When good demos go bad: Rookie mistakes that could be costing you

Our Director of Customer Success Ari Klein shares the most common mistakes he's seen new reps make when hosting sales demos.
DocSend Online Demo Mistakes

Common pitfalls with demos, presentations, and webinars

Back in November I attended a webinar for an up-and-coming SaaS software company. The software was excellent (we might still buy it at some point), but the webinar highlighted some presentation pet-peeves.

The presenter was using online desktop sharing software and there was all this extra stuff on the presenter’s screen. It was distracting. It struck me to the point that I took a screenshot of my view. Here’s what I saw:

Screenshot 2014-12-05 10.46.17_large

And here (all the yellow parts) are the extra things where my eyes gravitated towards:


My natural curiosity took hold, and I wanted to figure out what other tools the presenter uses in their daily routine. In this case, it was really easy to see. And distracting my attention from the overall presentation. On a quick glance, here’s what I gathered:

  • From the bookmarks bar I can tell they bank with Wells Fargo, have a Nordstrom Credit Card, might be learning to code, and like discounts (RetailMeNot and AnyPerk).
  • They probably work in sales because they have SalesLoft and Salesforce browser extensions and have a MailTester.com bookmarked. I’m guessing they do a lot of prospecting and cold outbound.


  • This person doesn’t like, or know, to use browser tabs (it’s cmd⌘ + T on a Mac). There are 17 Chrome windows minimized in the dock.
  • They have 2 docks, one on the bottom and the other on the left of their screen. I don’t really know how that happened.

I shouldn’t know these personal details. At least, that’s not why we were both there. And as a presenter, you want all my attention on your demo and to give me as few distractions as possible. We have enough to deal with outside of what’s happening on your screen.

To be clear, it wasn’t this single scenario that compelled me to write about easily avoidable pitfalls in online meetings and screen shares. As both a regular buyer and seller of software, I have experienced many of these – and other – focus killers myself. And I’m certainly not immune to these mistakes either.

Over time, I’ve collected a set of principles for holding effective online meetings. After internalizing these principles over the years and seeing their effectiveness, I thought it was time to share what works.