10 customer discovery questions for Sales Engineers before showing a product demo

Sales Engineers present product demos all the time in conference rooms, trade shows, over online meetings, webinars and so on. It is one of the early activity in enterprise sales cycle. Demo is the powerful weapon that all SEs have in their arsenal and they can make or break a deal with the right demo. A good demo can take an early opportunity to more engaging activities such as Proof of Concepts (aka technical evaluation), or in some cases it can even help in closing the deal (depending on the product and situation).

What is the purpose of a demo

“Help customer understand that product is the best fit for solving customer’s pain points”

Once product demo delivers the right message to customer, it automatically has positive effect on sales deal.

Customer Discovery

In order to deliver a powerful demo, Sales Engineers would need to know what problem customer has. So, even before customer demo is done, it is important to do a thorough customer discovery.

The answer of these 10 questions will help in running effective discovery process:

  1. What does customer do?
  2. What are the roles of people in your audience?
  3. how much does this customer fit to the ideal customer persona?
  4. Are you talking to the right audience?
  5. What are your customer pain points?
  6. How aware your customer is about the problem statement that your product solves?
  7. What could be the direct or indirect reason causing those pain points?
  8. What is the information appetite of your audience?
  9. How is customer managing these challenges without your product?
  10. Have they looked into other solutions similar to yours?

Once you have deep understanding of your customer’s challenges & appetite for information, the product can do wonders and delight customer with right amount of knowledge.

Finally, at the end of your discovery questions, try to map your demo story to customer’s problem statement. If you see gaps, then ask more questions.

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Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash

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