(by John Cook/ Consensus)
When we talk about selling technology, and especially when we talk about selling SaaS, we are really talking about selling disruption. No matter how easy your tool or platform is to implement, you are changing the way your customers operate (hopefully for the better). Because this disruption impacts various areas of a business, it is important to help each member of your buying group understand your value proposition and how it benefits their specific area of interest.
In other words, you need to build consensus to close the sale and gain another happy customer.
But gaining buy-in from the right people inside an organization is challenging. You set up meetings. You conduct product demons. You answer security questionnaires and procurement documents. You conduct more demos. You send customer stories in for social proof. You conduct more demos. The problem is your presales and sales teams don’t have the time or resources to put on the same demo over and over, and leaders are putting pressure on their revenue teams to accelerate pipeline and reduce time to revenue. But how do you reduce time to revenue without hiring more people?
The answer: you automate some portion of your demo process.
Demo Automation Scales Your Preales Team
Your presales team does so much more than put on demos. These highly trained, incredibly technical professionals are an essential piece of how your company drives revenue. In addition to product demos, Sales Engineers, Solutions Consultants, Solutions Architects, and other presales professionals possess certifications and qualifications that make them an invaluable resource to your customers in terms of the advice they give, the complex problems they solve, and the way they communicate how your product optimizes their business.
Automating part of your demo process empowers your presales team to focus more on the activities that will produce the greatest impact to your customers and your business as a whole. In a 2020 survey we gathered data from hundreds of participants around the world to learn more about the presales/sales relationship and how it operates. Our results showed that on average, Sales Engineers support sales teams at a ratio of four Account Executives to one SE. Our survey also found that businesses can at times experience a lag of more than a week between the time a customer requests a demo to the time they actually receive one. At Consensus, our platform empowers Sales Engineers by automating portions of their demos and packaging it in a way that customers can easily consume, engage with, and share within their organization. What sets our platform apart is that our platform allows your demo to adapt based on your customer’s needs. With every share, viewers are asked what matters most to them, allowing them to see more of what they want to see and less of what they don’t. The result is an overall better experience for customers that saves SEs on average more than 10 hours per week. Think of what your presales team can do with 10 more hours a week per employee to focus on impactful activities that go beyond product demos.
Demo Automation Gives You Insight into Your Buyers
Selling is hard. Buying is harder. In his book, Garin Hess, Consensus Founder and CEO, cites research stating that it can take a company more than 16 months to buy a technology solution. One of the main reasons for this delay is because of the many personalities and priorities that make up a buying group. The cast of characters comprising a buying group can include dynamic leaders from the C-Suite, financial analysts, sales and marketing leaders, IT and security, and many others. Each of these stakeholders has a unique opinion and perspective on what they look for in a technology solution, a perspective that must be appeased before they can reach consensus, which can be achieved through Consensus’s demo automation.
Automating your company demo allows you to enable your buyers to customize their viewing experience based on their needs. By giving them the choice to prioritize which portions of your product demonstration mean the most to them individually, they come to understand more quickly how your product fits into their ecosystem and benefits them as well as the company as a whole. Using a platform like Consensus also helps your team improve in the way they present and sell your product by giving presales and sales reps insights into the buying group. Our platform tracks interaction data including views, clicks, and shares (among other things) to show you what each member of the buying group cares about most when evaluating your company. This information helps your team better understand your customer’s needs, giving them the answers they need to prepare for subsequent calls and customers interactions.
Demo Automation Accelerates Deals through the Funnel
As companies look to grow and scale at an accelerated pace to achieve market dominance, pipeline velocity becomes essential to success. A company’s ability to move deals through the funnel quickly and efficiently is an indicator of both short and long term success. Demo automation improves the ability of both presales and sales teams to communicate your value proposition in a simple, impactful way that leaves your customers delighted, informed, and ready to take action.
Arming your presales teams with an interactive demo automation platform like Consensus helps Sales Engineers qualify customers faster by allowing them see their priorities and match their solution to the problems the customer wants to solve. This, combined with the time saved from automating the repetitive tasks of basic demos, gives your team the advantage of making their first call feel like a second call, which drastically shortens the overall sales cycle and accelerates time to revenue.
Selling and buying technology is a complicated game. Companies invest significant time and resources into hiring and training the right presales professionals to engage customers and architect solutions that convert into wins and revenue. Automating your demo process with a platform like Consensus helps companies scale their current presales team, gain essential insights into what their customers need, and increase pipeline velocity.
(NOTE: Consensus is a NAASE Corporate Member.)