Sales Demos That Win Deals from DemoChimp
by Jed Morley, CMO at DemoChimp
Jed Morley, CMO at DemoChimp, shares his experience on the countless number of sales demos he's seen on what works, what doesn't, and how to get the concensus buyer bought in and close those sales deals.
We're really excited to be doing this presentation today and I wanna thank Gabe Villamizar and the Social Selling Summit the [inaudible 00:00:05] team for hosting such a great event. My name is Jed Morley and I'm head of marketing for DemoChimp. Matt Behrend, our Chief Sales Officer, was called out of town on short notice and asked that I present on his behalf. We appreciate this opportunity to share some principles and practices on the topic of social buying.
To compare and contrast social selling with social buying, social selling is a regeneration technique that starts at the beginning of the sales cycle. It's good for finding and connecting with known stakeholders through social information like you find on LinkedIn. Social buying comes further along the sales process, when you've already found a prospect, or they've found you, and you're starting to engage with them. Social selling focuses on connecting with known individual stakeholders. Social buying is the process of discovering and engaging with hidden stakeholders as an entire buying group. And social selling taps into what buyers say about themselves, whereas social buying focuses on what buyers actually do - their actual buying behaviors. Social selling also connects sellers to buyers, whereas social buying connects buyers to one another.
Social selling dovetails into The Challenger Sale framework that the Corporate Executive Board published in 2011 as a guide for selling increasingly complex solutions in an uncertain business climate coming out of the recession. As the sales community has come to know, the three pillars of the Challenger Sale are: to teach new insights that reframe how customers see their businesses, to tailor for resonance with each buyer's outlook, and to take control of a sale. CEB's new book coming out this fall, The Challenger Customer, builds on the same foundation and framework talked by the Challenger Sale - to teach, tailor, and take control - but from the point of view of helping customers be more effective buyers. These two books work hand-in-hand to teach us how to use challenger principles to close more high-quality deals.
In fact, CEB has conducted extensive research over the past four years to better understand the buying dynamics that drive B2B sales. They discovered that on average, 5.4 stakeholders or buyers are involved in B2B buying decisions today. And these aren't just 5.4 different people. They have different roles, responsibilities, and come from different geographies, different locations and backgrounds. In other words, they bring very divergent perspectives to the buying process. And as you know from painful experience, buyer divergence equals buyer dysfunction.
CEB's research unveiled a dramatic drop when multiple stakeholders get involved in buying decisions, which causes this buyer dysfunction. In this chart, the Y-axis represents purchase likelihood and the X-axis represents size of buying team. When just one additional person joins the buying process, purchase likelihood plummets from 81% to 55%. That's a 26% drop. And when the average 5.4 people get involved, purchase likelihood drops into the 40s. So we lose roughly half of our purchase likelihood when a typical buying group gets involved in a deal. Left unchecked, buying dysfunction drives buying groups to their lowest common denominators, which in turn drive deals downward toward low margins and commoditization, even when a value proposition is truly differentiated and has earned the right to claim a premium position.
Key factors in this dynamic include: an aversion to risk, a trend toward integrated solutions that require buy-in and support from multiple functions across the organization for successful implementations, and if you don't get that buy-in along the way, oftentimes those different functions withhold their support and cause implementations to fail. In addition, solutions are becoming increasingly technological and involve IT almost all the time. There are tighter regulatory controls, and globalization continues to be a major factor in buying dysfunction.
So how can we win a 5.4 world? By win, we're talking about driving high-margin, high-quality, profitable deals. So it's consensus that takes buying groups to the highest common denominators. This diagram from CEB shows how difficult it can be to find agreement within buying groups. The space where the circles in this Venn diagram overlap represents a small area of agreement among just three buyers. And you can imagine that that space gets even smaller when the number of buyers grows to the 5.4 average number. And that's because each of these individuals brings a divergent set of goals, priorities, metrics, and needs to their buying conversation. Not surprisingly, about the only things these buying groups tend to agree on, given how little their divergent points of view may overlap, is to avoid risk, reduce disruption, move cautiously, and save money.
CEB teaches that an essential element to driving buying consensus is to connect these buyers to one another by helping them agree on the problem to solve, the type of solution or category of solution to select, and this is in a vendor-agnostic sort of way, CEB advocates that you lead with a type of solution that eventually leads to your particular way of solving a problem. If you lead with your specific brand or your specific solution before establishing the category of solution that it fits in, you'll discredit the mobilizer, and we'll talk more about their role later, but it's really important that you lead first with the category, not your specific offer.
So it's important that these questions be answered in the order that we've discussed: problem first, we need to agree as a buying group as to what problem we're solving; we also then need to agree on a type of solution that can address that problem at a categorical level, a vendor-agnostic level; and then we can talk about our specific solution as the supplier of choice. So with these goals in mind, social buying addresses two key questions: how can we win access to the multiple stakeholders who participate in a buying group, and how can we win them over?
We can access and win over the 5.4 by partnering with an internal Challenger who can help us facilitate collective learning and ultimately, agreement and consensus among the buying group. CEB refers to these internal challengers as mobilizers. According to CEB's research, there are seven types of buyer personalities within customer organizations, but only three of them are mobilizers. And it's really important that we select one of the three as our mobilizers, or we could drive a deal to a dead end.
Go-getters are always out there looking for new ideas and trying to get things done. Skeptics look at every idea and tear it apart, and move very slowly, cautiously. Friends are happy to share their time and information with you. And teachers are big idea people who are looking for new ideas, but they're not very good at project management. Guides are over sharers of information and dish the dirt on just about anything or anyone. Climbers are all about me - what's in it for me? - try to get ahead in the organization despite any damage they might do to someone else. Unfortunately I'm sure we're all too familiar with climbers. And finally, blockers aren't interested in talking to anyone outside of the company, because they're in status quo mode. They just want to stay the course.
As CEB explains in the Challenger Customer, there are three true challenger personas inside the customer organization: go-getters, skeptics, and teachers. Each one of these mobilizers has strengths and weaknesses, and so it's important that you adapt the content that you create to support these people so that they're set up for success and ultimately help you engage with the buying group.
As important as it is to partner with a true mobilizer and not just a talker or someone who can give you access, you want to partner with mobilizers because they inherently believe in change, and change is really the biggest competitor we face when we're bringing a new solution to a new customer. It's equally important that we equip mobilizers with the right kind of information that's personalized but that drives the conversation to the highest shared set of common denominators that spans the entire buying group. We need to help these mobilizers tailor our value proposition in such a way that the other members of the buying group connect to one another and reach agreement on the highest set of common denominators that result in closing not just any deal, but especially high-margin, high-quality deals.
Ironically, most sales organizations invest four to eight months ramping up a new sales rep to get them to the point where they can teach, tailor, and take control of the sales opportunity. But then we turn the deal over to a mobilizer who we're counting on to effectively teach, tailor, and take control of their internal buying group dynamics after spending just a couple of hours learning about our new offer. That's a big ask. CEB suggest a shift in mindset and approach from playing the role of a sales professional to becoming a buying coach, a coach who can help activate and setup for success the mobilizer, who needs to facilitate consensus among their peers within the buying group. So the emphasis is on partnering with mobilizers to facilitate buying group consensus.
Intelligent automated demos are one of the best ways we found to equip mobilizers with tailored information that helps buying groups take the high road. So in making the transition from sales professional to buying coach, this intelligent, automated demo technology can help you make this transition in a scalable way. These types of intelligent automated demos are unique in their ability to fulfill two requirements that CEB teaches in detail in the Challenger Customer, their new book that's coming out this fall. Those two conditions, or principles, are prompts and bounds.
Collective learning is the process of educating the members of the buying group, and it can happen synchronously or asynchronously, as to what your unique value proposition is, but doing it in a way that's personally relevant to them. It used to be that you had to trade off personalization with scale, but intelligent demo automation technologies break that trade off, so they allow you to build personalized and scale at the same time. CEB cautions against personalizing to the point where the buying group members are driven further apart because they see their differences instead of seeing their common ground. We'll talk more about how to offset that risk by providing analytics that give members of the buying group visibility to one another's' preferences, so they can see the common ground, and that's a really important takeaway from today's conversation.
So a prompt, in context of this collective learning idea, is about getting stakeholders to disclose concerns they might otherwise fail to reveal on their own. The point here is to prompt stakeholders to share so the group can recognize and deal with disconnects and explore alternative options and solutions. Groups naturally gravitate to sharing information. Bounding is the process of sculpting a conversation into a specific challenge and a specific objective so the group is more likely to coalesce around a more expansive middle line. At the same time, a supplier has to ensure they balance collective learning in a way that uniquely allows them [inaudible 00:14:58] that points to their specific solution. This can be a delicate balance because collective learning must focus on helping customers learn something and not just buy something. First and foremost, collective learning is about problem definition and solution identification, not just supplier selection. So prompts get stakeholders to disclose concerns, and bounds sculpt conversations to a specific goal.
A specific example of how these principles play out in DemoChimp's intelligent demo automation platform include this professionalization menu prompt. So after we've partnered with a customer and have created a bank of videos, we organize them into a menu like this that allows each member of the buying group to determine how they want to learn about a customer's product story or the value proposition. We allocate the video content across five to seven value propositions, and we defer to the prospect in deciding how much emphasis they want to give each of these topic areas in their process of self-educating about the product or the service. And they do that by selecting one of three rankings for each topic area.
They can rate it as being very important, somewhat important, or nor important. If they select very important, they see a long version of a video. If the ranking is somewhat important they see a short version of that video segment. And if it's not important, they don't see it at all. So in this way, it's like choose your own adventure in the sense that you get to dictate the learning experience based on your personal priorities. And once a buyer has made those selections, the videos play in the sequence level of detail that they said was of most interest to them. This personalization allows them to learn about the value propositions in a way that's most relevant to them, but it also provides an alert to the customer that says, "This individual just watched your demo." This alert can trigger a response from a sales team to follow up at the peak of interest, on behalf of the prospect.
And I have to say that's when I first understood and really appreciated DemoChimp's value proposition. It was just before the holidays and I had met someone at a networking event, and they had shared their contact information with me, and I had sent them a link to our demo. Days went by, and all of the sudden I got an email that said Jackie had just watched our demo. So I called her within five minutes of getting the alert and she sounded excited about it, so we were able to set an appointment just before Christmas, which is kind of unheard of, and had a great conversation and we watched the forwards that she had sent to her colleagues of the demo progress through the organization all through the holiday break. So that period of time that's usually dead and where nothing progresses between Christmas and New Year's was alive and well at her organization, because we could see how the demo was being shared, who was watching it, and what they thought was important.
And this is typical of an intelligent demo automation dashboard, where you see demo analytics, or demolytics, on the backend of the system that shows you who each of the individuals are who are participating in a buying group, and which aspects of the value propositions they thought were most important. You can share these analytics with the mobilizer to help them have extra information to use as they facilitate consensus among the buying group. It also allows you to see where alignment is and where there might be gaps as a salesperson, so that you can help to facilitate conversations and even workshops with mobilizers to discuss differences in opinion openly, and to address and resolve concerns that might otherwise not be mentioned, only to cause buying dysfunction to rear its ugly head when you think you're closing a deal.
This type of visibility is new. It gives you a new class of data that hasn't been available before. And it can occur anywhere along the sales pipeline depending on how complex your offering is. So if you have a relatively transactional sale to make, as in the case of a small SaaS company, for example, you can have your demo live on your website and it can qualify leads with a really amazing conversion rate. The conversion rate we have on our demo is 11%, but we've seen clients far exceed that. And taking into consideration their baseline, it's a dramatic improvement, and allows them to scale their marketing organization in ways that weren't possible before. We've had small SaaS sales teams tell us that it would take two people to take the place of DemoChimp just because of the productivity they're getting out of this type of a system.
The analytics also show you engagement. They build on the identification piece of who watched the demo videos and they let you know what they watched and how much time they spent completing each video segment. When you look across members of the buying group, these data points help you gauge who's really interested and who's, maybe, disenfranchised, so you can circle back with your mobilizer and use this heat map to inform priorities and how you're going to allocate your time in following up with individual buyers and what topics you need to discuss to help the group reach agreement at a high level.
The other thing that's interesting about these heat maps is that they're dynamic. So if a buyer comes back to a demo that they had watched previously, you see that additional information added to their profile. So it's an ongoing history and breadcrumb trail that you can follow to track the momentum that a deal has as it starts to build velocity towards some kind of a decision point. We all know that sometimes deals stall, so it's nice to be able see them wake up back up again, or you can intentionally send out a demo when you feel like a relationship has gone stagnant.
In deals that are more complex, the demo can help you get conversation started early on in the sales pipeline. Sales reps can get a very minimal ask or commitment by asking a prospect to look at a demo, which is something they might be willing to do in place of a bigger commitment like spending 45 minutes to an hour to sit through a one size fits all demo, where with a video demo automation, you're looking at maybe 8 to10 minutes. And once they see that it's relevant to them, they're more willing to accept a bigger commitment. And they can be advocates and evangelize your solution throughout the organization.
We talked about prompts and bounds before. The thing that's interesting about these demos is that they are organized by topic areas that you know to be effective in activating mobilizers, in getting them to take notice that you're offering, in getting them to feel empowered to facilitate consensus among their peers. So, for example, we have five to seven different demo areas in DemoChimp's demo and you can see that the cumulative views have resulted in these statistics here on this summary page.
We talked about discovering and engaging buyers as being one of the characteristics of social buying, And it's interesting to note that you can see these summarized dashboards that help you not only understand what a particular company found interesting, because of this intelligent demo automation type of solution, but you can also see across companies what the major themes were and what companies in general found relevant. So this can start to inform product strategy and messaging that can spread across your entire sales and marketing organization and help you be much more effective in the way that you go to market.
One of the things that the Challenger Customer emphasizes more than anything is that mobilizers have to feel like whatever it is you're selling is in the best interest of their company. So it's really important that we not get preoccupied with talking about our solution exclusively. And for this reason we're working with clients to rethink and re-tool some of their existing videos in light of the new information that CEB has provided in the Challenger Customer to talk about the benefits of the category of solution that they're in at a higher level, so that it doesn't come across as self-serving, and so mobilizers can truly evangelize and advocate for a type of solution before getting specific about your offering.
Like we talked about before, if you talk too much about your solution too early, it can be a turn-off to mobilizers, because it can seem like they're carrying a specific recommendation to the buying group before the buying group's had the chance to wrap its collective thinking around the class of solution they should be considering. So it's important for the communication strategy to think about the category of the solution and to advocate for the category in a way that ultimately leads to your specific solution, but not in a way that's too self-serving too early, or else you can lose the credibility that you're trying to carefully cultivate with the mobilizer and with the buying group.
To circle back on my story from a few minutes ago, Jackie was a mobilizer. She was highly incentive to get a win. She had been given a new area of responsibility and she recognized an opportunity to make a meaningful impact in her new role, so she skillfully forwarded and shared her demo with other people in the organization. It was our demo, but she sent it out as a way of priming the pump, so to speak. She gave everyone an opportunity who was involved in the decision to become familiar with the value propositions on their own terms without any pressure, and she was able to address their concerns based on the analytics we shared with her. And we were able to close a deal the first week in January, just coming back from the holidays, and I'm just confident there's no way that could have happened if we had been selling in a traditional way because the consensus had been coalescing all through the holidays.
I love that example because it shows how productive it can be to let people work through this collective learning process with the appropriate prompts and bounds, and reach a point of understanding before you spend valuable time with a sales person and with a buying group. There's no need to weigh down that process with educational information that people can learn and consume on their own time. And it gives them a sense of autonomy and being self-directed without feeling manipulated or coerced down a certain path.
Well, we've really enjoyed sharing this information with you today, and we hope that you'll consider intelligent demo automation as a new way to engage mobilizers and the buying groups that they are a part of. We're excited about the future of buying consensus and we think there's all kinds of ways to facilitate the buying process in partnership with mobilizers and on behalf of buying groups. We've been fortunate to have some terrific customers who've achieved some dramatic results, and here's just a few stats to share as we close out our time together.
We've increased close rates as much as by 44%, and sales cycles have reduced by 68%. These are stats that came from an organization that had a large sales group, that was relatively mature and doing quite well, but they knew that they needed to take it to the next level to achieve even better results. So these are real statistics from a sizable, mid-market company that are indicative of what can be achieved when you provided mobilizers and buying groups with the information they need in a personalized, facilitated way that drives consensus. Thank you.