Category Archives: Product/Service

4 Microsoft add-ins that help drive B2B sales productivity

B2B Sales Productivity: Office Add-ins that help

Microsoft Office is an incredibly versatile and comprehensive tool on its own, but with the right add-ins you can supercharge the Office experience, improving your B2B sales productivity.

Microsoft add-ins are software utilities that enhance the overall functionality of core Microsoft Office applications including Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Excel. They offer focused productivity gains that can greatly help specific sales tasks.

Here are some of our favorite Microsoft add-ins that help drive sales efficiencies:

1. Word: Grammarly

While written communication is central to the process, grammar is often overlooked, lowering the perceived quality of the sales collateral. And as a result, reducing the perceived quality of the product or service sold.

Grammarly is a cloud-based writing support tool that automatically detects potential grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes. It greatly improves your writing and reduces the risk of embarrassing errors. Their Microsoft Word add-in automatically checks your documents and also provides weekly stats about your writing. Grammarly offers a free version that includes basic checks and a premium offer that checks for more complex errors and inconsistencies.

2. PowerPoint: TeamSlide

Building PowerPoint decks is a critical sales task, but quickly finding the right slide and leveraging past presentations can be inefficient.  Sales teams often end up checking email attachments and flipping through decks to hunt for lost slides.

TeamSlide is a slide-level search tool embedded in PowerPoint. It searches across your content repositories (e.g. SharePoint, Box), local folders, and email attachments, allowing you to preview and insert the best slides into your current presentation. You’ll never rummage through presentations to hunt for a slide again.

3. Outlook: Join.me

Productive B2B sales team spend a significant amount of time in customer meetings. However, setting up conference calls with new leads can be tedious as sales professionals have to configure invites in Outlook and call details in a web browser. Between the back and forth, determining different time zones, and aligning calendars the process is time-consuming and prone to error.

Join.me, a web conferencing and online meeting solution, offers an add-in that helps you schedule meetings directly from Outlook. You can create a meeting invitation and include the required web conference details (personal URL, dial-in details, etc.).

4. Excel: Mapline

Managing sales territories, including their performance, is a core function in sales operations. However, generating simple but powerful visualizations that outline performance can be difficult, and as a result, often not completed.

Mapline, a mapping solution, offers an Excel add-in that helps you create maps from Excel data without leaving the worksheet. You can upload data directly from within Excel, allowing you easily update maps.

Add images to your slide library and effectively build compelling, on-brand presentations

Client relation teams at investment management firms build a multitude of presentations every day. Beyond ensuring that the information provided is accurate and up-to-date, presentations need to be compelling and convince the audience to act. Images play a large role in achieving this goal by capturing the audience’s attention, succinctly conveying ideas, and portraying the right brand.

However, using images in presentations has a number of challenges which typically result in productivity loss or a negative impact on the presentation itself.

Challenges in using images in presentations

  • Copyrights: Images are often copyrighted and not free to use. Your team may be tempted to run a Google image search to find images. However, these images tend not be legally free to use usable or require very specific attributions  Further, team members may miss awkward watermarks that lower the quality of the entire presentation
  • Search and selection: Searching for images, even from the most effective stock websites, takes significant time. Teams can spend hours debating the impact of images and may even re-purchase images that another team member has previously bought. Choosing an incorrect resolution can also impact the presentation size or quality
  • Updates: Updating old presentations with new client logos and new brand images is often a forgotten task. As a result, old off-brand images make their way into new presentations resulting in a poor perception of quality

How a slide library can help manage images

While slide libraries often feature the ability to centrally manage a collection of slides, they can often be extended to include images.

A slide library provides teams with a central location to access PowerPoint slides, helping greatly improve the efficiency of creating new presentations. It helps ensure users have quick, seamless access to the latest content.

SharePoint used to include a slide library feature, but it was removed starting with SharePoint 2013. However, third-party solutions like TeamSlide have specialized in slide library features and integrate with SharePoint and other content systems including Box and Google Drive.

In addition to managing slides, TeamSlide allows teams to centrally store and manage images. Users can connect TeamSlide to a SharePoint site and folder with images or upload images directly. Image file names can then be searched, and users can also add tags to help improve search-ability.  Search results can be previewed from within PowerPoint and clicking on a result adds the image to the current slide.

Investment management firms of all sizes can quickly build a repository of compliant images, including marketing collateral and client logos. Client relations team members can then quickly find the images they need rather than searching online, helping maximize the value of images that the firm has already invested in.

Further, TeamSlide includes an auto-update feature which checks all the images in a presentation to see if a newer version exists in the library. If a new image version is found, the old one can be automatically updated.

Slide libraries can greatly help investment management firms effectively build compelling presentations that are on-brand and compliant.

4 digital tools your consulting firm started using after you left

Consulting tools

Over the last 5 years, global consulting firms have increasingly focused on helping their clients with digital acceleration.  From measuring their digital maturity and reframing their strategy to implementing digital tools and processes, consulting firms are vying to capture more of their clients’ attention and spend. BCG developed a digital acceleration index, McKinsey invested in a Digital Labs group, and Bain launched BainDigital.com to showcase their capabilities.

While preaching a new digital approach to their clients, these firms have also invested in new digital tools for their consulting staff. In addition to improving productivity, these tools allow the firm to showcase their capabilities to clients. Based on conversations with numerous consultants across multiple firms, here are 4 new digital tools that are driving significant productivity gains:

Tableau

Tableau is an interactive data visualization software solution focused on business intelligence.

Source: Tableau

While static PowerPoint charts are still the mainstay of most presentations, Tableau is allowing consultants to make sense of large datasets. With Tableau, consultants can also dive into different data cuts in real time, helping create more conversational client interactions. However, Tableau does have a learning curve and effectively using large, complex datasets requires discipline and a strong analytical approach.

Slide-level search

Slide-level search is the process of finding individual ‘killer’ slides across many presentations

Source: TeamSlide

Consulting organizations have people, tools, and processes in place to help capture knowledge generated during each project. Over time, they have built a vault of PowerPoint presentations stored in large content repositories. These repositories are an important tool for consultants as they conduct research and prepare for new projects.

However, instead of searching for presentations and then flipping through them to find relevant slides, consultants have consistently asked for the ability to search for individual slides instead. With TeamSlide, we are proud to be helping a variety of firms enable slide-level access. Either through a web portal or through our even more powerful PowerPoint add-in, consultants now have access to their firm’s entire repository on a slide level.

Some firms have even extended this ability to the consultant’s desktop allowing them to find individual slides from presentations on their own computer.

Slack

Slack is a set of cloud-based instant messaging and collaboration tools

As projects grow more complex and the velocity of interactions increases, email and traditional web portal tools are proving to be too clunky. Slack provides instant access to your team’s interactions including chat conversations, notifications, and files. With consulting cases changing every few months, the use of Slack channels allows teams and subgroups to be quickly formed and no longer requires IT support. Further, slack integrates with a host of other services creating a seamless experience.

Cloud content management

Cloud content management is an online repository for all our files (e.g. Box, OneDrive)

Source: Box

While cloud storage is a pervasive solution in many industries, traditional consulting organizations have been slow to adopt it. However, over the last few years consulting firms have started to trust online solutions and many are now pushing their staff to keep content online rather than on their desktops. Box now offers advanced security measures that are building trust with consulting organizations.

Summary

If it’s been a few years since you’ve left consulting, the firm today is likely quite different than the firm you remember. If you still use tools that were first introduced to you while consulting, you may want to try some of the new ones above. As the focus on digital sharpens, consulting firms will continue to adopt new tools to increase productivity and showcase their capabilities to clients.

Your Business Presentation Isn’t About You (It’s About Your Audience’s Question)

Your Business Presentation Isn’t About You

Your presentation is days away, but already you’re feeling panicky and sick to your stomach. You hate public speaking, always have, and even though it’s just a hand-full of your colleagues, you feel like it might as well be the entire company.

So you read up on business presentations and learn how to get over your fear of public speaking. You learn techniques for projecting your voice, for appearing confident, for what to do with your hands. You practice over and over until every tiny movement becomes second nature. Then, on the big day, you walk into the conference room without fear. You deliver the performance of a lifetime.

The only problem is… no one cared.

This may be a little blunt, but it’s not about you. You weren’t asked to give a presentation because your co-workers wanted to hear the sound of your silky smooth voice. You were selected because you understand something that your audience doesn’t. Your business presentation isn’t about you, it’s about your answer to a question important to your audience.

Most of us will never give a grand speech in an auditorium with hundreds of listeners – but we will have to give more than one “sit-down” presentation to a handful of our work colleagues.

For these smaller, more common, boardroom presentations, your message is critical. To be successful, skills to identify the critical question and to structure, articulate, design and deliver a compelling answer are needed.

Unfortunately, the presentation training market is flooded with public speaking tips (as if we’re all giving TED talks). Have a look – advice on how to create an effective presentation is drowned out by tips on how to deliver an entertaining one. While a fear of public speaking is common, what should scare you more is failing to effectively answer your audience’s question.

TeamSlide helps you organize, plan, and ultimately present your slideshow, but we can’t design it for you. The structure of your argument, the order and pacing of your topics, the visualization of data, and the other critical nuances of crafting your answer are presentation skills on a whole different level.

SlideHeroes is a course that focuses on getting the substance of your presentation across.

With 20 video lessons ranging from 5 to 20 minutes, the SlideHeroes course covers in detail the process of creating a business presentation, plus the five main elements every effective presentation needs:

  • The Process: SlideHeroes’ step-by-step who, why, what, how process for building your presentation. SlideHeroes shows you how to identify the key question of your audience and organize an answer around that question. The course also focuses on how to ensure the objective and next steps of your presentation are clear.
  • Power of Logical Structure: A chaotic and flimsy presentation is a quick way to lose the attention of your audience. This section teaches the tried-and-true structures of building a logical argument, how to apply them to business presentations, and ways to generate the right ideas to flesh out your argument.
  • Art of Storytelling: Business presentations can be stories with a more practical message. Learn how to create a narrative arc within your presentation. Learn how the same storyboarding principles used in the movies can be applied to slides.
  • Harmony of Design: Looks aren’t everything, but they’re still something. The proper visuals can improve legibility, comprehension, retention, and can even set the proper mood. This section explains the science of sight and explores principles of visual processing. It then examines how these insights can be applied to the composition of your slides.
  • The Science of Fact-based Persuasion: The most reliable method of persuasion is hard-evidence. Here you’ll learn which facts are most useful and how to display information. The course compares the pros and cons of tables and graphs, analyzes the different types of graphs, and gives direction and when to use each type.
  • Drama of Performance: Learn the techniques of delivering a presentation that go beyond mere public speaking, including the best ways to rehearse and small tips that can add life to an otherwise dull graph parade.

The video format of the course is a practical, easy to digest means of learning how to write a presentation. Their segmented video lessons let you learn at your own pace, one topic at a time, with quizzes after each video to reinforce everything you have learned. The static online manuals of other presentation training can’t capture the intricacies of giving an actual presentation – some things you can’t just read about, you have to see in action.

Try SlideHeroes by signing up for their free trial. It will give you a very good sense of the SlideHeroes platform and course. We think you will enjoy it. Let us know what you think!