There is a way to make a lot of that work go away for good.
Let's assume for a moment that your business has more than one product, each of which has a range of features that can be leveraged into various solutions aimed at different industries, which vary by the size of the customer organization as well as the lines of business within those businesses.
If you're a sales engineer, you probably felt tired just reading that sentence.
I feel you. You probably spend an inordinate amount of time on making custom demos, which, if you're like me, you know isn't the best use of your time. Having said that, not customizing demos is a cardinal sin, especially in SaaS. It's just not the done thing anymore to show prospects stock demos and fill in the gaps by talking. Nope, not when customizing demos is so easy.
Easy doesn't equal quick, obviously. Even in a no-code/low-code environment, customization, however easy, takes up time. So, how does an overworked sales engineer work their way out of demo creation purgatory?
By creating a demo library
Before you slam this page shut, hear me out. Does your business have a favored product? Does that product have a high success rate in a particular industry? Does it work best with businesses of a particular size? You see where I'm going with this… yes?
A demo library should never start from Product 1, feature 1, or industry 1. No, that way lies burnout. Start instead with the demo you're asked for most.
Let's say your business makes workflow tools for Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable. Both of these tools work wonderfully with SAP. They are used most by midsize corporate law firms, particularly in the UK. When it comes to AP, the winning feature is the vendor portal, which allows vendors to upload and certify invoices, and route them to the PO creator directly for approval.
Do you know the most popular use cases?
If yes, spin them off into modular demos that can click together like legos with your standard, vanilla demo. Name them, save them, and put them into a library structure you can navigate. This is your midsize AP vendor portal set for corporate law firms in the UK for the 10 most popular use cases.
Now, if you've chosen the use cases wisely, you've automated at least 30% of your demo-making workload on this AP tool. That's a pretty good ROI.
Now, share it.
I know. You put in the work, and you should be the one reaping the returns. This is how you do it. Share it with the rest of your peers, and save them a bunch of time and effort too. Then take it to your supervisor, and let them see the value of it. Again, if you chose your set of use cases well, they will.
Get their feedback, and refine your set.
Then, recruit others in expanding it.
You've already saved your colleagues a bunch of time. Your boss already sees the value of the work. Now ask for help, because there is no way that you can create a whole library by yourself (and you shouldn't have to!). Work with the rest of the team to duplicate the set for:
Different sizes of customer organizations
Common buyer personas
Industries the business wants to target, and within those, the most common lines of business.
Before long, what you have is a demo library that takes care of most of the semi-custom demo work your team does. Moreover, what you have now is a sales asset that can be leveraged in many ways by the sales team.
That's right. You already have a demo library. By turning it into mini demo videos, you have a ready resource that can be sent out to prospects in advance of discovery calls, just to give them a flavor of what is possible. A strong video teaser gives prospects an idea of your capabilities, and makes them more receptive to discovery questions, especially now that they have *some* idea of how your product works.
Your sales leaders could even decide to host the library on the company website, allowing prospects to browse solutions and then punch the 'Schedule a demo' button. Moreover, having this bank of demo videos and demo legos allows you to turn discovery calls into disco demos, which are far more engaging than plain vanilla discovery.
This has real implications both for the time it takes to move clients through the sales process, as well as the number of leads your company website is able to generate. What started out as a time-saving measure for you, is now actively helping your business close more deals, faster.
It is easier said than done.
Each business is different, and the success of this endeavor relies rather heavily on the choices you make early on. Pick a use case set that is too narrow or one that isn't the most common, and you won't generate the momentum you hoped. Take some time to get this step right - consult your peers, and maybe you'll even end up with some volunteers who see merit in the idea right away. Also, check out tools like SmartCue, which can really level up your demo library game.
Even if you don't pick the right set, the good news is that nothing goes to waste! Whatever use cases you automate, remain automated, and will continue to save you time (which you can use to automate the ones you now know are more important!).
As always, starting any new project requires motivation, especially since it won't immediately start giving you returns. However, if you see the value in it, chances are, so will your peers, and so will your supervisors. Personally, I've started demo libraries in several organizations I've worked in. This isn't a project you'll need to sell.