Hands-on demos play a powerful role in getting your prospects excited about your software. But they can be complicated, time-consuming and costly to design, deliver and manage. Here’s how you can overcome the challenges to provide compelling demos and convert your customers.
Today’s customers expect to see your software in action before they decide to buy it. They want to explore your solution to understand how it’ll solve their challenges, support their needs and even unlock opportunities they hadn’t considered. So, as a software vendor, your sales demonstration is your moment of truth. Making a great impression really is the difference between closing a deal and your prospects walking away.
However, there are a number of hurdles you have to overcome to present your software in the best possible light, especially when you’re engaging your prospect remotely. Any experienced vendor can tell you at least one story of a demo gone wrong.
Here’s a look at some of the common challenges you’re likely to face when delivering a sales demo, as well as how the right tools can help you solve them and make your software stand out.
Setting up your infrastructure
Delivering software demos remotely has traditionally been a frustrating and time-consuming process for sales teams.
First, there’s the challenge of setting up the physical, on-premises hardware to host your demo. This involves sourcing and deploying servers with enough disk space, memory and processing power to deliver the demo. Then there’s the supporting infrastructure to think about, including power, cooling systems and more.
Of course, you definitely don’t want a hardware fault to cause your demo to crash in front of a major customer. This means keeping failover hardware and spare parts on-hand in case something goes wrong.
The second challenge is setting up the software stack for your lab environment. With physical hardware, you’d have to ensure you have up-to-date device drivers in place to support your hardware (and hope they don’t crash).
Finally, you have to set up the networking equipment and provision enough bandwidth to enable a smooth demo experience. As any networking engineer will tell you, this is a major source of headaches.
Thankfully, modern software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools make these worries a thing of the past. For example, VMware Learning Platform (VLP) makes it easy to deliver demos and proofs of concepts (POCs) that showcase the true value of your software.
You get a preconfigured lab environment to get your demo up and running easily – no more worrying about managing your hardware or networking stack. From startup to shut down, you get the same level of control over your demo environments as you’d get with a physical big-iron server.
Ensuring remote compatibility
Once the lab environment or testbed has been set up at your end, your next challenge is: how does your prospective client access it from their end?
A large part of the challenge is compatibility. Your prospects may want to access your software demo from a range of devices and operating systems. So, there’s no point in running a remote demo if the potential client can’t access your server.
However, this creates a catch-22. Supporting many computing platforms takes a lot of work. But supporting too few means your demo may be incompatible with your customer’s device.
One way around this is to ask your clients to download special plugins or applications. This is where things can go wrong, and your prospects are less likely to purchase your product if the demo is too much of a nuisance.
With VMware Learning Platform, prospective customers can access your demo from any device and any computing platform that has a web browser. As long as your software can be installed on an operating system, VLP allows you to demo it. There’s nothing to install on your customer’s side. Plus, you can give your prospects access to keep exploring your product after your session.
Focusing on sales, not tech support
For software vendors, resources are typically allocated to engineering and managing your hardware stack. Meanwhile, sales staff often have to support the customer through any technical issues that come up during a demonstration. This takes up a lot of time and energy that could be spent more productively showcasing how your software can help your customers’ businesses.
A cloud-based solution like VLP can handle all the management of the entire technology stack for you. This means your demo environments are always ready and available for whenever your customers need them.
Your sales teams are also freed to concentrate on what they do best: help your client and close the deal.
Scaling your demos, seamlessly
As your business grows, you’ll need the ability to deliver more demos to more clients, simultaneously. If you have a complicated hardware or networking stack, any challenges you face are likely to multiply as you grow from delivering one demo at a time to 10 or 10,000. For example, you might need to buy additional equipment to scale up your resources ahead of future growth, which means extra costs and more hardware to manage.
Using a self-service platform like VLP, you can easily spin up a session of your virtualized environment, on-demand. You can scale it up or down to as many sessions as you need without having to worry about capacity.
Deliver demos that make a difference with VMware Learning Platform
Making your software shine doesn’t have to be difficult. Learn how VMware Learning Platform can help you seamlessly deliver hands-on demos to any customer on the planet, at cloud scale.