B2B Sales Demo Coaching - How to Improve Your Demo Skills
Updated: Sep 9, 2022
Sales demos, also known as sales demonstrations or sales presentations can help your B2B SaaS companies MRR and ARR (ultimately increasing your company's valuation, yay!).
However, sales demos are only useful if your company generates most of the revenue from doing demos.
And in order for the sales demo to be successful, a few things have to happen. The demo has to be:
Not to mention, the sales rep performing must be knowledgeable about the 3P's:
Training courses on sales demos should be included in all sales training programs, including SaaS sales training, B2B sales training topics, and B2B inside sales training programs.
What Is a Sales Training Program?
A sales training program can be a virtual or live sales course, seminar, or workshop that improves a salesperson's sales skills.
A sales training program is an important part of any company's operations if they're looking to scale. It helps to ensure that the sales force is knowledgeable about the products and services that they are selling, and is able to effectively communicate with potential customers.
A well-designed sales training program can help to increase sales and improve profitability. Below are a few of the numerous modules or subjects that sales training courses should cover.
Understanding the Basics
One of the first things that online sales coaching and training programs should teach your sales staff when it comes to sales demos is the art of giving a fantastic demo. This should cover all of the fundamentals of a demonstration, such as having the correct mindset when giving a sales demo, why a demo may make or break a sale, when is the right time to do a software demo, and the overall value of demos in driving revenue.
The art and science of demos is an essential skill for account executives to practice, especially if a company does a lot of product demos to drive new revenue (MRR & ARR). Unfortunately, it's one that many are neglectful to learn.
If your company doesn't understand how to effectively give sales demos then recurring revenue and growth will suffer, leading to layoffs, and rehiring (which is really expensive) staff.
Using a Demo Account
Teaching your sales account executives how to use a demo account is another important thing to consider when reviewing sales coaching ideas and programs. Some products can be demonstrated in front of a consumer right away.
Consider those old-fashioned vacuum sales reps or those hilarious but addictive infomercials on late-night T.V. They can show the prospective customer how to use the vacuum right in front of their eyes. In other circumstances, you may need a slide show or video that displays the product in action and outlines the client's benefits, such as their cost savings. Your sales reps must be able to log into demo accounts and watch videos. They have nothing to show a prospective buyer without it.
Observing Best Practices and Examples
You want to make sure that each sales professional can demonstrate a product to a client in a way that makes them feel comfortable while also ensuring that they don't oversell it or make false claims. One way to do this is to provide account executives with a library of recorded demos that were done properly. This can come from your top-performing sales reps' demos. If you'd like a simpler way to build a library of talk tracks and recorded demos, you can look at conversation intelligence solutions like Gong, Chorus, and Avoma.
Putting practices in place helps to establish the ground rules for product demonstrations, such as acceptable methods of demonstration and phrases that they can or should now say. Giving your sales teams examples of top-performing sales reps' demos gives them some ideas and comments on what a good demo looks like and why it's good.
Recognizing the Warning Signs of a Problematic Customer
Spending time chasing down the wrong leads can ruin your sales efforts and perhaps your company. Large accounts might take anything from six to 18 months to close. A bad client, on the other hand, can be much worse than a lost transaction, wasting your time, demanding refunds, and generally speaking negatively about your business.
To make sure they're on the right route, your sales team needs to know what to look for, which is where proper sales training comes in. Moreover, as someone who has sold your product or service before, you've seen firsthand the signs that lead to a sale, as well as the ones that made you hang up.
Common Errors to Avoid
When it comes to sales demos, some of the best types of sales training programs include a part on "demo crimes," or what not to do when it comes to demos.
At the same time, you want to make sure that your sales team (and head of sales) are only using the product in the way that it was intended and aren't putting on a terrible demo that scares away potential buyers.
What are some examples of demo crimes?
No continuous discovery
Not having your webcam on
Not involving other attendees on the call
Saving the most important features until the end of the demo
Keep the Momentum Going
Finally, some of the top sales training courses include sections on how to keep momentum when dealing with sales demos. Demos appear to have two possible outcomes. They can either urge or persuade a customer to buy your product or stall the process.
Disclaimer: Don't expect to have consistent one-call closes. Most of the time, your demos won't close the same day unless you're an SMB B2B SaaS company with a highly transactional sales process. Otherwise, demos may take days, weeks, or months to close and will require multiple demos to different decision makers and influencers within the organization (i.e. a lot of multithreading)
If the demo does not go as planned, and the prospect appears confused or loses interest in the product, a salesperson must know how to respond.
Teaching your salespeople how to boost downhill momentum and keep a conversation going can be extremely beneficial to the product's overall sales (obviously).
Ways to Ask for the Close
How to close the transaction is one of the most crucial pieces of sales coaching your team requires.
You're effectively allowing your AEs to ask for the close anytime they want if you don't provide guidelines and methods for doing so. Unfortunately, far too many sales reps wait for the imaginary 'ideal moment' to ask (not good).
Here are a couple ideas you might want to incorporate into your sales coaching:
The virtual close: Ask for the sale as soon as you've qualified your lead and given them your presentation (that's a one-call close attempt). You already know they're going to say no at this point. "What's the process we need to go through to get you ready to buy?" asks the follow-up question. You're getting them to sketch you a map to the sale you'll eventually obtain with this easy question.
Take the sale away: It's easy to grow desperate and make promises you can't meet when objections arise at the eleventh hour. Instead, encourage your sales team to "take the sale away" by being firm on pricing, highlighting the importance of developing a long-term relationship, and forcing a pause in the dialogue. This method not only encourages customers to close but also shows them that you're confident in your product's ability to solve their problems.
Components of a Succesful Sales Training Program
1. Essential Sales Skills
Even for seasoned sales reps like Senior Account Executives, sales training provides an opportunity to brush up on basic sales abilities that they may have lost over time. Here are some skill examples to go over with your reps:
Asking for the close
Demonstrations and role-playing exercises are the most effective ways to teach these skills. Make use of video examples. Account executives will internalize what they've learned if they cater to diverse learning types.
You can even invite other account executives and/or sales managers to sit in on real-life sales calls and demos as part of the training process. Then, your top sales reps may teach new employees how to sell like them. Disclaimer: Do NOT force your account executives to sell exactly like your top-performing sale rep. But, you should teach them how to extract good qualities and tactics that your top AE does that they can replicate on their sales demos.
2. How to Improve Your Listening Skills
It's easy to talk over your client when trying to describe the features and benefits of what you're offering. Unfortunately, salespeople that don't spend more time listening to what the prospect is saying have a hard time closing deals and hitting quota.
Active listening is the unsung hero of sales. Clients will drop hints about what they're thinking, how they're feeling, and what problems need fixing throughout the sales cycle. Taking care of these issues can make or break your sale. However, if you're not paying attention, you'll miss them.
Here are a few pointers to include in your sales training to help your sales team listen more attentively:
Active listening entails paying attention to what your prospect is saying, comprehending it, and replying with a brief summary of what they've said (we call this, "recapping"). This not only demonstrates that you're paying attention and respecting what they're saying, but it also allows you to focus on the information you need to close the sale.
Rephrase what a prospect is saying in your head: One of the obstacles to proper listening is being intrigued and forming a response before the other person has finished speaking.
Take a time to summarize and repeat back what they've said once they've finished speaking. "It sounds like you're content with your existing CRM, but you'd prefer something a little more user-friendly for new teammates," for instance.
This can help clear up any misunderstandings right away, and it's a terrific way to acquire additional information from your prospect because they'll usually go a step further now that they know you're paying attention.
3. The Customer's Perspective
Genuine empathy for customers and prospects is one of the most important traits a salesperson can have. Essentially, for that purpose, your sales training program should include modules aimed at assisting new sales reps in understanding all aspects of the customer experience.
At all stages of the sales process, from initial contact to closing a contract, the most successful sales personnel empathize with what consumers are feeling.
Create activities based on real-world events that evoke empathy for your target customers, rather than just reviewing buyer profiles with your staff.
Have new salespeople role-play from the perspective of a customer, so they can understand what it's like to be in their shoes.
Show new employees a video or arrange a meeting between new hires and a valued customer to introduce them to your existing customers' opinions.
Create an exercise that allows your sales reps to experience the pain point on a wider scale if there are any common obstacles that are significant to your company's Unique Selling Proposition. Make your sales agents sort stuff the old-fashioned way if your product allows store personnel to stock clothing more efficiently.
4. Your Market and Products
You should also incorporate extensive information about the products and market in your sales training program.
Examples of this:
The problems those features solve
The buyer persona
The buyer persona's problems
Allow your account executives to use the software directly as part of the product training. You can bring in software developers and product engineers to speak with new sales reps since they know more product features that aren't obvious to the account executives.
Yes. account executives should learn about your products and buyer profiles, but also about your marketing material library. During the sales process, they will be able to link prospective consumers with the appropriate resources.
When it comes to introducing sales reps to new items, having a sales demonstration from one of your most experienced salespeople can be really helpful in helping them get onboarded faster. Later on, have them do a mock sales pitch/sales demo.
5. Your Selling Strategy
It's crucial to teach new salespeople about your specific sales process. If a new account executive has prior sales experience, they may use processes that aren't the same as yours. Make sure that everyone exits their sales onboarding training with a thorough understanding of your company's processes, including:
Preferred methods of lead generation
Your method for qualifying prospects
Sales demo playbook and process
Making a business proposal
Essentially, it can be beneficial to go over genuine case studies in detail in order to successfully teach your methods. Role-playing games can also be beneficial. AEs can, for example, practice prospect qualification by evaluating a hypothetical prospect. You can even use real-life examples to add authenticity.
Disclaimer: Founders, VPs of sales, and sales managers should be open-minded to new account executives that have sales experience from another company. Oftentimes, they can come up with fresh ideas and sales tactics that can improve your current sales process.
6. CRM Training Programs
As for modern salespeople, knowing how to use the CRM system, whether it's Salesforce, HubSpot, efficiently is a must-have ability. Provide CRM training that is tailored to your company's processes and emphasizes any software adjustments you've made.
Although the CRM vendor's training resources can be a good place to start, your sales team will benefit immensely from more specialized training.
Provide sales reps with countless opportunities to use the program firsthand, as most individuals learn the software by doing. They should learn how to create new entries in the CRM, use the search tool, and update the existing account information.
Consider turning the CRM training into a treasure hunt to add more excitement. Ask your learners to work in groups to identify certain bits of information from the CRM. You can even give the victorious team a prize.
7. Scripting Responses to the Most Common Objections
Knowledge is a powerful tool, and the best salespeople always start with a strong foundation.
Use your sales coaching to prepare your staff for objection handling. You can work together to build scripts that will help them in dealing with these issues. The use of sales scripts is now a divisive topic in the sales community.
Nobody wants to sound like a robot, and that's not something you should be promoting here. Instead, these sales scripts should assist you in evaluating client issues and moving on to genuine issues faster.
Consider it a basketball team. They practice the basics, scoring, defending, and rebounding for hours on end, so they don't have to worry about it on game day and can focus on adapting to the squad they're playing.
Similarly, sales scripts can help your sales teams get over common objections and move on to more innovative ways to close the sale. You'll also have a template to share with your staff to assist them in improving their sales skills.
Have your staff do the following as part of their sales coaching:
Make a list of the most common objections they receive from prospects (such as "it's too pricey" or "we're satisfied with our current service" or "we'll think about it.").
Create a list of responses or questions to these objections.
Create short scripts based on these responses to address the objections.
8. Team-building Exercises
Include activities that will assist your new employees bond as a team as they master the basics. Throughout the course, group exercises should be included. In an ideal world, training instructors would mix up the structure of the groups so that participants can meet as many of their new coworkers as possible.
While the majority of sales coaching will be focused on business, it's a good idea to include a fun group activity or outing every now and then.
Regular assessments, including both self-assessment and external evaluation, should be incorporated into the sales training process. Assessments are useful for personalizing training to address the strengths and limitations of individual learners, as well as determining the effectiveness of training modules.
To assess a trainee's progress during a sales coaching program, give them the same assessment at the start, middle, and conclusion of the program. A sales representative could, for example, do a mock product demonstration. Consider the results as a way to assess representatives' abilities as well as a learning opportunity.
It is impossible to stop learning. Sales training and hiring is a never-ending processes.
There are always new tactics, better scripts, new objections to overcome, new challenges to handle, and other competitors to deal with that you and your sales team will need to understand how to handle.
The best salespeople have a strong desire to learn and improve, and your sales coaching will assist them in doing so. If you invest in it early on, you'll have an unbeatable team.
Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways FDTC can help: