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Remote Demonstrations – What Can We Do Better?
The name of the game in remote demonstrations is interactivity! This article provides ideas on how to take your stimulating personality, squeeze it through that internet connection, reach out and bring your audience back to you – using your voice, the tools in the software, and a few tips and tricks.
How many times have you been on the receiving end of a web-based (remote) demonstration and found your attention wandering? Worse, do you flip over to read email, mute your telephone to talk with colleagues or simply drop out of the demonstration?
Now turn the picture around and imagine yourself giving a Remote Demo. Is your audience paying attention? Are you losing people? Are you achieving your objectives?
Remote demonstrations are a doubly difficult challenge. It is hard enough to create a compelling demonstration that addresses your customers’ key interests without the added complexity of executing the demo over web and telephone connections.
The good news is that remote demonstration tools (WebEx, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect Pro, eConference Pro, etc.) now offer the means to connect with your audience and demonstrate your offerings without stepping onto an airplane. This can greatly reduce the cost-of-sales and recapture time otherwise lost on the road.
The ability to schedule a Remote Demo in minutes means that you can react rapidly to time-sensitive opportunities. Sales teams often provide Vision Generation demonstrations via the web to advance a sales opportunity or to enable more qualification or discovery to take place. Many sales cycles begin with such a demo.
Inside Sales teams today often deliver web-based demos back-to-back, presenting multiple demos a day. Exhausting, but potentially highly productive.
Remote Demos are also terrific for follow-on sessions to prospects already exposed to you in a previous face-to-face meeting. All of these types of interactions can be done using only a laptop, a phone, and the web conferencing tool – from anywhere.
The bad news: The inability to see your audience presents risks unique to Remote Demos vs. face-to-face meetings. There is often little or no direct interaction with your audience and customers are generally less likely to ask questions in a Remote Demo.
If a sales opportunity depends on the success of a Remote Demonstration, then we must find ways to increase the likelihood of connecting effectively. Let’s do so!
“Sharpen the Saw…”
The rest of this article can serve as a checklist of best practices and tactics you can employ before and during the event. However, a fundamental prerequisite is the ability to be able to use many of the capabilities of your web conferencing tool.
Here’s a rather strong recommendation: set up a 30 minute session with a colleague and try out all of the capabilities of the tool. Gain experience with these capabilities before going into a session with a customer:
Invest 15 minutes trying out everything in the tool – and take feedback from your colleague. Then switch and return the favor.
[If you haven’t already done this before, do it now – before reading the rest of this article…!]
OK, now for the checklist – boring, dry, but potentially a collection of real nuggets for you… (Gold nuggets are also boring and dry, but very valuable…!) I’m organizing the information in terms of:
Looking forward to your feedback and additions…!
Your best bet is to split your forces. Send one person to the customer site to be “eyes” for the rest of the team – to be an active conduit of information.
For example, your technical resource can remain at headquarters and perform the demonstration remotely. Your sales person travels to the main customer site and joins the meeting in person. You still save half of the costs of the associated travel expenses, but gain in several wonderful ways:
Let’s explore in more detail how to be an active conduit of information. The vendor representative at the customer site needs to:
This strategy, very simply, provides the best results for remote demos.
What if you are unable to have your representative present at the customer site? The next-best strategy is to engage your Champion (or Coach, Sponsor, etc.…) to be your active conduit of information for you.
By imbuing your Champion with the responsibility and providing him/her with specific tasks, you can achieve much of the same result of having your own representative present. For example,
“John, for today’s demo, will you be my ‘meeting monitor’, my eyes? Specifically, can you please let me know when new people arrive or others leave, if there is a delay on the screen, or if people look like they have questions. Can you please ‘pause’ me if there is a side conversation – and repeat any key issues for me?”
What you do to set-up and prepare before beginning your demo can have enormous positive impact – and can begin to train your audience to interact with you:
Generating interactivity is critical to improving your odds in any remote demo situation.
The name of the game in remote demonstrations is interactivity. The better you engage, the higher your probability of success. Additional ideas? Let me know…!
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