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How to do a killer demo to a Gartner analyst – secrets from the trenches

by Gorka Sadowski  |  May 5, 2020  |  Submit a Comment

OK, so you are a vendor, and you are preparing a demo for a Gartner analyst.

In addition to the very valuable Gartner blog posts on the topic of Vendor Briefings, here are some tips that you can use to make the most out of your demo.  Seriously, if you haven’t read those previous blogs, stop right now and have a look at them. Then you can come back. We’ll wait for you, I promise. Here are some of them —

Let’s start with the basics. You’re showing Gartner analysts your demo, but your demo should be designed to show your prospects (who we talk with every day) how you help them. In fact, for the purpose of this exercise, “ME” = your end-client, and specifically the persona that you are selling to.

A demo is a unique opportunity to tell YOUR story and make an impact. The goal is not to be exhaustive however. You have limited time, so carefully select the few topics you want to focus on. In fact, which ones you select, and how you demonstrate them will actually shed light on what is important to you. Also, the goal is not to do a video FAQ with all sentences starting by “and this screen is used to ”. This is not about your screens, or your product/service, remember that this is about helping “me”. Read on….

Before you start, think about the audience, and think about your goal and intentions. What are you trying to achieve? Impress the analyst? Demonstrate your technical expertise, your understanding of the market, your partnership integrations, your use case coverage, all of the above? Pay close attention to your time as you’ll often have no more than 30 minutes, and you need to leave time for questions.

This is how to do a killer demo in less than an hour, to a Gartner analyst, or even to a client. You can use this basis for a longer or shorter demo.  Firstly, again think about your audience and their problem, and define your intentions. You should be able to narrow your audience all the way to a specific persona (“me”). Talk about problems that you address (the “why”) and “how” you can uniquely help our collective clients. Remember a key reason why analysts do briefings is so we can figure out how to help our clients. Our clients are also, funnily enough, your potential clients too.

Let’s walk through an example.

Audience: Gartner analyst (wearing hat of an end-client)

Goal: Via a demonstration, show that your product or service can solve problems for users and ideally do it better/cheaper/faster than your competition.

Approach: First, define your audience and persona (hint — align that to the buying centers in your client/prospects), and develop a script for “Day in the life of <xxx persona> where their current environment doesn’t address/solve <a problem>, whereas our product/service comes and saves the day”

How: Put “me” in-situ. Start the briefing with “Today you are a <xxx persona> and your job is to <xxx>. You have a current environment with <tech stack> yet <this problem that is central to your job> is taking place and your current environment doesn’t address/solve it because <xxx> <This> is where your existing environment is deficient, and <why> our competitors are ineffective. <This> is what your problem looks like in our product/service.  As the user, this is <how> you address the problem.  Look how nice!! And this is <how> you work on the problem, <this> is the ideal/a great workflow, and <how> our tool <uniquely> supports that workflow. Finally, <this> is how you come to the resolution of the problem and become the hero of the organization.”

It’s simple really – assume and mirror “my” life, feel empathy for my current situation, acknowledge my pain, and in doing so, articulate the “why”. Then take every opportunity to show “how” your product/service will solve “my” problem, privileging what other competitors can’t do to help my job.  Carefully select your persona and audience, and calibrate your intentions. Stick to that, no more.

Bonus point if you finish fashionably early and leave time for Q&A. At the very least, aim to finish on time. Fail if you don’t finish on time, and mega fail if we hear you just talk faster as time runs out, that’s cheating!! 🙂

Some DO’s:

  • Focus – start on time, and keep civilities to a minimum. We have lots to cover, and little time to do it.
  • Tell a story that talks to “me”, a.k.a. the buying center for your product/service.
  • Take a narrative approach. Put “me” in-situ, project yourself into my job and work environment, and talk to me, walk me through it, show me!!
  • Focus on your value proposition and unique differentiators, in fact use any opportunity to reiterate your value proposition.
  • Try to start all your sentence with “And this is why/how you…”
  • Avoid bashing competitors, but if you cannot finish all your sentences by “and btw only our tool can do that, no other competitor can”, then maybe you want to rethink your sentence.
  • Expect questions beyond the demo, regardless of the market, around how your licensing works, pricing, deal sizes, number of clients, etc. Other questions might seem unrelated, but this helps us understand you, your market and your place in it.
  • Bring it back together at the end, and hammer select key points one last time.
  • Use a demo environment that is appropriate (no customer confidential data for example please…), and that the presenter knows well (no fumbling on empty dashboards please…).
  • Finish on time.

Some DON’Ts:

  • NEVER use any customer confidential data in any of your demo to anybody.  Just don’t.
  • Waste too much time introducing each participant with a long bio, but rather keep it to the point of why that person is in the demo.
  • Confuse demo and video FAQ.
  • Waste too much time talking about the base issue. For example, as a security analyst, we know about the threat landscape, and that <threat> is real. This could be good for an end-client, but probably unnecessary for an analyst, unless you have demonstrably powerful and unique supporting context data.
  • Waste valuable time showing what all products/services can do, unless yours does it disruptably better.
  • Defocus and muddy your value proposition by showing “cool” yet distracting things that are not critical to “my” job.
  • Start any sentence with “and this is the screen used to…”. This is the sign of a demo that is vendor-focused rather than persona-focused.
  • Crash and burn mid-sentence because the audience needs to leave with a hard stop, but rather plan whatever time you have left to hit the most important points, and/or bring it back together.
  • Talk faster as you run out of time!!

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Tags: demonstration  analyst  demo  tips  vendor-briefing  

Gorka Sadowski
Sr Director Analyst I
3 years at Gartner
25 years IT Industry

Gorka Sadowski is a Senior Director Analyst in Security Operations for IT Leaders. Mr. Sadowski helps clients improve their capabilities in the areas of threat detection and response, covering People, Process Technologies -- SOC, TDR, MDR, TH, SIEM, UEBA, SOAR and Deception, with a focus on Cloud transformations.Read Full Bio




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