One of the first things prospective clients ask for when we first engage with them is, "Can we see a demo?" Most of the time, it doesn't matter whether they are searching for a new solution or have one in place that they want to expand on.
Demos are the go-to ask when organizations are on the search for a new solution like Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Demos help make the connection between a capabilities conversation and what those capabilities look like in action.
However, consider the following questions before venturing down the demo path.
Putting the next shiny object in front of your team to distract them from the current less-than-optimal-reality is not a viable reason to request a demo!
However, if you're brand new to a specific type of technology (read that as - your team has never been exposed to it before), then a demo could be an acceptable next step.
Demos provide a way for you to determine if the solution could potentially be a match for the business problem you're trying to solve.
An example of this might be an organization that has been sharing corporate information via mass email and posters in the breakroom. They may take some time to explore whether SharePoint or Microsoft Teams is a viable option to implement an intranet.
Take some time to think about exactly "why" you want a demo before asking for one. Evaluate needs, then assess solutions.
Many platforms in the marketplace today offer several modules, basic features, advanced capabilities, and out of the box versus add-on third party components. Comparing and contrasting solutions can become confusing when you are not sure what problem(s) you need them to solve.
Clearly define and explain to your existing or potential partner precisely the business problem(s) that needs a solution. Otherwise, you may unnecessarily inundate your team with irrelevant information.
One particular scenario that comes to mind is an organization that is searching for the right customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Not only are there the heavy hitters like Microsoft (e.g., Microsoft Dynamics CRM or 365) and Salesforce, but there is a slew of other providers that are considered add-ons to ERP platforms or standalone industry-specific options.
Then, within those solutions, you have modules like Sales, Service, and Marketing. Diving further, additional features are offered out of the box within those modules – third party add-ons for Sales Cadence Automation, Marketing Automation, Activity Management, and Document Management, just to name just a few.
The possibilities can be quite overwhelming if you're just beginning to search for business solutions. Only ask to see what your partner thinks you'll need to solve for the immediate needs. Once you've made that determination, you can explore further.
The time "when" a demo happens can be just as important as "why" you're asking for it in the first place.
As we mentioned before, demoing shouldn't just be used to make your team forget about a less desirable current situation. Ask for a demo when:
We recommend the latter once per year to plan any changes in how the team will use the module in the coming year.
There are two important aspects to consider when it comes to who should be involved in the demo process.
The first is who should be delivering the demo. Ultimately, you want a partner who has a great deal of experience with the solution.
You also want to ensure the team member they've asked to deliver it isn't too technical. The demo presenter should be able to demonstrate the features that are most important to your organization in a way that showcases its benefits and functionality to your team.
The second aspect to consider is who from your organization should be involved. Many organizations make the mistake of inviting only leadership level folks because they are typically the ones engaged from a sponsorship, budgetary, or project leadership perspective.
However, it is imperative to include subject matter experts who will ultimately be using the solution. They are going to be looking for specific aspects of functionality and ease of use that leadership may not consider.
If it's possible to have the entire team together with the potential partner, that's great! But it's not necessary to have a successful demo.
The meeting can be virtual using meeting platforms like Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, Zoom, etc. What makes a sales demo successful is the level of engagement!
The sales demo should first capture your attendees' attention by giving a brief overview of the solution, focusing on ease of navigation, and general organization of the content.
Next, it should provide the team with a glimpse of a "day in the life" of the various users that may be interacting with it to solve the business problem at hand. Referring back to our organization looking for a CRM solution, the sales portion of the demo may first focus on an outside salesperson, then on a regional manager, and finally on the role of sales director.
Lastly, a demo should always have adequate time for questions. The team may have specific questions about how a feature or component will address particular challenges in their unique processes. Attendees are inevitably going to see things on the screen that the partner may not be planning to cover. The partner should be prepared to address the question without too much detail, even if it's an aspect that doesn't pertain to the immediate needs.
Now that we've shared the essential aspects of a sales demo's reason, content, timing, attendance, and venue, we hope that you're better prepared to venture down the correct path.
If you're considering Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics 365, SharePoint, or Microsoft Teams for any of your business needs, we'd be happy to connect with you! You can reach us at LUCK@C5Insight.com or calling us directly at 704-895-2500!
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