Over the course of your thorough search for the right veterinary software, you’ve assessed the capabilities of your current practice management system. You’ve also researched how cloud-based software may be able to solve many of your challenges. Now it’s time to see a cloud-based solution in action.
The software demo is your chance to learn about the product’s core functionality and to see tangibly how well it addresses your needs. Vendors (usually a salesperson and a product specialist) will be eager to sell you on the key benefits of their solution, but this is a great opportunity for you to maintain an upper hand in the conversation and get the most value out of the experience. It takes being prepared.
How to prepare for a software demo
The work you put into understanding your current challenges, as well as your motivations for switching to a cloud-based system, will best position you for a worthwhile demo experience – both for you and the software provider. In other words, the better you can express your own needs, the better the demo can be tailored to suit you.
At the beginning of a demo, expect the vendor to ask you a series of general “discovery” questions, which may include:
- Why are you interested in switching to cloud-based practice management software?
- What are your biggest challenges in practice, and how are you currently managing them?
- What have you seen/heard about our software that most interests you?
- How motivated are you to change practice software, and how soon are you hoping to switch?
Questions about your current system
Vendors will want to know more about why your current system is (or isn’t) working well:
- Do you think your current software is helping or hurting your ability to solve your problems?
- Is your current software saving you time?
- How well does your staff know how to use your current software effectively?
- How would you rate the level of support you currently receive?
Questions about solving your challenges
As the conversation progresses, expect the vendor to pivot to exploring how their solution can help:
- What are the top two or three things you would like our software to help you achieve?
- What third-party integrations do you use, and do you hope to continue using them?
- What kinds of tasks would you like to automate with our software?
⭐ Consider writing down answers to these questions prior to the demo.
Questions you should ask during the demo
Between learning about your challenges and giving you a tour of their software, the vendor has a lot to cover in the hour or so that a demo call typically lasts. But remember: this is your demo, and it’s up to you to gather as much information as possible about the solution and determine if it’s the right fit for your practice.
Some questions to keep handy that may not have been answered before or during the demo:
- What sets your software apart from your competitors?
- Are there limits to how many users I can have on the system?
- How customizable is your software?
- How do you handle data migration; is it included in the cost; and is there information that typically doesn’t migrate?
- Can you describe your software’s data security standards?
- What new features and enhancements are planned for your software?
- What are pricing options for your software?
- Typically how many weeks does training and implementation take?
- On average, how long does it take to receive a response from customer support after I call?
- Are there any specific hardware or internet speed requirements?
⭐ There’s no such thing as a dumb question. The vendor knows their product better than anyone else, and they want to show it off. During the demo, don’t be afraid to interrupt and ask them to go more slowly, repeat an explanation, or go into more detail about any of the features. And tell them if something doesn’t make sense!
How to rate the demo experience
Once the demo concludes, you have a lot to digest, and you should take a few minutes to reflect. Ask yourself some of the following questions – and we encourage you to jot down your answers. After several demos with different software vendors, you’ll be glad to have notes that summarize each experience.
- Did the vendor answer my questions and address all of my challenges?
- Did they demonstrate a genuine understanding of my specific needs?
- Did they present the software clearly and effectively and align it to my needs?
- How did the software look? Modern and intuitive?
- Did the software meet my requirements for third-party integrations?
- Did the software meet my requirements for data security?
- Did they explain the data migration process clearly?
- Do I trust them to be a partner and to offer good customer support?
The bottom line
Being prepared before you enter the software demo will help ensure that the vendor can tailor the experience to your specific needs.
Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions of the software and of the company as you like – there are no dumb questions!
And finally, take the time to reflect on the quality of the demo, and keep notes so you can compare your experiences with each software vendor.
To learn more about selecting cloud-based veterinary software, check out this eBook.