Demo Automation for Account Executives

Earlier this week we looked into the overall demo automation methodology and how to use it in your sales prospecting.  Today we are going to dig deeper into how account executives should use demo automation, when lead handoffs should occur, how to ensure leads are qualified, and several sales scenarios for using demo automation.

Demo automation methodology

Let’s take a quick moment to go over the demo automation methodology.  The demo automation process starts with your outbound lead generation and prospecting teams.  These channels aim for the following:

  • Delivering the sales demo

  • Analyzing the live prospect data

  • Returning to the prospect, who is now educated and qualified

  • Engaging the prospect in a productive sales conversation

  • Converting the prospect into a customer

Seems straight forward enough.  Let’s talk about how prospects are truly qualified (is filling out a lead cap form and scheduling an appointment really enough?). Also, we’ll dive into the conversion point of how and when the hand-off to the account/sales executive should happen.

Lead quality and scheduling

In order for account executives to be most productive, they need to have productive conversations with decision makers who are qualified, ready in their buyers journey to have a discussion, and educated to the overall benefits of the product.  Inbound marketing is great for generating marketing qualified leads by leveraging large amounts of content pieces that slowly lead the prospect closer to a purchasing decision.  Outbound prospecting is great for rapidly generating high quality leads.  There’s always the question of quality though.  Sales and marketing typically bicker about this subject endlessly. “We gave you lots of great leads!” “The quality of these leads is terrible!”  It never ends.

If you are prospecting on Linkedin, through email, or through cold calling, chances are the people on the receiving end will have no idea who you are and especially won’t care about what you are selling.  An enticing value proposition may be good enough to get an appointment with the account executive, but the lead may not be qualified or really understand why they are meeting with an account executive.  This creates mass efficiency losses for the account executives, whose sales time is already limited, by making them repeat lengthy, repetitive demos.  This is where demo automation comes in.  Account executives need fully educated and primed clients before they get on the phone.

Prospector delivers demo and schedules follow up.  Account executive receives primed lead.

Personalized video content is created that establishes the value proposition and builds potential use cases for your product.  CONSENSUS’ player has the ability to insert whitepapers, case studies, and content pieces that would traditionally be used by inbound marketers to nurture leads.  Since the demo automation platform is a one stop education center for contacts, prospecting teams advance contacts down the funnel by driving them to the demo player and scheduling a follow up.  However, the question of, “is the lead really qualified” pops up again.

How does the prospecting team know if the demo has been watched?

Again, scheduling an appointment isn’t enough – the prospector needs to ensure that the contact has watched the demo in order to gauge their level of qualification.  If the handoff occurs and the prospect hasn’t watched the video, the account executive will be forced to perform a live demo (no good!).  The CONSENSUS™ platform has built-in email notifications that alert the prospecting team when a prospect starts watching the demo.  This is a great way to know when to start a followup conversation.

Once they’ve received the notification, it’s time to assess the level of qualification.

Developing qualification criteria & lead scoring

To ensure leads are genuinely qualified and educated, lead scoring needs to be implemented in a standardized way.  There are many ways to score the quality of leads depending on your business, but we have found engagement metrics to be very effective in demo automation.  The engagement metrics we want to look at are: preferences marked as important, somewhat important, and not important, total view time, and watch time on individual features.  Leads have the option to submit comments in the demo player, which account executives can use as a simple gut check.  Total view time is a great indicator of how ready the prospect is in starting a sales conversation.  Chances are, if they watch the entire video and fill out the lead capture form, they are more than ready to talk.  As you can see in the screenshot below, CONSENSUS uses a straightforward interface for showing how “hot” the lead is.

Detailed information can be seen for each video piece watched allowing the account executive to plan their approach and questioning.

Front loading the prospect team and handoffs

To dive in deeper on lead qualifying, lets take a look at handoffs.  For this example I’m going to use the model built out in Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler’s Predictable Revenue, which is a fantastic book (that I recommend you read if you haven’t already).

Their model is extremely effective, however, with demo automation, we are able to automate education, qualification, and needs assessment – and front load it onto the prospecting team.  The diagram should look like this when leveraging demo automation:

In our model, we replace the needs assessment with building the vision and use case. When demo automation is used correctly, the account executive should be able to focus exclusively on expanding the problem in question, establishing a use case, and demonstrating the specific application without having to spend time educating the prospects or the entire buying panel to the overall product benefits.  Remember, sales time is limited, and broad view demos can be detrimental if the account executive is dealing with an influencer instead of a decision maker.  Notice how the time used during the custom demo is redistributed across account executive activity.  Closing activities will rise as caseloads increase.

Our account development representatives can get through a call in roughly 1 to 2 minutes (this does not include preparation or research time).  Get the prospect to the demo and qualify them.

Sales Scenarios:

 

Best case scenario: the lead watches the demo and self qualifies

Everything has gone off without a hitch, the prospecting team approached the contact, moved them towards the demo automation system, converted them to a viable prospect, ensured they have a strong lead score, and have moved them to a solid sales qualified lead.  It’s time for the account executive to swoop in and take over.  Use a consultative sales approach with some challenger techniques to move them forward.

Encourage internal sharing

Because of the nature of B2B sales, chances are high that your first conversation is going to be with either the initiator or the influencer (these can be the same person).  To get everyone educated (and to discover the rest of the buying panel), you need to invite the first person you speak with to share the demo internally and engage the rest of the buying panel.  Luckily, the CONSENSUS player has an integrated share button that easily lets this happen.

Get confirmation that they will share the demo internally.  Once you’ve done this, you will have the contact information and all of the needs and preferences of the buying panel on your analytics dashboard.  Expand on value and move towards the close.

Worst case scenario: prospect is scheduled but doesn’t watch

What happens if the prospect gets scheduled but doesn’t watch the demo?  Unfortunately, if this happens, the lead qualification data is unavailable.  When talking with the prospect for the first time, you will have to engage in a high level demo, like you would without demo automation.  Don’t despair though! Remember, your first engagement will most likely be with the initiator or an influencer.  The demo is still a great follow up sales asset that you can use for the rest of the buying panel.  Invite the influencer to share the demo internally and stress the importance of using it to bring everyone up to speed.

Worst case scenario: prospect watches but drops out of player

If the prospect begins watching the demo but drops out of the player, some questions come to mind.  Did the prospect understand the message?  Did the prospect see a use case?  Was the prospect not interested?  Was the prospect just not ready to start a purchasing cycle?  A followup call will be beneficial in this scenario.  Since the prospect  will most likely not have scheduled an appointment, the prospecting team can call and follow up to gauge interest. What do these conversations typically look like?

  • If the prospect doesn’t understand or can’t envision a use case, the prospecting team can schedule the prospect to have a live demo with an account executive.  The account executive can expand value, dig at the problem, and create a use case.  Use lots of probing questions to understand why the prospect dropped out.

  • If the prospect is not ready, move the lead into a marketing nurturing campaign and follow up as appropriate.  Trigger events and offers (the CONSENSUS player has integrated CTA buttons if you decide to have your marketing campaigns in video form). This can encourage these leads to move back into the sales cycle.

  • If the prospect is 100% uninterested, great, you can disqualify and move on to opportunities that are more genuinely interested.  Don’t waste time and effort on prospects that will not convert.

A second look at the sales funnel

Overlaying these processes into the sales funnel, you can see how demo automation provides a holistic approach to advancing prospects towards a purchasing decision.  Demo automation is a great compliment to your existing CRM, sales and marketing automation tools.  Account executives can streamline their sales processes by eliminating the repetitive conversations.

We love to hearing from you.  Please comment on what types of processes and techniques you have found most helpful for prospectors and account executives.

 

 

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