Considerations for replacing SharePoint’s slide library

As selling has become more content driven, sales organizations are relying more heavily on a large repository of PowerPoint slides and presentations. As they prepare for a customer meeting, a large chunk of productivity is driven by efficiently finding the appropriate content. Productivity is measured by not only the time required to build the presentation but also by the outcome of the meeting – was the presentation compelling enough to push the customer to the next step in the sales funnel?

Slide libraries are an effective way to manage your PowerPoint content and surface the right slide at the right time. They provide a single shared location to store content, a search engine to find and preview individual slides, and access control to ensure your information is protected.

SharePoint’s slide library feature was discontinued with SharePoint 2013 due to a design consideration. As a result, many organizations are now faced with either finding a new provider or stop using slide libraries.  While it may be easy to just stop using the feature, the benefits are hard to replace by a general content management system (CMS) and can lead to significant inefficiencies:

  • Sales collateral is often built on a slide or sub-slide level which is not the focus of a general CMS – your sales teams will have to dig through presentations to find the pieces they need wasting time and risking that they won’t be able to find what they need
  • Often, sales teams may use small variations of a slide based on the customer industry or size. If these variations are not easily accessible they will be continually recreated resulting in potentially poor output quality and lost time

When selecting a slide library provider for your sales team, consider these requirements:

  • Will the provider help throughout the life-cycle from setup to deployment and adoption? Will they be a strong business partner?
  • Can the slide library integrate with your content management systems (e.g. SharePoint)? Does the provider have the ability to fit within your IT architecture?
  • Does your company allow you to use cloud solutions or will you need an on-premise offering?
  • What are the storage limits?
  • Can you appropriately define the access control rules you need?
  • Does it integrate with PowerPoint allowing your staff to access slides without ever leaving PowerPoint?

The case for slide history in slide library or presentation management solutions

Presentations and the slides that compose them are rarely static but instead evolve over time. They change as the presenter’s thinking becomes more clear, as the project moves forward, as the underlying topic shifts, or as the audience differs. With each evolution, text might improve, data updated, or diagrams modified. For organizations that depend on slides on a regular basis, pushing slide updates to all the presentation end users becomes an important task. At TeamSlide, we built this push mechanism into our slide library solution early last year. And now, we have a variety of customers including sales organizations that benefit from this streamlined way of ensuring everybody has the latest content.

Often, however, the end user may not have the context around why the slide changed and what it represents. Or perhaps an older version of the slide is more suitable for long standing customer conversation. In these cases, finding the older version of the slide can be daunting and time consuming. Without a solution in place, you typical have to sift through old presentations and emails and hope that you can find the specific version you need. The result is lowered productivity and poor presentation quality.

Working with and listening to our customers, we recently added a history feature to our slide library offering.  The feature allows users (as long as they have permission) to go back and grab an older version of a slide. Organizations can even add a change log allowing the slide creator to share a few notes with end-users on what changed on the slide. If a mistake is found, you can even revert back to the last accurate version. Now users can understand how a slide has changed over time giving them better context and enabling better presentations.