Product Demo 101

The ins and outs of demos.
product demo cover photo
One of the key components of any sales process, a product demo can make or break the work you've done so far as an SDR.

Execute a poor product demo and you may well be costing yourself and your company the entire deal.

In this article, we'll delve into the ins and outs of product demos, offering insight into how to best ensure that you don't lose out when it's time to do it yourself.

Let's get started!

What is a Product Demo?

A product demo, short for "product demonstration," is a presentation or showcase of a product's features, functions, and benefits to potential customers, stakeholders, or users. It is a sales technique that highlights a product's key aspects and value in a real-world context.

A product demo aims to engage the prospect, clearly understand how the product works, and demonstrate its potential to meet their needs or solve their problems.

Product demos can take various forms, including live presentations, videos, interactive simulations, or hands-on experiences. They are commonly used in B2B SaaS, electronics, consumer goods, and more industries. During the demo, the presenter typically guides the prospect through the product's various features and functionalities, highlighting its unique selling points and addressing any potential concerns.

Why is a Product Demo Important For B2B SaaS Sales?

A product demo is vital for B2B SaaS sales because it is the moment to show prospective clients your software up close and personal.

You are no longer relying on blogs offering a description, short cold emails, or cold calls - you can genuinely go deeper and demonstrate how your tool works and what it can do for your prospects in real-time.

Product demos directly demonstrate how your product or service works with real-world examples of the issues your customers want to solve and their associated deliverables. They further personalize your prospect's experience with the company and create a stronger relationship.

They are, of course, an expensive undertaking for any company. Personalization is taken to a new level beyond initial outreach, involving multiple resources and employee time. But they are a worthwhile investment when applied and used correctly:

A product demo is considered the most potent tool in SaaS sales for convincing prospects. SDRs are keen to qualify leads and get them to this point.

What's the Difference Between a Product Demo & a Sales Demo?

A product demo is a presentation or demonstration that showcases a product's features, functionality, and value. Its primary goal is to educate the audience about the product's capabilities, highlight its unique selling points, and demonstrate how it can meet the needs of potential customers. Product demos are generally educational in nature and are conducted for a broad audience, including potential customers, industry experts, or internal stakeholders.

They aim to generate interest, create awareness, and potentially generate leads for the sales team.

On the other hand, a sales demo is a more targeted and persuasive presentation tailored to specific potential customers in the late stages of the buying process or who have expressed interest in the product. The focus of a sales demo is to demonstrate how the product specifically addresses the needs and pain points of the prospect, emphasizing its value and benefits. Sales demos are highly customized and aim to close deals by addressing objections, negotiating terms, and ultimately convincing the prospect to make a purchase.

Now, let's break down the differences in more detail:

Product Demo

  • Objective: Educate and inform the audience about the product's features and capabilities.

  • Audience: Broad audience, including potential customers, existing customers, industry experts, or internal stakeholders.

  • Focus: Emphasizes the product itself, highlighting its features, benefits, and use cases.

  • Sales Focus: Limited sales pitch, primarily aimed at generating interest and potential leads for the sales team.

Sales Demo

  • Objective: Persuade potential customers and close sales by demonstrating how the product meets their specific needs.

  • Audience: Qualified leads or potential customers who are in the late stages of the buying process or have shown interest in the product.

  • Focus: Tailored to address the needs and pain points of the prospect, emphasizing the product's value and benefits.

  • Sales Focus: Highly persuasive presentation, discussing pricing, negotiating terms, addressing objections, and aiming to close a deal.

Who is Responsible for Delivering a Product Demo?

The person responsible for delivering a product demo depends on the size of the company.

At a small startup, it is not unusual for the founder or CEO to be in charge of delivering the demo. At a larger company, it may be the SDR or the Account Executive with the SDR present. Additionally, subject matter experts may also be present to provide a fuller picture of your offer, depending on the type of buyer persona you are dealing with.

Whoever it is, they must be extremely well-educated and informed on the product or service, and how it is relevant to the current prospective customer. For that, it is imperative that the SDR responsible for beginning the relationship has included as much information as possible in the CRM the company is using.

After all, as we saw above, a product demo is a costly resource, so you want to make sure that you are not squandering the chances of your company being able to close the deal.

When is the Right Time to Present a Product Demo?

The right time to present a product demo during a sales cycle is after lead qualification.

Once you, as an SDR, have reached out to the correct ICP, gotten a positive response, and done additional research, you will find yourself giving the demo.

At this stage, you are assuming that the lead is someone you can help with the product or service you are offering. And they are under that assumption as well if they have agreed to meet with you. These days, these demos tend to happen online via video call, although some may still be in person.

Depending on your approach or the size of the prospective client and likelihood of closing, you can further personalize the experience to fit their interests. This will take more time to prepare, but your final product demo will be keenly researched and demonstrate exactly how you can offer help.

Regardless of how you customize your demo per client, there is an overall structure every product demo should follow so that you don't miss anything.

How to Perform a Sales Demo

Performing a sales demo is all about checking your list and listening to your prospect. Once you've got the key steps down, everything else will come naturally. You want it to be an informative conversation for both you and your prospective client, after all. The goal is always relationship building, as you can then upsell and ensure that they remain a client over time.

Here are the key steps to perform a sales or product demo:

Introduce the Product

You start off by introducing the product. Typically, the lead has already had a brief introduction through your outreach or your website, so they'll have an idea.

The goal here is to remind them succinctly of what your product or service is, and how it fits into their needs.

When starting a demo, however, don't be afraid to begin with a conversation first. Diving right into the demo itself can be a bit jarring, and you're aiming for a long-standing relationship. Get to know your prospect a bit, ask them where they're calling from, how they spent their weekend, or how their day is going.

Let them set the pace a bit before you start.

Highlight Key Features

Once you've reminded your prospect of the product or service they're here to learn about, highlight its key features. If you do your homework on each prospect you have a call with, this is a good moment to tailor it to them.

Sometimes, a product or service can cover a variety of features that are more relevant to some than others. You can be selective about what features fit each customer best if you know them, or simply highlight them all of it is a very straightforward solution.

Show Product in Action

Next, you can show your product in action.

Whether that is watching a few videos of robots in action or, often in the world of SaaS, diving into the dashboard of cloud-based software, it depends on your product. The best approach tends to be as hands-on as possible, as you are showing off everything that you've been building up.

Focusing on the key features and how they work is the main goal.

However, you do want to keep some level of mystery to ensure your lead comes back to you or asks questions. And this is a key part of the process.

Listen to the Lead & Address Pain Points

While a sales or product demo is a great moment to truly take your time and show off your product or service, you always want to encourage conversation, comments, or questions from your prospect.

Through that rapport, you both truly learn more about each other and can establish a long-lasting relationship. By listening to them and encouraging them to ask questions, you can also demonstrate how your product or service solves their pain points.

A great way to get the conversation started is to try to get them talking about their current situation or solutions, and whether or not they're happy with what they have. Chances are they're not if they're on this call, but sometimes people like to shop around and have alternatives ready.

You want to be absolutely sure that what you're offering is exactly what they're looking for and then some.

You showcase your industry knowledge and offer them a direct solution to their issue. Depending on their level of enthusiasm, you can begin to realize how likely they are actually to close.

Close with a Call to Action

Once the call begins to wrap up, you want to end with a clear, agreed-upon call-to-action (CTA).

This can be anything from sending over a contract for them to sign if the call went particularly well, to them having to take it back to their board to discuss further.

Whatever it is that you agree on, having a deadline is extremely important. It speaks to their level of need and makes it easier for you to prioritize some deals over others:

If a prospect tells you they need to get back to their board and will have an answer closer to the end of the next quarter, they can sit on the back burner for a bit. If a prospect tells you to send over the contract so that they can get started, you want to be on top of that deal a lot more.

You need to have both a clear action step and a deadline in place once the demo call ends. Otherwise, things are guaranteed to get lost in the metaphorical weeds.

Follow Up

Regardless of the next steps, sending an immediate email with a summary of the call along with that action step is key to maintaining engagement.

In some cases, it's as simple as sending the list and the contract attached. After that, you do a series of follow-ups until the contract is signed and money paid, and you've got yourself a new customer.

In others, you send an initial call summary follow-up, with a promise to follow up again close to the start of the next quarter based on the conversation. These are interesting and extremely important to keep on top of because sometimes, things may change and move a lot faster than expected.

And, by continuing to follow up, you ensure that you stay on their radar and they don't forget about you.


A product or sales demo is an incredibly important part of the sales cycle.

Businesses spend a lot of money and time perfecting their demos, and whoever is giving it can also spend time personalizing it and customizing it further.

While about 10% of demos are almost certainly going to go well, and 10% may not, about 80% of demos are a toss-up and entirely up to the individual giving the demo.

If you're an SDR or founder starting to give demos, we hope this article has served you as an introduction to start on your journey of successful demos. And always remember:

The end goal is always to have a conversation with your prospect that leads to a fruitful partnership - you're being examined as you're examining them!
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