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Web-based software demos

Our fledling startup has a web-based application that I would like our sales reps to demo to prospects without getting on a plane or setting up a premeditated web conference.

My sales rep is already on the phone with the prospect and based on an expression of interest just wants to invite the prospect to our website where my sales rep will "drive" a brief demo. This is not a scripted demo that we want to can. This is just plain old one-on-one selling. No need for fancy a "distributed virtual conference room" a la Webex, Raindance or Centra.

The demo is purely web-based, so we don't need full PC to PC remote control or desktop sharing. Also, our prospects are always behind a firewall and shouldn't have to have their network team open up ports.

Any recommendations for a tool that can meet our needs?

Kevin Merritt
Sunday, July 27, 2003

Flash.

Philo

Philo
Sunday, July 27, 2003

Make sure your website is not geared to a specific version of IE.  If it requires a specific plugin have a place they can download the plugin PRIOR to your meeting.

Mike
Sunday, July 27, 2003

Set up a server with Windows Terminal Server and a web page with the Terminal Services web client (I think there's a Java Applet version).

Joel Spolsky
Sunday, July 27, 2003

Joel,

How does terminal services help?  He wants his rep to drive the demo, and the prospective client to see the result.  Also, the terminal server web client still uses port 3389 - so this still won't work behind most corporate firewalls.  What you really want is something that streams a real-time generated Flash animation.  Sounds pretty specialized, and I've never heard of such a beast.  Or you could go with something that'll stream quicktime video, but then you're assuming quicktime is installed on your client's computers.  Flash on the other hand is just about on every PC...

GiorgioG
Sunday, July 27, 2003

What about PlaceWare - http://main.placeware.com/ ? This will let you demo a web-based application from your end while one or more remote attendees watch in their local browser connected to the PlaceWare site. Voice discussions at the same time will be by phone not through any browser add-on.

Philip Dickerson
Sunday, July 27, 2003

Phillip,

I have used Placeware before. I haven't looked at it in a while, but when I used it before starting MessageRite last year, I thought it only dished out PowerPoint presentations. Maybe it has changed since Microsoft bought it. It's now called Live Meeting (anecdotally, I do find it amusing that parts of the Live Meeting sales & marketing website are still written in Cold Fusion).

Regardless, I don't like the middle-man model, mostly for the inconvenience of having our prospect go through the process of joining a conference, etc. The other downside is the cost.

I tried one tool that was pretty neat called Glance. It was a desktop sharing system that used Java as it's glue. The main problem with it was the delay in seeing the mouse move on the prospects end. We demo'd it from our office to one of our employees PC's at home (over cable modem) and the "slave" end was a latent enough to be distracting.

Some of the online sales chat tools (like LivePerson and Groopz) have co-browsing features and the ability to push a web page, but I don't think they can have one person drive the whole demo including doing all of the typing and moving the mouse.

Kevin Merritt
Sunday, July 27, 2003

http://www.qarbon.com/

...
Sunday, July 27, 2003

http://www.webex.com

www.marktaw.com
Sunday, July 27, 2003

I agree with ... - go with Viewlet Builder from qarbon. It's dead simple to use - simply run through your demo with the viewlet builder running and you end up with a nice flash animation.

Rhys Keepence
Sunday, July 27, 2003

There is no script. The "demo" is ad hoc. It's reactive to the needs of the prospect.

"Can your application do xxxxxxx?"

"Yes. Follow along all I'll show you how easy it is to do xxxxx."

Part of the goal is to establish a rapport between the sales rep and the prospect.

RoboDemo, Qarbon, etc. are great for training existing customer on how to do something, but the last thing I want with a prospect on the phone whose willing to interactively demo the application, is to send them a link and have them watch a movie.  As long as your app does what it's supposed to do (hence no fear of an ad hoc demo), selling is all about the relationship.

Keep the ideas coming.

Kevin Merritt
Sunday, July 27, 2003

WebEx.... They give free demo's every 30 minutes, and guided demos once a day at noon PST. Just drop by and see if it looks good for your purposes.

I learned about them by word of mouth and accidentally went to webx.com.... don't make that mistake when you're talking to your clients. It's webEx... maybe just provide a link to the site from your site, or a redirect to avoid the confusion.

www.marktaw.com
Sunday, July 27, 2003

Just a thought - I've been on the other side of this problem as a prospective customer. Our IS department didn't want to open up a port. So, we took a laptop, hooked it into a phone line, and used someone's dial up account.  Worked great.

Nick
Monday, July 28, 2003

Here is a post on another messageboard that could have a few samples worth looking at - http://www.37signals.com/svn/archives/000310.php?22

Ben
Monday, July 28, 2003

ASTA Technologies has a software demo package which works over HTTP.

It's excellent.

George W.
Monday, July 28, 2003

VNC
http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc/

valraven
Monday, July 28, 2003

Free trial.

pb
Monday, July 28, 2003

None of the proposed solutions thus far gets around the whole firewall issue or without installing some piece of software on the client side.  Hidden, niche market anyone? ;-)

GiorgioG
Monday, July 28, 2003

Looks like this might be exactly what you're looking for:

http://www.glance.net

Looks like it will tunnel through HTTP as well (quickly glancing through their support section)

GiorgioG
Monday, July 28, 2003

Glance looks great.

I tried starting a session and then joining my own session.  Sorta like inifinite mirror images.

...
Monday, July 28, 2003

We've also used Webex frequently.  The software download takes place only once and it's just a plugin (I believe).  We've never had a potential client that didn't want to use Webex.  And you can buy demo time at 1/2 hour intervals.

shiggins
Monday, July 28, 2003

As said before, VNC (or other VNC's http://www.darkage.co.uk/).

Some sam
Monday, July 28, 2003

Glance is an extremely simple way for you to show your live PC screen to folks you're speaking with on the phone. 

About half of Glance's customers are software companies.  Virtually all use Glance to deliver live demos; many also use Glance for customer training sessions. 

The viewing side never downloads or installs anything.  Connects in just a few seconds.

Use Glance free for a day.  www.glance.net

(FYI - the person above who saw "windows within windows" using Glance was just looking at their own PC screen.  Use Glance to show your screen to OTHER people.)

Rich Baker
Monday, July 28, 2003

> The viewing side never downloads or installs anything.

Except for the Java runtime, which is much larger than nothing.

Steven E. Harris
Monday, July 28, 2003

Java Runtime aside, I tried it out and was up and running in 2 minutes and the lag is negligible.

Excellent service!

I am not affiliated with Glance in any way... for the skeptics <g>

Brad Siemens
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Apologies for the "never downloads anything" simplification.  I should have said "people viewing a Glance session do not have to manually download or install anything." 

Glance automatically and transparently downloads a tiny (25KB) applet to view the session, so it connects in seconds.

Techie details in our faqs at http://www.glance.net/site/support/faq.asp

And -- I am with Glance.

Rich Baker
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Thanks all for your participation in this discussion. After weighing all of the viable alternatives, I chose to go with software called GoToMyPC.com. Normally it's used to access your own PC from a web browser, for example if you want work remotely from home and have all of the benefits of everything on your desktop. To access your PC remotely, you go to GoToMyPC.com's website, enter your username (email address) and password. You then see a list of PC's you have rights to access (which is just one in my case). You click on the PC you want to connect to and it asks you to enter a session password, after which you see your own desktop.

GoToMyPC has a feature that allows me to use it very differently than that. While I am sitting in front of my work PC I can right click on the {MY PC} icon in the status bar and select "Invite Guest to PC..." It asks for my username and password and the email address of my guest. In only about a second the guest receives an email with a hyperlink to click. When they click on the link, if the guest has never used GoToMyPC it quickly (10 seconds) installs a java applet and then connects to my PC. When the connection is made, a box pops up on my PC to confirm the connection. All in, it takes about 20 seconds.

The reason I chose GoToMyPC over the other solutions is because of the quality of the remote session. There is no compromise on screen resolution or color depth. When I move the cursor, it moves fluidly on the other end. By the way, you can configure it so that both sides can drive the keyboard and mouse.

There are no firewall issues whatsoever.

It's a great solution. Fully loaded on an annual basis, it's about $10/month (they have a deal for $119/yr).  I don't know if that price is on their website or not. Call their toll free number and ask for Barry McGuire in sales/support.

I conducted my first live demo this morning and it was awesome.  Granted I've only used it for a couple of days, but I give this product my highest rating.

Disclaimer - I have no direct, indirect or financial relationship to GoToMyPC. My testimony is based purely as a consumer.

Kevin Merritt
Friday, August 01, 2003

Got the GoToMyPC demo from http://www.gotompyc-free-download.com . Love the install, but don't really wanna  have to pay regularly so I reccomend VNC. If you have the money maybe http://www.gotomypcpro.com is good, dunno tho- haven't tried it

Jonathan Millington
Thursday, January 22, 2004

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