software demo, trial software, try before buy software, b2b marketing mix

Do you demo software?

Estimated reading time: 3 min

At first glance this may seem a somewhat naïve question – why wouldn’t you want to see how software works before buying?

If you work in B2B marketing for software brands, you will know how few people actually demo software. So is offering a demo still a valid part of the marketing mix?

This article was prompted by a survey I did which asked the question illustrated below. Did you request a demo from sales. And it made me realise that I had not done that for some time.

software demo, trial software, try before buy software, b2b marketing mix

A survey asking about demos for software

Should marketers stop doing demos?

The quick answer is… it depends.

Your customer journey determines where and how a demonstration of the functionality of the software is appropriate. And if you haven’t reviewed your customer journey recently, I recommend doing this.

Customers change – behaviours alter and marketers need to stay up to date with current trends.

What replaces a demo?

Lots of B2B Marketing collateral is designed to answer questions and showcase software features. Prospective customers may find that they get all the answers they need from your videos, or blog posts. Have you found any recent customers who bought without a demo? Go and interview them about why and how their purchase decision was made.

Listeners to the State of Demand Gen podcast will be no stranger to the concept that forcing customers into a “pipeline” whose course is determined by the brand, rather than the prospect, is a surefire killer of sales leads.

The thesis that you let the prospect push themselves along their discovery pathway at a speed that is appropriate for them, is the best way to close more business. This thesis does depend on you having a strong brand presence in the target audience’s “line of sight”. And for that to happen, your brand needs to have already been active in marketing both above-the-line and below-the-line for some time in all the channels which could be relevant to your audience.

This isn’t an impossibility to achieve within a few months but as we all know, SEO rewards incumbent brands more than newcomers and so sometimes innovative (and manual) approaches are needed to start brand building with a new audience. Contact me for a case study of brand building for a startup.

Talk to me

No, I’m not breaking the rule of letting the customer set the pace by pushing for you to get in touch with me! When you are ready you’ll reach out.

In the meantime, consider the following aspects of B2B software marketing – and if you aren’t fully confident you have got them covered, or know how to produce, manage and measure them, then maybe pick up the phone to me.

  • Brand positioning – who is this software for?
  • Why it’s different from competitors
  • Benefits of using the software
  • Type of customer who uses or needs the software
  • Answers to all the frequently asked questions
  • Examples of happy customers
  • A range of ways to get in touch with the company
  • Social media outreach to places customers hang out
  • Dark social ways to share information with your friends about the software
  • A diverse range of above the line brand building campaigns
  • A diverse range of below the line direct marketing campaigns
  • Ambassadors, influencers and happy customers who talk about using the software

And why did I find writing that list so cathartic? I’m doing a training course on B2B marketing for SMEs and this will form the core of what I’ll be teaching. Sign up for Small Business Marketing 2022 – Foundations and Best Practice if you want to join in September.


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.