It's been a long day of back-to-back meetings. You're hungry and overtired and you just want to go home. You've got this one last virtual product demo to an overseas prospect, and your SE (or Solution Consultant) has it completely handled. You hop on to the call, make the introductions, wait for your SE to pick up steam, and then turn off your camera and mic and duck out to get a quick coffee from the machine. No harm, right?
Wrong. Walking out of the room and leaving your SE holding the bag isn't just unfair, it's also the easiest way to botch a demo you and your SE have probably spent a lot of time on!
One of the reasons why team selling works so well is because when one person is in performance mode, someone else on the team can play observer and catch the cues that the performer can't focus on.
In a demo, for instance, when the SE is in the thick of things, the sales rep gets to watch for body language and help steer disengaged prospects back into the conversation. Teamwork makes the dream work. Truly.
Since I've already written a fair bit on the importance of customizing/personalizing your product demo to speak to solutions (not features!), how to leverage demo scripts without sounding robotic, and how to read the room, I'm not going to cover all of that here. I'm assuming your demo is on point, you and your SE have run it through a couple of times (at least!) and you know who the people in the demo are, and what they mean in terms of the deal.
Let's jump right into things you can implement right this minute, to get better results from your virtual demos.
Keep your video on: and ask attendees to do the same. Not everyone will comply, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
Call attendees by name: While no one likes to be called out in the middle of class, it definitely helps keep attendees on their toes! Work attendee names into the conversation, preferably, in the form of questions that re-engage them.
Keep meetings short: Zoom fatigue is real. A two-hour in-person meeting where everyone can make eye contact and reach for a cookie doesn't feel all that long when everyone's enjoying themselves. A two-hour meeting on Zoom? I don't need to tell you.
Switch On Observer mode
You know the discovery, you know the solution, you know the demo, you know the demo script your SE is following. Let them lead. They don't need you to interrupt or chime in unnecessarily. That's not where you add value. The most important thing you could be doing right now is watching the clients for signs of disengagement, dissent or unasked questions.
Blow up your zoom gallery so that you can see everyone’s face. The moment you see someone tuning out, ask them a question to re-involve them in the conversation.
Keep an eye on defensive body language, shaking heads, frowns; a well-placed, "I think [prospect's name] doesn't agree with our assumptions in this use case. [Prospect name], could you let us know if we're on the right track?" will give you the maximum bang for the buck.
Similarly, be on the lookout for unasked questions. You'll know them when they unmute and mute themselves. Look at body language for context - does the person look like your SE answered their unasked question, or do they look like they're waiting for the right moment to ask? Jump in and help with a quick, "Sorry to cut in, [prospect name], it looks like you've been waiting to ask a question?"
Be A Valuable Assistant
Running a virtual product demo is hard work. Do the little things, so your SE can focus on running a great demo. For starters, have a private communication channel with your SE, and watch it like a hawk. Second, monitor the chat. Third, manage the clock. Fourth, should something go wrong with the demo, use that time to answer parked questions while your SE gets the demo back on track.
You can also add enormous value by asking clarifying questions. Your SE is getting peppered with questions and is in the zone - answering questions as quickly as they can, and in as much detail as they can. If you feel like the prospect needed a more nuanced answer, or if the context wasn't just right, ask clarifying questions (and also give your SE a little breather!).
In fact, take ownership of noting all the follow-up items and questions that can't be answered during the demo. If someone has a question that can be answered quickly on chat, do so there one-on-one, rather than disrupt the flow of the product demo.
Together, your SE and you make a formidable team - that is by design, not default. I've seen plenty of contentious SE-Sales Rep teams that don't get better over time. Quite the opposite, in fact. This is where the principle of deliberate practice comes in - when both of you show up each day and look for ways that you can amplify each other's effect, excellence is just around the corner.