Discovery and Demo Preparation

Hi Everyone.

Past some time I have a great opportunity to participate and even run some product presentations with end prospects. And it was really great.

demo preparation

One think that I have noticed from day first there is that even if demo not always go as planned, but it still mostly depend on proper preparations. So here we have logical conclusion – as more prepared you are as more chances to win you have.

But when it really comes to demo preparation how are you doing that? If you are doing your demo number 100 than may be you already have your own strategy and you definitely knows what you need to do. However, if you are a new guy as me, that might be a very complicated question.

Just as an example – I’m a technical guy and before my first demo i thought, that i just need to collect as much benefits of my product as I can. Than my client take/accept all the benefits and make a decision by them self. Easy right? Just give them as much cool and super cool stuff as possible and that is all!

Unfortunately that is totally wrong. Yes, you are selling logical and algorithmic software, but you are selling it to real humans in the social and emotional world. Everyone has own mood, motivation and even vision. Just as for example -when I see a new car, I think about power, my wife thinks about color. The same is about software.
So when I understand that, I really have realized how important is preparation before selling any thing. You need to know how to use or/and manipulate your buyers. Like if you are clever child and you want to have a new toy, you will try to manipulate your mother, so she can buy it for you. But in that example you already knows your mom, that that is much easier 🙂

That preparation and investigation in sales process calls – discovery session. You should always have it in any case before each demo. And when you are there try to think that you are not a engineer, consultant, developer – feel yourself as detective, psychologist to understand clients needs and problems.
And do not forget about multiple different guys that you will have on demo, that means that you need to do that multiple times.

For myself I have found that I cannot keep all required information in my mind and I need to make a notes. But in the same time I can forget about something important to ask, so I need to have a plan and a checklist as well. Good ideas is to merge plan and notes together, that will help me to be more organized.

After few real cases and few books to read, I came to myself with the following plan: I’m having 3 supporting documents that helping me to organize myself on demo and discovery:

  • Pre-Discovery checklist – do not forget important points before discovery.
  • Discovery Questionnaire – have a plan and notes for discovery.
  • Pre-Demo checklist – do not forget about important points before demo.

Now let me describe the way how i’m using it.

Pre-Discovery Checklist (Clickable)
The file attached I’m using to prepare myself to the discovery session.
The main idea that even before going on conversation with the client you should have some basic information provided by your sales team – industry, pain points, decision makers and so on.
Research some info from their web site and social networks, try to speak with anyone who had similar projects and try to get an idea about how they are working.

When you got that, plan your discovery, have an introduction and prepare some questions that can help you there. But be careful with to many questions, our main goal is let them speak first.

Prepare all required notes and files that you need to take there.

Discovery Questionnaire (Clickable)
That file is mostly Questionnaire, that you can use as a notebook during you discovery.
I personally think it the main thing that you can do there is make some fiends. Speak with them about their problems, issues, and gather everything you can for later analyses.
Please note that when you speak with different persons, you need to ask them the same questions and fill the same Attendee Questionnaire for everyone, so print them in advance.

Dig into person motivations and keep an eye on all surroundings. All these things can give you more info about person type.

Pre-Demo Checklist (Clickable)
Here the most important thing is demo strategy. Before you go on the demo you need to know what issues client has and how to solve them. Plan the strategy together with sales person in  advance.

In terms of demo, script and presentation – do a lot of practice, better even with someone live (wife, cat, colleague).
Keep eye on environment where you are going to do presentation. Simple bad hardware can break all the work you have done in few seconds.


  • I really like checklists as when you checking something you feel the progress and it drives you forward to the goal – win the deal.
  • Do not make it to complicated as if you spend more time on writing same things in multiple different places you will just hate it.
  • Keep yourself always organized and prepared.
  • Keep you checklists live – with experience remove old points and add new to help yourself and your colleagues in the future.

Really hope that my experience can help you somewhere.
Thank you.

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