Tag Archives: SharePoint

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 However, over time the slides become out-of-date with old information and inconsistent branding, ultimately impacting the ability to close the sale.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.

Leverage taxonomies in SharePoint to improve search

SharePoint metadata used for optimal search results

 

With SharePoint 2010, Microsoft released Managed Metadata to enable corporate knowledge managers to define a taxonomy, allowing for better content organization and improved search relevancy. In particular, Managed Metadata uses a central Term Store where admins can build formal hierarchical classifications of terms (or labels) that can be applied across SharePoint sites.

However, taxonomies and the metadata that comprise them have to be built effectively to realize the benefits.

What is a taxonomy?

In SharePoint, a taxonomy is a hierarchical classification of terms that are categorized and applied to the content. They form a structure for metadata that consistently classifies documents. For example, your sales folder in SharePoint may contain standard pitch presentations. You may define a taxonomy that describes the ‘industry’ the pitch is focused towards and the ‘product’ it represents. Within ‘industry’, the taxonomy might limit the available options to ‘finance’, ‘healthcare’ and ‘manufacturing’.

Taxonomies enforce naming standards and categories to add consistency across the platform and support enterprise content management. They enable end-users to locate and discover information quickly, helping solve business problems.

Benefits of building a taxonomy in SharePoint

1. Improve document search relevancy

The biggest advantage of defining a taxonomy is improving search relevancy. If your SharePoint content repository contains hundreds or thousands of documents, users are likely having a difficult time finding specific pieces of content. For example, locating a single PowerPoint presentation, or even a slide within a presentation, may be time-consuming and frustrating. As repositories rapidly grow, documents are often not consistently classified, making it difficult to sort through search results. This can result in significant productivity loss as finding content takes too long and, at times, users may even recreate content.

Applying a taxonomy allows users to search for terms or apply filters to quickly locate specific documents.

2. Maintain uniformity across your organization

Managed Metadata allows SharePoint admins to build a taxonomy that is shared across multiple sites and extended to other applications. Further, terms defined in a SharePoint taxonomy can include synonyms and multilingual variants. This allows all users to apply a consistent classification to documents using a defined set of terms.

As expected, you can control who has the ability to add and modify the defined taxonomy, allowing for flexibility as your content repository grows.

3. Effectively scale with your business

Nested folders are a simple and easy solution when first adding content to SharePoint. However, they can quickly become overwhelming as your data multiplies. Users may struggle to navigate folders to find relevant files, and even if you define an organizational structure, documents will be forced into one folder when they might belong to two or three.

With metadata, folder names can be added as tags to documents, allowing the document to have multiple classifications. This methodology easily scales and enables easier search and retrieval.

Considerations when adding a taxonomy in SharePoint

1. Ensure third-party tools leverage your taxonomy

Many organizations rely on third-party apps to either add, manage or search for content in their SharePoint implementation. When possible, select apps that support and leverage the taxonomy you invested in. This ensures consistency across your entire toolkit, creating a seamless experience for end-users.

For instance, our slide library and search solution, TeamSlide, integrates with SharePoint content repositories, importing the entire taxonomy along with the content. As a result, users can search for slides with a taxonomy already familiar to them (in addition to slide content).

2. Time new taxonomies with a SharePoint migration

SharePoint migrations offer the perfect time to identify and implement a new taxonomy. During migrations, content is often reviewed and cleaned, creating opportunities to test and improve the classification model.

 

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.

Tired of digging for slides? Bring your content management system inside PowerPoint

Tired of digging for slides? Bring your content management system inside PowerPoint

SharePoint, Box, and other content management systems (CMSs) are a great solution to securely store and share your company documents. They provide online access, version control, metadata support among a host of other capabilities. CMSs allow marketing and sales teams to organize their PowerPoint assets by product, vertical, customer segment for easy search and retrieval.

However, accessing content from a CMS typically involves breaking your workflow from a productivity application (e.g. PowerPoint) to a separate interface. Further, the CMS interface may require several clicks before you find the content you are searching for.  This disruption is time-consuming and switching applications can disrupt your thought process.

CMSs are making progress in their integration with Microsoft Office products. For example, Box now allows users to simultaneously edit a Word document. Or, you can edit a document with Office 365 right in your browser.  Most CMSs include desktop sync applications that ensure folders on your computer mirror your online account.

Retrieving content from a CMS is still a tedious process. Further, for PowerPoint users, the problem is amplified as users are often looking for a particular slide rather than an entire presentation. Even after traversing their CMS to find a presentation, they dig through the presentation it to find the specific slide they need. SharePoint had a basic slide library solution that briefly solved this problem but it was deprecated a few years ago.  As a result, this enforces bad habits as users retrieve old versions of slides and presentations stored on their computer rather than the latest version available on the CMS. For sales reps, this can lead to out-of-date product information, old branding, and propagation of errors which ultimately impacts their ability to close deals. An alternative to SharePoint’s slide library, ideally a significantly improved version, is required to improve productivity.

At TeamSlide, we focus our efforts on providing a slide level search engine that works within PowerPoint. You can search, preview, and insert a slide into your active presentation without ever leaving PowerPoint. TeamSlide connects to a number of CMSs including SharePoint, Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive. Essentially bringing the CMS inside PowerPoint. Once connected, TeamSlide searches across presentations to surface the most relevant slides for your search.

For sales teams, TeamSlide allows you to quickly find a particular slide and build effective presentations. For marketing, TeamSlide offers a simple way to disseminate content while still leveraging your CMS. In addition, TeamSlide will check your slides against the central repository to ensure you always have the most up-to-date content.

Switching applications to find content is inefficient and promotes bad habits that can impact output quality. Bringing content systems inside productivity software is a natural step to solve this problem that can lead to significant benefits.

Integrate your slide library and CMS to manage your content in one place

Integrate your slide library and CMS to manage your content in one place

Most marketing and knowledge teams understand that managing a large number of PowerPoint files is a complex, time consuming task. The complexity grows significantly when managing individual slides. Slide library solutions greatly simplify the task by providing a central repository and allowing users to quickly find the slide or other PowerPoint asset they need. However, even the most robust slide library can’t replace a broader content management system (CMS) like SharePoint or Box. CMSs offer a broad range of capabilities that are helpful to diverse data sets; however, they lack the interface and in-depth PowerPoint features that a slide library or slide management solution provides. As a result, many organizations require both a CMS and a slide library.

For teams with a large PowerPoint repository, managing content across a CMS and slide library can be cumbersome. Typically, content is duplicated, and updating both sets requires manual steps that lead to errors. Further, access rights and other settings need to be aligned, creating inefficiencies. As a result, slide libraries that integrate or connect with CMSs and ensure they are automatically synced can unlock additional benefits.

What does the integration look like?

  • Slide library solutions can typically connect with a content repository using a standard protocol like CMIS
  • The slide library actively monitors the CMS for PowerPoint files, replicating the content along with the necessary metadata
  • Upon the first connection, the replication may take a while depending on the size of the repository
  • After the initial replication, only changes are captured
  • A tight connection ensures that both systems are consistently aligned

How does the integration help?

  • With the integration in place, only files in the CMS require management. All changes will automatically flow to the slide library, helping reduce the likelihood of introducing an error while saving manual effort
  • All the metadata defined in the CMS will also be passed to the slide library, thereby allowing for better search results
  • In some cases, access rights may also replicate, helping ensure tight control of content across the organization

Considerations during the integration

  • Check that any business rules that apply to your CMS can also be applied the slide library. For example, if you monitor file downloads to protect against data theft by employees, check that your slide library can send download data back to the CMS
  • Carefully select the content you want to make available through the slide library. While it may be tempting to make all your PowerPoint content available, applying a few filters will reduce the clutter and improve productivity
  • Ensure that the slide library can gracefully handle any errors that may occur during the replication. Errors should be logged and an appropriate team member contacted without impacting performance

TeamSlide’s slide management system integrates with a number of CMSs including SharePoint, Box, Dropbox, and Alfresco. Users can quickly connect their CMS to TeamSlide, making large repositories searchable on a slide level.

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?

5 reasons to replace your SharePoint slide library with TeamSlide

1. Microsoft discontinued the slide library feature starting with SharePoint 2013

Due to a design limitation, Microsoft deprecated SharePoint’s slide library feature. If you are running on an older version of SharePoint with a working slide library, note that you might suddenly lose access to it if your organization’s IT team decides to update SharePoint. Further, Microsoft will eventually stop providing user and technical support for the slide library.

2. TeamSlide can seamlessly integrate with SharePoint and PowerPoint

With TeamSlide you won’t have to start all over again. TeamSlide can integrate with SharePoint to access all your content and also connects with Active Directory to replicate your user permissions. In addition, TeamSlide allows users to search, find, insert, and share content without ever leaving PowerPoint.

3. Our intuitive UI makes it easier to use

All the core functions, including sharing slides and searching for slides, require fewer steps with TeamSlide compared to SharePoint.  From the ground-up our UI was designed to quickly give users the information and slides they need without disrupting their typical workflows. For example, users can easily adjust the size of slide thumbnails or access the slide meta data with just a click or two.

4. TeamSlide’s search technology and features drives productivity

Whether you have a 100 slides or 1 million slides, TeamSlide’s advanced search technology can quickly sort through your content to give you the most relevant slides. New features including the ability to connect to Wikipedia or email slides to colleagues can help save precious time as you build your next presentation.

5. We’ll support your technical and business needs

From the moment you get a free TeamSlide trial, we’ll work with you to understand your needs, drive TeamSlide adoption, and look for opportunities to optimize your use of slide libraries.  We’ll share best practices and actively collaborate to ensure that your business runs more efficiently.

Adding the slide library back to SharePoint

With SharePoint 2013, Microsoft unfortunately discontinued the slide library feature due to an unspecified design limitation.  As result, PowerPoint users are losing this time-saving feature as their IT departments upgrade to SharePoint 2013 or newer versions.

While there are many web-based slide management solutions the lack of PowerPoint integration is not ideal as switching back and forth between PowerPoint and a web-browser is extremely inconvenient. For many, even SharePoint’s slide library feature had significant room to improve.

At TeamSlide, we’ve developed a solution that can integrate with your SharePoint installation and provides powerful slide library features. When we first set out to build TeamSlide we spoke with a variety of power users and experts which fueled a set of 3 primary principles:

  • Easy to use: As a large variety of employees use slides, TeamSlide would have to provide features in a highly intuitive manner
  • Tightly integrated: TeamSlide would need to integrate with PowerPoint and with any existing content repositories
  • Powerful search: As the number of slides grow, TeamSlide would have to keep up and ensure users can quickly find what they are looking for

As we built TeamSlide we took these principles to heart and ensured that we could easily work with customers that had SharePoint implementations. Now users can search for slides from within PowerPoint and insert them into their active presentation with a simple click. Those used to SharePoint’s old slide library function will find TeamSlide easy to use and full of new features including the ability to quickly update slides. Users new to slide libraries will be able quickly get up to speed and start benefiting from TeamSlide in a few minutes.

Whether you are looking to augment your SharePoint capabilities or looking for a slide library solution that works without SharePoint take a moment to try TeamSlide!

At TeamSlide, we are consistently improving our slide library solution.  If you have any questions or feedback, please contact us and we’d be happy to help or learn from your perspective.