How to Create a Product Demo that Sells

In this era of no-nonsense spending, demonstrating the capabilities of your product is a critical step in the sales process. Done properly, cycles accelerate. Done poorly, deals stall, or worse yet, they drop out of the pipeline altogether only to be snapped up by your competition.

When it comes to live demos, you may often find yourself winging it with prospects. However, demos recorded for on-demand viewing are different. The sidebar stories that give live demos color frustrate on-demand viewers when narration is not aligned with screen movement. Rather than enhancing your story, the impact is diluted, and the viewer is confused.

Recorded demos require structure, focus, and rehearsal to ensure screen movement is snappy, narration is concise, and your story is relevant and compelling. Done properly, you’ll have a viral tool that positions you more favorably than your competitors, and never stops selling.

Here are our recommendations for developing on-demand product demos that sell.

One of the most egregious mistakes is packing too much information into on-demand demos. In this attention deficit economy, you must focus, or risk losing your audience.  On-demand demos are a prime example of “less is more.” Focus on four or five aspects of your product, maximum. These will become the main segments of your demo.

Your demo should progress at a snappy pace. Think in terms of developing a collection of movie trailers, rather than full-blown movies.

Remember, there is a difference between a product demonstration that piques interest by highlighting features in action, and “how-to” training thatnecessitates diving considerably deeper into the functionality.  Time bloats and pacing lags when your intention for the demo is unclear.

Resist the urge to wing it. Even if you are a product expert and have been demonstrating your solution for years, structure your demo before the recording session. Build an outline using the four or five segments as your first level, and then list the features you plan to demonstrate under each segment.

The script is one of the most important aspects of your on-demand demo, and often the most overlooked. It’s imperative that the narration maps directly to what is happening on the screen. In on-demand demos, you must not wander. So devote the required time to flesh out your outline and develop your story, either in bullet form or full narrative.

Before you begin, picture your archetypical viewer and write the script as if you were speaking directly to him or her.  Remember to wrap features with business value context to keep your story relevant.

Rehearsing is the best way to test the pacing of the demo, and ensure the narrative maps to the screen action.  It will also help you identify areas that require more practice to guarantee mouse movements are crisp.

Sometimes it’s difficult to narrate and drive the demo simultaneously. You might find that the complexity of the keystrokes requires one person to drive, while another person narrates.  Or you may choose to record your demo first, and then playback your demo and record the audio separately. It’s best to identify your audio strategy prior to recording.

About the Author: Kathleen Hayes is the founder of  RocketWheel, a leading developer of software demos and animated videos that generate leads and accelerate sales.

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