Don’t let old slides derail your customer meeting

An old slide can kill the momentum of a meeting, confusing your team and the intended audience. From sales professionals and marketers to coaches and trainers, we are often asked about our ability to automatically update old slides. They consistently share stories about meetings that were derailed by stale content

SharePoint and other online repositories enable team members to access the latest presentation, typically through a web portal. Access, however, to such repositories is cumbersome, and employees end up keeping a copy of the presentation on their own hard drive or personal cloud storage service (e.g. Box, Dropbox). They keep referring to their version of the presentation even while the primary source gets updated. Over time, these differences grow, and the employee’s slide ends up with stark differences from the latest version available on the online repository. The differences can range from small branding inconsistencies to glaring content errors.

We recently connected with a marketer who noticed that her sales team had old specifications on their product overview slides. As a result, potential customers perceived that their products were inferior to the competition, costing them the sale! One trainer recently told us that his curriculum constantly changes, and at recent session his presentation slide and handout slides were mismatched. This understandably confused the audience, taking valuable time to correct.

At TeamSlide, we built a tool and method to automatically ensure you always have the latest content.

  1. Build an online slide library
    We start by allowing you to build a slide library.  You can manually upload presentations that are split into individual slides or connect to an online repository, including Box, SharePoint, or Google Drive.
  1. Assign a unique ID
    With some help from PowerPoint, TeamSlide automatically assigns a unique ID for each slide. As you download slides from the library, the ID is attached to the slides in a hidden manner.
  1. Check the library
    Now, when you open a presentation or run the content check, TeamSlide reads each slide and look for the ID to identify slides that are connected to the slide library. It then compares the date the slide you downloaded slide with the date of the last update to the library, checking if a new version of the slide exists.
  1. Review and apply
    If updates are found, you can review the changes and accept. If multiple slides are stale, they all can be updated with a single click.

Since developing this method, we’ve even applied the check to portions of a slide. Now teams can store individual charts, collections of shapes, and text boxes and these objects can be updated on a slide (without having to update the entire slide).

The seamless process ensures that you are effectively notified and given the opportunity to review and update old slides in a matter of seconds. Across multiple industry verticals, teams are deploying a TeamSlide slide library to provide easy access to PowerPoint content and ensure that their users never walk into a meeting with an old slide.

How slide libraries rescue PE firms and improve their client meetings

PowerPoint slide rescue

Whether it’s from pension funds, wealthy individuals or other investment managers, meeting with prospective clients to raise money is a core function for private equity (PE) firms. On a regular basis, marketing and client teams work to build content to fuel these meetings:

  • Firm overview and history
  • Biographies of key leaders
  • Investment strategy
  • Fund performance
  • Due diligence process
  • Management and performance fee

However, with the large variety of meetings, audiences, and objectives, PE marketing teams have the significant challenge of building and maintaining a large number of PowerPoint presentations and slides. As we’ve worked across a number PE firms, three pain points emerged.

1. Customizing and updating presentations

Presentations need to be tailored to the specifics of the meeting to improve outcomes. From client logos and customized messaging to updating fund details and the latest performance numbers, there are a painful number of checks that the marketing team needs to run through.

2. Tracking and managing slides

The constant need to update and modify slides leaves behind a mess of old versions that are hard to track, manage, and update. This inevitably leads to errors that have costly implications.

3. Compliance and regulation

With constantly changing regulations and different levels of awareness among team members, checking for compliance is a significant time sink. The process usually bottlenecks with a sign-off required by one or two key individuals.

Slide libraries to the rescue

Slide libraries, used by a variety of other industries and functions, are the preferred way to organize PowerPoint content. Typically, slides are stored in a central library that includes strict access rights, ensuring that content is verified and approved for client meetings. Slides are individually accessed and combined to build custom presentations.

Two primary methods of slide access exist:

  • Browser-based: Users launch a browser to find individual slides that are either combined and exported or copied and pasted into the user’s presentations
  • PowerPoint add-in: Users search for slides without ever having to leave PowerPoint and click to insert into their active presentations

In our conversations, we find that PE firms prefer the PowerPoint add-in method as their teams are already actively working in PowerPoint.

Some slide library solutions even notify users when a slide they are using is out-of-date. When working in PowerPoint, the slide library add-in can check if the slides in the active presentation have been updated by other team members. If they have been, the user is notified and given the option to update with just a click.

Slide libraries can sync with existing content systems like Box or SharePoint to help speed up the initial setup. This reduces complexity as firms can still manage all their slides in one system.  Microsoft’s SharePoint used to offer a native slide library function, but it was unfortunately discontinued starting with SharePoint 2013.

At TeamSlide we focus on building a robust a slide library solution that fits within the workflows of PE firms and other financial services organizations. We offer a Business version that allows teams to create a shared library, as well as a ‘Pro’-fessional version that allows users to search for slides in presentations on their own computers (including Outlook attachments).

For private equity firms that build presentations every day, accessing content through a slide library can solve multiple pain points and result in effective client meetings.