Product tours are a primary marketing tactic for those following a product-led growth model or any company that wants to provide potential customers a look at how their product works. And there are a lot of product tour/demo software companies to get you started. I looked at three of these companies: Reprise, StoryScale, and Demoboost, to get a better understanding of the market and what makes their platform stand out.
Reprise is one of the largest interactive demo and product tour platforms. Started in May of 2020, it has one of the largest teams (despite going through a restructure in 2022), and according to co-CEO and co-founder Sam Clemens, the largest engineering team. Reprise has also received significant funding.
Clemens told me that when they started Reprise, the starting point was solving a Sales problem because it was an issue they had themselves. However, they quickly learned that the market is more extensive than they thought for marketing. As a result, Reprise’s market is primarily split between sales and marketing, along with a small portion that encompasses customer success and product management.
Reprise offers two product architectures to help companies create interactive demos or product tours: screen-level capture and code-level capture. Screen level capture is the most common for product tour software, offering tighter control over how a person moves through the tour or demo. For example, you see things in a pre-defined order. But code-level capture, where you scrap the front-end code to recreate the application (including navigation, toolbars, and chat), isn’t a typical approach to creating demos or tours. This code-level approach gives customers more control over what they look at, making it more interactive.
Clemens said the code-level capture approach is perfect for providing sales reps with a sandbox for demos. Reps can demo using the same instance, but the data they input isn’t captured anywhere, so they aren’t “dirtying” the environment. A simple refresh resets the demo to its original state.
Clemens said that there are two use cases for sales:
- Asset-based, where the rep sends out a product tour on a specific feature
- Live calls, where they demo the product to a scripted talk track.
On the other hand, Clemens said marketing has one use case - create an asset they can share or embed on the website for visitors to use.
Regardless of which department you initially sell this type of software into, Clemens pointed out that once other departments see it, they want it. So there’s a cross-pollination among similar use cases.
With the economy tightening, the sales use case is becoming more prominent. Clemens said that enterprise companies have traditionally had sales engineers on the first call because they are the best people to do a demo (they have both the technical and people skills). But companies are trying to figure out how to sell more efficiently. Having a sales engineer on every call isn’t efficient, and tools like Reprise can help standardize that first call without an SE.
Product tours and interactive demo software support BDRs, SDRs, and all Account Executives (AE) levels by giving them a common framework and narrative to work from. They don’t have to set up and run custom demos and worry about things not working. For more junior AE’s, Clemens said companies could create a demo package with everything carefully scripted. And senior AE’s who know their product inside and out can go anywhere in the app and show prospective customers specific features and functionality. Clemens said the tool is easy to use; if you are a HubSpot or a Salesforce Admin, you can build tours and demos in Reprise.
Clemens described a multi-window experience where an SDR can show a two-sided marketplace (the buyer’s view and the seller’s view) or the front-end experience and the backend admin experience of an application. You could also use a multi-window view to show the customer the product and have a second window for notes or a script for the BDR or SDR to stay on track and capture feedback from the customer.
Reprise is SOC 2 Type 2 certified, which makes it a good choice for companies that must meet specific security and compliance requirements. It also integrates with Google Analytics, Marketo, HubSpot, and Salesforce, surfacing demo insights into the platforms where sales and marketing spend most of their time. I was also interested in how tours and demos built in Reprise work on mobile. Clemens said you have to specify where you want the interaction on the screens for the product tours so it is mobile-friendly for screen-capture tours. But you can’t offer the interactive demo (and it’s not something that customers have asked for, according to Clemens).
Analytics into how customers use product tours and demos is also important. Reprise provides in-depth analytics, including who viewed a demo, for how long, what screens they viewed (for an interactive demo), where they dropped off, and so on. These analytics are common to the other platforms I looked at.
Demoboost is a Warsaw-based company that started in March of 2021. It provides interactive demo and product tour capabilities to companies in EMEA, APAC, and the US. Like Reprise, it also services a comprehensive set of use cases for sales, marketing, and customer success. In addition, however, Demoboost adds another use case - that of channel partners.
I spoke with Pawel Jaszczurowski, co-founder and CEO, to better understand how the platform works and who it’s designed to support. Jaszczurowski explained that they started Demoboost to help companies get out of the old ways of creating and performing demos - they either take time to set up, break often, or are generic demos that try to satisfy everyone but end up satisfying no one. Jaszczurowski said that when partners get involved, things get even more complex.
Demoboost provides all the standard features for creating live and on-demand interactive demos or product tours, including capturing screens from a website or application using a Chrome plug-in, organizing screens, and adding steps and guides to each screen that guide a user through the demo. In addition, viewers can comment on the demos to provide feedback, and there is plenty of analytics to track the performance of demos by the customer over time.
Along with screens, Demoboost allows you to add multimedia to your demos, such as video or PowerPoint presentations. You can also include video narration over the top using tools like Loom or Vidyard. Personalization is another key feature enabling demo creators to change variables on screens to match the company they are demoing to, such as logo, data, and other content, without coding. Also nice for Sales and Pre-Sales is creating scripts in a separate window to guide the demo.
The channel partner use case is an interesting one. Providing a folder of preset demos to partners does a few things. First, it’s a way to train them quickly on how the product works. Second, it gives them a set of demos that match the messaging and pitches your internal sales team uses, so you know there’s consistency in how your product is sold. And finally, the analytics that comes with Demoboost enables you to track how your channel partners are doing so you know which ones are using your demos with prospective customers and how they are performing.
One final note about Demoboost is that it’s an official Salesforce ISV partner on the App Exchange.
After looking at a few different solutions in the product tour/demo market, it’s clear there is a standard set of capabilities for each use case (Sales and pre-sales, marketing, customer success), and most vendors will have those capabilities. But then there are the differences that make a particular vendor stand out for a buyer.
For Reprise, it’s the scraping of the code to create a fully interactive application and its security certifications. For Demoboost, it’s adding multimedia to create a demo experience that goes beyond simply showing the product and the ability to allow demo users to comment on the demos. The channel partner use case is interesting, although not unique to Demoboost.
There is a lot to these platforms, and I couldn’t cover everything. So instead, I focused on whether the standard features were there and what made the vendor unique. Next up is Storyscale.