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Why We Don't Do Product Demos

Like any SaaS company, product demos are the go-to weapon of any sales team.

It's how you get someone interested in your product, answer their questions in real time and then get them to buy all in an environment which you control 100%.

It's the ultimate sales scenario. Except it's not.

It's a complete waste of time and it's one of the most ineffective sales methods I've ever come across.

The people who want demos are often corporates or companies on the larger side of things and very often don't want to spend hours poking around in cumbersome software, getting dumped into drip campaigns without knowing if it's even the right software for them. Understandable. So you do the demo, goes well, they seem pretty enthusiastic and then there's the inevitable moment of delaying the decision or needing to run it by other people. This ALWAYS leads to needing to demo a second person. They also often want sales collateral, often in PDF form which they can show their team. You can imagine how well this is going down with a company setting out to get rid of PDFs. :-) Then when all of this is done and I've chased and chased over a period of 3 months, they buy the Premium plan for $49/mo. You might be thinking "What's the issue here?!". The issue is, 450+ people just bought that plan in the last 3 months without a single phone call, a single demo and often without even asking us a question on live chat. A demo isn't a necessary part of the buying process. After analysing several hundred demos over the last year, it's lead us to believe that conducting demos is a complete waste of time. The way our business is set up, our team is set up and the lack of resources we have to chase up deals where the maximum we can be paid is $99/mo is simply not geared up for this idea of constant demos.

People still have questions and don't trust live chat enough yet and they want to talk to a human before buying.

So with that said, what we decided to do was the following:

  • Not conduct product demos under any circumstances.
  • We would happily take scheduled phone calls to answer questions providing the basic requirements were at least of the Premium plan.
  • We would only have those phone calls if someone had signed up and had a play

If someone can't even click around for 3-5 minutes and send themselves a test proposal then why should I spend 30-40 minutes of my time on the phone to you? Will this plan change one day? Very likely, but for now, this is where we're at so don't be offended if you're quizzed about which plan you might be on or told we don't do product demos and to go and sign up and play with it before we'll schedule a call with you. The evolution of a SaaS company.

Adam Hempenstall's profile image
Adam Hempenstall is the CEO and Founder of Better Proposals. He started his first web design business at 14 and has since written four books and built an international movement around sending better proposals. Having helped his customers win $500,000,000 in the last 12 months alone, he’s launched the first ever Proposal University where he shares best practices on writing and designing proposals. He co-runs a once-a-year festival called UltraMeet and is a massive FC Barcelona fan.