How to Make Your Sales Demos More Effective

Curious about how to get more from your sales demos? Recent research sheds light on what makes a demo effective rather than just a waste of everyone’s time. Chris Orlob reports on a study by Gong​.io that included 67,000 sales demos, which were analyzed against their sales outcomes. While data can’t answer every question about effectiveness (and companies’ processes vary), Orlob writes that distinct patterns did emerge.

Below are two standout insights from the study:

On average, successful demo calls average approximately 47 minutes. In comparison, unsuccessful demos average 36 minutes. But, before you start cramming more information into your demos, Orlob points out that the quality (not quantity) of information is what drives length. “It’s unlikely that effective sales demos involve reps plowing through every feature their platform offers,” he explains. “More likely, the demo is so targeted and resonant, it stimulates a robust conversation — making the call last longer.” So, for your next demo, create a targeted conversation, which will naturally lengthen the call.

Another finding from the study is the ideal talk-​to-​listen ratio. The talk-​to-​listen ratio of a successful demo averages 65:35. Interestingly, the average ratio of unsuccessful demos is 66:34 (not much different). But, as Orlob notes, this is where it gets interesting. While ratios for both successful and unsuccessful demos seem consistent,  the interaction patterns are very different. "While unsuccessful demos still achieve a reasonable talk-​to-​listen ratio, they tend to have long, uninterrupted pitches that can last up to 106 seconds," he writes. So, even though reps talk the same amount during both successful and unsuccessful demos, the difference is the duration of their speech. During successful demos, reps talk in short bursts, which allow prospects to contribute.

These are just two of the findings from the Gong​.io report. Orlob does an excellent job of presenting the results and providing an insightful analysis. Hopefully, you can improve your own demo efficiency by adopting the strategies suggested.

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jessica is a senior research analyst for SalesFuel focusing on selling to SMB decision makers. She also reports on sales and presentation tips for SalesFuel and Media Sales Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.