Sales Strategy

D Is For Demo: Ace Your Next One With This Scorecard

New and tenured sellers alike can use this scorecard to drive a better demo experience for customers...

August 1, 2021

Ace Your Next Demo

Unless we're in low-cost transactional sales environments, the product demo typically snuggles into the middle part of our sales process. We invested time finding fit and need with a potential customer, so now we have to showcase what we hope they'll buy.

The best closers understand a demo doesn't give us free rein to feature sell or button click excessively (even when the customer begs you to). Whether we're selling a physical product or a software solution, the critical distinction between an excellent and average demo is the account executive's maniacal focus on value, solving real problems, and delivering return-on-investment.  

The following framework balances sales and product fundamentals equally while providing a simple yet proven roadmap to rate our next demo objectively. Each of the twenty areas is worth five points, making 💯 a perfect score.

Sales Fundamentals

  • Prepare: review notes from the last meeting, look at the customer's 10k or read about their previous earnings call, check out the company blog and press releases, see how many job openings they have and in which departments, know the CEO and CFO's names, dial into their social media channels.

  • Set the agenda: aim for three or four bullets using action verbs like “explore” and “decide” and state it in under ten seconds; ask if anything is missing.

  • Confirm the business issue: restate what we learned in the discovery call or earlier meetings; provide value right away by getting the customer to think differently about the business (function) they operate.

  • Ask thoughtful open-end questions: there are many to choose from; even simple questions like "what else?" and "tell me more" effectively keep our talk splits in check and prompt the customer to share.

  • Storytell: one of the most overlooked parts of the rubric, in part, because it's arguably the hardest, the best sellers invoke emotion with storytelling. Identify the conflict (business issue), hero or heroine (your customer), and ending (results).

  • Manage time: save at least 10 minutes to share pricing options and discuss the next steps.

  • Use "voice of the customer": talk about customers and how they use the product to make their business better. Aim for at least two customers to mention by name and associated success outcomes.

  • Negotiate price with confidence: lead with a multi-year option telling them a discount already exists, but a one-year deal is possible at a premium; if budget is a concern, giving an extra discount could be exchanged for signature speed.

  • Advance to the next step: write down options A, B, and C before the meeting. If they reject our request to bring on the decision-maker, could they entertain a team demo or discuss it with other stakeholders?

Product Fundamentals

  • Tell your product's story: talk about the origin and evolution – the flaws, pivots, and awards.

  • Align the features: show them only the parts of your product that will solve their business issue; the best reps know how to tease out secondary elements to drive an advance in later deal stages.

  • Sequence the demo: quality discovery calls enable us to customize the demo experience and map out the first, second, and third features to show.

  • Know and show the product: medium-level functionality is the sweet spot for account executives to be – enough to confidently answer basic technical questions but not at such a detailed level that we feel compelled to go "into the weeds" with the customer.

  • Understand feature differentiators: each feature within the product delivers an "aha" moment; learn how to build suspense before unveiling it to the customer.

  • Articulate key adoption strategies: every customer wants high utility from products they buy; make sure we share best practices around adoption.

  • Understand product launch and support: no customer wants to be left high and dry after purchasing a product; position it as buying a program or partnership and touch on the journey customers take with our teams.

  • Understand integrations: discuss whether our API is open or closed or how partner alliances fit into the solution; customers are sure to have "if-then" requests between multiple products and partners.

  • Display overall product knowledge: although many teams embrace sales engineers or solutions consultants, it serves us well to learn how our product suite functions and works together. The highest-performing reps can demo the product without call support, though most gladly accept the help (sales takes a village).


  • Maintain energy throughout: it requires stamina to demo for an hour. Consider a call partner to help us take notes and to contribute insights during the demo. Finding a teammate to join provides us with a much-needed breather to reset.

  • Believe in the solution: a conviction in what we sell is ever-present on the best demos; turn doubts into belief and consider how many paying customers have already said yes to our solution.

This framework and the subsequent scorecard is a helpful tool for the demo stage of our sales process. Although a strong correlation exists between a higher score and the likelihood to advance a deal, keep in mind the variables in play across the entire sales cycle – timing, budget, finding consensus, contract reviews, seeking approvals, etc.

For newer reps, the scorecard is an effective self-coaching and coaching tool. Keep a running record of scores and look for trends. If we seem to score lower in certain areas predictably, reach out to our peers or manager for practice and ideas to improve.


Click here for instant access to the demo scorecard!

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