Make sure the Vendor understands that it is not just a sales
presentation. There may be considerable work required from
the Vendor to prepare the demonstration. Discuss the time
required, and also the location. It is preferable to have
the demonstration on your premises but sometimes it is not
practical to do this. There may be infrastructure required,
or bandwidth may be an issue.
The time required will probably be more than the Vendor might
expect for a simple display of the features the Vendor might
want to show you. It may be anywhere from two hours to a day
for a major system. Try to ensure technical people attend
from the Vendor organisation to handle any bugs or technical
issues around the demonstration. It is also be useful to have
your technical people on hand to understand the technical
knowledge level in the Vendor organisation.
When making appointments internally, also arrange time for a debrief after each demonstration. Attendees should reconvene immediately after the demonstration to get their thoughts and impressions down before they are lost.