How To Double Your Demo Close Rate With Matt Wolach

On this week’s episode of Digital Conversations, Billy Bateman is joined by Matt Wolach of Xsellus, who walks us through how to optimize the product demo experience for the buyer and the seller. Matt is a B2B sales coach at Xsellus, where he works with growth-minded companies on crafting their sales processes and product demo strategy. Connect with him on LinkedIn here!

Listening Platforms:


Billy: Alright, everyone, welcome to the show today. I’m your host, Billy Bateman. And today I’m joined by Matt Wolach. Matt, how you doing?

Matt: Great Billy. How you doing today?

Billy: I’m doing good man, I’m excited for this conversation, we’re going to talk about secrets for a great software demo. But before we get into that, Matt, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself?

B2B Product Demos

Matt: Yeah, for sure. I’ve been in software for a long time, been in SAS for about 15 years now. And when I first got into it, I thought I knew everything and thought I was gonna be a rising superstar, and I fell flat on my face, I really couldn’t do anything. I was, we created a product and of the team of three that built the product, it was up to me to sell it and market it. Nothing happened for a while. And it was very frustrating. And I got a little down on myself, to be honest with you Billy, and really was wondering why I couldn’t figure it out. But eventually put things together and started to put a plan together and created a process, what I call the perfect deal process, put that in play.

And all of a sudden it started working, it clicked, we were able to grow, we’re able to start signing some deals, and we eventually started growing exponentially. It worked out really, really well and got our investment that we needed to be able to scale even further. And from there, we sold, we exited really nicely. So I did that at a couple other companies to similar success.

And now what I do, is I basically want to make sure that instead of being captive with one company, and just working with people there and seeing them grow and flourish, I want to work with a lot of companies. So I work with software companies around the world to help them understand how to sell their software, how to get their word out there and make sure that they’re closing enough deals so that they can achieve scale so they can achieve outstanding results to be able to reach their hopes and dreams. Awesome, man.

Billy: Congratulations on the exit. Everybody’s always working for that. So that’s, that’s good. So, before we hop into it, into your perfect demo, I’ve got one more question. If we’re gonna look you up on social and try to figure out who Matt is and, and what he likes, what he doesn’t like, or what he’s into? What’s something by looking at your social profiles, we would know about you.

Matt: That’s a good one, I think on my social profiles, you’ll see plenty of what I care about, including my family. And we like to travel quite a bit, or at least we did for all this craziness. And so you’ll see plenty of that. But I think one thing maybe you won’t see is that I really love to cook. And I really enjoy it. I try to look up new recipes, I try to figure out how am I going to cook something like this, I try to tweak with things. It’s a lot of fun.

It’s something that I didn’t really have the desire to do when I was younger, but now with a family and I’ve got people to cook for, it’s definitely a lot of fun to come up with some good things and see some smiling faces after I deliver.

Billy: Great man, what’s your favorite? What’s your go to? What’s your favorite thing to cook?

Matt: Well, I have a little Italian blood and always been an Italian guy. So pasta is definitely my thing. And that sounds, that’s I know, that’s like a cop out. It’s like the easiest thing you can make extra cereal. But I have a dish that I made up it’s a creamy garlic parmesan pasta with bow ties, and chicken, it’s got some spinach, some mushrooms, some shallots and some bacon and it is hit at our family. It’s really really fun, creamy comfort food for sure.

Billy: Dude count me in for that sounds good.

Matt: Come on over.

Billy: I will I will. Okay, man, well, let’s get into it. So before we even really hop into it, I’ve got a couple questions. And so one is, we’ve all been through demos, a lot of us have been the one giving the demo. And you know, sometimes like you’re giving a demo and you’re like, this is not going well. Even when you’re the recipient, you’re like why did they think this was a good idea. But what do you think makes the difference between a good demo and a bad demo?

Matt: Yeah, I mean, that’s a great point, Billy, because it’s it is something that you kind of can recognize and see. But if you’re planning and trying to actually be the one delivering a demo, it’s not so easy to know what to do. And a lot of people when they come to me, they just say I don’t know what I don’t know. And that’s very often the case. Because when you’re starting a company and you set up a new software and you’re really excited, you’ve probably built out a really good product, you probably put a lot of effort, you know that this is going to be something the market wants, you probably even set up your marketing really well and created a good avenue for people to come to you and become aware of you.

Maybe you’ve been smart and got ChatFunnels set up so that you can make sure that you’re converting off of your website into demos. Yeah, however, you probably forgot about sales. And most people just say, hey, we gotta get, we gotta get leads, gotta get leads. Then once the lead comes in, and people say, Okay, I’m interested, once you got, most of the time, what happens is there hasn’t been any process put in play, and we haven’t developed a proper demo.

And what usually happens, is the founder or somebody like that will just basically throw up their product all over the prospect. And it’s not a good scene, and it doesn’t go well, it feels bad when you’re doing it, it feels really bad when you’re receiving that. If you’ve been there.

Billy: I’ve been there, I’ve been there.

Matt: And so really, people start to realize, hey, if we’re gonna spend all this time building out an amazing product for him spend all this time and money on marketing and getting leads, let’s make sure we put equal amount of time into converting those leads once we have them. And I think once people realize that, they start to say, hey, how can we do that best? Well, the number one thing, according to many, many studies, and especially, I have a podcast myself Billy, and on that podcast, I had a software buyer, a professional software buyer named Chad Stewart, all he does is have big companies purchase his services to go out and buy software for them.

B2B Product Demos

And so he, all he does is buy software all day every day. And so it’s really interesting for me being a career software salesperson, software founder, who I usually sit across from this guy, the buyer, but this time we were having a great conversation on the show. He mentioned that the number one thing that influences the software buying decision is the demo. And it felt great to me because that’s what I always thought, but I never had any data behind it.

He had data and he has his surveys with his customers. That demo has got to be absolutely just right, it’s got to know how to how to extract emotions from your buyers, how to make sure that they feel a need for the product once they get done with that presentation. Not just something like oh, that’s how it works. Okay, that’s nice. So there is definitely some power in how you can create it. What we’ve done, Billy is we’ve kind of figured out that there’s three main pieces to a good demo.

And those three parts are you need structure, you need the content, and you need to delivery, if you can do those three things, you’re going to have a really successful demo. And if you think about it, if you only have even two of those, sometimes people don’t have any, sometimes they have one. But even if you still have two, sometimes two out of three isn’t bad. But here, it actually isn’t good.

If you think about structure, content and delivery. Well, if you only have structure and content, but no delivery, it’s going to be pretty boring. And if you only have content and delivery, but no structure, it’s going to be chaotic. And if you have structure and delivery, but there’s no content, it’s going to be very empty, and people will walk away wondering what happened. So really what we try to do, and I work with software companies all over the place. And we try to make sure that we set up that demo process so that they do have structure, they have great content that fills it. And they have the delivery, the ability to be able to present it so that buyers walk out and say, this is something that I absolutely need, we need to make it happen.

Billy: Okay, okay. Now, so let’s dig in a little bit on the structure, the content delivery. So when you’re structuring a demo, I mean, I’m sure every company that you work with, it’s a little bit different on the structure, but there’s also got to be some common themes on are we doing like, hey, here is our company, and this is why we’re so great. And then we get into who you are and why we’re a perfect fit. And then let me show you the tools and what we can do, like, how do you usually structure a good demo?

Matt: It’s a great question. And so, one of the things that actually happens far too often is that the salesperson talks about themselves and their company way too much. The best way to structure a demo is to be very, very customer focused. Okay, the idea being that and you’re right, there are a lot of variations, but amongst the different variations, it should still have the same idea, the same theme. Because you could have a discovery call that’s separate from the actual demo presentation.

You could have them together discovery first, then you go right into the demo. And so there’s a few different ways you can do it. But regardless, you should be absolutely doing discovery, to learn about your buyers. And discovery, there’s a few reasons why you want to do that. One, of course, you need to understand if there is pain, you need to know, hey, do they even have a need for our solution?

Is there a pain point there that we can help them with? And to do they recognize the pain because sometimes they have pain, but they don’t know it. They just think, oh, that’s just part of our daily job. Of course, we have Mary who spend seven hours a day typing this stuff out. They don’t know. They just think that’s how it works. So sometimes it’s up to you to help them identify the pain. Then you also have to go the next step.

And a lot of people never get to this step, even experienced salespeople, is the next step is once you’ve identified the pain, once you’ve gotten them to identify the pain, now you need to make sure that they know how bad the pain is. And so the way I teach it to our clients, is think about somebody who has a knife in their gut. They might be walking along and they don’t realize there’s a knife. Hey, you have a knife in your gut.

Oh, yeah so I do. Oh, well, it’s okay. I’m alright, we’ve been doing it. I’ve been, I’ve been managing for this long with that knife. So I’m alright. Well, actually, that’s pretty bad. So the way to do it is a normal sane person, they’d want to pull the knife out, they’d want to say, Hey, I got to take care of you. And to complete the analogy, that was that would be when a software person would say, Okay, you’ve got pain, you saw you had pain. Let’s do the demo, and I’ll show you how you can remove that knife.

But the more effective way to do it, is to actually twist the knife, and it sounds sadistic and evil. But in the software world, this is exactly what you have to do. You have to twist the knife to make sure that they understand the pain, they understand the gravity of not doing something about it.

And once you twist that knife, and they say, oh, wow, that hurts. That’s when you’re able to step in with your demo and be able to solve their problem for them and say, Oh, don’t worry, I’m going to take it out. You just have this and you’re good to go. And so twisting the knife is critically important, the way to do it is really dive into certain things. When you find the pain when they recognize the pain, don’t just say okay, good, they got it. Say, oh, what has that cost you?

What has that meant? How has what other projects have you not been able to do? Because of that? How much money have you guys lost by having Mary spend seven hours a day on something you could not have to do? And so twisting the knife really, really gets your prospect ready for a solution?

Billy: Awesome. That makes sense.

Okay, so besides not twisting the knife, what are some of the common mistakes software sales people are making in their demos?

Matt: So that’s just that. So going back to what I said before, the number one thing is they just focus on their company way too much. And I do what one of the things that I do to help my clients, I do what’s called a sales audit, or a sales process audit. And essentially, it’s kind of fun, I mystery shop my clients. The execs hire me to be a fake buyer. And I go and submit on their website. And I go through their forums, and I wait for the calls to come in. I masquerade as if I’m actually looking at the product.

And I go through the sales calls, I go through the demos, and almost always the discovery tends to be very short. They just asked me one or two questions. As soon as I say, Oh, yeah, we’re thinking about this, or we’re looking into this. And I don’t even get very deep on my pain, the salesperson immediately jumps on me and starts going on and on about how their solution is going to solve everything.

And he goes on and on about anything that I might not even have mentioned. So it’s not really associated to me. The much better approach Billy would be to really understand everything you can about your prospect and really understand what makes them tick. What are their pain points, what are their goals? What are they trying to achieve? Because of course, you want to know what you can use to be able to get them a solution that’s going to help you want to be able to help, you got to make sure they’re qualified to you want to make sure this is somebody who you as a company want to work with and want to move forward with want to have as part of your customer base.

And often what they do is they just run right into telling me all about all the awards their company has won and all the customers that they have. And none of that really appeals to me as a buyer. I need to know how I’m going to solve my problem.

Billy: Yeah, dude. I couldn’t agree more. I sat through a demo earlier this week. Where it was like, yep, we’re the greatest. This is why. I think they probably asked two questions about us. And I was pretty disengaged by the time we got to like let’s talk pricing.

Matt: It’s definitely a killer, that’s for sure. In too many salespeople, and companies just don’t realize it.

Billy: Yeah. Well, anything else? Besides we’re short on Discovery. We just want you to why we’re so great. Anything else that you see is a common mistake?

Matt: Well, the thing that piggybacks off of that. So let me maybe back up a little bit explain, I mentioned earlier that I created the perfect deal process. And so maybe explaining that might help everybody. So when you look at the phrase written out deal, is all caps, because it’s an acronym. So what it means is, you really need four pieces to a great sales process. And, of course, the demo in particular. So the D for deal, that means discovery, you have to do a great discovery. And we really go deep with our clients on exactly how to do every piece of that discovery. So you really have the prospect ready for your solution.

B2B Product Demos

Then they E in deal is educate, you need to understand how to educate them. Part of that is showing your expertise demonstrating your expertise, which can happen through the great questions you ask, and diving into answers that shows you know what you’re talking about. Part of it is educating them on something that’s happening in the industry. Something that’s going on in education piece for ChatFunnels could be, hey, people are busier than ever, they don’t have time to call, they don’t have time to send an email, they just want to really quickly chat on a website and get their answer and figure something out.

And because of that, companies that don’t have ChatFunnels are losing, they’re losing visits, they’re losing traffic, and they’re not able to solve any problems, or getting any business from those people who need their problems solved. And so that’s kind of what we want to do is come up with some sort of industry shift that or cultural shift, that means there’s people losing, there’s companies that are not doing well. So let’s educate them on that. So that now they’re ready for our solution. Because they say, well, I don’t want to be one of those losers. So that’s the E, educate. A is Associate. And this is where I was going with this when you asked what else do they do or not do.

A for associate means you need to associate your product, your solution to what you discovered, and what you’ve educated them on, both the D and the E. So based on the fact that you know, you’ve learned this, you’ve learned that and you’ve taught them this, now they’re ready, if you can take your IT solution and not go through all the every features and bells and whistles that you possibly have, but really isolate and say remember, you said that you have this problem and you’re lacking efficiency and Mary’s spending seven hours on this? Well, guess what, look at this one feature right here, this is going to solve those problems, and Mary will only have to spend 20 minutes instead of seven hours.

And that’s where you can associate your solution to exactly what they have going on to their problem. And that’s super, super powerful. Then the last part, that’s where the L comes into play, that’s lead. With lead, you’re going to be able to lead the conversation all the way through, you’re taking control, you’re the one guiding the process. This is another really bad one that happens, Billy is that salespeople, they don’t take the lead. They’re just like, Well, what do you want to do today? Well, I don’t know, it’s your process. It’s your demo. I’ve never gone through this. And that’s why I tell my clients, they say well, what if it’s like a big Fortune 100 company that I’m talking to?

Like how many times they’ve been through your process? Well, this is the first time. Okay, great. How many times have you done your process? Like 100. Okay, so who knows the process better. And so you need to be the one to take control, you need to lead the conversation. And when you do, they’re going to follow regardless of the size, regardless of the role of that person in their company. They want you to lead. So lead, and that’s the perfect deal process.

Billy: Makes sense. Okay. I like it. If everybody did that, I think we’d all enjoy demos a little bit more.

Matt: Very true.

Billy: Okay. So along those lines, how long do you think a demo should take? Because I mean, everyone’s a little different. I get invites for sometimes 15 minutes for like a very simple product. Other times, they’re scheduling an hour on my calendar, which seems a little long. But what do you think ideal length is?

Matt: It really depends on the product, it depends on the market. A lot of times if you have a very complex product, it can take a while. Now, ideally, I would want to break that up into different sessions. Okay. and you can, you can actually, if you have a very complex product, you can actually get some sales benefit of breaking it up. And you can say, Hey, we’re going to book first of all, you’d want to do your discovery separate have that call by itself, then you want to do session one.

Now guess what, each time you booked another session, each time they actually show up, the biggest thing there is it shows they’re committed, they see that this is a possibility. They see that this is something that can solve their problem. So you know that they’re further down the process. They’re further down the pipeline, if they keep showing up to successive meetings and demos. So that’s, that’s one thing that really helps.

But just to answer your question, generally, if you’re going to have discovery as part of your demo, I usually recommend around 45 minutes. It’s 10-15 minutes for discovery, if you’re really going to dive in. When you get those 15 minute demo calls, usually you’re doing hardly any discovery at all, and they’re not personalizing it to you, they just know that their demo takes 13 minutes, they’re going to greet you for one minute, they’re going to do the demo, they’re gonna ask if there’s any questions on the back end, and it’s over.

So that’s not an ideal, it might as well just send you a video, it’s not personalized, it’s not the right way to do it. The best way to do it to personalize, really understand them in discovery 10-15 minutes, do some education, explain a little bit about what’s going on in the industry to kind of show you know what you’re talking about. And it shows that you’re more consultative, you’re an advisor, as opposed to somebody who’s just selling to them.

Do that for three to five minutes. And then you can do the actual presentation, the what we call the associate section, where you’re presenting your product. That would be somewhere between 15 to 20 minutes, and then some questions at the end for five minutes. That usually is a very good structure where the prospect will not feel overwhelmed. And it gets you an opportunity to get everything in.

Billy: Awesome. So let me ask you this. Do you have any, any data around what percentage of demos are leading to ultimate closed business? in the industry today?

Matt: It is all over the map. I had a company where we were closing on average about 60% of our demos, which is really, really good. It was, it was great. And so if you had a sales rep who’s closing it 40 or 45%, you would want to look at that and say What’s wrong? There’s other companies that they’re ecstatic with 25%. If you had a sales rep doing 40, or 45%, you’d be thrilled, they’d be Employee of the Year. And so it really, really matters.

It matters on the product, it matters on the industry, the market, there’s all kinds of factors, what we do, we try to at least aim for 20%, if you can close 20%, you’re at least not horrible at what you do. You at least have an idea that you’re what you’re able to do, you’re able to solve some problems.

B2B Product Demos

Because if you think about it, if you’ve got a certain amount of competitors, and there are more software competitors now than there ever have been, it’s much easier to develop a product than it is to find buyers these days. It used to be in the old days, there weren’t enough software companies. So if you develop something, people would come to you and say, Hey, this is the solution I need, let’s go, it was a bit easier to get things done. These days, there’s a lot of competition.

So if you’re closing at 20%, and think you’ve got 10 different products against you in the market, well, that’s still you’re better than average. And that even factors in the fact that many, many buyers actually make no decision at all, there’s all kinds of stats between 50 and 80% of the buyers never actually decide on anything, which is kind of scary. But if you’re closing at 20%, at least you’re overcoming that, you’re overcoming the rest of the competition. But the more you can, you can get that up to closer to 30. Now you’re going to start to see some economies of scale and be able to scale that with more reps, more marketing and start to make some things happen.

Billy: Okay, awesome. So I’ve got one more question for you before I let you go. And this is more more of a philosophical question around sales in general than just the demos. But often sales doesn’t feel they fit in with the company, and the company doesn’t necessarily fit, see that sales is fitting in with them. What do you think the best way for sales to fit in with the rest of the company is?

Matt: Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question, Billy. Because it does happen quite a bit, where sales kind of themselves, feel isolated. I’ve been on many sales teams and felt that, and everyone else kind of feels like sales is off doing their own thing. And they get a little upset about that. And I’ve seen that happen as well.

So it’s really critically important to make sure that the sales team feels like they’re part of the rest of the company, and the rest of the company feels like sales is alongside them. And everybody’s kind of pushing the flywheel the same way like Jim Collins used to say. So one of the things is to I think there’s two different pieces to this. One is the actual business side and one’s kind of more of the personal side. And so on the business side, you need to make sure to remove those silos, make sure that everyone along the buyer journey is speaking the same language, make sure marketing and sales are interacting often, that sales knows what marketing is doing.

Marketing knows what sales is doing with the leads that they’re bringing in. Make sure that customer support or onboarding the next step is also communicating very well with sales, so that everybody who’s talking to the customer is speaking the same language with the same verbiage, the same terminology and everybody knows along the way, what’s going on. So frequent meetings between the teams as a whole is good, between the leaders of the teams. Very important. I know everybody hates frequent meetings, but at least weekly, you need to have the leaders communicating for at least 30 minutes.

And I like it, maybe bi-weekly, sometimes even monthly. Having all team meetings, merging multiple teams together, marketing and sales or marketing, sales and customer support. All of that is really good. But then you also have the other part where you know, sales, they get to go to conferences, and they’re eating cool dinners and having drinks and taking clients out golfing and all those things that sales people enjoy about that the job that can be tough most of the time.

And everybody else looks at that and it gets a little steamy. So I think having some events where you mix teams and getting multiple teams together. I like it when you go out and do a company event that if you’re going to go bowling, or you go to an escape room or something, you purposefully mix teams, you don’t let people pick their own teams, because generally they’re going to want to kind of mingle with their own people from their own teams. And so I like mixing the teams, and that usually creates a much better cohesion amongst everybody.

Billy: Yeah, no, that makes sense. That makes sense. We recently did a company event, we’re not huge, but we just mixed everybody up. We went to Moab did some Jeeping. And everyone sat with everyone they don’t sit next to every day. And I felt like it was a great way for us to just mix it up. Get everybody on the same page get some new friendships going. I think it’s the same with sales. You got to make sure everybody is talking all the time. That makes a lot of sense. So, hey, Matt. Well, I appreciate it. If people want to reach out to you and continue the conversation, what’s the best way for them to contact you?

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. LinkedIn is probably the best. Follow me on LinkedIn. I post almost every day. So that makes it pretty easy. It’s Matt Wolach. That’s probably the best way if you want to connect with me and message me. I’ll be happy to chat.

Billy: Ok, man. Thank you and we’ll chat later.