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The Dos and Don'ts of Creating an Interactive Product Demo

 Buyer behavior is changing. In the past, the CEO or CTO called the shots and made all the software purchasing decisions. However, modern buying is more collaborative, with an average of 11 stakeholders involved in B2B deals.

This shifting landscape was further highlighted in a recent G2 buyer report. Their research pointed out that with so many software solutions on the market, customers were struggling to choose the right product. 

One of the primary barriers for customers includes finding reliable, impartial information on products. While for sales teams, friction comes from longer sales cycles that result from additional stakeholder involvement in deals.

What modern buyers want

In response to these shifts in buyer behavior, a couple of trends have occurred. Firstly, many users are seeking out self-service buying options. Second, sales rooms are growing in popularity. These digital hubs provide a place for stakeholders and sales teams to meet and discuss a product. Everything you need to do a deal can be housed in one place.

All the information, documents, and paperwork are shared and accessible. Teams can answer questions, discuss requirements, and build relationships. Perhaps most importantly, they can accelerate sales cycles, which is very important for companies under pressure to grow.

These information repositories allow for several different types of communication across the buyer journey. Companies use them for presales, requirement gathering, discussions, dealing with objections, and even transferring contracts.

As such, they are an excellent place to show off an interactive product demo. Sales teams can pin self-service demos to the wall of their digital salesroom, allowing stakeholders to try out the product at their leisure.

But while that provides an exciting opportunity, not everyone knows how to create an interactive software demo. The process has never been more straightforward, thanks to sales demo tools like Usetiful. 

Here is a list of the dos and don'ts of creating an interactive product demo so you can drive conversions in the ever-changing sales environment.

Image by on Freepik

Best practices for creating an interactive product demo

Creating a great interactive product demo requires, at a minimum:

  • Awareness of your target audience's needs and wants

  • A clear idea of your product's key features and aha moments

  • Coding skills or the use of no-code interactive demo software like Usetiful

However, if you want to improve your SaaS software sales, you need to go a bit further. Here are some do's and don'ts to be aware of. 

🟢DO: think about the buyer's journey

There are a couple of ways to think about your interactive product demo. In the context of a product-led growth company, sales demos are an effective way of marketing your product without a huge budget. 

You can set them up as the standalone way to sell your SaaS products and combine them with other product-led growth strategies like customer referrals and organic content marketing. 

On the other hand, you can also use sales demos as part of your pre-sales strategy. With this type of strategy, you can then use them to supplement a live sales demo. For example, use demo automation for early and mid-funnel activity, and roll out your best salesperson to close the deal with a live demonstration.

Whatever you do, think about how buyers engage with your product and find the right place in the funnel for automated sales demos to make the most impact.

🔴Don't: ignore user segmentation

User segmentation is an essential part of any marketing approach. Products appeal to different types of users for a variety of reasons. That can be something as broad as business vs. personal use, or it might be about what roles or departments you are pitching the product towards.

For example, a guided sales demo for end users would be different from a demo automation targeting admins or business leaders. While there might be some crossover, both parties can have distinct needs, concerns, and uses.

So consider making a different interactive product demo for each cohort in your target audience. You won't have time to make an individual demo for each type of user, so you don't need to drill down and be that specific. Just try and cover your significant bases. 

Customers want personalization. But their preferences go beyond just using their name. Where possible, use forms or surveys before the product demo to tailor experiences. 

🟢DO: use storytelling techniques to plan the flow of your sales demo

Storytelling is an essential part of marketing. However, many people misunderstand how it's done. The good news is that you don't have to be a master storyteller to create an interactive software demo that makes an impact. 

Again, there are a couple of ways to think about all of this. For starters, there is the Story Brand framework popularized by Donald Miller. Within this framework, the customer is the hero, you are their helpful guide, and solving their pain points is the resolution.

Alternatively, you can cast your product as the hero that rides into town and saves the townsfolk from spending too much time on their tax returns or whatever problem you are trying to solve.

While both approaches are different, they have one crucial thing in common: you need to funnel the story towards the aha moment. This is like the moment in the movie when the hero overcomes the enemy and emerges victorious.

So, that means that when the user opens the interactive product demo, they have a problem or pain point they want to solve. As such, your sales demo should lead them to the realization of how your product will provide them value. 

Your aha moment can be lots of different things. Typically, you can break them into categories, such as:

  • Save your user time

  • Save your user money

  • Allow the user to achieve something that used to be impossible.

So keep in mind the benefits we've listed above. Shape your interactive product demo around defeating these enemies (no time, budget concerns, or too much friction to achieve goals.) Show the product functions but tie them to how they can make a difference to your users.

Of course, many products have more than just one core feature. Again, the thing here is about structuring how you parcel out the information, which is another storytelling technique.

However you approach things, plan out the pathway for your user to resolve their pain points in the most efficient way possible. Make that the driving force of your product demo.

🔴Don't: forget about brand consistency

Interactive demo software like Usetiful overlays elements like product tours, checklists, and tooltips over your app. However, to ensure the process is as smooth as possible, it's essential to choose styles and colors that match your brand or product.

Usetiful allows you to keep your overlays thematically consistent with your product. You can change colors and fonts and even add images and videos. This feature creates a seamless experience for your user and helps them immerse themselves in your product.

🟢DO: continuously test and optimize 

It's a real buzz when you complete your first sales demo automation. However, you can't stop there. The best self-service demos must be tested and optimized to get the best results.

There are a few ways you can go about this. For example, you can keep an eye on conversion rates and watch how your interactive product demo performs. However, you can also use analytics when you need to dig deeper.

Usetiful's reporting feature allows you to see key metrics like how many tours were started and completed or how many steps your prospects used. You can use this data to identify points of friction and easily edit your guided sales demo until it's producing the results you need. 

🔴Don't: forget to get feedback

Feedback is a massive part of the continuous testing and optimization approach. Thankfully, there are many ways you can canvas prospects for opinions. For example, Usetiful supports surveys, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).

Building a short survey into your demo automation is a great way to get valuable information about your product. It can be handy for customers who don't complete the demo. Some of the insights you gather can become useful for product improvement and even better audience targeting. 

So, look for opportunities where you can get prospects to give you feedback. You can find out information across different touchpoints, which will help you understand if your demo is effective at selling the benefits of your product.  

What's more, Usetiful integrates with tools like Zapier, so you can send user data to your CRM or analytics tools to make the most from the data.

🟢DO: use checklists for complex products

Some products have one killer feature that brings value. However, for more complex products, there are various elements that delight and help users. 

One way you can deal with this is to build a checklist that highlights each of the main features. From there, your prospects can select product tours related to each core capability.

Checklists are an excellent way to break down interactive product demos so your user always knows where they are and feel in control. Complexity is the enemy. You need to make everything as smooth and straightforward as possible.

🔴Don't: forget to include supporting links or media

Your interactive product demo should be as simple as possible while clearly outlining the power of your solution. Your main goal is to show how your tool can help your prospect solve their pain points. How you do that largely depends on the complexity and features of your software.

Ensure you include options for users to access further information. Usetiful Assistant provides a way for prospects to access self-service help within your platform. You can build that into your sales demo for situations where users need further assistance. Some of the things you can include are help documents, FAQs, or links to videos explaining features and concepts.

🟢DO: use smartips to keep things uncluttered

Perhaps the worst thing you can do during an interactive software demo is overwhelm your prospects. Yes, you're keen to show off all your features. And sure, you know that you need to strike while the iron is hot and impress your user while you have their attention. But these concerns should never translate into overloading your users with information.

Tooltips and beacons are an elegant solution for ensuring users have the information they need to understand the features and functions of your product without taking up too much screen real estate. 

Using these subtle UI elements can guide your users to important functions within your app without the cognitive overload that can result from overly busy product demos.    

Final thoughts

An interactive product demo is a flexible tool you can pair with your digital sales room. Research suggests that buyer behavior is changing. With so much software to choose from, buyers are overwhelmed by options. A good interactive product demo can help your brand cut through the noise and show your prospects how they can get value from your solution. 

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