12 Questions to Ask During a Software Demo

Mandy Movahhed
February 26, 2015

You’re fed up with paper order forms. You’re tired of paying for data entry (or doing it yourself). You want to reduce order submission delays and bring your sales process into the digital age. You’ve done the research, and you’ve found several viable sales order management software vendors. Now what? In a sea of different features, price points, and testimonials, it can be a challenge to choose which vendor is right for you. One of the first steps toward making that choice is requesting a software demo from each vendor. Demos are an excellent way to get to know a product, see it in action, and get answers to your questions. During each software demo, it’s time to figure out whether that vendor offers the right mix of reliability, features, and flexibility. Here’s a list of questions you can ask during a demo to determine whether or not to move forward with the process:

12 Software Demo Questions

1. What kind of support will I get?

Do they have a knowledge base where you can find answers to common problems? Will a support team be available to assist you, whether it’s by phone, email or live chat support? Make sure you’ll have help when you need it.

2. Is training/onboarding included? How long does the process take?

If you’re a larger company with an extensive list of products and customers to import, look for a vendor that offers a personalized onboarding process that gets your company off to a strong start with their tools. For larger sales teams especially, having an organized training on how to use the software can have a big impact on their success and adoption rates.

3. What other software does it integrate with?

This is an important question for wholesalers who need their sales order management solution to sync with their ERP. Make sure the vendor has had experience with these kinds of integrations in the past.

4. Can I use it offline?

The answer to this question should be an unequivocal ‘yes.’ For sales reps in the field who may not always have an internet connection, offline access is crucial. You need to know that no matter what environment they end up in (i.e. a trade show exhibition hall without free wifi, or a retail location with a spotty connection), your sales reps will still be able to sell.

5. Can I import my past orders?

The ability to import past order information means being able to have all of your customer order history and sales numbers at your fingertips at the start, which will be invaluable to your reps.

6. Can I measure/report on the performance of my reps?

If reporting is important to you, find out whether the application gives you the ability to translate sales data into performance reports for your reps, sales reports that will let you know which products sold best at a trade show, etc.

7. Are there limits on how many products/customers I can have?

Find out whether the app can handle large amounts of data. Even if you only have a few SKUs now, you want to make sure that the app will be able to handle the growth of your business.

8. Can I customize the app according to my needs?

Perhaps your business offers customer-specific pricing and/or discounts. Maybe for each product, you have a laundry list of different sizes, colors, and materials. Perhaps you want to customize the app with your own logo and branding. Find out if the software can adapt to your business needs.

9. Can I control what information certain reps are able to see?

If you’d like to prevent certain reps from seeing other reps’ customers and orders, this is an essential question to ask.

10. How often is the application updated?

Find a vendor who’s constantly iterating on their software. If you’re seeing long intervals between updates, that’s an indication that the vendor may not be as committed to improving and optimizing their product.

11. Who are some of your current customers?

You want to know that they can handle small to medium businesses as well as large enterprises. You’ll also want to see that they’re serving other businesses in your industry. If the platform was made primarily for clothing brands, for instance, and you’re in the outdoor industry, it might not be the best fit.

12. Why should we choose you over your competitors?

This question challenges the vendor and lets them know that you’re looking at other vendors in their space. It also tests their knowledge of the industry and gives you the chance to hear their take on what makes their product stand out from the competition. If they can’t answer this question, they’re probably not the right choice.   This list isn’t quite exhaustive, so be sure to check out this post for more general questions for SaaS Vendors. You can also take a look at this post to find out more about determining whether a vendor has the technology to back up their features. Questions for us? Let us know in the comments.