B2B buyers want to self discover more and more in a journey that’s as digital as they can make it. I’ve been in the software business since the late 90s and it used to be that driving prospects to register for a demo was a top draw and priority. Today, it’s still a draw, but not as early in the journey as it used to be.
Several months ago we looked at diminishing high-funnel returns from demo registrations as a proportion of buyer interactions. We still had popular demos, but registrants were lower in the funnel than they used to be. We had data that indicated that this wasn’t because they didn’t want to see our platform earlier, but rather that they didn’t want to schedule and attend a live demo — which implies engaging too personally too fast.
We also had data that showed strong interest and consumption patterns in our platform-specific content and especially our videos.
Our platform has strong demo appeal — meaning, the usual demo attendee reaction is positive, leading to deeper interest and conversations. So we were and are motivated to get the platform in front of as many people as possible.
Part of the reason we’ve always pushed people to a live demo, is that our platform is a deep, enterprise tool. It’s used by people in many different roles — marketers, designers, developers, marketing technologists, executives — who have widely varying needs. This makes it hard to have a one-size-fits-all demo video — hence more personalized, attendee driven live demos have been well received.
Our challenge was to provide a self-discoverable ‘demo’ that was also personalized and relevant to varying roles and levels. Our solution (of course) was interactive content — narrowed to focus on the sexiest area of our platform — Creative Studio.
What we did was break our demo of the Creative Studio portion of our platform down into modular parts. We then recorded brief, silent demo videos of those modules and plugged those into an interactive interface built on the iconography and feature/functionality of Creative Studio. The resulting ‘Creative Studio Simulator’ is embedded into our website as a compact, efficient, interactive tool that lets people explore Creative Studio on their terms.
Prior to the launch of the simulator, the demo page was purely a call-to-action to attend a group or one-on-one demo. With the simulator, buyers can self discover much more prior to committing to a registration and implied personal selling. And, we’ve accomplished our goal of getting the platform in front of more people. Click to try it.
From the Creative Studio simulator we essentially upsell to our live demo scheduler, but to a more ready buyer.
An ancillary, but meaningful, benefit of the simulator has been measurement of feature engagement/interest. Because each of the groups and features is tagged, we know exactly which topics are driving the most participation — data that would only have been anecdotal from live demo feedback. And our sales team knows the percentage of consumption on any prospect that has used the simulator. This helps them understand the depth of investment and understanding of each buyer.
All in all, a simple interactive content tool (built in the ion platform without development resources) has given a wider audience access to experience our platform on their own (anonymous) terms. The success of the Creative Studio Simulator has stimulated internal sales and marketing demand for additional interactive ‘demos’ of other platform capabilities.
Another Reason to Go Short and Sweet
As an aside, in addition to the navigable, random access nature of the simulator, shorter videos are better for another reason — maintenance. Our SaaS platform evolves extremely fast — on a three-week release cycle. That means things change — a lot. Short, modular videos mean that change management is easier to handle. Re-recording and editing a 10-second feature clip is a lot more palatable than reworking a one- or three-minute ‘demo video’.