May 2

5 ways to avoid a feature dump in your presentation


More is not always better.

If you ever drank from a hose as a kid, then you have a good idea of what it feels like to be on the receiving end of many presentations or demos. Overwhelming prospects with a steady stream of information – or feature dump – happens more than it should. Here are some of the excuses I hear:

My solution is too complex
I don’t have as much time as I need
The prospect wants to see everything
I’ve just got this one shot…etc. etc.

If your goal is to show all your capabilities and anything that might possibly be of interest to the prospect, then mission accomplished. Unfortunately, you will have sacrificed a much greater goal:  Clarity and relevance.

While it may seem like good sense to cover all your bases, throwing too much at your prospect actually weakens your message. Even a short diversion from focus can confuse the issue and cause your prospect to tune out during an otherwise stellar case. You make your prospect do all the work of picking out and remembering the most relevant pieces.

How do you avoid a feature dump and tighten your focus to just those steps, capabilities, or processes that are most relevant or contribute toward building a stronger case?

5 ways to avoid a feature dump in your presentation

  1. Hone in on difference-makers.

    Stick to those features that are most relevant to this prospect in their current business – not someday, not potentially, but now. Test every feature by putting yourself in your prospect’s shoes and asking yourself, “Why does this feature matter to me now?” If you can’t come up with a strong answer, let it go. Honing in on a few key features that help your prospect understand how your overall solution is addresses the challenges they’re facing today makes a much stronger case than racing through a dozen less-important features in a blur.

  2. Keep it high-level.

    Unless this is a deep dive into the specific capabilities of your product, avoid getting lost in how a feature or process works. After all, the goal of a sales presentation or demo is not to train the prospect how to use your product. It’s to give them just enough information so that they want to see more, ask questions, do a trial, or sign a contract. Eliminate the granular detail of steps and processes that don’t further your prospect’s understanding of how your product will help her achieve her goals. Read up on The Big Short System for simplifying complex ideas.

  3. Connect it to their world.

    A long list of features is meaningless to most prospects. Bring your feature to life by giving it context. What specific challenge does this feature resolve for your prospect? How are they currently handling this challenge? What is the impact? By connecting the dots between your product’s capabilities and how, when and why your prospect would use it, you paint a much more vivid picture and help your prospect envision using your solution. Read more here on how to build a full story with your features.

  4. Focus on value.

    Ultimately nothing you’ve shown matters if the prospect doesn’t see the value in it for them. Many sellers assume the benefit of a certain feature is obvious to a prospect and so don’t call it out (i.e, “they know it’s going to eliminate manual processes, save them time, etc.”) But this assumption is foolhardy. First, the value is not nearly as obvious to your prospect as you think it is. Second, it’s likely even if they know it that it is not top-of-mind. Play it safe and make it a habit to always deliver value with any feature you discuss.

  5. Make it visual.

    Visual aids increase recall of your message by nearly 67%, so if a feature is a real game-changer, using some type of visual aid, i.e., a whiteboard, flipchart, physical sample, etc., to highlight its impact or value, makes it both engaging and memorable.

Keep in mind that more isn’t always better. Show just enough features to intrigue your prospect and make your point, without drowning them with the fire hose of information.

Photo by: Anathea UtleyCC BY


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