You get on a product demo call expecting to talk to the prospect you’ve been working with the past few weeks. You’re ready to show off a few key features that you’re sure will impress him and push the deal to the next stage. But when you dial in, you’re blindsided by not just your prospect, but also his bosses – the company’s CEO and VP of Sales.

Cue sales panic!

Maybe there was a lack of communication on their end about who would be joining in, but whatever caused this to happen, you can’t give the exact same sales demo you had planned. You have to adapt on the fly and tailor this demo to the needs and interests of your audience – which has just changed.

With powerful decision-makers on the call, this demo can make or break the entire deal, and you have to give it your best shot. Here’s how to tailor a sales demo to your audience, and close the deal.

Prepare Before the Call

This is clearly not an ideal situation, and you should work to prevent it from happening again in the future. Next time, before a demo, make sure to communicate thoroughly and clearly with the prospect to find out who will be joining the demo. Then, do research beforehand on every individual and their role within the company. If possible, research their personal business challenges based on historical experiences with similar prospects. This will help you offer the right information during the demo. Pre-call preparation is a vital component of any demo – and can be the difference between a demo that fails, and one that closes the deal.

Consider the Buyer’s Role

A CFO, a VP of Marketing and a sales manager want very different things from a product – no matter what it is that you’re selling. Depending on your ideal target market, you may be trying to appeal to all three of these roles at once, which is a serious challenge. You have to think about your product critically from the buyer’s perspective. Will it save that person time, money or improve their professional lives in a concrete way? Great sales reps have a strong ability to empathize with prospects, and can image how a product demo looks through someone else’s eyes. On this demo, you want to show off how your product can help each person individually in their role, so they see the value of your product. You should emphasize how your product can, for example:

  • Save the CFO money
  • Save the VP of Marketing time
  • Make the sales manager’s job easier

You should try to hit on all three of those points during the demo, and address the person who would benefit specifically.

Appeal to the Entire Organization

In a situation like this, it’s often not enough to show off the features that a CEO or a VP will appreciate the most. While everyone wants their job to be easier, you also have to show them how your product will benefit the entire company and help the business grow. This is where you should talk about the ROI, and how your product can not just benefit individuals and their personal roles, but the entire organization. Does your product drive overall growth, help businesses reach new markets, or improve internal performance? You have to think about the big picture when you’re giving a demo, and emphasize how much the company will gain by buying your product. This may not be a specific feature you’re showing off, but you can weave this message into the entire demo and talk about it throughout.

Learn More About Becoming a Great Sales Rep»

Stay Focused

The worst thing you can do on a sales demo is try to show off every single aspect of your product during a call. While you’re trying to appeal to all of the people on the call AND show off how your product can help the whole business, you may be tempted to talk about 20 or 30 features and capabilities of your product. This is a mistake! You don’t want to show off too many things, but instead focus on the top 4 or 5 key aspects of your product that are most important to the audience. If you try to talk about too much, you will overwhelm and confuse your prospects. They should be able to recap the demo easily to other interested parties, and ideally, one feature in particular should stick in their mind – the one that will help them the most. Instead of trying to do too much on a demo, focus on the right features and capabilities instead.


By showing off specific features, emphasizing the ROI and staying focused on the end goal, you’ll be able to give a great sales demo no matter your audience. Once you give a great product demo, closing the deal is within reach.
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