Always work towards perfecting your KISS Demo, says Sanjay Swamy of Prime Venture Partners

In this episode of Prime Ventures’ Prime Knowledge series, Sanjay Swamy, Managing Director and Co-founder at Prime Venture Partners explains the KISS Demo.
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Sanjay Swamy was embarrassed by a question he was asked by a senior candidate when he was interviewing in Silicon Valley, at the beginning of his career, more than 25 years ago. The question was -- Show me your KISS Demo?

“While I was a bit embarrassed by the question itself, it wasn’t just the use of the word KISS in a technology company - but also the fact that I had no idea what the expression ‘KISS Demo’ meant!” says the Co-founder and Managing Partner at Prime Venture Partners. 

Keep It Simple, Stupid

A KISS Demo is nothing but a quick product demo that communicates one core value proposition of the product in just a few seconds or minutes, and is used to kick-off a meeting. 

Sanjay Swamy, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Prime Venture Partners



In this week’s Prime Knowledge Series, Sanjay talks about the KISS Demo. 

A Sales Tool 

Sanjay says that over the years, he has learnt that the KISS Demo is one of the most important sales tools -- one that is used to lure the customers into wanting to know more about the product, and communicate one simple but powerful value proposition in just a couple of seconds. 

“I have never been able to decide whether the word stupid applies to the person doing the demo or the person being shown the demo. Traditionally I’ve always believed you should never consider customers stupid - but I guess there is also an implied statement that if the customer doesn’t even understand the KISS Demo, they are not likely to appreciate your product", Sanjay says.

With technology becoming an integral part of our lives, and our lives becoming full of interruptions and notifications, our attention spans have slowed down. It thus becomes all the more important for one to grab the attention of the second party (customer, investor, or employee) quickly. This is where the KISS Demo becomes all the more significant. 

What makes a KISS Demo? 

Sanjay goes on to explain the key attributes of a KISS Demo. He says, 

  • A KISS Demo is easy to understand. “It is brain-dead, the customer should never have to think about the nuances or subtleties of the product to say ‘Ah - now I get it’,” Sanjay says. It should rather evoke the emotion -- ‘Duh - I get it. Even my 80-year old grandma and 4-year old child would get it, why didn’t I think about it myself!’ 
  • The KISS Demo should create value, and the value should be instantly communicated. The other person’s reaction should be: “I have that problem all the time, and this is so useful.”
  • Within the first 10 to 15 minutes, the customers should almost derail the meeting with their own idea of what they could do and be excited about it. 
  • “(A KISS Demo) works all the time,” says Sanjay. The worst thing that can happen during a KISS Demo is that it will not work. In such cases, Sanjay says, “It is OK to ‘fake it’ if required -- by ensuring the message is communicated.” But a KISS Demo must always work. 
  • A KISS Demo must always keep one excited. When constantly repeating the same KISS Demo, it might get difficult to continue to remain excited. However, one must remember that the customer is seeing the demo for the first time and the excitement and enthusiasm must be communicated every time. “The thrill of seeing the customer ‘get it’ over and over again should be something that one must treasure,” he says. 
  • Finally, a KISS Demo must always tell an interesting story. Not just the feature, but the story that goes with the demo should be interesting. The story might often include the customer or someone they know, and replace their difficult experience of the past into something new and exciting, with the help of the product or service that is being demonstrated. 

“There are some risks of the KISS demos, if they are not done right,” says Sanjay. 

What is a KISS Demo? 

Sanjay says that while it may not be easy to perfect a KISS Demo, it is extremely important to make it so. A KISS Demo should be something that one turns to every time someone is interested in knowing what they do. 

A KISS Demo should be scripted, fine-tuned and be worked on in such a way that it becomes a no-brainer for the person giving the demo, and the one at the receiving end. It should be used to explain the product or service to the customers, employees, and investors. It should be so simple that all the company’s employees should be able to deliver it even at odd times, or in the middle of the night. 
Edited by Javed Gaihlot

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