Many leading PreSales organizations are now utilizing Demo Automation Software to deliver interactive demo videos to prospects to aid their sales cycles. Any company that isn’t already at least assessing such a project risks missing out on a potential competitive advantage when it comes to stakeholder engagement and scaling PreSales. I recently led this project within my own organisation and discovered the benefits first hand.
By sending out personalized video content, the idea is to end the need for the so-called ‘harbor tour’ demo. Prospects come to face to face meetings with a base level of understanding of what our product does, allowing our solutions consultants to get deeper discovery with prospects as well as focus on our differentiators.
The expected benefits from embarking on this type of project are numerous. They include increasing sales cycle velocity, discovering new stakeholders as demo videos get shared, and having the opportunity to have deeper discovery with stakeholders. These benefits are already well-documented and are not the focus of this article.
Instead, I want to share four of the benefits we experienced but didn’t anticipate from implementing a demo video automation tool.
The breadth of applications the tool could be used for was the first unexpected benefit we saw. We initially implemented the tool with a focus on short demonstration videos of our product. However, we soon found we could use it for far more. One of those applications was allowing our Business Development Representatives (BDRs) to record their own Video Voicemails.
Rather than picking up the phone to cold call a prospect, they can now record 30-second videos of themselves which can be embedded in an email. These are entirely personalized and cover only what would be covered in a traditional voicemail. The benefit of this is that it feels more personal for the prospect because a face can be put to the voice.
This practice has also increased the level of engagement. It can sometimes take a few days for a prospect to open the video within the email. However, when they do, the BDR receives a real-time notification, giving them the perfect time to pick up the phone to the prospect.
Retain Control of Recorded Meetings
Occasionally, a prospect asks to record a meeting. This can pose a dilemma for vendors. On the one hand, we should be doing anything that looks favorable to the prospect which may ultimately give us a competitive advantage.
On the other hand, once we send a video of an in-depth demonstration of our software, all control of that recording is lost. There is a real risk of the recording falling into the wrong hands which could allow a competitor to see some of your differentiating features. I have witnessed this first hand.
An unexpected benefit of implementing a demo video automation tool is that we can send out any type of video to prospects and still retain complete control. They cannot download the video, we can revoke access at the end of the sales process and we see exactly who has viewed it and when. It mitigates the risk of unintended people viewing the recording and allows us to fulfill our prospects’ requests.
Furthermore, there have been instances where certain stakeholders in the buying process were not able to attend the meeting. The recording can be forward to them, and we receive their full details and a notification when they watch the recording. This even includes a heat map of which parts of the recording they watched, indicating which sections were the most relevant to them.
Using Video Content for Internal Enablement
A major part of undertaking an implementation of a demo automation tool is the creation of the video content. Content creation takes time and effort and this shouldn't be underestimated.
We have created both short and long tell-show-tell videos of each major feature. In some of these cases, we have even created more than one version targeted at different personas.
Each video requires planning. The best way to demonstrate each feature must be decided on; from which screens will be shown, right down to the individual clicks required.
As part of this process, we discovered each Solutions Consultant had a slightly different way of presenting each topic. This gave us the opportunity to work with several Solutions Consultants and even customers to establish a way to demonstrate topics that will best-resonate with clients.
The output of this process was a considerable library of best-practice demo videos. Although these were initially intended solely for use with the demo automation tool to send out to prospects, they have been immensely useful internally too. The process has allowed Solutions Consultants to consider the way in which they demonstrate each feature and has created a greater level of consistency across the team.
Our Solutions Consulting Bootcamp now also includes these videos so new hires can learn to demonstrate the product from them rather than merely shadowing client-facing meetings and demonstrations. Our Sales Bootcamp also uses a selection of the library of videos to give new Account Execs an overview of the product.
A significant driver to implement a demo automation tool is often the functionality to receive real-time notification when a stakeholder has opened an email and watched a video. This gives Account Executives the perfect time to pick up the phone to their prospect or customer.
My organisation has made great use of this functionality. Generally, Account Executives get a notification that a video has been watched within a few hours up to a couple of days. What we didn’t expect, however, was the occasional notification to come months after the video had been sent.
A key example of this was when we were going through the contracting phase with a prospective customer. We suddenly received notifications that our key stakeholder had opened our 2-month old emails and was re-watching some product demonstration videos.
My Account Executive was quick to pick up the phone and caught our stakeholder at just the right time. It turned out there was a blocker which they were trying to work out for themselves from re-watching demo videos. We were able to clarify their needs and handle their objection. It is unlikely that they would have contacted us, and the deal could have been plunged into jeopardy. As a result, we closed the deal which could have otherwise slipped into the next quarter or worse, not have closed at all.
Ultimately, we found the benefits of implementing a demo video automation tool went far beyond what we expected and what was included in our business case. As discussed in this article, we are using the tool for far more use cases than expected such as video voicemails, utilizing the video content for internal sales and PreSales enablement, retaining control of recorded meetings and combating late-stage blockers in the sales cycle.
I’d love to hear more about other organisations who have found success in embarking on such a project. If you have any other unexpected benefits you found please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thomas Edwards is an experienced Solutions Consultant for Financial SaaS Solutions. He is also the Editor at The Modern SC - a website focusing on modern methods of Solutions Consulting and enablement. In his free time he enjoys playing music, holding Grade 8 certification in three instruments. He is also an avid fan Formula 1.
Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.