Subject-matter Experts: Offer Coaching Sessions Instead of Demos

Victoria Rudi
June 3, 2022
⌚ 4 min read

→ Your growth practice

Provide consultancy, coaching, and industry-related expertise to build connections and gain the trust of your inbound and outbound leads.

→ Quick explanation

Like it or not, demo calls feel salesy. They’re corporate-centered, as their goal is to convince ready-to-buy prospects to take action and purchase your product. Even if you’re discussing your leads’ immediate needs and adjusting your product demo to their profile, your narrative will always focus on your company’s interests.

Your demo sessions will always be sales-centered, and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, this may result in:

  • Building weaker connections with your leads
  • Experiencing difficulty in gaining people’s trust

When they schedule a demo session, people expect you to:

  • Focus on the product
  • Talk features and benefits
  • Persuade them to purchase your product

That’s inevitable. No matter how good you are at understanding people’s needs and showcasing your product’s value, demos will always stay demos.

However, a shift in your approach may change the way people feel about your product. What’s this change about? Offer free consulting sessions with subject-matter experts instead of demo meetings. In other words, transform your demos into consulting/coaching with your leads.

Consulting/coaching sessions are all about the person you’re engaging with. That’s how people perceive it as they’ll expect you to:

  • Ask discovery questions
  • Help them reveal struggles they’ve overlooked
  • Help them find solutions

These types of sessions are far more valuable than demos. At least, that’s how your leads will perceive them.

  • For inbound leads: Transform your Demo Request CTA into a Free Consulting/Coaching Session on a specific industry matter.
  • For outbound leads: Start conversations on industry-related challenges and invite your leads to engage with your subject-matter experts to solve a specific challenge.

→ Definitions

📓 Subject-matter experts: Professionals with advanced knowledge and skills in a specific field.

📓 Consultancy: Meetings focused on discussing a specific subject, answering questions, and transferring knowledge to help someone achieve their wanted results.

📓 Coaching: Meetings based on providing training and guidance, helping people to achieve a specific result. During these meetings, subject-matter experts take people from point A (the challenge) to point B (the solution).

→ Your growth opportunities

  • Achieve a genuine connection with your prospects based on their interests.
  • Gain people’s trust by aligning your actions to their needs (finding an answer, solving a specific challenge) and providing value beforehand.
  • Increase the number of qualified leads who may get a free consulting or coaching session.
  • Increase the number of outbound leads replying to your messages.
  • Get to know your target group and its needs better. This knowledge will help you later fine-tune your messaging and communication strategy.
  • Identify new use cases, as you’ll start seeing different challenges people try to solve.
  • Build thought leadership and industry authority.

→ Case examples

>> Privy, an e-Commerce marketing platform

Instead of offering demos, Privy encourages people to schedule free 1:1 coaching sessions. Privy’s coaching sessions focus on helping people to understand the tools they need to sell more online.

Privy Screenshot

Run by e-commerce coaches, each session includes:

  • Understanding people’s goals and needs
  • A live walkthrough of the Privy platform
  • Best practices and strategies based on prospective client’s industry
  • Q&A

To schedule a free call with a Privy e-commerce expert, people have to fill in a short form, then choose a date/hour that works best.

Privy Screenshot

>> Navattic, a platform for creating interactive product demos

According to Natalie Marcotullio, Head of Growth and Operations at Navattic, the company is focused on igniting industry-related conversations with outbound leads.

Considering that Natalie is a marketing expert, she engages with her leads on marketing and HubSpot-related questions, helping them solve different issues. That’s a great way to build strong connections and gain people’s trust.

→ What to consider?


  • What type of expertise can I offer? The answer is usually anything between your industry, product, and audience’s needs.
  • Will I train in-house subject-matter experts? Or will I engage the services of external professionals?
  • Will I provide consulting or coaching sessions?
  • Will I provide consulting/coaching to inbound or outbound leads? Or will I do it in both cases?


  • There are no specific requirements to deploy this practice except having access to a subject-matter expert.

→ Your action framework

📒 Decide on which subject you’ll showcase your expertise. As Natalie Natalie Marcotullio said, Navattic focuses on reaching out to marketing professionals. Also, considering that Natalie has a strong marketing background, she can consult and assist potential prospects on a wide variety of marketing topics that aren’t necessarily related to Navattic.  

📒 Identify a subject-matter expert. If you don’t want to hire an external professional, your subject-matter expert can be someone from your marketing, sales, CX, community, or engineering team.

► Quick note: Your in-house expert has to focus less on the product and more on your audience’s needs when engaging in consulting/coaching sessions with them. Also, if you’ll offer coaching sessions, you may want to train someone inside your company to use different coaching methodologies.

📒 (for inbound leads)

You don’t have to ditch your demo sessions and replace them with something completely new. Act small and:  

  • Rename your demos to 1:1 consulting/coaching sessions.
  • Re-structure your demos by focusing primarily on your leads’ goals, needs, and challenges.
  • Create a new script based on discovery questions and guide your leads to understanding their problems and desired outcome.
  • Make a list of industry-personalized ideas and best practices you can offer to your leads regardless of their interest in your product.  
  • Set up the right expectations and explain what these coaching sessions will be about, also mentioning that you’ll offer a platform walkthrough.

📒 (for outbound leads)

In this case, you can engage with your prospects in free-style conversations by discussing different industry-related topics. Or, you can offer quick calls to help with specific challenges someone may have. Again, remember that you’ll have to focus on the person’s needs for answers and knowledge and not on pitching your product. Your main goal is to connect with your leads and build trust.

► Quick note: It’s worth noting that people should go out of these sessions feeling they’ve gained something (a new perspective, knowledge, ideas, a powerful tool, and more).