James Kennedy – How to Stop Giving Demos and Build a Sales Factory Instead – MicroConf 2017

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    • Product demos. Show of hands – who demos their product (webex style)?
      • Lots of people
    • Hands up if you still wanna be doing that in 5 years’ time?
      • ……1.
    • Demos are important. You get to understand what the customer is looking for.
    • How we doubled the effectiveness of our demos, while only doing half as many of them
    • James Kennedy
      • 40. Old enough I can now give my career history in decades
      • First decade… “nothing relevant!”
      • Second decade… “nothing relevant!”
      • 20s:
        • 2001: Built an app for sending SMS messages from the computer
        • 2002: Contracting
        • 2003: Bulk SMS tool
        • 2004: Contracting
        • 2005: Premium rate SMS
        • 2006: …Contracting
        • 2007: Inbound MMS
        • Learnt: I suck at coming up with business ideas
      • 30s:
        • Started to look for real problems to solve
        • Ran a marketplace for finding voiceover actors
        • Found another problem to solve: built rubberstamp.io — to simplify purchase orders
    • Our sales process
      • Had some leads. Wanted to give every lead time and attention
      • Would get straight on the phone. Try to find out what they were looking for
      • Embarrassing – we were new. They’d ask for very basic features, and we didn’t have them.
      • Just talking to potential customers gave us a really good idea of what the product SHOULD BE
    • August 2016 – we’re doing 40 demos a month. Doesn’t sound a lot, but with all the follow-up, all the work that goes into it…
    • Couldn’t see who else in our small team could do the demos instead of me
    • MicroConf Europe 2016 — Steli Efti said something interesting:
      • Should be able to convert 7% of your trials into customers
      • We were only at 3%, even though we were doing all those demos, and phone calls…
        • Like many of you I see my business as a big funnel, and I look at the stages of the funnel, and see where I can make improvements

 

  • This is the one numbers that matters to us now
  • Let’s get it to 7%

 

      • Aim to contact 30% of the trials (reach). You should only bother to demo 50% of those (qualification). And aim to close 50% of those … = 7%.
      • Sales factory:
        • Split the demo process into:
          • Sales administration (taking CC details, following up, etc)
          • Value demonstration (sitting down and showing off the value of the product)
        • We ended up with 3 distinct phases for demoing, each done by a different person:
          • Qualify – call each lead. Qualify and book for demo. 50 followups / day. 10 demos / week.
          • Demo – Prepare for 2 hr. Demonstrate value. Prepare quotation. Ask for sale. Close 30%.
          • Follow Up – Present proposal, follow up
    • Fear – you pick up the phone. They’re super disgruntled. They’ll get angry, swear, hang up, write a bad review online.
      • Does happen very occasionally.
      • But many more are super happy that you’ve called them
    • Either get through to gatekeeper, or direct… or you find that they haven’t given a real number
      • Gatekeeper? Keep it super casual – “Hey, it’s James calling. Is Paul there?”
      • Most times get straight through to person looking for product.
        • Great thing about calling as soon as they sign up is that you’re catching them when they’ve dedicated time to the problem at hand.
        • Wording we find works best. “Hi it’s James from Rubberstamp. I know you’ve just signed up, and I just wanted to save you a bunch of time by answering any questions you have straight away. [Without a breath…] What are you using right now / Are you using spreadsheets right now?”
          • You’re selling them on why talking to you is a good idea. And then straight through to what are they doing right now / what problem are they trying to solve?
          • People don’t buy drills. They buy wanting to put a hole in the wall.
          • For different types of customers the answer to that will be dramatically different.
            • Finding out exactly what their problem is is critical. Our product solves multiple problems.
            • Need to find out what THEIR problem is. IN THEIR OWN WORDS. Important to hear this and write it down.
            • When do you need to have this problem solved by?
            • What’s your budget?
            • Who are the decisionmakers?
          • Not too many questions. Just want to tee them up for when they have to sell it internally.
        • Key to this call – don’t give out too much information. Listen.
          • Maybe you’re not a good fit. Saved everyone some time.
          • Good fit – I want to get a product rep to show you how we can solve that problem for you / how other people like you have used our product to solve that same problem.
        • Don’t want to just give them a demo of every feature. Want to plan a demo for a few days later, so your internal demo-er has time to put together a demo that shows how you can solve THEIR EXACT PROBLEM in THEIR OWN WORDS
          • Prepare. Takes at least 2 hours
            • Day before: research on LinkedIn / web, prepare relevant testimonials, confirm appt by email.
            • Hour before: confirm appt. Put their company real names etc into the demo, so they can really see how it’ll look for them. Their logo.
          • The demo: [showing live demo of a typical demo slide deck]
            • Slide: “Our software fixes [insert description of problem to be solved as described by prospect]”
              • We know exactly what they’re looking for, because we split out that qualification process
              • Done right, they should say “this is exactly what we’re looking for”
            • Your competitors are not going to be describing their software IN TERMS OF THE CUSTOMER’S OWN PROBLEMS
            • “I’m going to show you the product in 8 minutes” – people LOVE this. They don’t want a 40-50 minute demo of EVERY feature.

 

  • Just show them the features that fix the problem they said they have.

 

            • [Slide]: We have stacks of other features. [long list]. “If you want I can show you any of those, but if not we can skip those for the demo.”
            • “Is anything missing?” They’ll probably say no. In which case… Shut the f* up and say nothing. LOVE awkward silences in a sales conversation. Obvious next step for them is to say “so what do we do next?” And you can complete the sale.
            • Or they might have objections. Counter these…
              • Testimonials (slide for each common objection, with a few testimonials for each)
              • Industry specific slide (testimonials from people in their industry)
            • Ideally sell them immediately, but they may need to get buy-in from someone else. Enter… follow-up mode.

 

  • Sales are won in the follow up, not the show up (Steli Efti)

 

        • Follow Up:
          • Send the slide deck + quote
          • Record a video reviewing the demo
          • Provide links to sign up pages
  • Couple of things we got wrong when we implemented this
    • You gain all that rapport, but you need them to pass on all the great stuff to other people internally
      • Foreshadowing:
        • Tell them when you’re going to call, and who will be calling, and stick to it. Reinforces that you do what you say you’re going to. They should always know what the next step is going to be, and what they need to do for it.
    • “Comparison is the death of joy”… “Unless building a sales factory for a SaaS business”
      • Try different things on different calls. Different ways of introducing yourselves… track who/what works better?
        • Had 1 guy who was 3x better than selling at a certain stage of the demo funnel. So swap everyone out so they’re playing to their strengths
  • This is for you if:
    • You are B2B
    • < 3% conversion rate
    • Self serve customers churn (i.e. are non-demoed customers churning more than demoed customers?)
      • For us, customers who do demos tend to be more valuable customers
    • You don’t have enough time
      • By splitting the demo into stages, you can split the work amongst your team, and may find you can outsource the more administrative stages
  • Q&A
    • “One thing we struggle with is I’m doing every demo. We’re doing 30-40. Being able to find talent that is cost-effective. What is your qualifying procedure for finding the talent? Where do you find them?”
      • First responder — it’s easy to find people who can pick up a phone, dial, and fill out a spreadsheet
        When it comes to showing the value — by systematizing, there’s less to do at the value-showing stage, so it’s easier to fill the role.
        Define your process (ProcessTree is great)
        It’s much easier to find someone to fill a role when you narrow what the role is
        Commissions — double edged sword. No reason to with this model. They slot into a defined role, people are switchable
    • “Your web site doesn’t show pricing. What’s the thinking behind that?”
      • We A/B tested. It won convincingly. More trials.

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