Adam Haskew
Aug 28, 2020

So far, in our Acting Like a Top 25 ISV webinar series, we’ve covered many of the ins and outs of partnering with Salesforce as well as outlined what it takes to become a successful ISV. We recently continued our series to cover a meaningful topic for sales teams everywhere — demo org optimization.

Watch the webinar and download the slides.

As we’ve discussed before, a well-executed demo is an opportunity to wow prospective customers. However, most ISVs struggle optimizing their demo and demo environments (their demo orgs) for consistency and scale.

Demo org optimization can be a tough riddle to solve, so CodeScience Chief Revenue Officer Sean Hogan partnered with Reid Jackson, Director of Global Solution Consulting at nCino, to lay out the playbook for setting up your demo org. During their discussion, Sean and Reid highlight the importance of investing in a scalable, reliable demo org environment for nCino's SE team, but they also showcase additional unexpected business benefits including Product Management, Services, and Executive alignment. 

Demo Techniques and Traps

Sean and Reid began their conversation by touching on essential elements for powerful demos. Additionally, the pair covered common traps that can undermine an otherwise successful product demo. According to Reid and Sean, the elements of a successful demo are as follows: 

  • Story flow vs feature flow: Create a narrative that speaks to the daily tasks and routine of the people to whom you are presenting instead of listing features. By creating the story of how many features work together to drive efficiency in daily workload shows value. Simply highlighting individual features one after another lessens the impact for potential buyers.

  • Start with outcomes. Buyers don’t care about bells and whistles. They care about things that make their work lives easier. There’s no better way to show this value than by sharing key outcomes of using your product. Show what is possible thanks to your technology.

  • Build your story around the buyer. It’s easy to tell a story for a daily software user. After all, your tech will potentially be in end-users’ hands every single day. But there’s one problem — those users won’t be signing your check. For a successful demo, it’s essential to understand who the buyer is and to speak to their motivations and challenges to secure the deal.

In terms of building a successful demo, Sean and Reid had several key traps to which many sales demos fall victim. Specifically and counterintuitively, building pretty demos can be a significant risk for product demos.

“It’s very easy to build pretty demos, and it’s tempting to build something flashy, but at the end of the day, that’s not going to help you sell,” explains Reid. “You have to sell what you can deliver to keep expectations realistic for your prospective customers.”

Second, not including people in your demo can be a significant risk. Ultimately, people will be using your technology, so it’s absolutely vital to speak to these buyers and users to show true value. Finally, Reid and Sean touch on the importance of data quality for successful demos. Clean data can be a total game-changer for the narrative you tell in your demo. 

The Recipe for Success

Calling on Reid’s experience helping build nCino from a $1 billion to a $10 billion company, the webinar shifted into what it takes to build a powerful demo program that drives sales. 

For nCino, the process of assessing and optimizing their demo org started by doing a focused reality check built around several key questions. These questions related to the amount of time sales engineers were spending spinning up demos, maintenance requirements, and demo consistency. By dialing into these specific challenges, Reid and his team had a clear idea of what needed to be improved. 

Through working with CodeScience, Reid and nCino were able to plan and deliver a demo experience built around an adaptable demo framework. This demo environment replaced a 35-slide long presentation for building demos. The intuitive GUI delivered by CodeScience allowed even non-technical users to spin up error-free product demos quickly and consistently. This brought the time needed to create a demo environment from 20 minutes to 2 minutes.

“Our employees had to go through the painstaking process of manually entering data into a massive slide deck, a process that was extremely prone to errors,” adds Reid. “Automating this process made it possible to not only minimize errors but to spin up demos more rapidly to free up time selling and innovating within our demos.”

nCino’s demo framework has resulted in a dramatic drop in demo assistance requests. The demo experience also includes a user switcher to seamlessly switch across user personas to show full value across a business. The functionality keeps demo content fresh and relevant for any number of people who may be on a sales call.

Putting the Pieces in Place

So what’s the ROI for optimizing a demo experience? For nCino, Reid and his team were able to refactor 20 existing demos to showcase greater product depth, and they created 4 net-new demos built around the user switcher to show additional value while minimizing objections. nCino's research and development team can now spend less time troubleshooting existing demos and more time identifying and refining new demos for the sales teams to use. 

Following the example set by nCino, Sean introduces several points of consideration for building out a Salesforce demo environment. 

“It’s important to take a close look at the number of errors and the amount of time your teams are spending on demos,” explains Sean. “Taking this into account and focusing on the types of strategy and environment-framework a business needs can set any business up for more successful demos.”

To hear more of our panelists’ expertise, including responses to insightful questions from the audience, watch the full webinar today. Stay tuned for the next Acting Like a Top 25 ISV session!

Companies build their Salesforce businesses better with CodeScience. It is our mission that no ISV navigates Salesforce alone. If you’re looking for guidance on your product, help supporting your customers, or just need to ask an expert, get in touch today!

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