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Selling in the digital age means understanding the digital tools and technologies available to you so you can effectively convert your target prospects and customers.

The progressive shift to digital and virtual selling means that product demos have become increasingly critical for enterprise software companies.

Today, interactive product tours give prospects a guided walkthrough of your software. They deliver a product experience that can feel (almost) as immersive and persuasive as your original product environment, but on a smaller scale and in a controlled environment—free of product glitches, bugs, or errors.

Product-led growth (PLG) is dominating B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) conversation because it's proven to work extremely well and to be extremely fast.

The concept of PLG has been around for a long time. There's a good chance your great grandparents bought a Hoover vacuum after watching a door-to-door salesperson throw a pocketful of dirt on the carpet and then vacuum it up. Seeing the product sold the product.

Companies that have committed to a PLG strategy earn significantly higher revenue due to...

  • Shorter sales cycles
  • Larger return on investments (ROI)
  • Decreased customer acquisition costs (CAC)

Venture capital firm Openview looked at the financials of 21 public SaaS companies, all of which had adopted a product-led approach. The median 2020 revenue of those product-led companies was $884M, compared with the $443M in median revenue for SaaS companies overall.

A New Way to Demo

As we dive into an era of the end-user, there is zero tolerance for digital inconvenience. No-code demo-creation platforms are revolutionizing how SaaS companies create and deliver live ("simulation") demos and guided (self-guided tour) demos. Those platforms give sales teams a toolbox to create an up-front product experience—regardless of the software's complexity or connectivity requirements.

The shift in technology has made it possible for team members to build shareable product experiences without coding experience. Removing technical and financial barriers make it possible for any software company to become product-led. Users can easily create custom demos that look and feel exactly like an authentic software interaction.

Luckily, newer innovation-forward platforms have made it easy to create interactive demos that look less like a YouTube video your nephew forced you to watch and a lot more like a guided, interactive experience, giving demand gen and product marketers the power to produce and share compelling product stories with vertical buyers, showcase use cases, and introduce new features.

In short, demo-creation platforms have become "Step 1" for SaaS companies that want to augment their Sales-led approach or improve their existing PLG motion.

Why B2B Tech Buyers Need You to Be Product-Led

Your B2B buyers have been enjoying product-led experiences in their personal lives, and they want the same thing in their professional ones.

Imagine you've been regularly ordering lunch on the free Postmates app and you are now considering purchasing the unlimited version for $9.99 a month. You've had the opportunity to experience Postmate's interface, you decided it was easier to use than its competitors, and you are now willing to make a financial commitment.

You weren't contacted by a Postmates sales representative, and you definitely didn't have to sit through a PowerPoint deck that explained the benefits and cost savings of signing up for the unlimited delivery subscription. You tried it, you liked it, and you progressed to the next stage in your buyer journey.

That is the experience your B2B buyers want. They don't want to be asked to give up a frictionless purchasing experience just because lunch hour's over.

Most B2B buyers want to enjoy a self-led purchasing experience, Forrester confirmed in a survey that was a deep dive into buyer behavior. Of those surveyed...

  • 60% said they would rather not interact with a sales representative at all.
  • 68% said they want to do their own product research.
  • 62% said they can determine what company they want to work with based solely on their digital content.

Becoming product-led means acknowledging that your B2B buyers want less of you and more of your product. They trust themselves to identify when they're ready to progress from prospect to buyer, so your job is to make that transition as appealing and easy as possible.

10 Reasons SaaS Companies Should Consider a Demo-Creation Platform

1. Product-led SaaS is profit-led SaaS

SaaS companies that led with product experiences in 2020 garnered 50% more in revenue than their SaaS counterparts, and that percentage continues to grow. No-code demo-creation platforms make it easy for sales and marketing teams to be product-led.

2. Don't call us—we'll call you

In the '90s movie Swingers, there's a scene in which the lead character, Mikey, leaves message after message on the answering machine of a girl he just met to win her over. You don't want to be like Mikey. Instead, use a demo-creation platform to deliver an up-front product experience, and call when they show an interest in taking things further.

3. No-code means no-limits

Many demo platforms no longer require coding experience, so nontechnical teams can create custom demos and product tours, too. Bottlenecks disappear, and buyers get their hands on persuasive product experiences sooner.

4. Your sales engineers will thank you

Using a demo-creation platform, sales engineers can build error-free, custom demos that look and feel like authentic product experiences. Blood pressure levels restabilize once sales teams have those demos in hand and they no longer need engineers to "hop on a call" and navigate a prospect through the software.

5. You'll avoid demo stacks

When you build a new prospect demo on top of an old version, things get messy fast. Your demo environment becomes increasingly fragile and error-filled with every iteration. Demo-creation platforms keep things clean by making it painless to quickly create a unique, custom demo for every prospect that requests one. No stacking necessary.

6. You'll give buyers what they want

Buyers want less of you and more of your product while evaluating their options. Instead of describing what it feels like to "drive" your software, give buyers the keys to the car. It's what they want, and they'll reach time-to-value a lot faster if they can experience your product at the start of their journey.

7. Lead with a product tour, close with a demo

Buyers that have been led directly to your software's "take my money" moments in a product tour are more likely to request more product experiences, like live sales demos.

8. You can choose your own adventure

Demo-creation platforms are now making product tours so easy to build that it's no trouble to create one for every vertical market, buyer persona, and use case that your marketing team can think of.

9. You'll get the inside track

Finding it difficult to get in touch with key decision-makers? (68% of salespeople just yelled, "Yes!") Turn prospects into champions by using a demo-creation platform to arm them with custom demos and product tours they'll feel confident sharing with decision-makers.

10. The call is coming from inside the house

Sales and marketing teams can identify buyer readiness by using a demo-creation platform that relays product experience usage back to them, especially when that platform integrates with in-house platforms such as Salesforce and HubSpot.

* * *

It's time to upgrade, level up, take it to the max—or whatever you call it in your organization. As enterprise SaaS organizations take a more interactive approach to sales, if you're not incorporating a demo platform into your sales process, you will be left behind.

A product-centric, go-to-market strategy is no longer just a novel concept; it's an imperative one. Taking the time to learn how to integrate PLG into your sales process is a great starting point.

More Resources on Product-Led Growth and Interactive Demos

B2B Product Strategy: How to Market to Both Enterprise and Self-Serve Customers

Four Ways to Use Interactive Content to Succeed at Virtual Tradeshows

How to Use Interactive Ad Campaigns to Generate Leads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Evan Powell

Evan Powell is a co-founder and head of operations at Reprise, an enterprise-class demo creation platform. His background building and scaling SaaS companies spans positions with Glasswing Ventures, F-Prime Capital, and InsightSquared.

LinkedIn: Evan Powell