the doctor has been asked a few times now by vendor reps on how to give a good demo. He’s been hesitant to address the subject beyond what is already on the FAQ regarding product reviews because this is one subject where good is in the eye of the beholder, but since he doesn’t like his time wasted when getting demos, here are his tips for giving a good demo to SI.
(01) PowerPoint is for Pansies.
Did I mention I was going to be brutally honest? You don’t demo a product with PowerPoint. EVER! Powerpoint is only for
- Summarizing key facts about your company.
- Summarizing key points about the problem domain.
- Summarizing key contributions of your solution.
then you get into the demo ASAP (As Soon As Possible).
(02) Off-the-Cuff is only for experts. Have planned, tested, to-the-point walkthroughs that cover the key features you want to promote.
If you just released a new version of your product that adds new auction formats, constraints or cost modelling capabilities to optimization, real-time market feed integration, etc. and that is what you want to show off – make sure you’ve tested minimal walkthroughs that display those capabilities as accurately as possible. Don’t divert from these unless asked as you don’t want to run out of time and not show off your best capabilities. And definitely don’t dilly-dally.
(03) Focus on features that are unique. Not cookie-cutter features found in a dozen competitor products.
Even if it’s new to you, it isn’t going to do anything to impress someone who’s seen it a dozen times before, no matter how flashy your UI is. And speaking of UI, this is enterprise, not consumer, so flash doesn’t get you bonus points. In fact, if the flash slows down or detracts from the process, it gets you strikes. Enterprise is about ease of use and efficiency. Unless you’ve found a way to simplify the process, avoid anything that’s considered a standard feature of the product you’re promoting.
(04) Don’t jump around the screen.
You might have fast internet, but that doesn’t mean that the person on the other end has fast internet or that the web sharing software you’re using can keep up as you jitter around the screen like a Hummingbird. Move smoothly, and slow enough for the software to keep up. If you have a habit of jittering, setup a client machine next to you so you can see what your audience sees.
(05) Have a flushed-out data-set.
Once you get through the scripted part of the demo designed to show off your product’s key feature, or significant enhancements since the last demo, the doctor is going to want to confirm that it is market ready and real. This means he’s going to want to see some random functionality, on the path of his choosing. And he’s not the only blogger who works this way. Be prepared to cater to your audience’s demand. After all, if you want a good write up, you’re going to have to keep their interest long enough for them to get enough material to write it.
(06) Have a domain expert on the call.
Preferably this person and the person giving the demo are one in the same, but if not, be sure you have someone who can answer intelligent, thoughtful, expert questions, which you are going to get if you do a good job and keep the doctor‘s attention because he is, after all, a domain expert.
(07) And, whatever you do, don’t paint an old Fiat 500 black and call it a luxury limo.
Remember that even though you can put lipstick on a pig, in the end, you still have a pig, so do not simply slap a new UI on an old product and try to pass it off as new and improved. If you haven’t improved the process or capability, or it still doesn’t really do what it needs to do to be effectively deployed, you’re not going to be able to hide this from anyone who has one eye open and half a functioning brain when it comes to technology. Trust me on this one.