During one of the recruitment processes where we were looking for a Senior Business Development Manager, the topic of conversion came out in a well-known SaaS company. It turned out that BDMs have an average demo / paying customer conversion on average from 0,5% -6% inspired me to write this article. How come that the difference between BDMs is so high?

Let’s talk about conversion demo product vs paying customer. The eternal sales problem is that potential customers agree to a product demonstration, then they disappear and suddenly become unavailable. Apart from hypnosis, there is no way to force people to do what they are 100% committed to. However, I have some suggestions that can help.

Let’s start from the beginning. More than anything else, the most important part of improving conversions (number of presentations/number of customers acquired) is the exact qualification of the potential customer before the demo presentation. And here the stairs begin.

Before scheduling a live demo presentation, there should be a lead qualification process before the demo show is scheduled. Your time, like theirs, is valuable and it makes no sense to waste it on presenting a product that is of no benefit to anyone. Answer the following questions: Is your offer well-matched? Can you identify the customer needs hypothesis? What specific customer pain point can you solve?

Assuming you’ve spent time checking and qualifying potential customers, here are a few things that have proven effective in improving Demo conversions for paying customers.

1. Build value

Does your potential customer understand the value of the product offered? When service rates begin to fall, it often means that you are not building enough value in advance. If a potential customer is “bought” because you can find a solution to the problem they are experiencing, they are much more likely to keep their commitment after the demonstration.

Spend time independently researching industry trends and reading the latest news about the client’s company. Use your knowledge to create a message of true value before the demo presentation takes place. Providing value in advance signals that the representative actually cares and gives a sense of understanding of the client’s pain, which means that the prospect of positive closing after a demo period is highly likely.

 2. Get your team involved

Get your product managers involved. Sending an email to a potential customer in advance increases credibility. Use the research that your team has already conducted to outline a conversation that shows understanding of the potential customer’s needs. Include well-worded questions based on what you have learned to arouse their interest and stand out from the competition. An example from the US market, I got an e-mail a few hours ago before the presentation:

Hey Tom

For some reason, I can’t get through. We can do this through e-mail if that works for you. I just need to know four things.

1. What kind of information you are looking for? (Industry, Titles, Location, etc.)

2. I saw that your company is very active in IT recruitment industry within the EU, what kind of software features are you looking for to support your Company’s performance?

3. How many salespeople on your team? Do you use any CRMs or ATSs like Salesforce, Hubspot, ZOHO etc.?

4. What times I can schedule our call? Only need a 30-minute window, calls usually only take about 15 minutes. We are on the East Coast so I will schedule you for EST.

Appreciate your interest in ….,


Soft client qualification + gathering information to prepare well for the demo.

 3. Start telling stories early

At the beginning of the client’s journey, create a picture of success with which the potential client can identify. Tell another client’s story that matches the industry, pain point etc. So that you can imagine your own path to success. If you fail to establish a relationship between your solution and the client’s problem, investing in this process can be very difficult.

The previously worded “Customer journey” ensures that you have already gone through it with other clients and that you have the opportunity to solve their problem. It goes beyond mere value creation. This positions you as a business partner who understands the client’s business and cares about his success.

4. Do not delay the demo version

If you’re planning presentations several days in advance, it can affect conversions negatively. An informal BDM study at SaaS showed that when the demo was scheduled 2.5 days earlier, about 90% of the demonstrations took place. When the lead time was extended to 4 days, the demo rate dropped to 70%.

Planning a demo version before gives potential customers less time to forget about their involvement. It also conveys the urgent need and desire of BDM to solve the problem of a potential customer sooner than later

 5. Confirm Demo date and time with the Customer.

When planning a demo with a customer, make sure and repeat the time and date and get confirmation. Let them know that you value your time as much as yours. This is a good time to repeat the customer’s relevant travel history (see section 3 above) and ensure that you show them how your product can solve their pain.

It doesn’t have to be deadly serious – you’re not trying to get them to date. Use a bit of humour to help implement the idea they want to show. Here is an example:

BDM: Hey Rob. I just want to confirm that we will be able to start the presentation tomorrow at 16:00.

Prospect: It still works for me.

BDM: Amazing. I added my Senior Implementation Consultant to this invitation. She was a key player in customer history that we discussed earlier. I think her insight into your particular situation will add a lot of value to you.

Prospect: OK, thank you.

 Let’s be honest.

We can’t change human nature. There is no certainty in life. It is likely that potential customers will still not show up from time to time. However, keep these guidelines in mind when you plan your next demo version and I hope that these tips will help you with the individual conversion from lead to paying customer. Good luck!

Fast Forward Solutions specializes in recruitment services in the area of International Sales & Digital Marketing, mainly for Clients from the IT sector. Our rigorous and proven methodology combines role profiling, executive search and assessment of candidates, complemented by consultancy services. We provide guaranteed results and quickly reach the best talents available on the market, thanks to which every organization cooperating with us will be able to increase sales, reduce operating costs and improve human resource efficiency, company valuation and investors confidence. Tom Bożyczko is an experienced sales leader, president and founder of FFS