What is a sales demo?

A good sales demo can mean the difference between closing a deal and losing a prospect.


Feb 09, 2021

5 min read

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A sales demonstration, or sales demo, is "when a sales rep delivers a presentation to a prospective customer to show them the features, capabilities, and value of the product or service," that's according to HubSpot. A good sales demo can mean the difference between closing a deal and losing a prospect. But who is on the delivering and receiving end of a sales demo? What is included? When and where do they occur? Why do you need them? And how do you ensure it closes the loop — and lands the sale? 

Let's go over the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of sales demos.

Who presents sales demos?

At virtually every company, a sales rep delivers sales demos.

What do sales demos include?

What refers to what your product or service is. Is it a software package or a new type of backpack? Again, the purpose of the sales demo is to make a sale, so highlighting all of the wow factors of your product is necessary to do right at the beginning of the demo. Figuring out what features are relevant to a specific audience before giving them the demo will help frame your product in the best light possible for them.

When do sales demos occur?

Sales demos typically occur after a visitor becomes a lead. Depending on where a prospect is in the buyer's journey, there are a few specific points in time when you might ask if they're interested in a sales demo:

  • Downloading materials

  • When a visitor clicks a CTA or fills out a form that equates to a micro conversion, such as requesting more information or signing up for your newsletter

  • When a lead contacts a member of your sales team to learn more about your product or service

Marketing Qualified Leads have shown interest in buying. They’re open to the idea of a sale and have taken an initial step to engage with your business, without buying. While marketing efforts can bring leads in, the lead’s behavior is what prompts marketers to consider them an MQL. They make some sort of active contact action to peruse what you have to offer.

Examples of marketing qualified lead (MQL) actions

  • Downloading trial software or free ebook

  • Using software demos

  • Filling out online forms

  • Submitting an email address for a newsletter or mailing list

  • Favoriting items or adding items to a wishlist

  • Adding items to the shopping cart

  • Repeating site visits or spending a lot of time on your site

  • Clicking on an ad to find your site

  • Contacting you to request more information

While a marketing qualified lead is a lead who has engaged with your company and could become a customer if nurtured correctly, a sales qualified lead has been researched and vetted by your marketing department and is ready to talk to your sales department. An MQL becomes an SQL once they're ready to talk to the sales team.

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Where do sales demos occur?

In-store, online meeting, in-person, phone call, automated demo video — these are all different types of locations (or styles) to give a sales demo. Figuring out which best suits your product or company is up to you. In-person or in-store demos are a great choice for B2C companies because people can physically touch and test out your product. Automated demo videos or online meetings are often used for B2B sales demos because it might require multiple people to be in the meeting, and aligning schedules to meet in person is time-consuming.

Why do we need sales demos?

You deliver a sales demo to close a deal. With a sales demo, you're showing a prospect exactly how your product or service meets their specific needs and can mitigate any pain points and issues they're experiencing. This makes your prospect want to buy your product or service (or at least want to learn more about it so they can convert later on).

Why are you giving a sales demo? To close more sales! Knowing your prospects’ unique pain points and needs are critical to know before going into a sales demo. As sales thought leader Jim Keenan writes, “There is no room for “if” in your demos. There is no excuse to show a feature that isn’t germane to the specific business and highly targeted to the operational needs of the buyer.” Keep this in mind as you design your next sales demo.

How can sales demos drive sales?

Calendly is a simple, easy-to-use (but powerful) scheduling software. It makes promises and delivers as a time-saver, sales accelerator, service quality enhancer. It eliminates the old-school way of using email and phone tags for scheduling appointments, calls, interviews, demos, and more. Calendly lets you engage with your best leads in real-time, so your sales team can close more deals, fast. Reduce drop-off by immediately sending a scheduling link to leads that fill out your web form, or let qualified leads schedule right from your website.

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