Planning Software Demos for Your Company? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know
Software demos can be understandably stressful. You have a short amount of time to show your software (hopefully bug free) to very important people, in a strange space and often on strange equipment. Then, usually, you have to do it a hundred more times that weekend. But even if it’s a single meeting with a potential investor, the stakes are high – and you need to be prepared. Here’s what to keep in mind.
Get Compatible Equipment, and Get It Early
If possible, know the equipment, formats, and A/V setup that you will be using, and prepare accordingly. The perfect software won’t matter if you can’t get the screen to function. Computer and video display rentals can help immensely here if you are allowed to bring in your own equipment. This allows you to make sure that all formats match, that devices have the necessary specs to support your work, and that no unexpected surprises wait (well, at least not as many).
Test If Possible
You may not have time to test, but do it if you can. In a public demo, arrive early, when there’s usually time set aside for all groups to do product testing before the event begins. In a private demo, the same rules apply – try to get there early, setup, and run through your presentation before anyone else arrives.
Don’t Let Your Software Tell the Story
We know, this part sounds a little counterintuitive, but it’s vital to your success. During a software demo, viewers won’t have a clue what they’re looking at. It doesn’t matter how good your in-video explanation may, or how many arrows you’ve drawn on your app, they won’t understand. Software can’t tell a story or explain anything – and without a good spokesperson, a demo can easily make things confusing. So script out careful explanations for your value offering that anyone can understand, and tell people what’s happening on the screen every step of the way.
Distance Demo? Pick Your Apps and Sharing Carefully
Always ask clients what apps they prefer to communicate. If the app doesn’t include screen-sharing, politely suggest one of your own web conference app preferences that allows you to share screens for a basic software demo. Test this content sharing model, start early, and make sure everyone can see you before you begin. If you don’t have much experience with web conference, starting holding them casually with teammates to get used to the format.
If You Switch Hardware, Test and Retest Software
New hardware? Test everything again. We mean it – test everything, and get ready for some new benchmark data, because new hardware can really throw new software for a loop. You can prevent some of these issues during early product testing, but chances are good that, in the demo phase, hardware compatibility is still an issue. Just replace hardware with “browser” if you’re planning a web app, and you’ll understand what we mean.