Tag Archives: Sales

Sync B2B sales and marketing communication with slide libraries

Slide libraries help sync B2B marketing and sales

Communication misalignment between sales and marketing is a ubiquitous problem that can ultimately cost B2B companies 10% of revenue or more per year. The lost revenue arises from:

  • Marketing content that is never used
  • Poor lead conversion
  • Reduced sales productivity

The tension results from marketing and sales approaching the process from different viewpoints. While marketing tends toward a long-term broad focus, sales is often tasked with closing leads with very specific requirements.

The problem with building presentations

The misalignment often starts when building/assembling presentations for customer meetings.

Prior to a meeting, the sales team often edit and refine official marketing presentations such that they are tailored to the customer’s needs. The process is time consuming and seemingly always completed under duress. As a result, finding the right slide in a sea of presentations in the company intranet is frustrating and sometimes not feasible.

As a result, sales often refer to unofficial presentations from past meetings – largely because they are easier to find. However, over time the slides become out-of-date with old information and inconsistent branding, ultimately impacting the ability to close the sale.

How slide libraries drive alignment

To effectively solve misalignment during presentation assembly, provide marketing with a solution to expose specific slides and give sales incredibly easy access to these slides – slide libraries do exactly this.

A slide library solution allows users to access slides on an individual basis. Rather than rummaging through decks to find the one slide they need, slide library solutions either extract slides from a content source or allow users to create a library. Further, search results are visual, allowing users to quickly discern which best meets their needs.  Often times, the search function and slide retrieval is built into PowerPoint, making it easy to adopt.

Rather than always publishing entire presentations, creating a library of individual slides gives marketing a chance to build specific on-message slides that meet sales needs across their different leads.

For sales, the tool allows them to find marketing-approved slides with incredible ease. Essentially, the process is simplified such that it’s the easiest way to find slides (even easier than searching through their hard drive).

Advanced slide library solutions even check sales’ slides to ensure users have the latest version. If out-of-date, users can review and update slides with a click.  Such solutions can provide marketing with analytics on what slides are accessed most often, helping close the feedback loop. Some even allow sales teams to suggest updates to slides that marketing can review and accept.

Slide library solutions ensure consistent messaging and improved productivity:

  • Provide buyers with the right content each step of the sales process
  • Drive cohesive messaging and branding across all communication
  • Spend less time building presentations and more time selling

How you can implement a slide library

When first starting, trying to assemble a ‘master’ deck with all your core slides and make sure it’s available to the entire sales team. While a simple method, this allows you to test approach without significant investment.

Next, check if a solution already exists in-house.  SharePoint used to support a slide library, but it was discontinued starting with SharePoint 2013. Alternatively, we provide a 3rd party solution called TeamSlide. TeamSlide integrates with a number of content systems including SharePoint and Google Drive, allowing you to quickly make large amounts of content searchable on slide level.

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.

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.

The 4 Key Elements of Winning Sales Presentations

Recently we spoke to Ian Jackson from Supreme Slides about creating sales presentations. To dramatically increase your chance of closing the deal (and blow your competition out of the water!), he shared 4 Key Elements that Supreme Slides recommends you include in your sales presentations:

#1:   Custom Design: Visuals & Infographics

Get their attention: to keep your audience actively engaged, complement your sales pitch with custom-designed visuals and infographics. Generic visuals can be bland, and fail to convey unique aspects of your value proposition. Custom designs can play a huge part in creating a unique, memorable experience.

Infographics are more engaging, easy to understand and recall. And they’re more likely to be shared online. They’re a concise, much more appealing way to quickly convey data, complex or large amounts of information.

Types of infographics include: flow charts, comparisons, maps, data visualizations.

#2:   Professional Copywriting

Edit, edit, edit: professional copywriters know how to eradicate ‘waffle’, quickly identify key information, and craft persuasive copy. Personally, I’m a big fan of getting specialists onboard to do what they do best, so that I can too!

Sure, you can write the copy yourself, but at the very least, it’s worth getting a copywriter to look at what you’ve written. Sometimes we can be too ‘close’ to our business, to know what wording will/won’t work in our presentations. Impartial advice can make all the difference.

#3:   Custom-made Video/Animated Video

Boredom-busters: breaking presentations up with video content can raise the energy level in a room, and the bright colors, movement and simple lines in animated videos can make complicated or potentially dull information, much more interesting.

For example, you could grab attention by kicking off your presentation with an introductory Video, and/or include a video testimonial which proves your value proposition.

It’s critical that the video content is highly relevant – which is why custom-made videos are preferable, and Videos shouldn’t be included just for novelty value.

Smarter not harder: Video can also be re-purposed, e.g. for social media, on websites, in webinars and blogs… So custom-made Video content can actually give you a lot of ‘bang for your buck’!

#4:   A Confident Presenter

Imagine everyone’s naked?? You can have every other element of your sales presentation sorted, but if you don’t feel confident about your presentation skills and ability to gain rapport, all your hard work might be wasted. ‘Fake it til you make it’ doesn’t work for everyone… Same goes for the advice to ‘imagine everyone’s naked’!

Presentation Coaching can achieve amazing results – everyone has the potential to become an assured, compelling speaker. If you aren’t one already, you can be. Sometimes just adjusting small things like body signals and tone of voice, can make a big difference.


Ian’s advice all boils down to this: you’re asking people to invest in your business, buy your product or use your service… To greatly increase the chance of them doing so, you need to invest in it too. By enlisting the help of a designer, copywriter and possibly a presentation coach, you’ll go into your next sales presentation feeling FAR more confident!

Connect with Ian Jackson on LinkedIn

Supreme Slides is a specialist presentation agency which creates visually stunning, persuasive sales presentations that get results

 

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www.supremeslides.com

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?