6 Ways to Make Your Software Demos a Success

December 11

Software Demo

6 Ways to Make Your Software Demos a Success

Building a great product doesn’t do you any good if you can’t sell it. I’m not a salesman, but over my career I’ve had the opportunity to demonstrate new products across the country. In reality, aren’t we all salesmen when we’re in front of clients or potential clients? Demos aren’t the only facet of selling your product, but it sure is a vital one. The points below are what I’ve learned to be crucial to ensure your software demos are a success.

1. Know Your Audience

There are typically two types of audience members interested in your products: users and buyers. Since I spend a lot of time in the healthcare industry, the users are usually physicians and nurses, and the buyers are usually C-suite executives. Be prepared to demo your products differently depending on the audience. Executives will value the financial ROI, and physicians will value how much time it saves them in their daily tasks. If you can help it, users and buyers should not receive the same demos.

2. For Users

Set the stage and tell a story. Show the users how they will use your software. For example, if you’re demonstrating an EHR, sign in as a physician and become the physician. Demo how you would review the patient’s chart, point out something you need to act on (i.e. abnormal lab result or fever), then act on it.

Order a new medication, write your progress note, and move on. That’s how physicians work. They don’t need to see every button clicked or view every page (more about this below). They want to see how they’ll use the software on a daily basis. If you market your software as being able to complete 3 tasks in 5 minutes, but it takes you 30 minutes to demo it, then you’ve failed.

3. For Buyers

I still recommend becoming the user and telling a story, but for executives, feel free to drill down and show more features. Spend more time explaining what you’re showing. And make sure you can explain how your software can save or make the company money. For example, will the software allow the physicians to see more patients? Will the software help recruit and keep top-notch physicians? Find out what the specific buyer will care about most and emphasize that.

4. Don’t Show Every Feature

When you’re buying a new car, do you want to see the gas cap? When you’re looking at a new house, do you want to see how the pipes work? Of course not! The same goes with demonstrating software. Potential clients aren’t interested in seeing your Login page. They aren’t interested in seeing how you set up users.

Concentrate on what sets your software apart. No matter your opinion on Steve Jobs: he was a master at demonstrating new products. There’s a reason why he didn’t show how to turn the iPhone on or how to adjust the brightness. Stick with the “WOW!” factor.

5. Know Your Product Inside and Out

I mean REALLY know your product. Be able to explain every pixel on every page. Know why the colors were chosen. Know why a label on page 3 says X instead of Y. Know why you can access feature A from page 1 but not from page 2. Be able to explain why you chose to do certain things as well as why you chose not to do certain things. Know what’s coming in future versions.

Knowing your product inside and out benefits you in 2 ways:

  • The more you know about it, the more comfortable you’ll be talking about it. 
  • When your audience asks you “the tough question”, they might not agree with your answer, but they will respect your answer if you give an intelligent, well-thought out answer that shows a lot of time and effort went into the decision.

6. Practice

I know this sounds cliché, but it’s true: don’t wing it. Practice your demos by yourself, in front of family members, in front of co-workers. Take pride in demos. Be proud of what you’re showing. And sell it!

If you enjoyed this blog, check out "Mastering Wireframing"

By Josh Rothman

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