Thousands of Websites Offer “Book a Demo” – Should Another Option Be “Book a Conversation”?

Think about it…

Wouldn’t it be great to start the interaction with your customers with a conversation – or a substantial Discovery discussion – before offering a live demo?

  • Consider the time saved for both customers and vendors by focusing on the identified issues
  • Consider the shortened sales and buying cycles, enabled by improved clarity
  • And consider the reduction of wasted demos delivered by valuable presales folks (often over and over and over and…!)

Most websites have a “Request Demo” button featured prominently on the home page – very often highlighted in a contrasting color and eye-catching shape.  The intent, of course, is to entice the customer to engage.  The intent is fine, but it mis-sets expectations:

  • The lead is often passed to a BDR or similar, whose job is to contact the lead, “quality” and set a follow-on appointment for a demo.  What is the value to the customer in this first interaction?  Generally zero…
  • Next, a demo is scheduled, often with a presales professional, who at this point understands very little about the customer’s needs, desires, or situation. A live, but largely “canned” demo often takes place, sometimes with the presales person trying to do small amounts of Discovery on the fly.

Result?  Mis-aligned demos where the customer often doesn’t see what they want – and another “Harbor Tour” delivered by a valuable and limited presales resource.  Uncompelling and mutually frustrating.

And then what happens?  If the customer is still interested (or convinced by sales), another demo is lined up – often with a request by the vendor for an opportunity to (finally) have a Discovery conversation.

This pathway basically wastes 1-2 interactions for both parties – compared to this alternative…

What if the customer is comfortable investing a few minutes to outline their situation before moving to a demo?  Research suggests that many customers would prefer this…! (See Developing Your Sales Team: The Essential Sales Playbook for Founders and Entrepreneurial CEOs by Steve Kraner, page 72, Kindle version.)

So…  Let’s run the experiment!

Add a button on your home page that offers a conversational alternative to “Book a Demo”.  Do some testing (e.g., have only the “Demo” button, have only the “Conversation” button, offer both) – then compare results!

Here are a few other possibilities for alternative buttons, with the “Button” text followed by a sub-title:

  • “Book a Conversation”
    • Let’s discuss what you have in mind
  • “Help Me Diagnose My Problem or Situation”
    • Before leaping to a solution, let’s make sure we both understand all of the important factors
  • “Help Me with My Exploration and Buying Process”
    • If you are new to purchasing this kind of software, we’re happy to help – we’ve helped other customers many times before
  • “Assist Me with My Buying Process – My ‘Buyer’s Journey’”
    • If you are new to purchasing this kind of software, we’re happy to help – we’ve helped other customers many times before
  • “I’d Like to Explore the Options”
    • There may be things you haven’t yet been exposed to that could be important for you
  • “Here’s My Thinking So Far”
    • Let’s start with an overview of your problem and your current vision of a solution – and then we can explore from there

Thoughts, folks?

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