Jobs to be Done — The Foundation for Great Presales Demos

John Mansour
4 min readJun 11, 2024


There are countless tips and tricks that make for great presales demos. But there’s one foundational tactic that’ll set you up to crush your demos and further amplify the finer tips or tricks you wrap around it.

Typical Presales Demo Formats

Most presales demos fall into one of two formats. The most common is a walk-through of features and the benefits of those features. The second is a day-in-the-life demo.

The problem with both of those demo formats is they’re more explanation than aspiration. What I mean is, the emphasis is on explaining how the product works as opposed to giving users a vision of what their job will be like if they use your product. There’s a big difference between the two.

The Ultimate Outcome of Great Presales Demos

The ultimate outcome of a presales demo is to advance the sales process to the next stage. The easiest way to do that is to demonstrate your product in a way that helps users envision how much more successful they can be with your product.

In other words, understand how your users are measured on their performance evaluation, and show them how you’re going to make them measurably better at their job. Then keep connecting the dots to understand how their improved job performance has a strategic impact to their organization at the senior executive level.

Here’s how to do it.

User Job Tasks and Great Presales Demos

Rule #1: Don’t start with a problem. Here’s why. Your users can’t have a problem until they’re actually doing something. That means every demo scenario should start with the job task the user is performing.

To get started, list the user roles your product targets. For each user role, list the key job tasks they perform from a typical job description. Be sure to describe the job tasks as if your products didn’t exist. Otherwise, you’ll lose a lot of powerful value context in your scenario.

For example, let’s say your product targets loan officers at commercial banks. Some of their key job tasks are:

  • Review loan applications.
  • Run credit checks.
  • Run background checks.
  • Gather information for underwriting.

Your demo scenario would go something like this:

“You receive a loan application and you need to run a credit check. The ideal outcome is to know within minutes or seconds whether the applicant is qualified for the requested loan amount so you can quickly communicate next steps back to the applicant. Here’s the problem. [explain why this is difficult or impossible before your solution and the consequences of not solving it.]”

Tactical and Strategic Outcomes & Benefits

Now, demonstrate the features that eliminate the problem(s) and make the desired outcome easy to get. This is the tactical benefit of performing that specific job task. Let’s keep going.

The next layer of benefit you want to articulate in this scenario is how your credit checking process will make the loan officer more productive and reduce the liklihood of taking riskier loans. These benefits go to the improved performance metrics that make loan officers better at their job.

The last layer of benefits target the executive suite. They’re a summary of the collective user benefits that result from improving multiple user job tasks and they’re a top priority for the commercial lending executive. For example, “processing a higher volume of loans while lowering the overall risk of your portfolio and strengthening compliance.” If appropriate, tie that department benefit to something that’s a top priority for the customer CEO.

Your Messaging Hierarchy for Great Presales Demos

Now that you have all the building blocks for a great demo, try this hierarchy from the top down to deliver a simple but powerful value story. You’ll nail it every time.

The Overall Value Theme

Start here with something like this…”the theme for today’s demo is processing a higher volume of loans while lowering the overall risk of your portfolio and strengthening your compliance.”

Job Tasks in Focus

Now that you’ve laid down the gauntlet, go directly to the job tasks. “Today we’ll walk through [list the job tasks from above] and show you how we can make it easier to get the ideal outcomes you want for each scenario.

Demo Scenarios

Now that you’ve given them the roadmap for the demo, it time to start chipping away! For each job task, articulate the ideal outcome, obstacles and consequences and then demonstrate how your product eliminates the obstacles.

Keep reminding your audience of the benefits of improving each job task and how they support the overall value theme you laid out at the start of your demo.

After the last job task scenario, summarize the demo back to the overall value theme.

A Great Presales Demo is a Story

What you’ve just done is tell a story to your buyers that helps them meet one or more strategic goals, and you’ve broken it down into simple conversational spoon-size bites that demonstrate how those goals will be met by improving specific job tasks that currently make them difficult to accomplish.

The result of following this approach is you’re convincing buyers you understand them as well as they understand themselves, and that makes your product look superior to the competition.

Your intimate knowledge of the buyer’s business and their industry is ultimately what differentiates you. In other words, you, the presenter, are the biggest variable in differentiating the value of your company and its products.

Customers don’t buy because they understand you. They buy because you understand them!

Experience the easiest way to learn pre-sales demos for your products and your markets with our personalized hands-on learning format. Be sure to check out our Framework that simplifies everything by making customer outcomes the starting point for building, marketing, selling and delivering strategic value.

Subscribe to The Product Vibe Monthly to have our best-practice publications sent directly to your inbox.



John Mansour

Eliminate inconsistencies in how customer value is defined with personalized hands-on training courses for B2B/B2B2C product management & product marketing.