The Benefits of Automation: Can They Apply to Product Demos?

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We generally think of automation as a way to save time. And we often only think about automating tasks that make us want to pull our hair out with frustration or boredom. This is because in most of our minds, the purpose of automation is to save us from the boring tasks we don’t want to be doing!

Saving us time (and from boredom) is one of the greatest benefits of automation. But it isn’t the only benefit, and isn’t the only thing we should consider when deciding whether to automate a task or not.

The manufacturing industry, which I think it is safe to say has the most experience with automation, typically identifies four (that’s right: four) major benefits that come from automation. They are:

  1. Cost reduction
  2. Productivity gains
  3. Availability
  4. Reliability

Productivity gains – what drives most people to automation – sits there at number two. But let’s explore each of these, and see how they apply specifically to Demo Automation.

Cost Reduction

Have you ever calculated how much product demonstrations cost your organization? We don’t often think of sales functions this way; besides, sales bring in money, and demos are part of sales, right? So demos don’t cost money, demos make money. Right? (By that logic, if one of my best salespeople makes a huge sale after taking a client to a $300 dinner, then I should have all my salespeople go out for expensive dinners. Expensive meals make money, right?)

The answer is: not really. Let’s take the analogy of the expensive meal. The truth is, some clients are worth a $300 trip to the steakhouse. But every good salesperson knows that some clients are only worth a $25 lunch appointment. And when you don’t have any type of demo automation in place, you’re taking every customer out to the nicest place in town.

Just think about how much you pay your salespeople, how much time they spend demoing, the opportunity cost of that time spent demoing – and suddenly $300 for a meal sounds cheap. Demos are expensive! You can’t splurge on every customer! (Or can you? See “Reliability” below.) With Demo Automation you get smart with your money, and reduce the overall costs of giving full, live demos to everyone.

Productivity Gains

We’ve tackled the benefits of (arguably 3x) productivity gains through demo automation on this blog before, so I won’t reinvent the wheel here. Suffice it to say that salespeople spend a lot of their time giving demos; Demo Automation lets them service more customers, spend more time closing, and less time demoing. Productivity gains speak for themselves.

Availability

A few years ago, I really wanted the newest iPhone on the day of its release (I think it was the iPhone 4S at the time). I hadn’t made a pre-order, so I started calling all the stores in town I thought might carry it. And of course, no one had it in stock. I went online to order one, saw that they were delayed a few weeks, and just gave up. A few days later I decided my old phone worked well enough, and Apple never got to pocket my $200.

When selling, it is so important to “strike the iron while it’s hot.” But how often do people contact us wanting a demo, and we gladly schedule one – for later this week, or sometimes not even until next week! How much better would it be if you could always give every customer a demo right now? I’ll answer that for you: much better. And that’s what you get with Demo Automation – availability – scalability – for your demos.

Reliability

Did you know that with automation, average quality almost always improves? Many people worry that automating their demos will result in low-quality demos. But think about it: what is the quality of your demo right now? Think about and answer these questions:

  • Do all of my salespeople give demos of equal quality? (Hint: the answer is no.)
  • Do even my best salespeople give the best possible demo?
  • How often do my salespeople experience technological difficulties when demoing the product?
  • How often does the product break during a demo?

When it comes to demo quality, most companies take an “ignorance is bliss” approach. But demoing is a vital part of the sales cycle, and ignoring this huge area results in a giant black hole, an unknown that cannot be improved or optimized. Demo Automation gives you the gift of optimization: everyone gets your best demo, every time; and you finally get analytics and metrics around the demo, so you can start improving it.

Conclusion

It’s time to stop ignoring the demo. Yes, Demo Automation increases salesperson productivity, but also comes with other benefits: reducing costs, increasing availability, and increasing the reliability of demo quality. When you consider these benefits, how can you afford not to implement Demo Automation?

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