By Dana Drissel
Creating a product demonstration is a requirement when trying to differentiate your offering from the competition. In fact, according to the 2014 Qvidian ‘Sales Executive Challenge’ report, difficulty presenting ‘competitive differentiation’ is the #1 issue B2B companies face this year.
So why are organizations still bringing just a shell’of their product to trade shows, using looping video as product demonstrations, or relying on boring collateral to tell us why their solutions are different and better? Do marketers really think this is making a big impact that prospects will remember?
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so when you get the opportunity to get in front of a prospect you don’t want to blow it. Here’s four features every product demo should have…
1. Hands-on Customer Engagement
Did you know that interactivity can increases product knowledge retention by up to 75%? It’s true. Giving prospects a hands-on sensory experience allows them to explore product features that are the most important to them in a way that they’ll remember.
That said, getting your products into the hands of your prospects is much easier said than done. Products (specifically in the telecom, medical or industrial industries) are often large, fragile, expensive, hard to obtain and difficult to ship. Even at trade shows companies are often bringing just their flag ship products and/or just a ‘shell’ of their product to avoid damage during transport.
Consider using virtual 3D product models on touch screens appliances at trade shows, or on mobile devices for remote sales meetings. Doing so will ensure products are available at every sales encounter and that customers can engage and navigate products as desired.
2. Visually Showing How the Product Works
A lot of products look similar (e.g. grey boxes) from the outside, but showing the uniqueness of what’s happening within your product and what makes it different from the competition is how you’ll win the deal.
Your brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. So whether you have 60-seconds of your prospect’s attention in a trade show booth, or 30-minutes in an actual face-to-face sales meeting, visual representations of product workflow and network infrastructures will not only help overcome language barriers but assist in quickly and effectively communicating how your product works. And don’t forget—over 65% of people are visual learners.
3. Non-Linear Personalization
Personalization is paramount! There is no substitute for being able to look someone in the eye, shake his or her hand, and give a full presentation of any relevant aspect of your entire product portfolio at a moment’s notice.
To avoid ‘one-size-fits-all’ marketing, you need the ability to tailor the product demonstration to the needs and interests of each prospect, making their purchasing experience feel specific to their individual business challenges. By creating non-linear, user-driven product demonstrations, the prospect can control their own experience, exploring the product and messages in a sequence and level of detail that they feel are most appropriate to their needs.
Tools such as videos do the talking for you and put the sales demonstration on autopilot, creating a forgettable experience and inhibiting a true conversation with your customer. Putting your customer in the driver’s seat better highlights their interests for your sales representative, enabling them to tailor the discussion to best solve the customer’s business challenges.
4. Crib Notes
Crib notes aren’t for cheaters– they’re for those of us who just need a little extra help! Even the most knowledgeable sales reps need crib notes now and then!
As corporate strategies shift and organizations become acquired, the product marketing mix changes and sales people must quickly accommodate. The majority of sales reps no longer sell just one product to one audience, they sale numerous products to dozens of different recipients, within very complex buying cycles.
And here’s the rub, when several products are marketed by the same sales force, it becomes impossible and impractical for them to know the unique features and benefits of every product within the portfolio. This results in a generalized selling pitch, making the sales experiences less than stellar.
Use small crib notes that help sales navigate thought the demonstration like a product expert. Quick reference points like information hot spots on products, supporting marketing messages and videos will help quickly and concisely communicate the differentiation of each product.
Dana Drissel is senior director of marketing at Kaon Interactive.