

Remember, in the previous chapter, you learned how to frame the overall problem your solution solves. Now, it's time to do that on a micro scale for each individual feature you showcase.

Keep in mind the saying, "A solution without a problem doesn't resonate." Simply showing off features won't cut it if you don't remind the buyer of the problem it solves. You can achieve this by using one of the phrases provided in the screenshot, or feel free to craft your own.

These pain points should directly align with the root causes your buyer identified in your value map. Take a moment to revisit your value map—it's worth its weight in gold. By reminding them of the root cause they mentioned, your solution will immediately resonate with them.

Now, let's move on to the next step of the F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E framework and continue to impress your buyers with your demo skills!

A: Ask the right question

What does it mean to ask the right question? 

It means asking a question that resurfaces the pain point your feature solves. Both framing the problem and asking the right question serve the same purpose: creating a fertile spot where your feature can truly shine.

To help you tee up the pain and engage your audience, here are some fantastic questions you can use:

Depending on their response, you might find the need to dig deeper and "peel back the onion" a bit. It's perfectly fine to explore a hot-button issue further if you suspect there's valuable information behind it. However, remember to keep it concise, spending only a couple of minutes on it.

Afterward, circle back to asking the right question. The goal is to maintain focus and keep the demo flowing smoothly.

Now, let's see how "Frame the pain" and "Ask the right question" come together to create a powerful combination. Check out this example:

In just a few seconds, you can create a landing pad for your demo that captures attention and resonates with your audience. This step is quick but highly effective in keeping your demo on track and delivering the impact you desire. Let's keep the momentum going!

V: Visualize the outcome

Why is visualization important? Well, it turns out that mental images can drive behavior. When buyers can visualize the outcome they desire, they are more likely to take actions that move them closer to that outcome. It's like visualizing the success of sales demos that result in $100,000,000 worth of SaaS!

So how can you get your buyers to visualize the value? It's all about understanding that value comes from contrast. It's not just about presenting benefits or resolving pain; true value lies in the contrast between the pain and the benefit.

When you've successfully completed the first three steps of the F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E framework, you've effectively spelled out the value of your product or feature.

Now, you might be wondering, "How do I actually get them to visualize the outcome?" Well, here's a trick: Complete one of these sentences with the desired outcome your feature delivers:

Pay attention to the blank part and make sure you speak your buyer's language. Focus on describing the desired outcome rather than the specific details of how you achieve it.

Think about it this way: When people buy a drill bit, they're not really interested in the drill bit itself. What they truly want is a hole, or even better, a perfect spot to hang a family portrait! 

So, talk about the hole or the family portrait, not the drill bit.

Let's take a look at some real-world examples of how this sounds:

Now, let's put it all together, just like we discussed:

When you master this step, you'll enable your buyers to truly visualize the value. They'll be emotionally engaged and leaning forward, even if they don't show it outwardly. This is where the magic happens!

O: Orient to the screen

Now, here's a common mistake that many SaaS sellers make: They get so excited about the demo that they rush through it without taking the time to orient the buyer and explain what's on the screen. And let me tell you, that's a BIG mistake.

If the buyer is left wondering, "WTF am I looking at?" for several minutes, it's not a good sign. Even if you're sharing valuable information, it won't sink in if they're confused about what they're seeing on the screen. And if they're confused, they won't be able to fully grasp the point of the demo, which means they won't be likely to say yes to your sales pitch.

Here's the thing: Confusion is the enemy of successful demos. And that's why you need to take the time to orient the buyer. 

Use this simple sentence to tee up your demo: "Let me orient you to what you're looking at, and then I'll show you how it works." It sets the stage for a smooth and clear presentation.

Here's a quick pattern you can follow to orient the buyer:

Now, let's dive into a real-world example to bring this step to life. In this video example from Gong, we'll focus specifically on this step and see how it's implemented:

Remember, the key here is not to overdo it. While it's fun to explore the product, you want to keep the focus on value as quickly as possible. 

Avoid turning your feature demo into a lengthy product tour. Instead, explain what the buyer is looking at, and demonstrate only what's necessary to convey the value of the feature you're showcasing.

That's all there is to it. Take the time to orient the buyer, keep the focus on value, and you'll be on the right track to delivering an effective demo.

R: Reveal the workflow

This is the heart of interactive sales demos. 

You're using the app live, moving through the click path, exploring its automations, and showing them how it actually delivers value.

And amazingly, this is the easy part of the demo! It's the stuff most SaaS sellers are really comfortable with because they know their product inside out. 

In fact, it's the part most SaaS sellers already do, without all the other steps we've covered. But if you add the steps we've talked about to your sales demos, you DOUBLE the effectiveness of this part of the demo.

During this phase, your goal is to show the end user how they'd use this product on a day-to-day basis to extract the value you promised. Use "You" language rather than "I" language. The word "you" helps create mental visualizations for your customer. You want them to picture themselves using the product. Get disciplined and make this language a habit!

After you orient your buyer to the screen, transition to the rest of the workflow using this sentence: "Now, you can..." For example, "Now, you can search...", "Now, your people can tag...", or "Now, your team members can connect..."

Here's what that sounds like:

By following this approach, you'll effectively reveal the workflow and demonstrate the true power of your product to your buyers. Keep them engaged, let them envision themselves using the product, and watch as your demos become even more impactful.

I: Implement the value

When you examine the framework as a whole, you'll notice that the demo portion is sandwiched between value statements.

Right before you begin the demo, it's crucial to make a value statement that helps your buyers visualize the outcome they can achieve. This sets the stage for the demo. Take a look:

Once you've completed the demo (and hopefully won the demo), it's time to circle back to value. Summarize the value of the feature you just showcased in a simple, one-sentence statement. Remember those value statements we discussed earlier? Bring them back into play.

Attach these value statements to the end of your workflow or product demonstration. People tend to remember the beginning and end of presentations the most, so make sure both of those moments emphasize VALUE. Conclude your workflow by saying something like:

For instance, at Gong, I might have said:

“To sum that 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.

Here's the complete package:

If there's one thing you should remember, it's to wrap your product in value. And here's the easiest way to do it:

  • Go back to your value map.
  • Craft a closing statement that encapsulates the value of each feature you demo.
  • Test them out on live calls.
  • Iterate and refine.

With this approach, you'll be golden. Your demos will be packed with value and leave a lasting impression on your buyers.

T: Tell a story

Here's the key: Don't tell a customer story for every single feature. That can come across as too formulaic. Instead, choose two or three key features where you can incorporate a quick customer story.

Why should you bother with customer stories, you ask? Well, let me tell you:

Nobody is going to remember your entire click path. But when you wrap it up with a compelling story, people will remember. 

We humans are wired for stories. They stick with us long after the demo is over. And guess what? Your buyers will start selling internally to their colleagues and other influencers when they have a memorable story to share.

So, here's the format you can use for your customer stories: the "Before | After" format. It's all about creating contrast that is filled with value. Check it out:

To construct a great feature story, complete these sentences:

Let me show you a real-world example based on the Gong case study we've been discussing:

That's the whole story. Short, but incredibly effective. Take your top three features and make sure you have a powerful story for each one. If you have the final business outcome to include in your story, even better. It adds an extra punch and makes your story more impactful.

E: Elicit a response

This step is simple yet crucial. It's all about asking a question to get the buyer actively engaged in the conversation.

Your goal at this stage is to turn your demo into a dynamic dialogue. As you wrap up your story and reinforce the value, try asking one of these thought-provoking questions:

Use these questions strategically at the end of your demo to encourage the buyer to share their thoughts and insights. It's a powerful way to keep them engaged and involved.

Now, are you ready to see all five steps in the F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E. framework come together? Check out this final video in this section. It includes a real-world example that demonstrates each step in action:

Impressive, right? And here's the best part: Those five steps only took about 90 seconds to execute. But trust me, they are tried and true techniques that will make a lasting impact on your demos.

Section 5: How to run “mini-sales-demos” or “demo-scovery”

Sometimes, you find yourself in a situation where you need to do a sales demo right at the first meeting, combining it with the discovery process. In this chapter, we'll dive into how to handle such scenarios effectively.

Up until now, we've focused on running dedicated demo calls, usually conducted after separate discovery and introduction calls. But today, we'll explore what to do when you have to blend discovery and demo into a single "demo-scovery" call.

There are three main reasons why this situation may arise:

High-velocity sales:

If your sales cycles are lightning fast, lasting less than 30 or even 20 days, it might be more efficient to combine discovery and demo into one call.

High-intent (aka difficult) buyers:

These prospects are already at the bottom of the funnel. They've come through your website and are actively evaluating competitors. They want to make a decision pronto.

Buyers lacking context and vision:

Some buyers may be interested in your product but lack a clear understanding of the problems you solve. Doing a separate discovery session might feel like fumbling in the dark for them. They need more information upfront.

Now, let's discuss why it's beneficial to run a demo-scovery call in these situations:

But wait! Here's a word of caution: Don't approach this type of call as a mere demo monkey. You're here to Win the Demo, not just go through the motions. Use this opportunity to gather the information you need to move the deal forward.

SaaS sellers often come across a common phrase: "Can you just show me the demo?" However, it's important to know how to handle this request. Otherwise, you might end up delivering a one-way demo or conducting a disconnected and pointless discovery session.

Your goal is to engage the buyer in a mutual conversation where both sides learn new information. But first, you need to determine which category the buyer falls into, as it will shape how you proceed.

Buyers who ask for "just the demo" typically fall into two categories:

  1. Those in research mode, seeking clarification about their situation.
  2. Buyers who are already well into a sales cycle with another vendor, and you're joining the game late.

For category #1, here's an example of how to engage them effectively:

Research mode

When a buyer is in research mode, there's no need to stick to the rigid rule of "never demo before discovery." 

Feel free to engage with them. Just make sure to ask for something in return, such as a give-and-take approach where you demo one or two parts of the product and then ask them questions.

You can frame it as a "tug-of-war" approach, suggesting, "How about we showcase some features and then discuss? Is that fair? Is that reasonable?" Asking such questions makes it psychologically challenging to disagree. And honestly, if they do disagree, they may not be the right fit for your sales cycle anyway.

Once you have their agreement and start the demo, pay close attention to their reaction. As soon as you notice that you've struck a chord or piqued their interest, hit the brakes. Stop the demo and start asking questions, like:

"It seems like this resonates with you. What specific challenges are you facing in your business that make this relevant?"

Remember the order: 

  1. Demo
  2. Stop
  3. Ask
  4. Listen
  5. Learn
  6. Repeat.

It's all about mutual learning. They get to learn about your product, and you get to learn about their needs and pain points. That's what makes a great demo-scovery call.

Now, let me share with you the key principle behind it all:

The framework for demo-scovery

The framework for a successful demo-scovery call is here to guide you through the sales process. Let's break it down step by step:

Step #1: Create pain and vision

Start by stating a problem that resonates with the buyer. Then, highlight the pain associated with that problem. Finally, engage them with a question that generates a mini-vision of a solution. Here's how it comes together:

Step #2: Demo and solve

You're already familiar with this step. Demo a specific capability, following the "orient-demo-value" approach from the F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E. framework. Take them through the screen orientation, reveal the workflow, and implant the value. Deliver what you promised in Step #1 and Step #2.

Step #3: Zoom out and ask a discovery question

Now it's time to gather more information about their pain points. Ask one of these discovery questions:

The entire process of going through these three steps should take around 90-120 seconds.

That's the basic flow! If your demo and discovery question resonate well, you can continue this cycle for 2-3 rounds, creating a mutual conversation. It sets you up nicely to move forward in the sales cycle with a deeper understanding.

But what if the demo and your question don't resonate? Don't worry. You can still turn the call into an opportunity. In fact, it gives you a chance to request more in-depth discovery than they have previously allowed. Use this phrase:

It's an invitation to get everyone on the right path, a genuine "Help me help you!" moment. If they leave you hanging, they might not be the right buyer. However, if they provide more information, you can get things back on track, even after a shaky start.

(Learn more about handling tough demo calls in Win the Demo, an online course from THOUSANDS of SaaS sellers are using it to kick their wins into high gear.)

Section 6: How to run sales demos with senior executives

Running sales demos with senior executives requires a different approach. While they may not be the end users of your software, their role in the buying decision is crucial. 

In one call, they can make or break the entire deal. That's why it's important to shift your mindset. It's not just a "demo call" when it's with an executive—it's a business conversation.

Running through frameworks like S.A.F.E.T.Y. on an executive call isn't necessarily a mistake, but it's not the most optimal approach. So, what's the best way to handle an executive call that includes a demo?

The key is to view the demo as a part of a broader business conversation. It's not the main focus—it's a demo agenda item that fits into the larger context. 

Your role on this call is to discuss the BIG PICTURE. Executives are focused on the overall business needs, and you're there to support them.

To navigate these calls successfully, there's a five-step framework you should learn. This framework will help you prepare for your next executive call and ensure you make the most of the opportunity.

5-Step framework for exec sales “demos”

Step #1: Champion development

Let's kick off the realm of executive sales "demos" with a crucial step: finding yourself a champion.

But what exactly defines a "champion"? They possess two key attributes:

  1. Insights: They have a deep understanding of the business pain points and challenges.
  2. Influence: They hold the power and willingness to sponsor the meeting with the decision makers.

It's important to identify someone who embodies both attributes and can truly champion your cause. Before your meeting, seek out such individuals and secure their sponsorship.

To help you in this process, here's a quick primer on champion development:

  • Explore the business pain: Uncover the challenges and pain points that the organization is facing.
  • Connect with potential champions: Seek out individuals who align with the pain points and have the ability to influence decisions.
  • Build relationships: Engage with these potential champions, understand their needs, and establish rapport.
  • Present your value proposition: Clearly articulate how your solution addresses the identified pain points and provides value to the organization.
  • Nurture the relationship: Continuously communicate and collaborate with your champion, keeping them engaged and informed.

Remember, finding and developing a champion is a crucial step as they will lead you to the decision makers. It's a journey that starts with understanding the business pain and ends with a powerful advocate in your corner.

(P.S. If you want to dive deeper into this topic and more, check out our SaaS Discovery Masterclass. It's the #1 course that covers all aspects of champion development and beyond.)

Step #2: Summarize the problem

Alright, let's dive into the second step of our executive meeting framework: summarizing the problem. This is where you truly earn credibility with those executives.

Remember, this isn't just a demo—it's a business conversation. So, take the time to thoroughly discuss the business problem at hand. Plan for a meeting that lasts around 45 minutes, or even better, aim for 60 minutes if you can swing it. Trust me, 30 minutes simply won't cut it for deals in the $40-$50k range and beyond.

Now, let's break down the four key aspects of a business problem that you should focus on summarizing:

  1. The Impact: Share the specific impact that the problem is having on their organization, whether it's hindering growth, slowing down processes, or impacting customer satisfaction.
  2. The Root Cause: Dig deeper to uncover the underlying reasons behind the problem. What factors are contributing to its existence? This demonstrates your keen understanding of their challenges.
  3. The Consequences: Highlight the potential negative outcomes and consequences of not addressing the problem. Make it clear that taking action is essential for their long-term success.
  4. The Stakeholders: Acknowledge the voices you've heard within their organization. Mention that you've had conversations with various individuals to gain insights into the problem. This shows your commitment to truly understanding their unique situation.

To kick off the discussion, try using this opening statement:

"I've had the opportunity to speak with [X#] people within your organization, and I've gathered some valuable insights that I'd like to share with you. Once we've covered these points, we can dive into the rest of our conversation."

Follow it up with:

[Provide the summarized aspects of the business problem]

By sharing what you've learned, you demonstrate your expertise and showcase your ability to identify crucial areas for improvement.

Now, it's time to make it a two-way conversation. Engage the executive by asking a question that invites their perspective. For example:

"This is what I've gathered from speaking to [X#] people across your organization. I'm eager to hear YOUR perspective on these issues. What are your thoughts?"

Believe me, no executive can resist such an invitation to share their insights. This sets the stage for an engaging and collaborative discussion.

Step #3: Current metrics, desired metrics

Now, it's time to dig deeper into the metrics that are directly affected by their business problem.

Here's your goal: Uncover the existing gap between the current metric(s) and the desired metric(s). The executive is well aware of the metric that suffers due to their business problem, and they also have a clear vision of the metric they wish to achieve.

Your job is to outline the contrast between these two states—the "before" and "after" of the metric—while demonstrating how your solution can bridge that gap.

Let me emphasize this again, because it's crucial:

The key is to clearly outline the current state of the metric that is suffering as a result of the identified business problem, and then present a compelling vision of where that metric can be with the help of your solution.

Remember, this is a conversation. You want the executive to take ownership of their metrics and be crystal clear about what they expect.

Avoid leaving anything to chance. Encourage them to share their thoughts and insights openly.

Here's an example of how this conversation might sound:

[Provide a video or audio clip of a conversation that illustrates the discussion about current metrics and desired metrics from 13:34 to 16:13]

By engaging in this dialogue, you solidify the executive's understanding of the metrics at stake and demonstrate how your solution can propel them towards their desired outcomes. This aligns your goals with their objectives and paves the way for a collaborative and fruitful partnership.

Step #4: Required capabilities

Now it's time to address the question: How can we seize the business opportunity we've discussed thus far? This is where your long-awaited demo comes into play.

The key here is to ensure that your demo aligns with the specific needs expressed by the executive. It's all about highlighting the right features that directly address their requirements. Of course, this assumes that you've done a thorough job in the discovery phase to understand their needs and tailor your demo accordingly.

Unlike users or champions, executives typically don't require a comprehensive demo—most of the time, that would be overkill. They mainly need to see how the product relates to their business problem. That's where a targeted demo focused on the relevant aspects comes in.

However, for strategic purchases, where the executive's spend is significant or they plan to actively use the product, a full demo may be necessary. In such cases, the S.A.F.E.T.Y. framework can be applied to ensure a comprehensive sales presentation.

For a mini-demo, simply showcase the essential capabilities they would require, prioritizing them from most to least important. Stick to three or four key features to keep the focus clear and concise.

Remember the structure you're familiar with:

  • Orient them to the screen
  • Reveal the workflow
  • Implant the value

Repeat this process for each feature, ensuring that the executive understands the benefits and value associated with each one.

By customizing your demo to fit the executive's needs and focusing on the most relevant aspects, you maximize the chances of success in moving the deal forward.

Step #5: Align on the process

You’re closing out the conversation!

After the demo, you need to align on the buying process.

Or, if you’re going to run a proof-of-concept, align on success criteria.

Ideally, with 10-15 minutes left, you’ll ask your buyer this question:

You may have already asked your champion this question, but you must ask your executive decision maker.

They may know something your champion doesn’t know.

Here’s exactly what to ask:

That’s how you have an executive conversation.

Section 7: Turn yourself or your sales team into top-earners

Are you ready to stop sending into the black hole that is email and LinkedIn outreach and start closing more sales through your demos?

I’m inviting you to join our flagship online sales training course, the "SaaS Discovery Masterclass." This course perfectly complements "Win the Demo" and will teach you how to create urgency and sell your way through any economic challenges.

Here's a sneak peek of what you'll learn in the SaaS Discovery Masterclass:

By mastering the techniques taught in these two courses, your life can transform completely within a year – whether you’re giving in-person or screen-share demos. Don't just take my word for it. Look at where these techniques have taken me in just 10 years:

I'm sharing everything I've learned over those 10 years so you can reach your goals faster.

Join the ranks of over 3,000 sales managers, account executives, CROs, and other sales professionals who are closing more SaaS deals using these techniques.

You can get started today for only $197.

Visit to sign up.

As a special bonus, you'll receive a FREE bi-weekly group coaching ticket valued at $1,250. These coaching calls are incredibly valuable and will further enhance your learning experience.

That's not all. With the $197 package, you'll also enjoy "The 'You Crushed That Call!' Guarantee." If a colleague doesn't actively acknowledge how much you crushed a call, you get your money back and still retain access to the course!

I have full confidence that you'll achieve results with this course. Visit on your favorite browser, enter your information on the checkout page, complete your purchase, and you'll be redirected to your course library for immediate access.

Profile picture of Alex Moffitt
Profile picture of Alex Moffitt

Want me (and other top sales practitioners) to train your sales team?



Six 'Underground' Sales Techniques We Used to Grow Gong from $200k to $200M in Five Years. This 60 min training has been WIPED CLEAN from the Internet... and can be yours for $7.

​​​​​​​Plus, how I grew my personal income from $36,932 to $1,639,982 in nine years.

Claim Exclusive Access For $7


10 Proven Scripts, Questions and Talk Tracks to Turn Discovery Calls Into Customers.

These 10 scripts are the secret to  creating a repeatable selling system that just about anyone selling SaaS to a business can use to achieve repeatable sales success.

Yes! I'm Ready to Get Started

FREE: 10 Scripts to Close More Deals Faster and Easier Than Every Before

Claim your copy of the “Underground Closing Motion Scripts eBook, FREE For a Limited Time

In this free guide, you’ll find the most powerful closing motion techniques (which yes, involves exact words, scripts, and questions along the way) that I’ve learned for closing deals, managing the “last stretch” of a deal, and closing deals faster and on time.

Yes! I'm Ready to Get Started