It’s no secret – B2B buyers are more enabled and empowered than ever before.

But they’re also a little shy….

Before a potential customer reaches out to your team, they have combed through your content, read your blogs, watched your videos, and consumed as much information about your product or service as possible.

In short, they have been avoiding talking to you for as long as they could.

They want to avoid the sales pitch, and… you kind of have to sympathize with them. Being techno-savvy researchers of the 21st century, your potential customer is comparing your solution to 5-7 competitors. The thought of talking to each one of these sales-hungry companies on the phone is a little daunting – so they’ll avoid it at all costs.

In fact, if they are talking to you, it might be because you have tucked away some crucial information – such as pricing or a product demo – behind your walled sales garden.

It’s time to do your customer, and yourself, a favor. It’s time to set free the demo, and let it live within the liberating winds of the cloud.

A carefully crafted demo video can speed up the sales cycle, save your sales engineering team hours, and help weed out unqualified leads – inevitably giving your sales pipeline better velocity and improved accuracy.

Most importantly, it’ll give your customers even more reasons to feel empowered, and therefore make you their number one choice.

Now… how do we get started? Check out these 5 steps to building a great product demo.

 1. Research the Purpose, and the Audience of Your Demo Video

Before you whip out your dictation tools and start writing down your go-to demo catchphrases, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where in the marketing funnel is this going to exist?
  • Which role are we targeting?
  • How long should it be? (More importantly…how short should it be?)
  • How technical should it be?

Recorded demos should be much shorter than live demos. They should have a clear purpose, a quicker pace, and show only what is necessary.

For example, if the purpose of the video is to educate c-level decision makers, you might want to keep the video to a 2-3 minute highlight reel correlating features to value propositions.

Similarly, if the purpose is to educate your key target users to help qualify them for a more meaningful conversation, then you might want a 5-7 minute video that goes a little deeper in terms of functionality and usability.

Or, you might be building video content designed to support Proof-of-Concepts – which will be as long as they need to be to explain necessary configurations or deployments.

In any case, you will want to err on the short side. Live demos can often stretch to 20, 30, or even 40 minutes long. It’s better to send your potential customers 4 highly targeted 5 minute videos, as opposed to one 20 minute video that casts a wide, and ineffective net.

Before you write your script or record – you will need to decide who you are targeting for your content to be truly effective.

2. Pre-Plan Modularizing the Demo for Personalization

Now that you know “why” and “what” your video is showing, you’ll want to ask yourself the following question:

Where can this video be personalized for our different verticals and target markets?

More often than not, your technology or services will be utilized across different industries. And ideally, when you conduct live demonstrations you are “speaking the lingo,” and, “throwing down the jargon,” so that your prospects know that you truly “get them.”

Before you begin writing your script, carefully plan to include some simple edits that will allow you to make multiple versions of the same video – which all, magically, seem crafted specifically for a single industry.

This could include:

  • Book-ending the demo with a few slides that communicate key value propositions related to that industry.
  • In select areas, editing the voiceover track to include industry terms.
  • In select areas, swapping video screen captures with elements (like integrations) that target a key target market.

Alternatively, you could also build a “Choose Your Own Adventure” demo so that this personalized path is delivered organically, on demand.

When using a “Choose Your Own Adventure” approach, you can allow viewers to build their own pathway through the content directly within the video. Or, you could use one of these editing methods to create personalized demo videos for different target markets.

This will save you time in the long run, and also tell your customers that you are thinking intently about their needs.

3. Create a Shot List and Script

In live demos, it’s a cardinal sin to read off a script. In recorded demos, a script is going to be your new best friend.

During live demos, the subtle screw-ups of a human add an authentic experience that is inadvertently persuasive. Conversely, during recorded demos, a speaker’s weird word choices and fumbled phrasings are annoyingly awkward.

When a video is recorded, there is a higher expectation from the viewer that the delivery be without fault. A script will ensure that.

More importantly, a script paired with a shot list will make sure that you don’t skip over any key features.

Writing a script is a little up-front investment that is actually going to save you time in the long run. If you can, record one of your better live demos, listen to it while taking notes, and break down your demo into a shot list and associated talk tracks.

Then, practice the script aloud to remove clunky sentences and unnecessary words.

Below is a snippet of a sample shot list and script to give you an idea of what this might look like.

sample sales engineering video shot list4. Record Audio and Screen Separately 

Everything you have been planning has been leading up to this moment. Are you ready to shine? It’s time for a little voice acting.

As mentioned, recorded demos lack the interactivity of a live delivery. For that reason, you will want the audio for your demo to have some energy, be clearly articulated, and dance without missing a beat.

Unfortunately, it’s really f***ing hard to run a demo while reading off a script with enthusiasm. Not to mention the awkward pauses as you click through to the next feature you are demoing.

Fortunately, through the magic of video editing this problem is easily solved.

Start with the audio first.

Tune your microphone settings and pull your script up on your monitor. Practice test recording a few sentences so you have an idea of your tone and pace.

Then begin, and don’t stop recording until you’re done. If you stumble, just pause, return to the last sentence, and continue speaking without stopping the recording.

With some practice reading off a script, a 3-minute video shouldn’t take you longer than 10 minutes to record. Afterwards, just edit out the screw-ups and you’ll have yourself one-half of a demo.

Then, the screen capture.

Pull out your shot list, and take spaced out captures of the listed features and actions. Just make sure you take into the consideration the length of the associated talk track while recording. Otherwise you may end up with not enough video for your audio track.

5. Add a Little Production Value

“The sound and music are 50% of the entertainment in a movie.” – George Lucas

Live demos are notorious for having absolute s*** video and audio quality due to latencies in screen-sharing tools.

Since you are recording your demo, ask your finance department for a little spare change to purchase a decent microphone.

Good sound on a demo video is often an overlooked feature but bad sound can make your demo video unwatchable. Investing in a mic will help improve the completion rate of the video, and therefore make your customer better educated.

Also, don’t be afraid to add some music to the background of your video. Just make sure it’s not too loud so that it drowns out the narration.

There are a tons of sites out there that offer inexpensive music tracks that would be sufficient for mid-funnel demo videos, Bedtracks is a great example. The music can lighten the mood to the video, add some humor, and make the whole experience of watching a recorded product demo far less bland.

In addition, adding the music actually has a very functional effect.

If you have edited your audio narration down from one recorded track, you may inevitably have some awkward clicks, pops, or volume mistakes throughout the recording. The music will cover these up, like the final glaze on a holiday turkey, so that the final product is as smooth and tasty to consume.

There you have it – 5 steps to a recorded product demo that will keep your prospects engaged and educate them on your product or service. Plus, you’ve freed up tons of time for your sales engineering team to tackle other revenue-generating tasks!

Want to learn more about using video to optimize the sales process? Check out our on-demand webinarHow to Use Video in the Sales Process to Close More Deals“!

sales engineers video

David Halk