THE BLOG
08/30/2013 04:17 pm ET Updated Oct 30, 2013

Your Inside Sales Demos Are Not Working

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your inside sales demo stinks. It is dull, boring and isn't delivering your intended message to your target audience. Here's why...

At my company, we've taken a hard look at the remote demo process of dozens of companies. We know how critical sales demos are to companies both large and small. These demos are the center point of the inside selling process of many software companies. We've seen first-hand how many sales professionals, even seasoned ones, are doing it wrong.

Inside sales is an important element of the selling process - inside sales grew a whopping 15 times faster than traditional field sales from 2010 to 2013. It is imperative to look at how we can improve the process.

These days, we accept that a phone call or web meeting can, and at times even should, replace a face-to-face meeting. But we are also too ready to accept that an online demo or remote sales demo needs to be a second-class citizen, and can never be as good as the face-to-face experience. And that is where things break down.

Ultimately, we've lost something when it comes to inside sales: the personal touch. Injecting elements of personal communication and video into your remote sales demos is the best way to bridge the gap between remote and face-to-face communication. It elevates the experience for both your prospective customer and for your inside sales team. It also makes the experience more authentic, which establishes credibility with your audience.

Below are some tips to help you solve some of the key problems with your remote sales demos.

Show yourself!

Turn on your webcam, even if your audience does not (and they probably won't). Numerous studies examining the effectiveness of communication have revealed that over 55% of people consider body language to be the primary driver of communication. Using video is an easy and effective solution that seamlessly adds body language into your sales demo. Not only does it make the demo more engaging but it promotes trust between you and the client or prospect. It is by far the most effective way to make your sales demo more personal and authentic.

Enabling video is easy, and is a basic feature supported by most web conferencing platforms such as Cisco WebEx, Citrix GotoMeeting, Microsoft Lync and Personify Live.

Demo your product!

While this might seem like obvious advice for a remote sales demo, it is not always easy to put into practice, particularly for complex products. Avoid the seemingly easier path of putting up product slides rather than demoing your stuff. Seeing it in action via desktop screen sharing is far more valuable to your audience than any number of Powerpoint slides.

The best practices involve keeping your audience involved in the demo and letting them guide you through various aspects of your product that are most interesting and relevant for their needs. People prefer not being talked at so make your presentation conversational and show how your product or service is a solution to their organization's specific problem.

Don't let the technology get in your way!

Make sure your technology offers a great audience experience. Yes, we know that the video needs to look good and the audio needs to sound great, but the whole meeting experience needs to be silky smooth and effortless from the audience perspective. On-line meeting platforms that require a pre-meeting download and install create an extra hurdle that often degrades the attendee's experience.

The good news is that there are a number of great tools for sales demos on the market that focus on user experience, such as Join.me and Zoom. But even the most tried-and-true technology has its bad hair days and can fail at the most critical moments. Successful remote sales teams have a Plan B in case their Plan A has a fail and are prepared to use it. And this adaptability wins points with your prospective customers.

Always add value!

Inside sales demos are an integral piece to your company's success and the goal is to showcase your product or service, but keep in mind what marketing collateral already does, and add value beyond it. As a brand ambassador, your demo is only successful if you can provide information to supplement what is found in a brochure or on a website. Your personality can make a stronger case and be the tipping point for a sale. Including a video in your presentation, for example, allows your enthusiasm to shine through. Show your clients how passionate you are about your brand and your product. If you do it right, your passion is sure to rub off.

Your customers, or potential customers, want to buy from you, not a faceless company. Sales demos are about the product, of course, but to be successful, they should also showcase the people behind the product, service or company. Assuming the product is relatively the same to a competitor's offering a prospect is more inclined to go into business with the one in which a relationship or personal connection is established.

Ultimately, an inside sales demo can be king, assuming you go about it correctly. The key point is this: make the on-line experience as close to face-to-face as possible. Your audience will appreciate it.