Planning a demo meeting can be stressful. You don't want to forget anything, you want to be prepared and you want everything to go well.
But what can you do to reduce the amount of stress behind planning? How can you ensure that everything is ready without any chaotic and unorganized moves?
In this article, I will cover six main questions that will help you in planning your demo meeting. Asking yourself those questions, you will stay in check of your progress and will ensure the readiness of your team members.
And at the end of the article, you’ll be able to download a worksheet full of checklists that will help you in preparation for the demo meeting.
Worksheets are available to download later below.
Who is attending the meeting?
A crucial part of call planning is to figure out who is attending the meeting: both from your and the prospect’s sides. Prospects may tell you themselves, who they’ll bring to the call but even if they don’t, you better find this information on your own as soon as possible.
And you may ask: why is this so important?
The thing is if you know who will come from their side, then you’ll know whom you need to bring with you and how to plan the strategy behind the call. For example, your prospect will bring their finance specialist to the call. Great, that means you need to be prepared for more money and revenue-focused questions or maybe you need to choose a tighter business case for your presentation.
Or, for example, your prospect will invite their developer to the call. Here you may need to figure out if you should bring someone, who’ll be able to assist you during the call. Someone, whose technical knowledge of the product is superior to yours and who will be necessary for this particular conversation.
Either way, as long as you know who’ll attend your call - you’ll have time to prepare.
But whom do you bring from YOUR team?
Sometimes reps can’t figure out who exactly they need, so they bring …everyone. And no, that’s not the best decision for your work reputation.
First of all, you don’t want to seem unprepared in the eyes of prospects and your colleagues.
Second, you don’t want to irritate your team members. They have their own jobs and responsibilities and inviting them time after time without any particular reason will only provoke distrust and irritation from your supporting team members.
Here you need to have a clear purpose for every team member and you can have that:
- by making sure you and your prospect are clear on what the objective of the call is
- by making sure you know who's attending from the prospect’s team.
Only then you can determine team members whom you should bring to the call.
What should you do and why?
The success of the call always depends on the sales rep and you need to remember that. It’s your task to create an environment for everyone, plan out an agenda, and divide roles between supporting team members.
You need to be aware that some team members will need your advice or hints on how to act around the prospect. It’s your job to make it clear that your team members must be on time, must look presentable, and act politely.
And you may ask why it's my responsibility?
Being a sales rep you’re used to specific etiquette and attitude while being on call. At the same time your colleague, let’s say, from Product Development doesn’t spend even a third of their time around the prospects. And it’s not their fault, but it’s you who invited them to the call. And it’s your responsibility to prepare your colleague, to make them comfortable and ready for the meeting.
Here I advise you to give your team members a quick one-on-one on technical aspects of the call (camera angle, lighting, etc.), etiquette (like showing up a couple of minutes early), and the role you'd like them to play in the meeting ideally.
How to manage your team before the call?
As soon as you pick your team, you need to find time to have a pre-game call. Here I advise having this call in advance, to make sure everyone is on the same page:
- they know why they’re on the team
- they're aligned on the objective of the call
- they know how you're expecting them to and when you're expecting them to converse with the prospect in that discussion.
As sales reps, we might not be that focused on detail. We always think about the bigger picture, about how fast we need to move and sometimes we’re not very thoughtful about our colleague's time.
As I said before, our team members have their own responsibilities and tasks to work on. So we need to be thoughtful and appreciative of the time of our colleagues and when we bring them on.
And pre-game calls will be your best way to make sure everyone is ready, everyone knows what to do, how to do it, and when.
Above all, be appreciative of the fact that they are taking the time to be part of both your pre-call alignment and your sales call.
What to cover with the prospect BEFORE the call?
In previous points, I’ve already covered how much agenda influences your team and their responsibilities. But what about you? How agenda (or its absence) can affect both you and your prospect?
It's important to position the prospect on a call before jumping in with both feet. You want them to know what the purpose of the call is, and ideally its agenda as well.
That way they can better prepare their own thoughts and questions, which will make for a more productive conversation. It also helps to build trust when you show that you're not just interested in using their time for your own ends - even if that may be true.
If that’s the first time you’re talking to the prospect, make sure that there's a purpose that’s stated either in the calendar request, hopefully, an agenda as well - at least a proposed agenda.
But be mindful, that you’re doing this call about them, not about you. So I advise you to ensure that the prospect has an understanding as to why they're spending that time with you.
Your goal is to make this conversation meaningful. Sometimes it means giving your prospect time to do their own preplanning. Proposing an agenda via email may trigger some questions that can be easily covered before your call, and that in turn will save time for a more productive conversation.
Also, I advise you to practice your email writing and create some templates like here:
How to improve your chances of success?
The answer is simple: start with the end goal in mind.
What is your primary objective? What does success look like at the end of the call?
If you know what you're aiming for, it will be easier to stay focused and on track. Plus, if you have a good sense of what success looks like, you'll be more likely to achieve it. So take some time to think about your objectives before making that call. It could make all the difference in the world.
Starting with the end goal in mind will help you navigate through the conversation more effectively and avoid any unexpected or unplanned turns or curveballs along the way.
By starting with this mindset, you can be sure that your efforts will be focused on achieving the desired outcome, whether it is getting the client's agreement to go ahead with a proposal, or simply getting their contact information so you can follow up at a later date.
Whatever your goal may be, having it clearly defined from the outset will allow you to make better use of your time and focus on what's really important. So start every sales call with this mindset and watch as your success rate increases dramatically.
To make your demo well-organized, you need to always be in check of your process. And to make your demo planning less stressful and easier to manage I created this worksheet.
And, as promised, feel free to download these worksheets to practice new knowledge!