Just recently, a research team studied over 67,000 SaaS sales demos to see if they could find commonalities between the winning and losing creations. After weeks of research, studying everything from the language used to their length, we now have the results and it’s certainly interesting.
Best Length? - First and foremost, the most successful demo calls actually lasted around 30% longer than the unsuccessful calls. In total, the winning demos tended to last, on average, around 47 minutes. Of course, we mustn’t go over-the-top with this statistic since some demos will be so targeted that it needs an extensive explanation from the start. In addition to this, we would never advise just extending your demo for the sake of it; the demo should always retain its value. Best Length? - First and foremost, the most successful demo calls actually lasted around 30% longer than the unsuccessful calls. In total, the winning demos tended to last, on average, around 47 minutes. Of course, we mustn’t go over-the-top with this statistic since some demos will be so targeted that it needs an extensive explanation from the start. In addition to this, we would never advise just extending your demo for the sake of it; the demo should always retain its value.
Best Talk-to-Listen Ratio? - As you may know, discovery calls have a talk-to-listen ratio of 46:54 but this is very different for demo calls. In fact, the successful calls finished at 65:35 so this allows us to learn plenty of lessons…or does it? After researching, the unsuccessful calls had a similar ratio of 66:34 which is a little unfortunate.
This being said, there were differences to be found in the interaction patterns. In failed demos, there were long speeches of up to 100 seconds with no interruptions. On the flip side, the reps spoke for longer as you might expect but the conversations were split which allowed the customer to speak whenever necessary. In calls with an uninterrupted speech of over 76 seconds, none of them were successful.
Setting the Context - Thanks to the research, the team found there were four essential components to all successful calls and the first was the first ten minutes. During this time, the most effective demo calls spoke about problems within the industry, narratives, and overviews. Once the small talk was over, they gave context for the demo before launching into the bulk of the demo.
Upside-Down Pyramid - Next, successful calls started with the conclusion and this is interesting to see. Rather than building to a grand conclusion, those who were more flexible with the call and willing to summarize early saw more success.
Back-and-Forth - When a demo is going well, there’s a conversation between the two parties as opposed to the rep speaking at the customer. Of course, there will always be a pitch at some point in the call but it should then move into a conversation. In the best calls, the second half of the conversation saw around 35% more speaker switches than the first half.
Pricing - As the fourth component, the best calls saw pricing come up after around 40 minutes of conversation. Rather than bringing it up early, or too often, it required just a couple of minutes and perhaps some questions from the customer. In failed calls, 8% more time was spent talking about pricing.
(http://www.trapica.com) was spent talking about what happens next. By explaining what both parties need to do to move the project forward, the customer has a timeframe to work with rather than leaving the call not knowing. In unsuccessful calls, there were a number of timing issues and reps left a 35-minute conversation with ‘we’ll pencil in our next call’. After going to the effort to talk to them for so long, the least you can do is explain what happens next.
If you find yourself running out of time, something in your pitch needs to give way so you have ample time to talk through the process calmly.
Summary - If you’re currently working on your own demo call technique, we hope you can use these fantastic tips because it comes from real research. As opposed to giving opinions or sharing what ‘might’ or ‘should’ work, you have real data showing what happens in the most successful and least successful calls.
Feel free to share this with any friends and colleagues you may have within the industry!