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An Interview With Ed Jaffe​, Founder Of Demo Solutions

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Below is our recent interview with Ed Jaffe​, Founder of Demo Solutions:

Q: Can you introduce us to what Demo Solutions is about?

A: After spending the better part of a decade in technology presales, sales operations and corporate strategy, including building and scaling a sales ops and presales team, I had observed a bit of a paradox with demos and presentations – everyone is expected to know how present, but it’s rare that a sales team is taught how to present. And most sales training courses focus on topics such as qualifying a deal or overcoming objections, but rarely teach presentation skills.

This is less of an issue in larger organizations as they typically have sales engineers, and there are excellent presales training programs out there such as Demo2Win!. However, smaller organizations often don’t have the resources to hire and train a presales team. Instead, they typically take success managers, product managers, trainers or engineers and say “you know the tool, go demo it.” Organizations unintentionally set up these people to fail, because being knowledgeable about software and effectively communicating the value of the software are drastically different skill sets.

In 2018 I decided to take the lessons learned from my experience as an effective sales engineer and leader, as well as my academic background as an Adjunct Lecturer of Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University (where I earned my Master’s), and bring them together to form Demo Solutions.

Q: What is the core goal behind your company?

A: Demo Solutions was founded to support growing technology businesses that need to be able to deliver effective demos and presentations, but don’t necessarily have the resources or skills to do so. We developed our offerings to meet the needs of smaller SaaS organizations that typically need more than a few days of training in order to be effective. For some customers, that means continuously coaching their team or creating demo collateral (i.e. scripts or decks); for others, we provide outsourced presenters, managers or leaders who have extensive experience, but are more cost effective than direct hires.

In every engagement, our goal is to help our clients deliver more impactful demos and presentations, so they can improve their deal velocity and win rate.

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Q: Could you shed some more clarity as to what the Demo Rules are referring to specifically on your front page?

A: The Demo Rules are our core beliefs. They represent some of the biggest lessons learned in all the demos we’ve done – the great ones, the failures, and everything in between. They guide how we approach client engagements, as well as our offerings. They refer to how we ultimately want to make people feel during demos.

A great presentation makes the people in the audience feel included and understood. Deals are rarely won on features alone – instead, audiences almost always base their selection on the sales team. And the sales team that wins is the one that is transparent, authentic and empathetic. Because that’s the sales team that makes everything about the audience, not about themselves.

As an example of how the Demo Rules inform our offerings, we created a framework called Demo Identities, which are the six different personality types that we’ve observed. In our coaching, we look to understand a presenter’s identity, so we can help them play to their strengths while minimizing the potential impact of their weaknesses.

Q: What separates you from other companies?

A: What separates us from other companies in this space is that we don’t offer training – instead, our services are designed to drive longer-term impact of demos and presentations.

At the beginning of every engagement, we start with an objective Demo Audit – we watch 5-7 demos to not only evaluate the presenter’s performance, but also the audience’s reaction. Our recommendations, which are informed by the principles of behavioral economics, psychology, sociology and lean operations, are then tailored to the behaviors and reactions that we observed during the Demo Audit. For example, if we see the sales team offering trials before the customer is ready, we will help them write discovery questions that lead to a more productive meeting.

Additionally, we bring a best-of-breed approach to our customers by including our partners. Our core competency is demos and presentations, but we often find broader sales process challenges and bottlenecks during our Demo Audits, which is where our partners come in. For example, since we don’t offer training, we partner with Demo2Win! to bring industry-leading training to our customers, and then our role is to maintain the new standards following the workshop.

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Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: Given the major shifts in the tech sales industry, notably that sales has now shifted from in-person to virtual, we’ve spent the first half of the year creating a “Demo Toolbox” full of free tools and content to support our colleagues. We will continue to augment this toolbox for the foreseeable future.

In July we have two different webinar series; “Once Upon a Time: Stand Out by Telling your Story” to members of The Mom Project’s community, as well as a webinar this week called “The Elephant in the Room: Why Sales and Marketing Clash.”

Our longer term roadmap includes pursuing partnerships with experts in DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) to include “inclusiveness” as an area of focus during a Demo Audit. Additionally, we are developing practice areas around certain sectors and industries, and are bringing on experts in those spaces to better offer services that meet the needs of those companies.

Last Updated on August 29, 2020

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