By Frank VanLoon
Every quarter, Salesforce hosts Demo Jam: an exciting live-demo, popular-vote competition between Apps in their AppExchange. Bolt Data had the opportunity to compete in the June 2022 Demo Jam, to show our field service and IoT App, Bolt Data Connect. We were up against some stiff competition, but I’m really proud to announce that we won and wanted to take a few minutes to share some advice and tips and tricks for others who might be pursuing a Demo Jam win.
Tip 1: Get Your Timing Right
The first challenge to tackle is the three minute time limit. Salesforce is very strict about this, and they will cut you off right at the time limit, so make sure you can finish on time. One of my colleagues was quick to point out that this means we only have 180 seconds! When it was put that way, it really drove home how short an amount of time it is. And we all know nothing goes exactly to plan… so trim off 10 seconds and plan to 170 seconds, just to be safe.
Our solution was to create storyboards to draw out the important points we wanted to cover, and account for how much time they would take. When you start with a high-level plan, you can visually see where you’re spending your time, and it’ll keep you honest as you create content and talk-tracks for each of the story-points.
Tip 2: Practice, Practice, Practice
The next piece of advice might go without saying, but I feel obliged to say it anyway: “practice, practice, practice.” In the two weeks leading up to the Demo Jam, we set up daily 1-hour practice sessions with a small core team. This helped to build the “muscle memory” I needed to give the demo consistently, and to feel confident going in!
If your demo takes a lot of setup like ours did, you might want to record the actual screen-share clicks, without the talk track, and then practice talking to it while playing the video. This allows you to get comfortable with the talking points without being distracted with the clicks (and vice-versa)!
Tip 3: Know Your Audience
One of the best tips we got when we asked around, was to keep in mind who we were presenting to. In our Demo Jam, the audience was Salesforce Sales Engineers. These folks are very technical, live and breathe Salesforce, and can be pretty tough to impress. Knowing this, our solution was to focus on showing off the ways that our App works with all of the different Salesforce technologies, or what they call the “Power of Salesforce.” We included Slack messages, the Salesforce Mobile App, a Customer Experience (Community), and Tableau. Not only did it show off a breadth of features, but I really think it helped to break up the monotony of normal Salesforce record screens.
Tip 4: Use Productivity Tools
Finally, as I recorded some practice sessions, I found I was still having a hard time keeping to my timing. How do you make sure you spend the right amount of time on each topic, to stick to your storyboards? I tried out a couple of Presentation Timer apps, but I found that staring at that count-down timer was a bit nerve-wracking and a lot to juggle. Instead, I made a presentation with Text-Only slides (my talk-track), and set it up to auto-advance after X seconds on each slide. By having this in my 2nd screen, I knew that all I had to do was keep up with the words and I’d finish on-time, and the words would be right there in case I needed to peek at them from time to time.
Looking back on it, all the setup and prep work I put in really made me feel prepared when Demo Jam game-day rolled around. Don’t be intimidated, just go for it! Participating in a Demo Jam was a great experience for us, and I can tell you that you’ll pick up skills and learn a lot along the way!
Watch a Rerecording of Our Winning Demo of Bolt Data Connect
Frank VanLoon, Chief Technology Officer
Connect on LinkedIn