The stage of following up after a demo to close the deal can be one of the most frustrating for companies. If it goes awry, then all the time and effort invested will go to waste. So, in this post, I want to share our guidelines for following up after the demo, as well as common pitfalls to avoid.
Before I start breaking down each lesson, here is the list of them for reference:
- Do not assume a deal
- Send information on the product
- Let it simmer
- Re-engage if there was no contact from them
- Have a consistent closing rate
- Every company deals with different industries and cultures.
That requires you to adapt your assertiveness and possibly use different tactics.
1. Do not assume a deal
A common mistake salespeople make is to become overconfident or too positive about a potential deal. The more experience you have in sales the better you are at gauging when and if a deal is going to go through. However, plenty of times have I seen professionals taking a deal for granted, only to have it fall through. So, to keep things simple, do not consider a deal done before it has been signed and the money is in your bank account.
Negotiations can go wrong for multiple reasons, for example, if an insurmountable objection appears, or there is a change in the staff. Maybe there are new priorities for the company or another unavoidable event occurs. Use the post-demo stage to identify and eliminate those potential deal-breakers as fast as possible.
2. Send information on the product
After giving the demo, send the prospect a personalised message on the same day or the next. Include a short presentation on your pricing, uses cases and problems solved. That will help them remember you better and keep you fresh in their minds. Additionally, you can also send any information you discussed in the demo.
In that follow-up message, the call to action should be strong but non-pushy. Calibrate it to how eager they were to seal the deal. That gives the prospect their needed space to make a decision while progressing the interaction towards a contract.
3. Let it simmer
More likely than not, a company that attends your demo will be looking at other options. Thus, give the decision makers time to evaluate them and choose the best suited (which should be yours if the targeting and pitching were done correctly).
If your company is offering the best product and fit for them, then they will usually reengage with you and chase a contract. It is important to be non-needy to avoid starting the relationship on the wrong foot. For example, if you chased the customer for a contract, then they may make unreasonable requests in the future because you showed that you needed them as a customer. That is fine for early-stage startups but not for more established companies. Contacting them too early can also be too pushy, which will scare the prospect away.
4. Re-engage if there was no contact from them
A portion of the post-demo leads may still be interested but not contact you themselves. That can occur because they are busy or are expecting you to follow up (e.g.: some countries in Western Europe are more conservative and will not chase as much). Other prospects may have decided against going with your solution but did not bother to make it known to you.
Either way, you will not find out what their plan is unless you reach out again. However, to avoid burning bridges, do not reach out to the prospect post-demo more than three times (with adequate time in between).
5. Have a consistent closing rate
Once you start closing deals for your company, a selling pattern will emerge. That will enable you to calculate the ratios of any metric vs close. For example, you may be able to assume that after giving four demos, one of them is likely to turn into a deal. Your accuracy will depend on your experience with sales in general and/or with selling the company’s product.
In the long run, a salesperson that wants to excel at their job will try to maintain the same ratio. Ideally, they will aim to improve it or bring the CAC down.
The post demo follow-up stage is tricky to master. Hopefully, with the lessons I have shared, you will be able to increase your demo to close ratio and have better relationships with new customers. Here are the key takeaways from this post:
Do not assume a deal – before the contract is signed, sealed and delivered and the money is in your bank account do not take the SQL for granted; that is how you lose on profitable deals.
Send information on the product – send the prospect presentations, pricing tables and materials mentioned in the demo; you will stay fresh in their minds and help make the decision.
Let it simmer – do not rush the prospect to make a decision because it will push them away; let them come to you when they are ready to further the relationship.
Re-engage if there was no contact from them – if the prospect does not reach out because they are busy, are waiting for you to reach out, or have potentially lost interest, then follow up; you will not know which situation it is unless you contact them.
Have a consistent closing rate – aim to have a good demo to close ratio and keep improving it over time.