All posts by Aploris

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

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.

7 considerations when updating your PowerPoint template

7 considerations when updating your PowerPoint template
The PowerPoint template is an important component of an organization’s branding strategy and a critical vehicle to share information to prospects, leads, and even staff. While PowerPoint offers multiple standard templates, most firms require a custom design to effectively meet their branding requirements. We often interact with customers who have recently updated their templates, and through this interaction we have learned several lessons:

1. Build templates for all slide types and uses

Before creating your templates, catalog all the slide types you need:

  • While title slides are important, take a moment to think through the other types of slides you might also regularly need, e.g. agenda, one large chart, two small charts, customer feedback/quotes, biographies
  • Will you require different templates for different presentation types? E.g. internal vs. external, by vertical, by function

Performing this step will prevent your team from editing the template and adversely affecting your branding.

2. Use safe fonts to ensure a consistent performance

Selecting an appropriate font set for your template that conveys the characteristics that align with your business can be an artistic endeavor. However, you may want to limit your choice to safe fonts that are commonly available in different PowerPoint installations. This selection will ensure your presentation looks the same across different computers.

 3. Limit the ink required

Although it may seem rare, printing presentations is actually still common in some industries, including management consulting. If your template uses a colored banner behind every slide title, you’ll end up consuming a lot of ink. Instead consider underlining the title to leave more white space.

4. Watch the file size

Images are powerful tools to convey emotions and quickly make your point. When selecting images for your template, determine the minimum resolution required. High resolution images can quickly increase the size of your presentation, making it difficult to share with others and potentially cumbersome to edit on older, slow computers.

5. Use the opportunity to formalize your visuals

Beyond slides you might also consistently need specific images, charts, specific text blocks, and logos. If you are updating and disseminating a new slide template, you may find synergies in also collecting and refreshing all your visuals.

6. Use a slide library to share the templates with your team

If your template is small and simple, follow these instructions to make it easily accessible in PowerPoint. However, if you have a detailed collection of slides and visuals, consider a slide library solution to disseminate the slides and ensure adoption.

We have previously written about slide library best practices and the trade-offs between browser and add-in based solutions. In addition, if you’re using SharePoint 2013, the slide library feature is no longer supported and you’ll need an alternative.

7. Hire professional designers

If your budget allows, consider engaging professional presentation designers. These experts can apply a wealth of experience to build a custom, detailed template package that tightly fits within your brand requirements.

Our top 10 priceless presentation tips for event speakers

We all know there’s more to a brilliant presentation than well written words.

“When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle—people see the world differently afterward.” — Chris Anderson

The best kind are transformative, for the speaker and the audience — words and their delivery have real power. Whether you often get nervous during presentations or are a seasoned speaker, these public speaking tips and tricks will equip you for any event that comes your way!

Creating the content

Structure your presentation around a story

A great story is at the heart of every great presentation. Why? Because ‘humans are wired to listen to stories’. Narratives and metaphors place audiences into the shoes of the protagonist — it encourages the audience to have a vested interest in the presentation. When you’re creating your presentation, structure the content around a central story, following a rough path of problem to aha moment to solution.

Create an image rich, text light presentation

Everyone can remember an instance where presentation slides were a let down. Perhaps there was too much text to read. Perhaps the images were distracting and misaligned to the content. While a great presentation is essential, getting it right is all about the balance.

When creating your presentation, keep your text to the minimum — there’s nothing more mindnumbing than a presenter who just reads off the slides! An image rich, text light presentation is a win. Useful resources for sourcing free and high quality stock images include: Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash.

Making your content accessible

As a professional speaker, there are times where you’re required to present at multiple venues across different cities or countries – and there’s nothing worse than losing a copy of your most up-to-date presentation right before an event. Whether it’s a version control issue, a misplaced USB drive or a laptop crashing on you, having a plan B is key to avoiding any hiccups.

TeamSlide’s integration with Powerpoint means that your slides can be uploaded and downloaded from the cloud with a single click. And with our intelligent algorithms, searching for specific content becomes incredibly easy so you’re not flipping through every deck you’ve ever created. Manage all your content on one platform and make it easy to access your content anywhere and on any device.

Pre presentation

So you’ve got your presentation in tip top shape for the big day. In the precious few minutes before walking on stage, there are few habits you should adopt.

Drink warm or room temperature water, with lemon

We’ve all been there — nerves can make your throat do all sorts of things. Warm or room temperature, coupled with a splash of lemon, can help alleviate the throat dryness. Where possible, ditch the ice cold water, carbonated drinks and dairy products which all exacerbate those issues.

Talk to as many people as possible

Does the thought of speaking in front of so many faceless strangers still give you the tingles? The best way to conquer this is to simply talk to the audience — as many people as you can before the presentation. As you put more names to faces, you may even gain ideas and

At the end of the day, audience and speaker interaction is a win — engaged audiences are the best kind. Consider whether your presentation will have a Q&A component or a live polling feature.

Smile

During nerve wracking moments, the first instinct is to frown. However, this is the opposite of what you should do. Smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, helps trigger endorphins, relax muscles and calm nerves.

Presentation delivery

After all that preparation and practice, it’s time for delivering your presentation. Truth is, delivery can make or break your presentation. When you’re on that stage, keep these three factors in mind.

Eye contact

The success of delivery is all in how well you can immerse your audience in the story you’re telling — and there’s nothing like eye contact to really engage and connect with your audience. Choose a handful of people scattered across the room, potentially people you’ve met before, to maintain eye contact with throughout. Ensure you don’t focus on just one segment of the audience (or even worse, just one individual) — it’s obvious and disconcerting.

Confidence boosting poses

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has performed extensive research on how “body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves”. There are several body postures you can do before, during and after to boost your confidence and get you in the right mindset.

Move on stage

Avoid standing in a single spot throughout the whole presentation. Try not to pace back and forth, treading over the same pattern either – as this may seem rehearsed and forced. Instead, let the delivery look and feel natural by letting movement be guided by your speech and the audience’s reaction – it’s okay to stand at parts and move during others. Treat your movement like you would if you were having a conversation with friends or family.

Take note of hand gestures

Did you know: hands open with palms open convey certainty in what you’re talking about.

We all know body language plays a big part in how people perceive you. One of the best presentation tips you can try is to simply change up your hand gestures. As you practice your presentation, keep an eye out for how you naturally use hand gestures and alter where appropriate to emphasise a point.

Involve your audience

Communication is a two way street. Yes, you’re the main event when presenting but if you’re talking ‘at’ your audience there’s a good chance they’ll tune out quickly. Instead, get your audience to sit up, lean in and be active participants – ask them questions, hear their comments and don’t be afraid to veer slightly from your slides if a point of interest comes up.

Apps like Zeetings are a great option to involve shy audience members, allowing them to add comments or ask questions anonymously.

Over to you

Have you got a presentation around the corner? Whether it’s an internal meeting or a large conference, a great presentation can be transformative and influential. What are your public speaking tips and tricks for delivering an ovation worthy presentation? Share in the comments below!


This post was authored by Robert Kawalsky of Zeetings

rob-kawalskyRobert Kawalsky
Cofounder and CEO, Zeetings

Robert Kawalsky is the CEO and Cofounder of Zeetings, a software company changing the way people present their ideas to the world. Kawalsky is also an active investor and advisor to technology and internet related businesses.

Slide library: Browser vs. Add-ins

PowerPoint slide libraries are an effective way for organizations to centrally store and manage their slides, presentations and other PowerPoint assets. The content can be delivered to the end user through two primary channels:

Browser

The user switches from PowerPoint to their browser to search and find content. Typically, multiple pieces of content are found, arranged and exported into a new presentation.

Pros Cons
  • Doesn’t require installation of any software on the user’s computer
  • The large browser window allows for easy access to large number of functions/features
  • Ability to convert to PDF to lock content
  • Typically breaks the user’s workflow as they have to switch from PowerPoint to the browser and back
  • Difficult to naturally build and edit a deck
  • Can’t insert content in line with the active presentation
  • Limited ability for users to share new content

Bottom line
For heavy PowerPoint content creators, the browser method can be very cumbersome and adoption is typically poor. However, for users that only need occasional access to content that doesn’t require significant changes or shuffling the browser can be effective. In addition, browser access can be quickly rolled out as no additional software is required on the end user’s computer.

Add-in

The user can search, insert, and share content directly from within PowerPoint. The add-in is typically launched from the existing PowerPoint menu and exists only within the PowerPoint frame.

Pros Cons
  • In line with the user’s workflow causing no disruption; easy to search, add, delete, share content on the fly
  • Very easily insert into and share content from the active presentation
  • Great to naturally build and edit presentation
  • Can be augmented by a browser for less-used features
  • Requires installation of software on the user’s computer

Bottom line
A PowerPoint add-in makes most use-cases remarkably simple and is especially useful for PowerPoint content creators. The add-in does require installation but for large organizations this can typically be done silently (in the background) with some help from IT.

At TeamSlide, the add-in is a critical part of our offering as for most use-cases it offers a simple, easy workflow. We use the browser to augment our add-in with more administrative-focused features (e.g. batch edit slides, change access rights). However, we believe that search, insert, and share are better implemented through an add-in that delivers a seamless experience to users.

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.

Insights on how to develop your partner programs to drive sales

 

Partnership programs

Partnerships are critical source of revenue for many businesses as they offer an opportunity to amplify sales and sell to customer segments that might be otherwise difficult to reach. A strong partner program can help maximize these relationships. Here are some insights to consider when building your partnership programs:

2-way communication

While you may not be working directly with your partners’ customers, you still need to listen to the customer voice. This is especially important if you have no other access to the specific customer segment. Access to customer feedback helps fuel product improvements, provide better customer support, and develop a strong understanding of industry trends. You can achieve this by scheduling joint sales calls with your partners or attending the conferences and seminars these customers are likely to also attend.

In addition, your partners need instant access to the right content to effectively sell your products. Whether it is product updates, sales best practices, or technical support your partners need simple access to your latest knowledge. If PowerPoint slides are an effective tool in the sales process, consider a slide library or slide management solution that automatically ensures that all parties have easy access to the latest slides. While SharePoint was used in the past, Microsoft deprecated the slide library feature – you’ll need to find an alternative solution.

Measure and train

To improve the performance of your partner network, you’ll have to first actively collect data around specific metrics. Some key metrics you’ll want to include are:

  • How many deals does the partner close? How is it trending over time?
  • How long does it take to close deals?
  • What percent of leads are they closing?
  • What products are they selling? What is your profitability for these products?
  • What types of customers are you partners reaching? Are they strategic or customers you can’t easily reach?
  • What are the customer satisfaction ratings?

Once you have performance data at hand you can start designing the appropriate training programs. Key questions to consider when developing these programs include:

  • Do they have access to the latest content? This could be slides, case-studies, or white-papers
  • What form of training session is most effective with the particular partner? In person, webinar, etc.
  • What rules can you put in place to motivate under-performing partners?
  • Are partners incentivized to sell the specific (high-margin) products you want them to sell?

 

 

 

 

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.