When people talk about demo strategy, an overwhelming amount of the conversation focuses on the vendor, i.e. how to sell the product to the consumer. What’s less talked about though, is the demo strategy for the buyer.
As the importance of and reliance on marketing technology increases, knowing how to buy martech can be the difference between a long, painful implementation process that drains your budget and a smooth transition that makes life easier for everyone involved. And while there are many different stages of the martech buying journey (which you can learn about by downloading our Marketing Technology Purchasing Guide), I’m going to focus on one overlooked area – the buyer’s guide to martech demos.
There Are No Dumb Questions, Just Unprepared People
Before you go into the demo, make sure you’ve prepared a list of good questions to ask the sales rep. This will require a bit of research on your end, but if you’ve already scheduled demos with multiple vendors chances are you’ve already gathered information from reputable sources.
A few good starter questions to ask during the demo include the following:
- How does this product integrate with our existing martech?
- What kind of support will I get?
- Do you help with implementation or offer onboarding? How long is this process?
- What is their pricing structure? How long are contracts?
These example questions are just to get you thinking – you’ll also want to add more specific questions that address company pain points. Does your platform integrate with HubSpot? How does your platform work with multiple domains? What size company is your product built for?
The reason you should prepare and ask good questions is because it will help the vendor understand your needs. After all, they’re not mind readers. If you don’t ask distinct questions, the vendor won’t be able to fully understand the problem you’re trying to solve. You can expect them to do their own research, but visiting your website or reading a press release only tells them so much about your brand or product.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to speak up. A sales rep’s answer to one question will most likely lead to another question. Err on the side of asking too many questions. Because vendors know their own product front and back, they might lose you in the demo. If this happens, stop them, and ask them to back up and re-explain anything that’s unclear.
Go Back for Seconds
After the first demo, the sales rep might ask you to move forward with their product, or schedule a followup meeting. Ask for a second, in-depth demo. Even if you feel like you pretty much get the gist of what they’re selling, you want to make sure that they address any of the pain points or objections you had in the first demo. If they’re not serving you and your organization’s needs, you might need to kick ‘em to the curb.
Good Product, Bad Experience
So what happens when the demo goes poorly, but the product is actually pretty good? Fight the temptation. If the vendor isn’t paying attention to your needs when they’re actively selling to you, they’re probably not going to suddenly change when they have your money.
The truth is, martech can be messy. Even the best products can go unused if you set them up incorrectly. And when you hit walls in the process (and you will almost certainly hit them), without good customer support you might be waiting days to get one somewhat unhelpful email reply from the vendor. So if the vendor doesn’t provide good resources and customer support to help you troubleshoot obstacles, they shouldn’t be your first choice.
Get the Right People in the Room
When going through the demo, make sure to involve the people who will be using the product most. If the technology solution will be used by an entire team of people, bring in one person at the manager level (or the person who’s responsible for the success or failure of the technology) as well as an employee who will be more hands-on with the product. Ideally, these individuals should be involved in the buying process as early as possible. But, at the very least, they need to be an active part of the demo and sales conversations.
If the vendor offers a free trial, the same rules apply. Let the employees who will be using the product try it out, then gather their feedback and narrow down the options.
Sleep on It
Finally, don’t make a hasty decision. Yes, the sales rep might have blown you away, but that’s also because they’re a sales rep. In fact, the sales rep that sells you the product might not even be your point of contact once you buy the product.
To avoid buying a product that is completely out of your budget or signing a binding contract, make sure to give yourself adequate time to understand the pros and cons of each martech option.
Buying new marketing technology is getting increasingly complex as the industry expands to different channels and mediums – demos are just one small slice of the giant, martech-purchasing pie. But if you do your research, ask good questions, assess customer support, and involve the right people, you’ll put yourself in the best position to make an informed decision.