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5 SaaS Demo Best Practices to Win in a Flooded Market

saas demo best practices

I don’t know about you, but I probably see at least 4-5 ads a day that scream “FREE TRIAL!” or “7-DAY FREE DEMO,” whether it’s for Disney+ or a contact management software.  Seeing so many demos out there on the market got me thinking about how successful these companies actually are. 

SaaS products often have free demos to give leads a taste of what they’ll be paying for, but not everyone who downloads a demo follows through with a product purchase. So, how do you turn demo requests into customers? 

Below I’ve compiled my list of SaaS demo best practices, whether you work in healthcare technology marketing or some other form of B2B SaaS inbound marketing.

SaaS Demo Best Practices - What You Need to Know

Picture this: You’ve developed this great new software that you think everybody needs. It will speed up _____ and reduce_____. It’s perfect in every way. 

And you’ve garnered a ton of interest for your product by posting on social media and writing about it on your blog. But, only a fraction of people who use your demo are interested in purchasing the product. Sad. 

There’s a strategy to offering SaaS demos, and it’s more than just tossing your line out onto the web and hoping customers will bite. These five SaaS demo best practices will help you keep your conversions (and spirits) up:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Keep it short; keep it simple
  3. Prioritize problem-solving
  4. Create a conversation
  5. Make it easy to take next steps

Know Your Audience

Let’s start out with our previous example. Your SaaS product might be fantastic, but you’re wrong in thinking “everyone” needs it. Truth is, only a tiny fraction of the population will actually benefit from your product, and have the power to influence a company purchase. 

So the trick is making sure to target those people specifically, and stop wasting time marketing to people who aren’t going to give your product a second thought. 

The most important part of a B2B SaaS sales strategy -- and inbound marketing in general -- is understanding your audience. 

Narrow down your target market and try to really understand what they would care about in a SaaS product demo. Do they want to know how the product can improve internal efficiency, or are they more concerned with bringing in more customers? Do they need a step-by-step guide to know how the product works, or is your audience more tech-savvy? 

You can answer a lot of these questions by using your buyer personas. Don’t have a buyer persona? Well, here’s how you make one: What is a SaaS Buyer Persona?

Short and Sweet

You want to use your SaaS demo script to showcase how easy your product is to use, so incorporating every feature into the demo might be overcomplicating it. And if a demo is hard to comprehend or use, you're not going to get many sales for the full product. 

Identify the few key features that will matter most to your potential customers. Ask yourself:

  • What features will they use every day?
  • What features will provide them with the most value?
  • What features will help them fix their pain points?

And keep your demo short. You don’t want to overwhelm people with a 3-month demo with increasingly complex features. Stick to the main feature of your product, and determine how long it will take users to identify the benefits your product will provide. 

Problem-Solving Programs Win

Which one of the three bullet points in the previous section is the most important?

If you guessed #3….DING DING DING! You’ve won a new car!

But seriously,  if you can nail down your potential customers’ pain points, you’re on the path to success. 

The main reason someone requests a demo -- or even considers looking at your product at all -- is because they have a problem. If you can identify what that problem is, you can center your demo around solving that problem, thus providing the most value to your customer, and making your product a necessity. See? We came full circle. 

Determine what challenges your target industry faces and focus on solving those problems. For example, here are the expected challenges for healthcare SaaS in 2021

Make the Demo a Conversation

One of the biggest pitfalls that B2B SaaS product marketers face is making the demo process a one-way conversation. They want to tell their leads about the demo/product without hearing any feedback in return. 

The key to drawing in potential customers is engaging with them, and actually hearing their needs, wants, and concerns. While you might have a pretty good idea of how your SaaS product will work for your customers’ businesses, you don’t know everything. Perhaps they have a very specific need, or their other technology is tough to integrate with. If your product can’t address that, then they can’t justify buying it. 

When you have a conversation with your leads, ask them what they plan on using your product for, and what they want to see out of the product in the future. 

A customer will see a lot more value out of an evolving product instead of a static one. Imagine if Microsoft never updated Windows. Even though we might love never having to restart our computers, we’d never get the opportunity to integrate new programs, play with cool features, or improve how we use the product. 

Develop a Clear Path

If you’re using the free trial of Disney+, chances are by the end of the trial you’ll know whether or not you want a subscription (or you’re like me and only got the free trial to binge “The Mandalorian”). 

But with SaaS demos, the answer might not be so clear at the end -- users will probably have questions. That’s why making it easy to follow up with your leads can help you close the deal. 

One way to do this is set up post-demo meetings with your potential customers. I recently used a demo of SEMRush’s new product, Impact Hero. While I didn’t end up moving forward with the product, I did have a valuable conversation with one of their representatives after the demo. We talked about how the demo went, what I wanted to see as the product evolved, and ultimately, why the product wasn’t for me. 

While it’s always a bummer to wave goodbye to a lead, if you can get feedback from it, then it’s not a total bust. 

Handing Out a Quality SaaS Demo Will Result in Sales

That about sums it up. Blasting your demo all across the internet isn’t a good use of funds or time, so taking a few minutes to build a B2B SaaS sales/marketing strategy will significantly improve the results of your demo. Remember to:

  • Determine your audience and market to them
  • Identify what features will fix your audience’s pain points
  • Be open to feedback and suggestions
  • Follow up with your leads -- don’t leave them hanging

It’s that simple. This is the way (kudos if you saw what I did there). 

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