By Simon Tushingham Jones, simPRO Head of UK Sales
If you are currently considering a software solution to help manage your field service business operations, you’re probably spending a lot of time researching different platforms to see what will work best for your needs. You're looking at websites, reading reviews, narrowing down your list of potential platforms, and now you're ready for a demo. This is a big step in the software buying process! As Head of UK Sales at simPRO, I work with our team of Business Development Managers on how to deliver a valuable and thorough demo. I’ve also given hundreds of software demos myself. Here are some of my top recommendations to help you get the most of the demo process.
Why it’s important to take time for a demo
Think about a software demo as your chance to check out the system in a more detailed way. In a good demo with a product expert who knows the software’s capabilities inside and out, you’ll see how you can use that software platform in your day-to-day work. It’s one thing to be enticed by the features a software platform claims to provide. It’s another thing entirely to understand how those features provide practical, useful solutions for your business. A true software demonstration is not a “trial run” where you attempt to work your way through the software with limited assistance. You want to seek out demos that provide a guided tour through software features so you get a clear understanding of your upcoming investment.
Keep in mind that a software demo should start with a consultation where the software expert asks questions about your business, your goals, and your challenges. Once they have this information, they can tailor the demo to your specific needs. This time should be all about you! Think of it this way: if the bulk of your business is commercial project work, and the demo is focused on how to handle residential service calls, then that demo wouldn't be relevant to you at all. Once we know exactly how your business operates and what you would like to solve with a new platform, we would know to show you examples of automating commercial processes in our software.
Although you’ve got a lot on your plate and probably want to make a decision quickly, you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to receive a software demo. No one wants to invest time and money in a platform, only to discover it doesn’t actually perform as you had hoped. By taking the time to receive a thorough demo, you can avoid making a poorly-informed investment.
How to properly prepare for your demo
If you want to get the most out of a software demo, I recommend that you do some preparing before you jump in:
- Invite all necessary participants: Think through who needs to be involved in the demo. Who are the stakeholders this software will impact? Will people from multiple departments use the software? Are certain staff going to be using the software more heavily than others? While you don’t need to involve every single software user in the demo process, I highly suggest including a few key members of your team.
- Think through your challenges: Maybe, you are just looking for a quick solution to make estimating faster. Maybe, your primary concern is project management. While you may have just a few specific pain points that drove you to look for software, you might be surprised by how many other processes in your business could be more efficient or streamlined. Think through other areas of your operations and ask your team about their frustrations and what process could be automated through software.
- Write down notes or questions before the demo: This is your chance to ask as many questions about the software as you can. Trust me, you don’t want to wait until the time of the demo to pull together questions in your head. Take some time and write down some of those questions you have from thinking through your challenges and needs beforehand. This is also a helpful tip for those who can’t participate in the live demo, but would like to submit some questions as well.
- Think about how many existing systems/applications are in use and how could a new platform consolidate existing working methods?
- Research what reporting criteria each division of the business requires, KPI, Commercial, Financial reporting?
What to expect in a software demo with simPRO
When myself or the team are delivering a demo, our goal is to make sure simPRO is a good fit for your business. We will always start by asking questions to clarify your needs and goals. Our simPRO software demos are NOT a pre-recorded video or a trial run. As a team of simPRO experts, we give you a detailed walk-through via video conference or on-site consultation that is tailored to your business. Covering every area of your workflow from the estimating to quoting stage all the way through the invoicing stage, we will show you how simPRO operates and the features that enhance the delivery of your work. We will walk through your pain points, and then take a deep dive into the product, showing you exactly how your business can use simPRO to reach your goals.