Discover how demo automation can revolutionize your marketing strategy and help you overcome the challenges of scaling your marketing team. Learn how to streamline processes, improve messaging consistency, personalize at scale, and measure effectiveness. Get cooking with demo automation!
A few years ago, I had the good fortune to backpack my way through Portugal. For a foodie like me, Portugal is the closest one can get to paradise - pretty much everything I ate on my trip was super healthy and super tasty, it was local to the area, and many dishes had stories behind them.
One such is Sopa de Pedra from the small town of Almeirim. According to the people of Almeirim, a poor friar who was on a pilgrimage stopped in the village of Almeirim and knocked on the door of a house. He was too proud to beg for a bite to eat, so instead, he requested a large pot in which he could make “a delicious and filling.......stone soup”.
Now, we all know some variation of this story: the friar or the down on his luck traveler who just wants a little soup, but hasn't the resources. Of course, Almeirim is one place in the world where stone soup crosses over into non-fiction, and can be ordered from real menus, in very real restaurants.
Why am I going on about stone soup?
Coz you've got a marketing team to scale, with nothing more than a stone and some water.
The Challenges of Scaling a Marketing Team in SaaS Environments
While I am speaking about SaaS specifically, most of these challenges apply to marketing teams across the board. If there's a business out there that has unlimited budgets, the best experts and processes that never fail, I'll eat my stone soup cold.
Resource Constraints: As the business grows, so does the demand for marketing. The team size though, not so much. Even when it does grow, it grows slowly - we all know the perils of growing our teams too quickly: we fill up with dead weight. On the other hand, being picky about talent comes at a price too.
Maintaining Consistent Messaging: Especially when it comes to businesses that scale rapidly. We expand into different channels (each of which have their own lingo) and regions (which may even have their own language), and often we don't have the bandwidth to ensure that our materials and messaging translates correctly.
Segmentation and Personalization: As the customer base grows, we expand into more ICPs. There are different needs and preferences that need to be addressed. The more we segment the audience and the more personalization is required of us. Can we do this at scale?
Data Management and Analysis: Collecting, managing, and analyzing data to make informed marketing decisions becomes increasingly complex as the volume of data increases. Also, the sources of data multiply, and often, just aligning the data so it all talks to one another becomes a gargantuan task.
Maintaining User Engagement: Keeping users engaged through the customer lifecycle and reducing churn rates can be a challenge, especially when scaling to new markets. Speaking from experience, what works well in the United States doesn't always translate well in India, and vice versa. Each market has its quirks and cultural nuances.
Customized Content Creation: Creating customized content, like demos, for different customer segments or markets can be incredibly time-consuming and resource-intensive. Even when you're being smart and keeping your demos modular, so they can click into each other like legos.
Leveraging Demo Automation to Overcome Problems of Scale, for Marketing and Sales Teams
Anytime you want to unlock multipliers, your first bet is to look towards automation. People are always innovating. In the SaaS world, there's someone out there, who has identified your use case and created an automation solution that could work for you. There was a time when we sent emails out one by one, if we wanted to do it the personalized way. Now, we have email management tools that do it for us.
Ditto demos. SmartCue was born out of my utter frustration as a Sales Engineer stuck in the purgatory of creating demo after custom demo after custom demo. Today, it's a darling of my clients' sales and marketing teams because it helps them unlock multipliers in both areas.
Efficiency and Resource Allocation: By automating the demo creation and distribution process, marketing teams can free up resources and focus on more strategic tasks. When you're scaling up, this is ideal - you don't need to invest in finding new people, because you've just unlocked spare capacity by automating a time consuming task.
Consistent Messaging: Automated demos can ensure that the product's messaging remains consistent, irrespective of the volume or geographic location of the audience. Unlike people, a self-service demo is never tired enough to make a mistake.
Personalization at Scale: You can now create different versions of your demo to cater to all those segments and ICPs. In fact, most of SmartCue's customers create demo libraries that help them leverage existing demos.
Data Collection and Analysis: Demo automation platforms like SmartCue come with built-in analytics, making it easier for marketing teams to collect and analyze data on demo performance and customer engagement. It also becomes a single source of data for marketing folks looking to measure demo performance.
Key Metrics for Assessing Demo Automation Success
What we measure, we deliver. As with anything else, automation too, must be assessed for ROI. ROI aside, measurements also allow us to course correct and refine our strategies till they're at peak performance, and then some.
Conversion Rates: Demo automation can streamline the lead nurturing process, thereby improving the conversion rates. Monitoring how many prospects convert into paying customers after engaging with your self-service demos can help you understand which self-service demos are giving you the maximum bang for the buck.
Engagement Metrics: These include metrics such as the average time spent by users on the demo, interaction levels, and completion rates. As positive engagement is often a precursor to conversions, my clients often use A/B testing to tune their self-service demos to maximum engagement effectiveness.
Sales Cycle Duration: Demo automation can help shorten the sales cycle by making use case specific self-service demos abundant. This lets teams prime prospects with the necessary information early. For some clients, using self-service demos in their email campaigns brings maximum returns, while for others, using self-service demos as part of the nurture sequence works better. Play with timing to find which approach is right for your business.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): When used wisely, demo automation can potentially lower CAC by reducing the resources needed for live demos. It goes back to intelligent application - some of SmartCue's clients use self-service demos in very targeted ways: specific sets of users are targeted with super specific self-serve demos that address their most painful use cases. By the time these various user groups are in a room for a sales demo, they're already championing the product they're 'waiting' to see!
Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): By effectively demonstrating the value proposition of the product, self-service demos can influence the customer’s decision to stay subscribed for a longer period. A happy customer is also open to learning about other offerings, opening up cross selling opportunities which are, once again, very well served through self-service demos. Monitoring the changes in CLTV post-implementation of demo automation can be insightful.
Feedback Scores: Post-demo feedback can provide valuable insights into areas that need improvement. You'd be surprised at how many customers respond positively to a request for feedback. You can also lean on your communities.
Can you overdo demo automation?
In one word, yes.
Some marketing teams may become over-reliant on automation, swapping volume for precision. This is just another form of spray and pray. If you aren't defining your ICPs and segments to a level of meaningful detail, your strategy is likely to be overly broad. Personalizing at scale can lull us into a false sense of knowing our customers well, when we're actually dealing in generalities. The self-service demo is, after all, one part of your overall strategy.
Overusing automated demos, particularly in a customer support scenario can frustrate customers - it's always a good idea to keep the option for human contact open. Even the best designed processes can't serve every exception, and the best way to recover from a negative customer experience is to keep them from having one!
Another area where demo automation can be a double-edged sword is in keeping your content library updated. If it's not someone's responsibility, it becomes no one's job. So while you'll save on the resources needed to make demos, you'll spend some in keeping them up to date, each time you update your product/offering. However, demo automation tools like SmartCue provide for this use case by making it possible to update demos quickly, and even en masse.
Scaling a marketing team to serve the needs of a growing business is, in many ways, a good problem to have. It means that your marketing team and the sales team are doing their jobs, and doing them well. I get the hesitation though - you don't want to jinx the mojo you've created, and bringing in new people, processes and tools does shake things up at least a little.
There is no one size fits all here. Maybe you're in a SaaS business that thrives on in-person conversations. Maybe your sales outcomes are overly dependent on your sales team's collective charm. Maybe your product is incredibly self-explanatory. In that case, demo automation isn't going to give you that huge bump in marketing and sales effectiveness.
For literally everyone else, I'll ask you this: what if this automation works as well as your email management tool? What if it takes a tedious, time consuming task off your plate for good? What if, like the proverbial stone in the soup, demo automation is the key to unlocking a juicy, delectable marketing strategy your prospects just can't resist?
Time to get cooking, no?