“We don’t do product demos” a CEO from a leading B2B SaaS provider told me. “We provide a solution to Enterprise clients, and consult with prospects to understand their business and how we can align value.” I have experience with the organisation and know this to be true – and they are pretty successful at doing it.
He opened his laptop at his company’s home page. Right at the top, in almost neon flashing lights was the primary call to action for his visitors…..
‘Click here for a demo’
Granted – ‘Click here for a consultative session with one of our experts who can best provide the right tailored solution to provide value for your business’ may not be marketing-friendly but the irony was not lost on either of us.
This highlights the mismatch in expectation at the start of the sales process in an Enterprise SaaS solution. You’re a solution not a product, you want to demonstrate value, not features – but that doesn’t align to a prospects immediate expectation. They want to immediately assess the fit of your technology, establish straight away whether there is sufficient fit to further explore a partnership, understand what features may be useful to their business and users.
I asked the CEO how long he ideally wanted with a prospect, for an initial consultative session. “Ideally 3-4 hours, but we rarely get that long,” he replied. His colleague added “I’d have said a day.”
There is obviously a path to this quantum of time. Qualification is required for both parties to make such a commitment.
So how do you manage the expectation of buyers for a ‘product demo’, whilst researching the problem and fit for a prospect?
Perhaps the answer is ‘product flirting’ – a tease, after an initial fact-find that will establish credibility and create intrigue. This may be the key features that create immediate wow value, features differentiating you from your competitors and illustrating the additional value you provide. Or perhaps if not displacing an existing solution, it’s the punchline – that functionality that best illustrates the problem solved or the most valuable benefit.
This isn’t a demo – hey, you probably don’t know enough about your prospect at this stage to know which features are valuable to them, but you have to earn the right to their investment of time.
Flirting is the key that unlocks the next step. Solution sales require a significant investment for a busy prospect to make – they have to qualify that investment as you qualify fit.
And product flirting allows you to show the sizzle, put your very best foot forward with the most impactful, eye catching features, without the more mundane processes and administration that make it happen.
Our most successful life partnerships start with flirting. We earn the right to explore ‘fit’ and ultimately a long-term successful relationship. If your product is as complex, valuable and frankly as beautiful as you, perhaps your sale cycle needs a bit of ‘product flirting
By Kevin Beales
Multiple Founder & Investor in SaaS, CEO of Refract