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Dial Up Your Demo Skills

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the value of dry runs.
  • Describe how to do a dry run.
  • Explain how to best use demo delivery tools.
  • List items to pack for your customer demo.

Just Keep Running

Now that you’re prepared to present your demo, it’s time to practice delivering your story by doing dry runs. We can’t stress this enough: Do dry runs. 

A dry run is the process of practicing your presentation from start to finish with your entire team before presenting it to your customer. Running through it with a customer sponsor—a trusted advisor who works for your customer—is even better.

Going through multiple dry runs helps you: 

  • Expose any gaps in your planning.
  • Confirm that your demo components work together.
  • Refine and streamline your delivery time.
  • Reduce the risk of forgetting key messages you want to communicate.

Dry running guarantees you get through your demo in a smooth and confident manner. And who doesn’t want to look like a pro?

Practice Makes Perfect

Doing dry runs might not sound like a fun way to spend an afternoon, but you’ll be glad you did them when you nail your demo. 

Here are a couple tips to get you started.

  • Practice aloud.
  • Get your talk track down.
  • Practice piece by piece.
  • Get feedback.
  • Allow time between your dry run and actual demo.
  • Make necessary tweaks.

Let’s take a closer look at the third and fourth tips. 

Practice piece by piece: Depending on the length of your demo, try dissecting your presentation into small sections and working through each one individually to create a more digestible practice session. Working piece by piece helps your dry run audience provide detailed feedback at the end of each section, rather than an hour’s worth of general suggestions at the end. 

Get feedback: Seeking feedback from people on your team and from others outside of your organization, such as a customer sponsor or a significant other, is one of the best ways to prepare for a demo. If they can’t understand what you’re trying to say, rethink your delivery. 

As you practice your demo, think of ways to deliver a smoother presentation. One way is to use zoom and keyboard shortcuts.

Zoom with Intention

Every slide in your demo is important, but some slides are extra special. Focus your audience’s attention on specific areas of your screen—emphasizing key points—by zooming. Practice zooming during your dry runs in specific spots of your presentation, and ask your audience for feedback. When used correctly, zooming enhances your delivery, giving it a smoother finish. 

Set up the right level of zoom on your Mac by following these steps.

  1. Navigate to System Preferences.
  2. Click Accessibility.
  3. Click Zoom.
  4. Select Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom.

Shortcut Your Way to Victory

You have enough to think about during your demo without having to remember exactly what to type into a specific field. Keyboard shortcuts that fill in text values are priceless. All you have to remember is the key combination.

Salesforce’s Vision Engineering Team—also known as The Demo Team—uses Keyboard Maestro (Mac) and Text Replacement (iOS) for demos. 

Remember to practice your shortcuts during the dry runs to guarantee success.

Get on the Level

Demos are powerful! Whether it’s a remote demo for a small group over Google Meet, an executive-level formal meeting, or a keynote, all demos require you to plan ahead. That being said, not all demos require the same level of effort to create and deliver. Splitting demos into levels helps make sure you spend the right amount of time investing in your demo’s success. 

We like to split demo opportunities into three levels.:

  • Level 1: An entry-level demo that requires little customization or effort to meet the needs of your audience. This includes the first demo you give to an account or team to familiarize them with your product or service, or one that requires little time to prepare for and deliver successfully. Another way of thinking about this level is, “Is it an in-person demo or a demo done over a conference service?” If it’s a remote demo, it’s likely Level 1.
  • Level 2: A demo that requires more customization for your audience. This demo focuses on proving your company’s value to close a deal, or is an important meeting with your account. If your demo is an in-person meeting, it will likely be at least Level 2.
  • Level 3: The highest level of visibility for a demo. This demo is presented to a large audience or has a great degree of importance. The higher the profile of the demo, the more likely it is to be Level 3.

Each level helps determine how much investment is required to make sure your delivery goes off without a hitch.

The Ultimate Demo Driver Checklist

Now that you’ve run through your demo a few times, look at what you’re using. You need these things on the day of your demo, so create a list and lay them out before you leave. 

We know there are a lot of checklists, but it’s important to list every component you need. Are you demoing on a Mac? Great. Did you pack the power adapter? What about your video graphic array (VGA) dongle? Or is it an HDMI dongle you need? Lay this out before you leave for your demo. 

Here’s a list that the Salesforce Demo Team uses.

Device
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Laptops and mobile devices
X
X
X
Chargers
X
X
X
Dongles
X
X
X
Switcher

X
X
Backup network (Mi-Fi)


X
Case to carry everything in

X
X

Good luck with your demo!

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