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A New Way to Approach Sales Demos, with Zvi Guterman [Episode 799]

Zvi Guterman, the founder and CEO of CloudShare, joins me for a conversation about why traditional sales demos haven’t kept pace with the demands and requirements of buyers. We talk about how buyers were changing even before the pandemic. And we’ll dig into the idea of the enabled and empowered buyer, and how sellers can reduce the friction associated with demos and proofs of concept.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul: Welcome to the show.

Zvi Guterman: Wonderful to be here. Thank you for having me

Andy Paul: It’s a pleasure. So where are you sheltering in place?

Zvi Guterman: San Francisco, California.

Andy Paul: San Francisco, California. So do you have kids at home?

Zvi Guterman: Yes. Yes. Two, two young ones. And they actually doing quite well as, as many of them. the zoom is working for them.

Andy Paul: And are they school?

Zvi Guterman: Yes. Yes. Eight and 11.

Andy Paul: Eight and 11. Okay. So doing the online learning and, and are they learning anything?

Zvi Guterman: I hope so. Yeah, they adjusting. And I think we were fortunate that, we’ll still be able to do daily hikes, mostly my wife and the kids, which is nice on the neighborhood. So they do the daily hike, which is nice for an hour and they do some gardening, in the backyard. We tried to focus on them, staying healthy, enjoying, being optimistic, like everyone else. And focusing mostly on the reading and math, I would say-

Andy Paul: And so do you live close to golden gate park? Is that where you go hiking or-

Zvi Guterman: No, we actually live, in Marin County, just North of San Francisco.

Andy Paul: Okay. Okay. Well that’s all right. There you go. So you’re actually, yeah, you’re not right in the heart of the city. More space, spread out. That’s fine. That’s good.

Zvi Guterman: Yes.

Andy Paul: Yeah, wish we had that we’re in middle of Manhattan, with no space. So-

Zvi Guterman: That’s challenging.

Andy Paul: We did walk up to central park, with our masks and everything, a week and a half ago. And that was, that was fun. That was nice to have a big green space. And it was a beautiful spring day. So, we do try to get out every day and do walks too, but yeah, it’d be nice to have some- it’s mostly cement covered as opposed to grass. So it’d be nice to have more grass. All right. So for people who aren’t familiar with CloudShare the company you found and your CEO of, tell us what you guys do.

Zvi Guterman: Sure. So we provide business acceleration cloud. This is a cloud solution that allow companies to want the sales enablement, the IT training, their support and QA as a service in cloudshare.com. It’s a turnkey solution. Very similar to an ELP or CRM or LMS that provide business professionals the entire solution. Again, everything for control management to auditing and empowering teams to work online.

Andy Paul: Right. So you talked about from the sales enablement space and what your sort of focus on. It seems like is that’s the sort of virtualized demos and proof of concepts. So tell us how you do that.

Zvi Guterman: Sure. So we run on top of the public cloud or on a cloud, and we actually manage the different products that the company may have. Most of our customers are software vendors, of course, and we allow them to put the products the same way they would do for it. They will all demo proof of concept, proof of value or whatever you name it.

And from that moment, we actually take control and we allow you to say, Oh, I need 15 demos for tomorrow. I need to start a two week PLC. I have a channel in Germany that needs demos. I need some, some huge event. It used to be physical now with talking about, but, I want to empower 10,000 people tomorrow and we do all of that from a central, management, you know, application in our service.

And of course we allow the sales leaders to get better control and visibility to what’s going on with their business.

Andy Paul: So in the case, you’re talking about like a large number of people at an event or a virtual event is the ability to do sort of self-guided demonstrations or autonomous demonstrations of a product.

Zvi Guterman: It can go to individuals, self service, it can be guided with a sales engineer or with a sales person. The focus is on the hands on experience. What we deliver is this hands on experience. The fact that not only you can do the zoom or slides, but you take the prospect or the customer to an engagement, to hands on experience.

You want to show them your firewall, your health IT product, your database, beyond the slides, beyond the initial marketing collateral into the hands on. You want to show why your product is superior, or you want to handle some objections. And we handle all of these interactions.

Andy Paul: And so, but how’s, it differ than, you know, a salesperson and just firing up their product to give a software demo. How’s that differ from what they’re doing if they operate it through CloudShare.

Zvi Guterman: And you domain, a new vertical and, and I would compare it to him, to someone so expensive as yourself too. Like I would ask you, like, what’s the difference between not yet I’m putting leads into Excel or using a CRM. And what cloudshare is doing is exactly this transition. Right? You can do that. As you mentioned, you can take your laptop.

And that’s what people want, right. People were doing there was before cloud came to the market and doing POC and successfully, but they were using it. And what I think are good observation is that they were actually spending a lot of NLG and it was, it was, a lot of effort and not enough. the results and what we’re really improving it and providing this new CLM, we got what we call business acceleration cloud into this entire interaction of demos, PLCs, any hands on experience that you would?

Andy Paul: So walk through it just so I make sure the audience understands is, is so if, if you’re a sales person today and, and you’ve got a, a software demo lined up with a, a prospect, you know, it’s our first substantive conversation. If you will. What’s what does the sales person do differently than they would have done before?

Zvi Guterman: Sure. So first we start usually if we get, when we look at the software event, though, there is a group that even today, before, again, before working with cloud shell would be responsible for creating all the collaterals and managing the demos and the way people, and you can kill that. Sometimes sales operations, sometimes it’s under product marketing, sometimes in other departments.

Other parts of marketing or sales and they were responsible for, for the  engineers laptops. And what would happen with cloud share is you shift into first thing, installing and defining all your products in cloud show. So there is someone let’s say on product marketing that will if you have 14 different product offerings, we’ll, we’ll put them the same way you would install them once in a, in a full prospect, on a laptop, you define them once and then you actually give access to your entire field, to your title, sales, engineers, and salespeople. And you can start defining policies, you can say, okay, here’s how I want the demo to look like. I want it to be an hour or I want it to be two hours and I want to use for that product.

They want this functionality. And then we actually orchestrate all of that and we make sure that when it says engineer logs in open, all they need to do. Instead of thinking about the laptop or the hardware or working in AWS or whatever. All they need to do is logging into cloud shell and pressing a button and say, here’s my demo with prospect starts.

Now I need a fully functional setup. And then you get a private, dedicated, secure hands on experience, the same way that you would otherwise get with zero effort. And most of it. Of course, your manager know exactly what’s happening. You are able to take it to the next level that you finished. The demo. You want to turn the demo into POC.

You can actually Le the copy running prospect and say, okay, now I’m shifting that. Actually what we did, I’m shifting it into a POC. I want to collaborate with my prospects for the next week. And. As a result, the prospect will get an invitation saying, Hey Joe, for company X just invited you to join a POC, then you can use it about using a browser.

The prospect is able to start a POC against zero effort, and immediately we have engagement and it’s hands on fully functional then into the pupils.

Andy Paul: they can load their own data into it and so on.

Zvi Guterman: Of course. Yes, of course, exactly. They can start from vanilla. You can upload your own data, you can connect it to your legacy systems. You can decide what the scenario that you want to test.

Eventually, maybe after three weeks you decide, okay, it’s working. I want to actually to add more security checks again, you want your sister as part of your evaluation, then it’s very easy in a click of a mouse to say, You know what now I want to take a copy snapshot of this product and actually duplicated getting the click of a mouse.

You have two copies and you’re sending one security audit that happening. And can you don’t need to think about and worry about that. And that’s our goal with culture. Again, our goal is this. We found out that people were spending a lot of effort thinking about infrastructure, about lepto many times, again, traveling because they’re were and this field, they allow them to do that now efficient way, allowing me PMC is of course medicine changing things to that.

Andy Paul: Well, yeah, I think to me it sounds like one of the real, if I was a sales person, the real strength is, yeah, we just turned this right into a POC. We’re just finished. We just keep on going, because then you don’t have that gap of time, right. Between the demo. And then the customer goes back and thinks about it. And do we want to do a POC? It’s like, well, Hey. Okay. We’ve removed the friction from this event. Here it is.

Zvi Guterman: Exactly. And that’s, that’s an important point that we found that we helped people actually improve engagement. And we simplify, we remove obstacles and allow them to, to engage better with prospects and actually make everyone happier. And it goes on when there is a, and you have a challenge it’s very easy to raise your hand or.

And notify the says engineer, it can be offline and they can be in different time zones and you get a notification and you can log into the system. Well, and we can collaborate. We can actually work together on the sensor and many other things, right. It’s I made the mistake. I was. We, we, I was configuring something and on day five and I very easily, again, it’s a real trial environment to rewind and say, Hey, I actually want to go back to my snapshot form yesterday.

and so on and so forth. And of course it all comes with a lot of analytics behind the scenes. So you can say out of my 600 sees who’s, who’s the top 10 performers who are, who needs more help. What kind of channel partners are doing the best utilization and up to things in to the product level. We get insights on what parts have really demonstrated.

What parts are less important. Maybe we had some, some initial thoughts. And as we know in sales, it’s not always one to one with what’s happening really in closing deals.

Andy Paul: Or with the proof of concepts, see what they’re utilizing.

Zvi Guterman: Sure, exactly.

Andy Paul: I mean, that’s the part I think you really want to know is, Hey, after the demo and you’ve got your proof of concept going, is how’s the customer using it.

Zvi Guterman: Exactly.

Andy Paul: Interesting. So, so who do you targeting is your customers for us? Primarily software companies.

Zvi Guterman: Yes. Most of our customers are software windows, some of the largest software vendors of the world of cloud shiver customers, companies such as at last year and or Salesforce or Palo Alto networks or Fortinets using us daily with thousands of users. The second group is actually system integrators. that of course also take an important part in this dialogue and handshake between prospect and customer and vendor.

And, and we’ll starting all those to get, to get cases where the enterprises are coming directly to us because they want to control the process as well.

Andy Paul: Yeah, that makes sense. So what are you seeing happening now during the sort of shutdown period with. Yeah, demand for your product and services. I mean, this is something that, that a trend more remote selling is, is increasing people’s desire to have this type of facility available for their sellers.

Cause you know, they’re not all in the office that can easily call the sales engineer to help them. And so on.

Zvi Guterman: Yes. We actually see a over 50% growth in the last month, in incoming leads opportunities and then new customers for some of them. these are companies that in the past didn’t consider virtual. They will, late adopters, they will happy with the way they were doing business and now they have to, it’s a silver, right?

They, they are unable to travel and they, for the first time, so we see group of companies that for them, I’ll consider alcohol engagement and doing that for the first time. We see a second bucket of companies that actually I’ll just change it. As we talk your physical event, no longer taking place, you need to switch.

you need to do something else. You need to change the mode that you’re operating. And we see, we see companies that are. Changing the way, eh, the weight of, between the different factors in the marketing and in those sales operations. And of course, as a result, they do different things. We see self category that actually probably the leaders of that, of, of this wave, that’s actually doing new things, things such as saying, you know what, with current situation I want to offer free.

Training free demos. I want to do some things differently about people on the Tom. So I assume that my, my audience may be more available. We started this talk, talking about the kids maybe then when we fail after 9:00 PM. So, and maybe they won’t take a call with me at 9:00 PM for a demo, but they want some engagement.

So how about give them like 30 minutes, hands on experience as. If a demo without a sales engineer, kind of self service demo, if you may. And I I’ll do that. Go ahead. Sorry.

Andy Paul: I think that’s, that’s a huge ideas just as you’re talking about is, is the self service demo, especially one, let’s say that again, that can transition to a POC, but self-service demo. Yeah. As, as like, you know, thinking of these virtual events, you’ve talked about what everybody’s holding a virtual event.

These days, virtual summit is, you know, if you got a thousand registrants, why not give them all the opportunity to do a self service demo of your product?

Zvi Guterman: Right. Right. And the, and the big thing is that you improve engagement and you get, you get to know better, who is really interested. So you gave someone, you get 5,000 people, as you said, you gave 5,000 people access. How many really logged in? Not everyone logged in. So some of them will acknowledge and some of them logged in and out of the, the ones that logged in, how many of them, what percentage was really engaged and actually walking on it for more than half an hour.

What kind of wonderful facilitation it is. Right. And if you use that into your sales process, you actually getting wonderful qualifications.

Andy Paul: Yeah, I mean, you could, I presume you just include a link in an email. If you’re doing an outbound emails, give people the opportunity to log in and engage.

Zvi Guterman: Yes. Yes. And we see people again, as I, as I mentioned, the different, the different, partners that work with us, we see people that integrated very well with the CRM and up to the level that as you mentioned, they, they, bring it into the, Campaigns in sometimes to the marketing campaign, sometimes a little bit further into the process and up to adding a way for engagement into the CRM so we can provide, provide some, engagement, indications that, that goes into the ceiling.

Andy Paul: Very interesting. Very interesting. Yeah. I’m sort of thinking about how I’d use it. but, and so it’s interesting, you know, one sort of school of thought is, and certainly part of the SAS model, oftentimes for many companies is. Hey, the first thing we’re trying to do is we get the STR or they may call, we’re trying to set up demo.

okay. But there’s pushback on that in many sectors. And I, I, I’m sort of part of that from time to time, it was like, yeah. What really customers want is they see the demo as a pitch and they don’t want to be pitched. They want somebody to understand what they need first. And it’s sort of wondering how you see people starting to integrate in that model.

Cause I think this is a model that’s going to come more to the fore is that we’re not going to have first step. Hey, let’s set up a demo. It’s we’re going to have, we’re gonna do some qualification or we’re gonna do some discovery before we do that demo.

Zvi Guterman: Sure. so first I should, I should say, I think probably on the, I agree with you and I’m probably on the, on the same campus, you know, not always you need to lead with the demo. And I think it’s, again, a and many times we, we want the sales person to do some, some scoping and a first call and understand who is the prospect, but it really depends on, and I think what I witnessed from the hundreds of companies that.

That walk with us. We see different things, industries and different, eh, competition that in some cases, the cell is very technical. And I think that in that case demo is actually helpful. And eh, and your audience may be very technical, maybe some infrastructure products, net, some modern database message queue.

And then the demo may be the right tool. And, and, and your audience may be asking for it. And, and, and maybe even in, in, in a few clicks from your website, and we see this, this group, and we see others that, that you, you, you want to get it right. You want some, some gateway before, before you allow people to do the demo.

The nice thing is that you. With cloud shell and similar technologies, you’re able to control it today and you are able to control it. You’re able to control your spend. I think that’s an important part. We should think about these kind of engagements. They start from few dollars per hour, which I think is a wonderful, it’s not.

So it’s not as cheap as sending an email of course, but if you look at the big picture, it sounds like it’s a relative.

Andy Paul: Spencer the Salesforce and making a call. All right.

Zvi Guterman: Exactly and, and it’s done automatically. So there is in finance scale, right? And not if you want to do 1000 again, the investment is more than you can and you can very quickly. Learn adapt and an improvement and, and find your wife pathing to what’s working for you. What’s the right way. And maybe in different segments, you operate differently.

and, and, and it’s, I think that’s, that’s what really pushing that forward.

Andy Paul: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s interesting. Cause yeah. You talk about being gated. I mean, certainly there’s products where your first instinct as well. Yeah. We should really get this cause we need to, the customer will be intimidated if they start looking at this and they don’t understand what’s going on, but on the other hand, so I think sometimes we underwrite.

The ability of the customer to understand what’s going on. And it becomes to your point earlier, it becomes a really interesting qualifying tool that yeah, if they’ve seen it before he started doing discovery, that adds some context of discovery you’re gonna do.

Zvi Guterman: And we see that with discovery or we see others. And I was like, maybe I’ll give an example. We see some, some styles that are highly competitive. Right that you have four or five strong competitors, and you really need to differentiate yourself and quickly. And, and some of the interesting use cases that I’ve seen people do and fell automatically is through the generally marketing qualifications through the website.

Find out if. If the question is on the competition and differentiation, and then sometimes prospect into the specific center, demonstrate how my management screen is better than my competitor and giving someone sometimes. 15 minutes. Hands-on on the specific screen. Why my new filter or my new report is so powerful with some, some vanilla data that will allow you to say, wow, it’s not only a slide.

I actually go to see the screen. I want more. And maybe it’s not compelling enough for me. Right. The second best is to know that we don’t want to waste energy and you do that very quickly.

Andy Paul: I think one of the key things would be, for instance. So example is for instance, if you think you have. Decided advantage and just how easy it is to onboard a new user to your system. Yeah, I would, I would, yeah. I would put that in a, in a self service demonstration that you could attach to an email or something.

So when someone sees it suddenly you’ve sent the, you set the benchmark in a competitive environment for everything that comes after, because somebody will have this in their mind. It’s like, Oh my gosh, that’s so easy to get started. This one. Are you that easy when they talked to the second or are you that easy to do?

They do onboard. And they’re going to have that image in their mind. That’s like, if they’re not that easy, you’ve set that differentiation right up front.

Zvi Guterman: that. Right. And we definitely see that too two last comment. We definitely see that, companies that start, if it’s new to the, to the, competitors that they start introducing these kind of easy onboarding, freedom them, or sometimes self service demos. It created waves that immediately drive the rest of the, of the competitors too.

To provide something very similar because then customers get used to it, right? Oh, the other one it’s so easy, you guys will be legacy so suddenly and eh, dinosaur and people cannot allow that and running very fast to, to comply as well. And, and I think it will become, it’s a relatively new market and, This entire business acceleration cloud and what we witnessed, I think it will become a new category for the sales organization, for the sales operations, for the sales engineers, to be able to support these engagements.

Andy Paul: Yeah, I’m just sort of thinking through, from a seller’s perspective, I as selling into a, an enterprise account and I knew there was a. Yeah, a fair number of stakeholders involved in that decision. Oh man, I’d be populating some level of that death self-serve demonstration really early on across that population, you know, something that was contained, but, but maybe at a specific point, vis-a-vis our value proposition or one element of our value proposition.

Yeah. Just with the competition and a whole set them on their feet.

Zvi Guterman: Yup. Exactly.

Andy Paul: Yeah, very cool. Very cool. So you talked about analytics. So what are the analytics that you guys offer? Because I think this is one thing too, that certainly we can record and listen to demo calls and so on. But what other analytics can you provide?

Zvi Guterman: Yeah, this is very interesting. I think we actually monitor probably over 500 different parameters that that will allow you to. To know more of what’s happening and I’ll give you a few examples. One is even, even geography. It’s nice. And why don’t you think about a demo and a proof of concept and you send it to Joe and Joe is based in Idaho, but you’ll be surprised.

And we are all familiar with that. Maybe Joe shelled, the credential with someone and then forward it to someone and suddenly see, and actually you got 10 different logins. And for maybe also from the European satellite office that you didn’t think about. And this is, and even to the level that we sometimes, and, and we see that by the way, with our engagement, with where someone is saying, you’re not, it’s not so exciting for me.

And he say, Wow, but the data actually shows something else you had. We all seen this prospect that are actually tried to stop negotiating and you actually have some strong data state. Their engagement level is actually amazing. So

Andy Paul: you’ve got, you’ve got somebody who’s a roadblock or, and saying, yeah, I don’t think we’re that interested. And you say, well, yeah, And your people are, yes.

Zvi Guterman: Yes exactly. So we do things like that from, from geography, into how fast people get into the, into the. Proof of concept. How long did they spend, in the POC entirely, how many different logins into the different models without us understanding, but if you have a few virtual machines, if you have few different elements, then we are able to say per element, what was the engagement level?

And as I mentioned also, we, we help you decide what’s the best policy is one hour better than 45 minutes or 100 and a one hour and a half is better. So we help you to own what we call it, the policy, the way that you define your demos and, and later on your POC. So the metadata and supporting group process, maybe you have few different demos.

So we find.

Andy Paul: that’s right. That’s what I would go with. I’d I’d you know, listening to you talk, I would envisioning the, I, I would serve, yeah. Start with a two minute. Right. And then the next level we got like a five to 10 minutes, and then you work your way up to something more, more substantial.

Zvi Guterman: right. And that allows you. If you go with that model and we see many people, it allows you actually to open the funnel very wide for a very small cost. Right? So many people, if you do that and say, okay, you know what, I want to see these few minutes, this short introduction, and then see who is who’s better.

And then take it forward in the funnel. As we always. If we fail to do, and if they’re more engaged, we move forward. Maybe we decide where we put the person in the loop. so at a lot of parameters, it goes up to the channel. Of course, if you work with channel, that’s very important and helpful. also in the different languages, we support different languages in the interface and all that.

So that’s also an element that important for people. If there’s. Simplified Chinese or Japanese or Spanish is helpful in your delivery. Even if your product is in English, the, the envelope that cloud show, this invitation, this, the website that they see it can be still in, in Spanish. And is that helpful for you or not?

So all of this, and as we know in sales, it’s all about optimizing and any, any. Definitely two digits, but sometimes even little improvement can be significant.

Andy Paul: Yeah, no. If people listen to the show notes, I’ve talked about all the time, it’s just gotta be 1% better.

Zvi Guterman: Right, right. Yeah.

Andy Paul: And if it’s, you know, the, the language on the envelope to make access to the demo, easier and more accessible, then. That’s memorable that could spell the difference at the end of the day. Alright, well, it’s V unfortunately running out of time, but, so tell people how they connect with you and learn more about cloud share.

Zvi Guterman: Sure. Always happy to connect. probably the best way is just to drop me an email it’s zvi@cloudshare.com. just put some, some good, the good subject line mentioned the blog. So I have context and happy to get any NM and inquiry.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Yeah. Put sales enablement with Andy Paul. He’ll treat you nice. all right, well, very nice to talk to you and, look forward to talking again soon.

Zvi Guterman: Thank you, honey.

Andy Paul: Okay.