Demos are one of the most critical elements in the sales process. They let your prospects see what your product actually, you know, looks like and does (pretty important!).
But they’re also a major pain point because they can be labor-intensive. You need a team of solution engineers to build them. Each one can take hours to create. Then they have to be presented by the sales team, sometimes in person and shown to multiple members of the buying committee.
You can’t sell without demos, and you can’t scale demos… until now.
Demo automation makes creating and sharing interactive, personalized product demos easier for modern go-to-market teams. And we’ve got your complete guide to this new and exciting solution to some of your most pressing demo challenges.
What is demo automation?
Demo automation is the process of creating interactive product demos at scale.
Demo automation software automates the creation of these demos so prospects can experience the value of your product at any stage in the buyer's journey.
Automated demos enable buyers to research and test-drive your product earlier in their buying journey without stretching your limited SE resources too thin and wasting your sales team’s time with unqualified prospects.
Why you should use automated product demos
Great demos are incredibly effective at closing deals. 50% of buyers say that demos are one of the most valuable materials during the buying cycle, according to Gartner research. But as every SE knows, creating those demos takes a huge amount of skill, experience, and time.
That’s why demos are really tough to scale. It’s just hard to give more and more personalized, compelling, well-crafted demos with your existing presales team.
But buyers today want demos earlier and earlier in the buying process. In many cases, they’re asking to see the product right away, driven by the shift to product-led growth. If they need to wait weeks for a first demo because of scheduling challenges and overbooked SEs, that isn’t a great customer experience.
B2B purchases typically involve at least 11 decision-makers and can include as many as 20. Giving live demos to multiple groups of decision-makers adds even more time to already long sales cycles, not to mention taxing your SEs further.
Demo automation helps solve those competing needs—faster early-stage demos for buyers, accelerated sales cycles, and more scale without burning out for sales engineering teams.
What demo automation is not
Demo automation is not a replacement for all of your live sales demos—they’re still critically important!
Live sales demos provide a lot of cues and context that automated demos simply cannot, like when prospects ask questions that reveal what they value and what they don’t. They provide a place for AEs to conduct additional discovery and build relationships with the prospect, and all of that is still extremely valuable.
Demo automation is also not just putting up a demo video of your product online. That might serve a purpose if the video has a clear and compelling narrative, but it won't give you actionable insights (outside of basic analytics) and isn't personalized or interactive.
And demo automation is definitely not just posting a link to a PowerPoint presentation (please don’t make that product demo mistake!). The antonym of engaging is literally PowerPoint.
Where to use automated demos in the sales process
When we talk about discovery, we tend to focus on the salesperson’s need for information. But your prospects are looking for info too.
Providing prospects with automated demos they can access on your website without having to talk to a sales rep lets them discover the most relevant features of your product on their own time.
Check out this powerful interactive guided demo from Outreach that they created using demo automation software.
Determining if a prospect is actually a good lead can take a lot of time—your sales team will attest to this. But automated demos allow many prospects to qualify themselves instead.
They can look at what you offer without talking to a rep and take themselves out of the sales process if your product isn’t a good fit for them. This might sound discouraging as you encourage people to opt-out, but getting more high-quality leads lets you focus your sales and presales resources on the ones that are most likely to convert.
Middle of funnel
Once a lead looks promising, your sales reps don’t need to pull in your SEs immediately if you use demo automation software. With these automation tools, SEs can pre-make interactive demos based on different verticals and use cases in minutes.
You can then build out a demo library with these reusable interactive demo assets that sales reps can pull from and easily personalize. The rep can then email these mini demos to prospects so they can experience your product at their convenience. This leads to more in-depth questions on sales calls around the product and next steps.
Post-call follow up
After an initial call with a prospect, your AEs can follow up with an email enclosing an automated demo that’s tailored to whatever problems and solutions came up in the call. This keeps the conversation and the momentum flowing, and keeps your solution top of mind.
With demo automation, you can email an interactive self-guided demo as a sales leave-behind as it’s a great way to enable your champions. They can share it around with the rest of the buying committee without having the hassle of scheduling even more meetings.
You don’t need to record a long live demo here—you can simply send your champion a custom link with a tailored automated demo that targets exactly what the rest of the committee will find valuable.
Even more exciting, you'll get insights into the individual user activity for everyone who interacted with your demo leave-behind. You can see what screens they viewed, how long they spent on each screen, and where they dropped off to inform better follow-up.
Why still do a live sales demo?
Demo automation is a game-changer, for sure. But that doesn’t mean they can, or should, entirely replace live sales demos. They’re best looked at as a powerful addition to your sales process, not a way to get rid of your sales team.
Live sales demos are an excellent tactic once a prospect is properly qualified. They allow your sales reps to get a feel for what exactly the prospect wants by seeing what questions they ask and how they respond to the demo. They offer an opportunity for connection, deeper questions, and building trust.
Plus, prospects who are very seriously considering making a purchase typically want to talk to your presales team before that happens to get into the technical questions and details.
Presales is an insanely valuable function, and automated demos can’t replace that wealth of knowledge. What they can do is take a load of unqualified early-stage demos off of their plates so your SEs can focus on those high-value qualified demos where their time and expertise are most needed.
What’s the best demo automation software?
You can’t have demo automation without demo creation software. And Reprise wasn’t just the first demo creation platform on the market—we’re the only solution that has the technology to do both live “simulation” type demos, as well as self-guided “product tour” demos.
Try it for yourself and see with Reprise Starter!