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The Demo Discovery Meeting: Nail It With This Agenda

product demo discovery

If you want to nail the product demo discovery meeting, it’s all in how you set up the agenda beforehand.

Demo Discovery vs. Sales Discovery

In its most simplistic form, demo discovery is about qualifying the business need for your products…understanding how your products make the buyer better at something that’s valuable to their business.

Sales discovery is all about qualifying the sales opportunity…compelling need, timeframe, budget, executive level sponsorship, decision makers, etc.

The overlap between the two is the “compelling need” or the BIG WHY, the reason it’s so critical to get better at something that it warrants the financial investment, people investment, change management, etc.?

Uncovering that BIG WHY is the lynchpin to delivering a killer demo that energizes buyers. That’s why it’s so critical to know beforehand. If you do a lot of combined demo/discovery meetings (not recommended), do your best to uncover the BIG WHY as early as possible in the meeting. It’s the ultimate value bullseye you’ll need to hit.

Formalizing the Agenda

When demo discovery meetings are scheduled, they’re usually done in casual fashion. The meeting invite looks something like this:

“The objective of the meeting is to understand your critical business issues and pain points so we can show you how our solution meets your needs.”

Here’s the problem with a lot of demo discovery meetings. You’re talking to a project-level person that has been tasked to create a shortlist of vendors to evaluate. In too many cases, they don’t know the business drivers behind the evaluation. They’re just checking boxes on a project to-do list.

Even worse is when the evaluation is a bottom-up initiative and you’re dealing with a group that’s trying to justify a solution they think is valuable, but the business leaders and decision makers aren’t even involved yet. These are tire-kickers that are wasting your time!

Try this in your next meeting invite before you hit the SEND button.

Hi [name],

I’m looking forward to our upcoming discovery meeting.

Our top priority is to understand what you’re trying to accomplish and why it’s critical to the success of your organization.

To that end, I’d like to propose the following agenda.

  1. Your top priorities, i.e., what’s on your a-list and why it is critical to your success?
  2. How these priorities support the bigger initiatives/strategy of the company?
  3. Key obstacles from your perspective?
  4. How will success be measured?
  5. If/how our solutions can support you.

Here’s the value of this agenda.

First, it will help you smoke out if the evaluation is real. If the person you’re meeting doesn’t have strong answers to these questions, it’s a big red flag. It’s either a bottom-up initiative, or the person you’re meeting with isn’t well connected to the people driving the evaluation.

Second, if it is a real evaluation that’s coming from the top down, you’ll quickly find out if the person you’re meeting with is one of the influencers or decision-makers.

Take notice of the first four items. The intent is to get the buyer talking about their business (80%) while you listen. The last item is for you to position your solutions in the context of what you just heard (20%).

Remember, it’s the best story, not always the best product, that wins!

If you want to learn how to facilitate meaningful demo discovery meetings that set you up for great demos, enroll in a personalized hands-on product demo workshop.

The presenter is just as, if not more important than the product.

Click here if you want to experience the easiest way to learn product management, product marketing, pre-sales demos and customer success with our unique hands-on learning format. Be sure to check out our Product Management Framework that simplifies everything by making customer outcomes the starting point for building, marketing, selling and delivering strategic value.

by John Mansour on January 18, 2022.