We are a B2B startup which are offer a social media analytics tool. Potential leads register for a 14 day free trail and get invited from our sales team for a personal 1on1 demo call. The ration of these conversions is quite low and we are looking for new ways to engage users to book a free demo call.
I have overcome a similar issue with a client in the past and it could be one of several issues - but without knowing more and based on the information you provided.
1 - Targeting the wrong people for demos. Find the right people with the problem that your tool helps solve is critical. This is the downfall for many businesses as getting this part wrong makes everything afterwards extremely difficult. It no longer enough to be general with who you help - you need to be VERY specific.
2 - Is a good a step by step education on how your clients are going to be better off with your services than without part of the trial experience...?
Consider also that most people who take a trial that arent really the right fit for you want to click a button and have magic happen for them
2a - following up with a good education driven promotion will be beneficial for your prospects to try again when they need what you have. This is preframing the sale
3 - Are you clear on a demo call and that it is available to your prospect..? I might come back to point 1 targeting the right customer... if you are putting what you have in front of the right people at the right time - you will see a lift in your trial to call sign up... educating on the benefits (point 2) will also help with this.
4 - whats your end objective...? no mention of it.. a sale is what I presume... Is this the actual purpose of your 1on1..? Do you have a sales process or a script template for your calls to convert caller to customer...?
This seems to be where you could convert more of the people you are talking to better.
Quality not quantity
1 - target the right people
2 - educate with results driven expectations
3 - talk & convert with a structured sales call.
Feel free to call if you need a more detailed outline of any of the points mentioned
I think Phil Newton has given some great insights already, so I'd only add a few additional that he didn't cover. You should be seeing success with these demos, given that people already have a chance to give the tool a trial on their own.
First, I'm very curious about the call-to-action to receive that free demo. What kind of information do you get from prospects before engaging in the demo? It's one thing to only collect an email from someone joining your newsletter or downloading a free guide of some kind -- that's understandable, but a demo is fair game to ask a few more questions and better-qualify the opportunity for your sales team.
Second, be honest with yourself: Is the demo really more slanted towards a sales presentation that could have been taken care of with an explainer video, or is it a genuine demo that shows how to solve specific problems?
Lastly, I'd re-emphasize Paul's third point. If your salespeople are hoping the "education" (assuming there was a great demo that showed how to solve a problem) sells itself, you're missing out. You still have to wrap things up in a purposeful way and ask for the customer's business.
Hope this helps.
Demos are not effective ways to sell.
Every SaaS startup guy thinks people will fall over and buy if only they can see the beautiful software.
I'll let you in on a big secret:
People rarely use things, even things they buy. But especially free things.
They don't value free things. I sell high ticket training programs by membership sites and you would be astonished to see the percentage of people who never log in. Never ask for a refund, aren't unhappy...just never put in the effort to look.
They want the feeling of having "done something" by owning the product.
Look at the history of info product sales and you'll find the same thing, regardless of format: big boxes of audio CDs and a couple books. Stays in the shrink wrap in the back of the buyer's closet.
And yes, I HAVE sold IT products and services.
Demos never did it for me. Strong up front qualifying did.
Here's my blog entry on the topic: http://www.salestactics.org/why-demos-fail-to-sell/
Demos are neither effective nor required to sell.
But I know, I know, you haven't heard of any other way.
Leaving your product out there for random people to swing by and maybe pick up, maybe actually open sometime, and maybe actually try to use...and THEN hope they'll get on a demo call with your salesperson...that's not it.
If you want a more effective process, let's talk.