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20 Top Tips for Attending Software Demonstrations


When you are seriously looking at software vendors, with a view to changing your system, you’ll need to attend ‘live face-to-face demonstrations’. We list 20 top tips to get the best out of these. 


Before the software demonstration

1. Decide on your objectives for arranging / attending the software demonstration.

2. Keep all demonstrations as consistent as possible, with a similar format to aid comparison.

3. Create an agenda for you want to see in the demonstration. Ensure it covers your organisation’s needs. Forward a copy to the vendor well in advance of the demonstration.

4. Where possible, use your data or relevant data in the demonstration. This removes distraction and possible confusion from seeing irrelevant data. If your business is in retail, you don’t want to be looking manufacturing widgets data. However, it does mean copying your present system data (if it is not too sensitive) or creating data which is similar to your current data and then forwarding it to the vendor.

5. Know your new system software requirements. You can quickly prepare your requirements specification, RFI or RFP with Axia’s RFI/RFP Templates.

6. Create a list of key questions you wish to ask all vendors, plus specific questions for certain vendors.

7. If time permits and the vendor is willing or able to use them, create ‘demo scripts’ for each vendor to follow. Typically these would be based on your most critical processes, functions or current problems. You can use the RFI/RFP Checklists to assist in quickly building demo scripts. Here’s how.

8. Prepare a ‘Software Demonstration Checklist’ to assist you during the demonstration. If you don’t have a template, copy this one.

9. If the software vendor is holding the demonstration at your premises, ensure that your facilities are up to standard eg

  • the network, communications, power and equipment required, are working
  • there is sufficient room for the attendees and vendor
  • you won’t be disturbed during the demonstration

10. Allow sufficient time for the demonstration – plan for the demo to run over.

11. Ensure you have the right people attending and that they are available to attend.

During the software demonstration

12. Ensure the vendor demonstrates the live system, not just slides or overheads.

13. Use your ‘Software Demonstration Checklist’ to make sure you cover all the points you want to in the demonstration.

14. Do ask all the questions you need to.

15. Have a copy of your system requirements, RFI or RFP available to refer to and to tick off or score, where requirements met.

16. Take notes – you won’t remember everything afterwards!

After the software demonstration

17. Follow up carefully. Review your scored / ticked RFI or RFP. Write up and combine your notes. Clarify any outstanding queries with the vendor.

18. Review and analyse your findings, and consider the software strengths and weaknesses.

19. Compare the results with those of other vendor software demonstrations. And decide what further action you wish to take with the vendor.

20. Inform the vendor and your team / employees involved in the selection process.


For more software demonstration information visit: Vendor Software Demonstrations / More software demo tips / Software Demonstration Checklist / How to Quickly Create a Software Demo Script

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