If you’re building a SaaS product or service, it’s important to know how to properly demo your product. The purpose of this article is to share 15 of the best practices when creating an effective SaaS demo experience.
1. Understand the target audience
Before getting started with any presentation, it’s critical to understand who will be in attendance and what their expectations are for the event. It’s also important to understand whether the goal is to sell them on the product or just to get them to try it out.
For example, if you’re selling an ecommerce platform, you might want to do a live demonstration where your customers can see how they would use the product. In order to make that happen, you need to know who those users are (i.e., what countries they come from) so you can properly translate the interface into different languages.
2. Choose the right venue
The venue can have a major impact on the level of engagement during a demo. For instance, if you’re showing a product to a group of C-level executives, they probably won’t be very engaged. However, if you’re showing a product to a large group of developers, they may be more interested because many of them may be considering using your product.
Also, keep in mind that the type of audience matters. If you’re showing a product to people who already use the same software as you, you don’t necessarily need to show them how to set up a new user account. You’ll likely get better results by focusing on things like how to customize the product based on their specific needs.
3. Prepare ahead of time
You should always put some thought into what you want to cover during your demo. Not only does this help you know what to focus on, but it shows your audience that you’ve taken the time to think about what they’re going to learn.
It’s also helpful to prepare notes, even if you’re not presenting a formal presentation. This way, if you miss something, there’s no wasted time trying to figure out what you missed while you were speaking.
4. Don’t try to do too much
When setting up a demo, there’s a tendency to add features and functionality that aren’t necessary. As you start adding extra bells and whistles, you end up spending more time covering these areas than actually demonstrating what you want to show. Your audience doesn’t care about all of the additional features; they’re just looking for a quick overview of your product.
5. Make sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing
One of the biggest mistakes I see when running demos is that everyone gets confused at one point or another. Sometimes this happens because you forget to tell someone else what to do. Other times, it could be because multiple people are trying to control the same screen at once, which ends up making it confusing to everyone involved.
To avoid this problem, make sure every person knows what he or she is supposed to be doing during the demo. Also, be sure to take a few moments at the beginning to explain everything that’s happening so that everyone understands exactly what’s supposed to be happening.
6. Keep it short
A great way to ensure that your demo stays focused is to limit the amount of time that you spend on each topic. If you feel like there’s a lot to cover, consider breaking it down into smaller pieces and then combining them later.
This approach works especially well if you’re using video instead of text. With video, you can move quickly through topics without losing anyone’s attention.
7. Create a script and stick to it
As tempting as it may be to wing it, you’ll get a better result by writing a script and sticking to it. That way, if you get off track or miss something, you can quickly go back and fix it before moving onto the next part of your demo.
8. Use visuals to reinforce key points
While it may seem obvious, visual aids can really help you keep your demo focused. For example, you may find yourself talking a little bit longer than expected about certain features, but if you can quickly show them on a slide, you can easily skip over that portion of your demo.
9. Include screenshots
If you’re showing a web app, you can usually include a screenshot of the home page. For mobile apps, you can often include a screenshot of the main features page so that your audience has a good sense of what the app looks like.
10. Focus on the big picture
Don’t let a complex feature turn your demo into a long-winded explanation of how it works. Instead, break up the feature into smaller sections so that it’s easier to digest. Then, when you get to the part that relates to the actual application, explain how it fits into the bigger picture.
11. Practice makes perfect
Even if you do write a script upfront, it’s still a good idea to practice your demo first. Just because you wrote the script doesn’t mean that you’ll remember everything perfectly. And even if you do, it’s better to have a backup plan in case anything goes wrong.
12. Take advantage of technology
Technology can be a real life saver when it comes to demos. For example, you may find that one of your slides is missing a link that lets people navigate to a particular section of your app. In this scenario, you may want to use a tool that allows you to create custom links within the presentation.
13. Have backups ready
In addition to practicing your demo beforehand, you should also have copies of your presentation available for emergencies. For example, if your internet connection drops during a demo, you should be able to switch over to a local copy of your presentation.
14. Be prepared to answer questions
After the demo is complete, it’s a good idea to ask your audience questions. While you’re busy answering questions, you can also give your audience a chance to ask any other questions they may have.
If you notice that your demo went well, you may want to ask your audience to recommend similar products to yours. Even though you may have a larger selection than most competitors, you’d be surprised at how many companies have similar offerings.
15. Follow up after the demo
Following up with your audience is a great way to cement the relationship between you and them. Depending on what you’re offering, you may find that you have repeat business. In this case, it’s a good idea to send an email thanking them for attending your demo and asking whether they have any further questions about the product.
Saas demo best practices summary
These tips should give you a head start on preparing a successful SaaS demo. After reading this, you should have a solid understanding of what you want to cover during your demo and how to structure the presentation. Once you get started, you’ll be well on your way to having a memorable demo experience for both you and your audience.