How to make an effective demo

Poor-presentation

The presentation of the software is a key moment in the sales process. Nevertheless, it is often prepared and conducted in a superficial manner and is not very effective. Let’s see what to do and what to avoid.

Those who begin well are in the middle of the work, says a famous proverb. For this reason, it is essential to prepare carefully the demo. First, it is essential to know who the participants are, what role they play, which issues they are interested in.

Live demo or Power Point? Surely the first one is preferable. The use of slides, even if made with screenshots of the software, is not very real and seems a bit fake. Presentations are also static: they do not allow to deepen or show functions that were not provided in the design phase of the slides.

Before the live demo, few slides can be used to present the main features of the software, the processes it is able to handle, how the live demo will be carried out.
It is certainly more effective to prepare a logical path reflecting the process that the software manages than to improvise or follow other criteria. The use of real or plausible cases is certainly useful. In any case it is important to present realistic data, since more understandable by the end users. Avoid fancy names, nonsense character sequences in text fields, absurd values that could show that the software is lacking in logical controls.

Check the software carefully and make sure that everything is working properly. Although the famous “demo effect” – i.e. the presence of bugs or malfunctions during the live demonstration are very common – this does not mean that they are well seen by the end users. They show approximation in the preparation of either the demo or, worse, an unreliable software.

If end users are attending the demo, unless expressly required, avoid starting with the software configuration, perhaps going into detail on each individual option or parameter. Better to start from the functions and, if required, to deepen specifically the possible options.

Make sure that the monitor or projector you use is suitable for the software and, above all, has good image quality. There’s nothing more frustrating for the viewer than seeing blurred, cut, unreadable images. If in doubt, take a projector with you so that you can be autonomous.

If the software is to be used predominantly in mobile mode, use a tablet or smartphone; you will show that the application can be used effectively on these devices. Avoid using a laptop and, when asked on the mobile, don’t just narrow down the browser window to praise the responsiveness of the user interface.

During the demo, you will see not only the screen of your device but, above all, the people who participate in it. Pay attention to their attitude and their reactions. If you see them bored or unattentive, ask them questions, what they would like to be shown, what are the most important aspects for them. Don’t be afraid to leave the path that you had prepared to respond to the attendants needs. If what is required is still in the path you have prepared, accelerate or skip steps to show what is of most interest.

Be flexible and able to interact with your audience. A demo confined to a pre-established path gives the impression of a rigid software, not very suited to the needs of users. If necessary, also do some configuration on the fly to show how on the contrary your software can be flexible and meet their needs.

Check and, above all, manage well the time you have available. Start with the most important aspects, when the audience attention is higher too. Don’t waste time with aspects that are marginal to the listener. It is essential to be aware of what is really important for the audience, keeping in mind that the purpose of the demo is to demonstrate the correspondence between what you are offering and the needs of the users.

At the end of the demo, ask for and solicit a sincere opinion on the presentation. Criticism and suggestions will be valuable to improve the effectiveness and avoid repeating mistakes next time.

 

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