Not that kind of staging.

Team-based products are really hard to demo, because they’re hard to see the value of as a single person. If the point of the product is collaboration, standing up a single user account doesn’t really show any of the value.

It’s like the difference between touring a completely empty house, and one that has been staged with furniture so that you can imagine where your furniture will fit.

A stylized drawing of a console table with a mirror and lamps hung on the wall behind it

To do team-led growth marketing, you’re going to need to stage the house, and the software. Have an environment you can add trial accounts to that has robust artificial data – a small codebase, other team members, a messaging instance. Whatever it’s going to take to show your product value once it’s installed and integrated.

We’re all grateful that the experience of living in a house, with our own furniture, is nothing like the experience of buying a house. We should remember that when we’re trying to sell software. We want to sell what it will feel like to use it on a random Tuesday, without thinking much about it. We want to sell the power of having the entire team using it, not just the one person who got to go to a conference. And to sell that feeling, we have to show what it will feel like.

Here’s a suggestion on how you can work with your product team to put together a demo that people can use to imagine themselves and their team in your software.

  • Write a user journey to capture and imagine an “average Tuesday” for a user
  • Create an environment that has all the software they’ll need to do that. Does your product leverage Jira or Github or ServiceNow or Slack? Make sure those are also installed and provisioned in this sandbox.
  • Create an artificial team to act in the environment. This is a great opportunity to play with all that synthetic data and chatbot technology you haven’t had an excuse to learn. It’s the perfect place for a bot playground.
  • Allow users to add themselves. You can time-limit account life, or make sure they can’t really do anything for their own business uses, but that’s less important than showing them what they can do. Use as few limits as possible on account creation.
  • Set up some incentives for getting “through” the user journey. This helps the user see the full value of the product, and if you instrument your product, will help you see where they get stuck.

There are lots of variations on this, but I think it’s really powerful to let people see the way something will work, not just how it installs.

Good luck, and let me know if you’ve done any of this.