Product demo videos might be the next big thing in software sales.
Or are they already outdated?
Because there’s actually an even better way to sell your product: interactive demos.
The new frontier of product demos
No, these demos are not the kind where your SEs spend a week crafting and spinning up the perfect demo in an expensive, high-maintenance environment (or in your actual production environment with personal identifiable information and all the security hazards that entails).
We’re talking about scalable, reusable interactive demos your team can put in front of prospects throughout the entire sales cycle so they can experience your product’s true power and interactivity.
But first, let’s cover why demo videos aren’t the end-all-be-all of SaaS demos.
When Product Demo Videos Work
Let’s state this right off the bat: video demos aren’t useless. There’s a time and a place for them, and they can be effective when they’re used in the right way.
Gartner research found that buyers’ top three forms of content types used to make purchase decisions are online trainings, video tutorials, and product documentation/user guides. All three are great fits for video demos—they can educate your prospects on how your product works, possible use cases, and much more.
Video is a super-popular medium right now. Just take Meta’s frequent pivots to video content on Facebook and Instagram and the fact that YouTube is the second-biggest search engine on earth right now.
People do enjoy watching videos to learn about new products and how to complete tasks. I’ve personally learned everything from how to unclog a drain to how to master growing houseplants via YouTube videos.
Where Product Demo videos Fall Flat
But… (and you knew there was a but coming) video simply isn’t the optimal format for all product demos.
Yes, prospects like video more than a one-pager they’re not going to read. You may prefer creating a video demo to spinning up a whole finicky custom live demo. Video demos are better than the current B2B sales status quo (a deck filled with screenshots of your product, in many cases).
But that doesn’t mean videos are the best, or the only, way to deliver more value in your sales process.
- Time: They take a lot of time to create, from writing the script to filming and editing the final product.
- Cost: They can cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce if you go with a professional team.
- Obsolescence: They’re hard to update. You might have to refilm the entire video if you release a new product feature.
- Passive: Watching a video is a passive experience — aka. the viewer is not really engaged; they're just observing. With the human attention span decreasing by a whopping 88 percent yearly, good luck keeping them from doing other things while your demo video plays.
Let’s be real; we’ve all clicked on a video that promises to teach us a vital skill or show us something cool. And it does… but it’s also a little bit deadly. You want the information, but the video isn’t engaging—it’s just someone talking at you, overloading you with information.
Since you’re not engaged, you’re less likely to remember all the finer points covered in the video. You might even forget the brand or the content because there’s no way to participate in the demo or tutorial.
Keeping prospects engaged in your software demo video is a real challenge when you can’t interact with them like you would in a live sales demo.
And your SEs can’t be on every call to create and walk through a custom demo—that’s one of the biggest time-killers in their role, and you simply cannot scale your SaaS demos with a process that clunky.
Introducing the Interactive Demo
Interactive demos share all the great qualities of video demos, meaning they can be asynchronous and autonomous to save SEs time and give prospects more control. It’s customizable, easy to update as new features roll out, and offers sophisticated analytics as well.
And it’s more effective—interactive content gets twice as much engagement as static content.
With interactive demos, prospects can get in there and experience it for themselves instead of just watching someone use the product. It’s like watching a video of someone driving a Ferrari versus playing a hands-on video game where you get to drive a Ferrari—much more engaging and memorable.
Buyers today want to touch and feel a product before they commit to purchasing, whether they’re buying a sports car or B2B software. And 51% of B2B buyers say interactive content is helpful when they’re tackling business challenges. Your sales process needs more ways to let them do so without compromising quality or the buyer experience, and interactive demos are the perfect solution.
In a Demandbase 2022 C-Suite GTM Benchmark Survey, 45% of the queried high-level marketing and sales leaders said they are using interactive demos to support the desire of buyers to "self-service" — up from 39% who responded with demo videos.
The tides are shifting, and it's only a matter of time before this gap widens even further.
How to Create and Use Interactive Demos