Can we blow up Demos already? #HRERecruitTalent

Sat in on a great opening session at the Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech Conference yesterday that was called Ideas and Innovations. Quick five-minute talks. Disrupt-style, where you have five minutes and some slides moving on their own.

Looking at the TA pros and leaders around me you could easily see the engagement and interest. People like being told about cool stuff in a very quick and efficient manner. Some of the stuff might spark them to want more, some stuff might spark them to know it’s not for them. Either way, they didn’t have to invest much to get there.

I constantly hear from recruiting tech companies that they want to do more demos, because they know demos lead to organizations buying their stuff. The problem is we all feel we don’t have the time to do demos, and we don’t want high pressured sales pitch. So, we disengage all together.

It’s a problem on both sides, the vendor and the buyer. Buyers actually need to do more demos and should be looking at more options then they do, and vendors need to get in front of more buyers. I’m not sure why conferences don’t do this, but I would love to see a session that is just 6, ten minute demos of technology I might want to take a deeper dive into.

Hundreds of people in the room, watching quick demos and deciding is this something I want to go and find out more about. Seems like it makes total sense for both sides! Yet, it doesn’t happen. Why?

I think there’s two issues (both of which are basically false):

  1. Vendors don’t feel comfortable doing a demo in front of potential competition, because they feel somehow they’re giving away their secret sauce.
  2. Conference providers believe attendees don’t want to view this type of content.

The truth is, there is no secret sauce with your demo. I’ve done a thousand demos and while some are better than others, that’s mostly do to the person doing the demo, not the actual demo.

Attendees want to learn stuff they don’t know and want to be able to take back knowledge to their organizations that makes them seem smart. No, they don’t want to hear for an hour how ACME Inc. implemented Oracle. But, they would be interested in seeing what the hell this new Oracle Recruit product is, especially if I’m not being sold to.

I think the modern demo should be really broken into two parts. One of those is just show me who you are and what you do in 5-10 minutes. The second one is your dog and pony show.

I think vendors are afraid to do the short-range demo because they don’t feel buyers will truly see who they are. The reality is if you can’t tell your buyer in 5-10 minutes who you are and what you can do for them, you shouldn’t be in the space.

3 thoughts on “Can we blow up Demos already? #HRERecruitTalent

  1. Great idea Tim! Another possivle reason it doesn’t happen is vendors typically pay a bucketload of money to ‘sponsor’ at conferences…. and the event organisers don’t want to step on those toes. Get stamping I say!

  2. Loved the idea and have seen it at HRTech and/or Unleash but that’s limited to few vendors. Would love to see this model open up at other conferences as well. 10 minutes is just enough time for a vendor to create enough curiosity about their product for interested parties to see a full demo (or not see it) 🙂 .

  3. Tim great post. HR tech companies like myself have to pitch this way to investors who will only give you 10 minutes. Would love to see this at conferences as a regular session track. And while pitchfest was a good start at HR Tech, I think it was a bit too short on time. 10 mins seems fair. If you can’t communicate your solution’s value in that timeframe, then shame on you.

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