Software Sales Tips by Matt Wolach

Sales Tips

How Long Should My Demo Be?


In the world of software sales, the art of delivering an effective demo is crucial. Potential clients want to see your software’s value to their business, and a well-executed demo can make all the difference. A common question arises: “How long should a software demo be?” In this new sales tip, we’ll dive into the factors determining the best demo length and provide insights on balancing engagement and efficiency.

Matching Software Demo Length to Your Business Type

The first consideration when determining the duration of your software demo is the nature of your business and the type of customers you’re targeting. The demo length should align with your software’s complexity and its value. If your software caters to small, low-ticket customers, a lengthy demo might not be appropriate. Conversely, a brief demo might not effectively communicate the software’s capabilities if you target larger enterprises with intricate solutions.

Avoid the Pitfall of Overly Short Demos

A common mistake in the software demo process is demos that need to be longer. While the intention might be to respect the potential buyer’s time, an excessively brief demo could fail to convey the total value of your product. Insufficient time for discovery—the process of understanding the buyer’s needs, pain points, and challenges—can lead to missed opportunities.

The Power of Discovery

Discovery is a critical component of the software demo process. It’s not just about identifying a good fit; it’s about understanding the buyer’s pain points, connecting with them, and showcasing your expertise. A rushed discovery phase can result in a deeper understanding of the buyer’s needs, leading to a less impactful demo. Demos that are only 10 to 15 minutes long likely need more depth for effective discovery.

Striking the Right Balance

What is the right length for a software demo? A demo that falls in the 15 to 20-minute range is a good starting point. However, this range should include a substantial discovery phase. In cases where discovery takes longer due to the complexity of the software or the prospect’s needs, splitting the discovery and demo portions into separate calls can be a strategic move.

When to Split or Combine

The decision to split or combine discovery and demo depends on your specific circumstances. If your discovery process is lengthy, splitting the calls can prevent overwhelming the buyer. On the other hand, if your software and target audience allows for it, combining the two can create a seamless experience.

Final Tips for Your Demos

In the world of software demos, striking the right balance between time and impact is critical. While you want to avoid boring potential clients with an overly long presentation, you want to make sure you get valuable discovery time. 

By tailoring the demo length to your business type and understanding the importance of thorough discovery, you can create compelling demos that resonate with your audience. 

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer—each software solution and target market will have unique requirements. The key is finding the sweet spot that effectively showcases your software’s value while respecting your prospect’s time.