5 Easy steps: How to do a Great Tech Demo!

One of the key things that a Sales Engineer can do well, that a gifted development engineer or consultant cannot, is present the product/solution to a mixed audience of technical and business buyers and ensure that it is at the same time compelling and interesting to all parties.

How do you do this?

1. Make the demo SEXY!  
OK, maybe sexy is too strong a word for this, but ensure that you start the demo with the most exciting part, that shows clearly why people will buy your solution rather than another, and rather than thinking this stuff is too hard.
Remember, companies choosing to do nothing is the biggest enemy to selling products.

2. Create a demo plan
A plan is your storyboard - making sure your demo flows from one point to another - staying relevant to the customer, but also helping them formulate a solution to their problem as you go.
If you start sexy - as I explained earlier, you will need to explain how you arrived at the beginning.  You need to prove your value.
As part of a good plan, you need to decide what features and solutions are actually relevant to this customer.  No two demos should be the same, unless you decide each customer's need is exactly the same.  Unlikely.

3. Practice doing your demo
Practice makes perfect. Even if you can't get a practice audience - and anyone will be better than no one - make sure you go through the demo plan, and that you know what you will say at each point of the demo, and where you will pause to hear response, and have questions asked.
Practice the demo in exactly the same format as the real one, and make sure you can see the demo as your audience will.  If you are doing a webinar, have a monitor showing the demo back to you, or else record it and watch the recording afterwards.  For a live meeting, try and record the meeting with a video camera.
Make sure that you understand the technology you use to present, your content, and what your plan is for this customer.
Practice your demo 10 times or until you know you are ready.

4. Rehearse with the rest of the sales team
A demo shouldn't be an isolated part of the sales pitch. It is a good time for asking the customer some of the big questions.  Make sure your Sales reps understand the demo, are interested in it while you deliver, and if appropriate that they tease out questions from the customer or underline the strong points where they know this customer is interested.  Without this dynamic activity, your demos will be flat and less interesting.

5. Make the demo end with a Bang!
Start out sexy, follow a plan and make it end with a bang.  Make sure you keep a nice tempo to your demo, long aimless demos that meander will find it harder to impress people - or at the end they might forget what they asked in the first place.
Pretend you are taking your customer on a journey: show them how you can help them fix their pain, or even better, have them realize themselves that this demo shows how your product is the best solution and uniquely fits their needs.  To do this, you need them to understand how you got to the sexy screen you started your demo with, and what it means to them.
You will need to make sure they understand the key steps, and why each step takes them forward and away from their problems.  Have a flip-chart or whiteboard next to you while presenting, and point out as you move through milestones.

SO that is the way to make a Great Tech Demo.  I found one of the best books on the subject is  Great Demo! by Peter E Cohen.