B2B Technology Demos must evolve to Customer Experiences & Business Outcomes (CEBOs) as demos are old school and are based on an inside view of what a vendor believes it’s product does – or at least what the demo team has been able to build based on existing functionality.
The software industry has evolved from on-premise software to no software and delivery has evolved from discs to SaaS. Most people today refer to software using the macro category of cloud computing or SaaS. But, sales, marketing and development still refer to the way that they showcase the solution in a pre-sales environment as a demo, why?
Google’s Definition of the Term Demo
If you Google the word “demo”, the following is returned:
- A demonstration of a product or technique
- The example provided of how to use demo in a sentence is, “Staff members gave a demo of the technology.”
Seems like there should be a more captivating term to engage individuals that are part of the customer buying process and motivate them to support the 6 or 7 digit purchase of technology.
Who Can Deliver B2B Technology Demos
Usually, only an individual person or maybe there is select group of individuals within a company that can deliver B2B technology demos. This demo is usually a series of screens the presenter knows how to navigate to and through without crashing. The demos script needs to be followed to the letter so it does not appear on the list of one of the worst product demo failures ever. Dialogue is basically a narrative of the content the presenter is pointing to on- screen.
Metrics for a Successful B2B Technology Demos are Usually Measured by:
Historically, the metrics to determine whether B2B technology demos were successful were subjective, qualitative and not truly aligned to the how individuals would be operationally impacted or the business outcomes the organization is striving to achieve,
Old School Metics Sometimes Included:
- Did the demo crash?
- How many features did the presenter cover?
- How many of the company’s products did the presenter mention?
- How many attendees put their head down and started typing on their keyboard or phone? (the fewer the better)
- Did the prospect at some point in the demo agree or comment “that’s cool?” (one is considered good)
- Is there another meeting scheduled?
Context of a B2B Technology Demo – Historically
The demo has been part of the sales process forever in B2C (the selling of encyclopedias and vacuum cleaners) as well as B2B (SFA, CRM, Analytics, HR). Why? Because the demo was originally designed to:
1) Prove that the solution actually works, or
2) Show the prospect a bunch of stuff to see what resonates ( head nod, a yes or side conversations)
Context of a B2B Technology Demo – Current State & Future State
The World Economic Forum refers to The Fourth Industrial Revolution as, ”A digital revolution that has been occurring for decades – the synthesis of technologies that integrate the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to impact business to customer expectations, product enhancements and collaborative innovation. Most importantly, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is driving companies to rethink the way they do business – i.e. how they interact with prospects and customers – to achieve business outcomes.
B2B Technology Demos Should be Focused on Business Outcomes
Business outcomes are generally focused on revenue (improved acquisition and expansion rates), expenses (reduced costs), profitability, productivity (automation, process improvements, efficiencies) and customer satisfaction (increased retention rates, net promoters).
A litmus test for business outcomes may include:
- Can the desired end state be verified through measurable results?
- Is the business outcome correlated to an organizational goal or objective?
- Has the end state been detailed by the end-user and/or those resources accountable to deliver the outcome?
- Has the business outcome been vetted with all of those impacted by the outcome?
- What is the timeline, has it been broken down into milestones and have go or no go decisions been made or modified at each milestone?
B2B Technology Demos Should be Focused on Customer Experiences
Basically, customer experiences are the result of the sum of the interactions between an organization and a prospect or customer over the duration of their relationship.
Customer journeys are the accumulation of multi-channel touchpoints throughout the awareness, engagement, purchase onboarding and realization of business value and are directly correlated to whether an individual has a positive, negative or neutral customer experience. Customer journeys need to be proactively constructed by designing, developing and executing on customer experiences that resonate with prospects and customers and that requires vendors to rethink and reshape their company culture, organizational structures, systems, processes and people from an “inside out” to an “outside in” perspective. While it’s easy for an organization to say it wants to be customer-focused or provide a compelling customer experience, there’s a vast chasm between stating that on a PowerPoint slide and actually delivering a positive customer experience that resonates with the customer.
Moving From a Demo to a Customer Experience and Business Outcome (CEBO)
Here are five fundamentals to focus on to advance from old school demos to CEBOs.
CEBO – The Customer’s Point of View
Design, develop and execute from a customer’s point of view, not an internal business point of view, the way things have been done or perceived limitations. Think in terms of a customer experience that produces a desired business outcome. A positive customer experience begins by understanding the customer journey map — and that map must be built from a customer’s point of view. The key is to focus on the customer (which is sometimes your customer and sometimes the customer’s customer).
CEBO – The Customer’s Perceptions and Goals
Document, analyze, internalize and communicate customers’ perceptions of their experiences relative to their goals, needs and expectations. These customer experiences or customer journeys should be both based on outcomes that cascade down from an organizational objective and be actionable. There will be positives, negatives, barriers, obstacles, challenges and opportunities and that’s okay because it is reality. Remember though that it’s imperative to put all of that information into the context of customer behaviors, goals, and expectations.
CEBO – A Holistic, Omni-Channel Perspective
Show the prospect or customer’s current and desired state across omni-channels rather than focusing on a single touchpoint. Depending upon the size of the customer, they may be organized into silos with each focused on optimizing a specific touchpoint, channel or stage of the customer experience. It’s critical to communicate the parts but even more important to demonstrate the value of the sum of the parts. This is because customers think of all their interactions with a company as connected.
CEBO – Analytics, Metrics and KPIs
It’s essential to whittle down the customer experience into as many meaningful parts, steps of phases as possible. The guiding light should be to drill down to the lowest level where information is actionable. Each organization will need to determine whether absolute values, percentages, ratios or conversions are the key metric to identify opportunities and challenges. And, this metric should be established upstream in the process and not as an after thought.
CEBO – Visualize the Customer Journey to Optimize the Customer Experience
Customer journey boards or maps are very powerful as they summarize layers of relevant information in a visually compelling, intuitive and impactful manner. Customer journey boards or maps may need to be developed at the strategic and operational level as well as for both business and technical audiences.
B2B Technology Demos Must Evolve to CEBOs
Embracing Customer Experiences & Business Outcomes requires a company (and all of its employees) to be aware of and internalize the complete, end-to-end experience of the customer and in some cases the customer’s customer.
Old school demos that simply show off product features and rely on the product expert’s ability to navigate the product are history. Companies focused on connecting with prospects and customers through meaningful and relevant stories that are grounded in customer experiences while incorporating business outcomes aligned to an organization’s focus will succeed.