Nobody Wants To See Your Demo
One of the things I do each day as part of my morning as part of my work routine is to check my LinkedIn account. I belong to a few groups, a group email feed, and also follow a select group of people who provide great content. That is the upside of LinkedIn. The downside is that almost daily I am greeted with an array of connection requests that once accepted, are followed by a shallow “Thaks for accepting my request” . . . and a sales pitch with an offer to see a demo of their product.
I know I am not unique to this situation as many of my colleagues experience the same thing leading some that I know to have left LinkedIn all together because they have grown weary of the constant barrage of sales emails they receive.
While I am not ready to abandon the platform I do at times get frustrated by this inadequate approach to marketing and sales. At the same time, I do feel bad for those reps that have to resort to this disruptive approach or worse yet, those that have been told this is social selling.
Numerous conversations with sales reps have told me this is indeed the case, here is an expert from one particular exchange with a particular sales rep:
Sales Rep: “What would your suggestion be on how we fill the top of the funnel (tofu) if we do not suggest a demo? I have very slim/non-existent marketing. I am smart about targeting and messaging but the reality is I think the prospect does need to see it. Doesn’t a demo sound more interesting than a case study or conversation?”
My Reply: “The issue with the offer of a demo is that the salesperson has just told the buyer that they have no idea of where I am in my buying process or even recognized that I may not be in a buying process at all. You are right that the prospect will need to see a demo . . . eventually, but not necessarily at the first interaction. I do believe a conversation is what you should be aiming for initially. This is not a conversation to sell, but a conversation to help them, to educate them.”
“This does require being an expert in your field and not just an expert on your product or company. You need to be able to speak to industry trends, the impacts of market-shaping events, and be able to articulate the struggles companies are having today and provide insight and education on how they should be solved without talking about the services or technology that your company provides.
Buyers are often receptive to being educated as they know they have an issue, but oftentimes need help thinking through how they should approach solving it. If you can be the person (in a sales role with little marketing support) or your company can be the vendor that helps provide that, you will convert more deals to wins in the long run.”
Clearly, in this situation, this rep is on their own trying to source their own leads, something that, unfortunately, is not all too uncommon in many organizations. However, during our dialogue, and this is exactly what organizations need to embrace, the rep began to understand that disruption is no longer a valid approach — education and helpfulness is.
B2B Organizations need to understand that the buyer’s buying process supersedes the sales process. Likewise, salespeople need to understand that many times buyers need help understanding their issues on a deeper level and that as a salesperson being helpful and a source of knowledge is what will set you apart from competitors.
In the 2019 B2B Buyers Survey Report, published by DemandGen Report, 95% of respondents stated that it was “important” that sales teams had “more insights about their companies and needs” with 55% stating this was “very important”. One other notable differentiating factor according to the study was 65% of respondents stating they wanted a salesperson who demonstrated a stronger knowledge of the solution and the business landscape
Disrupting buyers with offers of demonstrations, gimmicks, or a “quick check-in” to schedule a time for a call is not at all buyer-centric. Educating, providing insights, being helpful to buyers as they seek to address their pain points and challenges are what buyers want. Organizations and sales reps that want to succeed will make this change starting now, understanding that unless they do, the buyer, the sale, and revenue will be lost to them.