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When Your Demo Goes Down on the Most Critical Day for Sales

I know it’s not spooky season, but I’ve got a (true) sales horror story for you. Fortunately, this one comes with a happy ending!

Emma is a successful, super-experienced AE. It’s the end of the quarter but she’s confident she’s going to hit her quota as usual—she’s a little short but she’s got a meeting with a qualified prospect on the final day.

She gets into the meeting feeling calm, confident, and prepared, with her favorite SE by her side. They’re wrapping up the small talk and just about to launch their perfectly-scripted demo when their application goes down.

Emma is sweating and her SE is scrambling to find out what’s going on. The prospect had been engaged and intrigued, but after a few minutes of watching this chaos, they’re feeling wary. When they booked this demo, Emma had emphasized how stable and reliable their application was, but that’s clearly not the case right now (and leaves the prospect wondering how often this will happen once they’re a customer).

It turns out the product team was doing a sprint to add in an exciting new feature, and this downtime is actually incredibly rare. But because it happened during a critical demo, Emma couldn’t close the deal—the prospect had enough doubts after the demo to opt for a competitor.

If you’re a sales rep shaking your head in sympathy right now, I have bad news—it could happen to you too.

Even a few minutes of inopportune downtime can cost your company significant revenue if you’re demoing in your production environment. And a little bit of your sales team’s dignity too as you flutter around in the demo, trying desperately to fix your entire application so you can show your prospects how fabulous it is when it actually works.

Why Demoing in Production Can Damage Your Sales 

Many SaaS startups in their very early stages have to demo in their live production environment—there’s no other option for them when they’re just launching. And that can work for a little while when you’re in scrappy brand-new startup mode.

But as you grow and your company matures, prospects expect more. You’ve likely got at least one competitor by this point, and your buyer journey needs to improve. After all, your company is presenting its best face to customers when you’re trying to sell them on your solution.

If your application or product is down when you’re demoing it, it can destroy a prospect’s confidence and kill the deal. They’ll move to a competitor they perceive as having a more stable and reliable product (because it actually functions when they’re demoing it).

And with so many engineering teams moving to Agile and Continuous Deployment models, code is released to production several times a day. Even just a few minutes of downtime caused by a release can cost thousands in lost revenue if it comes during a critical sales meeting.

If it’s a vital sales day, like the last day of the quarter, the impact is even greater—what if your production environment is down just when multiple sales meetings are kicking off their demo? The lost revenue could be immense.

The Solution: A Demo Creation Platform 

Demo creation platforms aren’t just helpful for sales engineering teams—they’re a huge boon to sales teams too. Your sales reps benefit from the stability and predictability a demo creation platform offers because it allows them to focus their efforts on storytelling and offering solutions instead of troubleshooting and stressing.

Emma’s experience with her production environment snafu and the lost deal led her to experiment with solutions, for both her and the whole sales team.

  • She tried out a slide deck with product screenshots, but buyers really wanted to get the whole product experience (and it wasn’t a very tech-forward solution for a tech company).
  • She explored pre-recorded demo videos, which eliminated the potential for production downtime but didn’t allow for interaction or flexibility in the demo itself.
  • She even asked her sales engineering team about building an environment just for demos, which they didn’t have the resources to build and maintain.

After a late night digging into stories on Linkedin from other sales reps who had experienced the same all-too-common nightmare, she discovered the perfect solution: a demo creation platform.

Demo creation platforms like Reprise allow you to capture a pixel-perfect clone of your real front-end product experience so you can showcase the full power and interactivity of your product.

The demo feels real because it is, but since it doesn’t live in your production environment, it’s safe and stable for your live sales calls. With Reprise, your demo environment is hosted on a separate CDN server, and the only time you’ll lose access to it is if there’s an internet outage across all of North America (and then you’re not hopping on that Zoom call anyways).

And we promised a happy ending to the story—the horror of a lost deal didn’t haunt Emma forever.

She teamed up with her SE partner to convince her company to invest in Reprise. The SE built her beautiful, stable, interactive live sales demos that could be tailored for each call and production outages couldn’t touch them.

Together, they wowed each new prospect without technical issues interrupting the sales meeting flow. And the budget they spent on Reprise was more than worth the cost to avoid those lost deals. Explore how we can help sales leaders like you close more deals today!