How to shorten your software sales cycle

A few years back, we contributed a series of articles to the 280 Group’s Product Management blog on software demo best practices. One of our more popular pieces focused on leveraging an automated demo to shorten lengthy software sales cycles and included insight that still rings true for most software marketers today.

We’ve updated some of the content and pulled together a quick summary with three key tips on using a demo to shorten your sales cycle.  (If you want more, you can read the full article at: How to Create Automated Demos that Shorten Your Sales Cycle and Fill Your Pipeline.)

3 Tips on Using Automated Demos to Shorten Your Sales Cycle:

1.) Keep it short.

For a software demo to truly shorten your sales cycle, it must be succinct. Your demo’s content has to resonate immediately with the viewer. Leave out the marketing jargon and flashy bullet points about your company. Focus on your software’s three key selling points.

By quickly zeroing in on the actual product, you give your audience the information they want to make an informed decision. The sooner you get to the goods, the more likely prospects will stick around to see the finer points.

2.) Make a good first impression.

Nothing screams “unprofessional” louder than a demo that includes low-quality images and lacking professional audio. The screenshots of your software must be clean and crisp. Fuzzy images or tiny thumbnails of an application can make your demo look amateur and can quickly turn off prospects.

Your demo is the first view of your software that prospects get to see; it has to make a good first impression. If your demo looks unprofessional, so will your software and, by extension, your company.

3.) Let your demo do the heavy (and initial) lifting for you.

Make your demo accessible to everyone who comes to your site. The easier it is to find, the more exposure your software receives. A demo with strong content and good flow will immediately qualify leads by allowing them to see what your software can do. Leverage a registration screen or a “contact us” call-to-action within the demo so that prospects can move further into your sales cycle.

If you are selling to a team of decision makers, make sure each of your contacts has a link to the demo. Often times, the first person you reach is not the decision maker. Your demo can easily make it past the gate keeper and into the hands of the people responsible for evaluating your solution.

Comprehensive software solutions can be a difficult to market. You want your prospects to know every detail; but, waiting to show them the product can work against you. People don’t buy what they can’t see and the longer it takes for a prospect to see your software, the more time they have to lose interest.

Leveraging an automated demo to initiate the sales process and continue the conversation within a group of decision makers will help your sales force be more efficient and lay the groundwork for keeping your marketing message consistent throughout the sales cycle.