At a low point in my sales career

Heyyy savages,


I've been working in my current org for over a year now. I was their first sales hire, did exceptionally well initially but haven't been for a while. The competition (within the org, the team grew over the year) is tough and I've just not been able to get my numbers up.


I've been able to book enough demos, but I'm seeing a lot of people not picking up the call after. My pitch, demo have more or less been the same as before. And the feedback's great! My prospects tell me they enjoyed the demo and it was very informative and thorough.


But the same prospects stop answering the call after the demo, even on agreed upon dates. I guess it's called 'post-demo engagement' and that's really low. I haven't been able to figure out what I'm doing wrong, been questioning my skills and if I'm cut for this industry. Everyone else on my team has been literally trained by me, so, it's not my product knowledge, can't be my presentation skills, what am I getting wrong?


While my jobs not on the line (for now), the lack of commissions is disheartening, especially when your peers are making bank. I sometimes feel the more I learnt about the product I sell, the less conviction I had to sell it. We are a startup, the software is buggy, there are angry clients, but I don't want to make excuses. Any tips on where I should be looking to get better?

📈 Closing
📣 Demos
26
oldcloser
Arsonist
15
💀
“Informative and thorough” is the last thing you want to hear after a demo. It’s precisely the phrase I would use to politely thank a good professor after a series of lectures on a subject I have no interest in.

Just gutting this out, but I suspect your pitch isn’t interactive. Do you ask the mandatory questions as you roll? You know, the dumb ones, like “make sense?”. You’ve got to poll your audience as you drive the value of your points through their mind- not the damn features of the thing that does this that and the other.

Make them think. Make them laugh. Use analogies. Be human. There's much to the art doing a compelling demo. The information is a small part of it. Connecting your solution to their problem is most of it.
bonez
Politicker
6
Account Executive
BE HUMAN!! The best demos are ones where we joke about being parents and argue about the best taco spot in LA. People still buy from people and if you know there’s a match then the humanity will carry you. I saw lots of hyper mediocre sales people crush during Covid and then when that well dried up they realized they were just walking into easy deals and had developed 0 skills. Just wanted to point this part out since it’s what separates the calls you remember and the ones you found “informative”.

OC is the OG who knows why the prospects payeeeee.
oldcloser
Arsonist
2
💀
This. 1000 times this! Seems like you've clocked the pulse, yourself.

And yes to the rise of the pandemic rep. Not just software... every ware. Car salespeople were killing it at prices $10k over the sticker. They just answered the phone, verified inventory, set appointment and carried a pen. It always was tougher than that and it always will be.
jefe
Arsonist
3
🍁
I'm getting this vibe too.

Make it about them, not product. Engage. And set up proper next steps.
3
Area Sales Director
Great responses here. Make it about them is key for any solution. AND be a human. They don't care about your features or product. They care about how your interactions make them feel and how your solution affects their business.
ilovemondays
Executive
1
Senior Account Executive
100% agree.


poweredbycaffeine
WR Lieutenant
5
☕️
What is left to do after the demo? Can you not drive for a close coming out of that call?

You need to have a compelling event, not just an agreed upon follow up. “On the next call we are going to XYZ” will drive engagement, but that call needs to happen within a short time frame after the demo AND help you get closer to a decision.

Is anyone else on the team consistently closing?
Pachacuti
Politicker
4
They call me Daddy, Sales Daddy
Sales is cyclical. And its really hard when you're in the down cycle. Just keep at it.
Sunbunny31
Politicker
3
Sr Sales Executive 🐰
Something is going on during the demo. Are you focusing too much on feature/functionality and giving a deep dive, rather than honing in on things your solution solves for, and tailoring the demo to showcase those things first? If you are showing them what your product does in the framework of requirements that they have and what you solve for, you'll start with better engagement.
And as pbc and oldcloser said, make sure you set tangible next steps with a purpose and engage during the demo.
3
Founding BDR
Game of ups and downs unfortunately. Keeping an even mindset regardless of what’s happening is obviously easier said than done, but is crucial
Revenue_Rambo
Politicker
2
Director, Revenue Enablement
Does your demo include the exact same track and speaking points for every prospect?

If so you’ve got to rethink your approach. Dig deeper in the discovery phase, cut back what you show in the demo to only relevant points, and tailor your messaging/explanation/value to their specific scenario.

Being at a low point is inevitable, but these days that low point isn’t a speed bump it’s a full on destination. If you don’t change direction it becomes your new home.
oldcloser
Arsonist
1
💀
Just caught this. And damn this is wise. When you get here, you have to find a way to reevaluate what you’re doing, every last bit of it. Open up to leadership the same way you have here. There’s no shame in asking for help. If you’ve got decent management, they’ll be glad you did.
1
Account Relationship Manager
Does what you’re selling save them money? Is there any financial gain, or reduction in time or efficiency in their business?

If folks are ghosting you. They’re either not convinced they need to pull the trigger, or they’re shopping for other solutions.

Just my thoughts





SPT
Valued Contributor
1
Director, Channel Sales & Partner Alliances
Or, they are sitting in on the demo just to convince themselves that what they already have is working just fine -- "it's good enough."
oldcloser
Arsonist
1
💀
Bingo…and if you’re not showcasing the difference you may be missing it right here.
SalesinSeattle
Valued Contributor
1
Account Executive
My $0.02 is that Demos don't sell things, they just confirm a buying decision. If you're walking into the demo without any prior discovery on the prospect/client - IE you don't know WHY they are looking at the product or what pain it is going to solve for them, then you've probably already lost your best chance to engage them and make it worth their time.

Unless you have a prior relationship with them (they're long term clients and you have an ongoing conversation) you shouldn't ever just do a showroom tour. The features and functionalities may be neat but they don't mean anything unless you can connect them with the context of how they impact 1) The business 2) Your economic buyer

Hope this helps to make you think about your steps headed into these calls - because the proper prep means you'll KNOW if your demo is successfully hitting those ingredients to make the prospect want to buy.
Horst_in_Luck
Good Citizen
1
Enterprise Account Executive
What are you doing with the prospect before the demo?

Just a gut feeling, but maybe it's worth changing something or intensifying your discovery.

I would typically get such feedback and reaction after the demo if our solution was not presented specifically enough to the prospect.
0
Ambassador and Member
Hi, weighing the requirements that are required for adopting a new solutions by the prospect, the constraints that your business or theirs may face in getting it through the line and their evaluation criteria. all this are important in any decision making framework. I do not know you but i would suggest defining the root cause problem if any exists for the buyer.

You need to ensure you understand their framework in making decisions and tying the root cause problems you have uncovered through your demo and align those with the value your solution can bring for it. doing so will help ensure you align with their timeline. if there is extreme interest you can then leverage the pricing to entice a closer date for the signing.
SaaSguy
Tycoon
0
Account Executive
Focus more on walking a prospect through a buying journey then feature dumping. The best sales people here know the least about the product and instead focus on relationships, solving a PROBLEM, and setting clear concise next steps/follow ups.
AnchorPoint
Politicker
0
Business Coach
Have lunch with the top rep and find out what they are doing different.
ChuckyCheese
0
Sales Manager
Who signs the paperwork and gives you a check to move forward? If that person is not on the DEMO than you're spinning your wheels.
therealmilsch
Executive
0
VP Sales & Deal Flow
I am surprised no one has said this yet...

Have you listened to your peers' calls? Are you hearing how they are selling and closing? Listen to them and change your style.

Chances are early success came from deep product knowledge in a new sector and being the only person to respond to leads where people were looking for your product. Now the company has grown, territories have shrunk, and you're still pitching, "we have this feature and that feature, and they are really good at doing this and that."

I am speaking from experience, not from a pedestal.

1. Ask hard questions on WHY the prospect is in the meeting with you. What is driving their interest to sit on a 30+ minute call with you.
2. LISTEN to why they are there with you and what their problems are
3. Tailor the demo to their needs and problems, solve their problems. No one buys stuff because it has features (other than cars and personal tech). People buy solutions to their problems. Solve their problems, and you will sell.
0
Director of Sales - Strategic Partners
Hmmmm, first I would make sure I'm demoing the right people. I am sure you have mapped out what your best customers have in common and how and who you sold to at those accounts. If it is the right person/people, there is a great book called "Great Demo" by Peter Cohan which has some great insight into demonstrations. His basic concept is, Do the last thing first! Begin with the end in mind concept. Show the results first to get them excited then show them how you got there. It really worked for me back when I did demos and still works today with the SE's I work with today.....good luck!
0
National Sales Manager, Canada
Agree with many of the points provided already. You’re selling to people, people don’t want to be spoken at, they want to have a voice, but they don’t just want to be heard…..they want to be understood. Either your’e not finding their active pain points with open ended questions and targeting your approach on those or they may not be actively looking to buy at that time. Ask the questions.
Remember that there is a huge difference between listening and “actively” listening.
People tend to buy in 2 ways. From who they like first or from the last person they heard from.
10XQLA
Politicker
0
Medical Sales Assassin
Help more people on your team, helping them will reboot your confidence that you can do your job well again. Keep your head up brother
ilovemondays
Executive
0
Senior Account Executive
What's the difference you see nowadays between your coachees's demos and yours?
ilovemondays
Executive
0
Senior Account Executive
First of all, are you getting into that demo with a confession about a problem they are having?

If not, they probably went there thinking they'd see a solution to something.

Second of all, coming out of that demo, do they explicitily tell you your solution is just what they need? Do they tell you they believe they'll solve their problems with what you've shown?

You need problem and solution commitment mate, if they are talking about the demo, they are speaking about the current time they just spent with you and not thinking about anything in the future.

That's the number one sign you're doing a demo and not qualifying and solving problems.
KB_FarmerType
Opinionated
0
Strategic Sales
Wait… your sentence saying “more you learn about the product, lesser your conviction” that tells me you are a good and responsible sales person who would want to do right thing for the customer at any cost, that is gold my friend. Don’t be in two minds about these.

Having said that, you are at stage in cycle where your other peers will arrive once they spend a year. If it’s a startup and it’s been year, take charge of that low conviction feeling because it may signal a broader problem of product market fit or if you are in crowded marketplace then prospects may already have alternatives in mind that you can scratch to learn more.

Goodluck for anything you do next!



0
Sr. Director, Business Development
Is your demo too informative for the client but not informative enough for you? What I mean is are you doing most of the talking instead of most of the listening? I don't know anything about your software but I have to assume that it solves a problem for your clients, right? So focus on that problem, get your clients talking about what they want to do better and where your software can help them. They will pick up that second call to talk about fixing their problem but they won't pick up the call to hear you talk more about the features you already described in the demo.
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