When considering a purchase, buyers want to know how a product or
service is going to benefit them. Marketers
have been selling benefits on websites for years. However, your pitch decks and
other PowerPoint presentations can mirror these concepts of benefit selling.
Before you try benefit selling, take time to understand the difference between a feature vs. benefit to be able to differentiate them in your communications, and effectively captivate your audience. In this article, we will identify the differences between features and benefits and provide 3 actionable steps to make sure your slides are showcasing benefits.
Features vs. Benefits
Let’s explore the difference between features and benefits:
What is a feature? Features are generic elements that anyone can gain from a product/service. It is something that your product has or is, and eventually, are the details that attract prospects.
What is a benefit? A benefit is a personalized perk of using a product/service, usually applying to a subset of customers. They are the results that users will experience, and ultimately, persuade people to buy.
Examples of features vs. benefits
Let’s walk through a few website examples of benefits and features that translate to slides as well.
How to describe the features and benefits of a service
Zoom, a video conferencing and communications company, highlights a benefit that their customers highly value – security.
How to describe the features and benefits of a product:
Beautycounter, a safer beauty brand, emphasizes that their sunscreen will not only protect your skin but is also created with safer ingredients.
Apple’s AirPods market the benefits of how you’ll look and sound without having to worry about battery life.
3 actionable steps to make sure your slides are effectively showcasing benefits
1. Focus on the customer
The potential customer does not care about your product, only how the product will benefit them. By keeping your slides focused on the client’s needs and desires, you can effectively capture their attention.
2.Convert features to benefits by asking, “so what?”
Verify that you’ve presented benefits by asking yourself, “so what” or “what’s in it for them?”. Be sure to leave out benefits that aren’t relevant to your buyer. By creating quality benefits, you can then use features as “proof” of the claims. You can even turn features into quality benefits by simply asking yourself, “Which means?”.
3. Cut your adjectives and adverbs in half
Keep your slides simple and uncluttered by cutting your adjectives in half. Most of the time, adjectives and adverbs don’t contribute valuable information. Instead, they take up space and can clutter your message. By communicating only essential components of your product/service, you get your point across directly.
Although they are the largest words on a PowerPoint slide, slide titles are often overlooked. Learning how to title a PowerPoint slide is a critical skill to build impactful presentations that engage audiences. When worded and formatted properly, slide titles can help with storytelling and quickly convey your key message. Audiences want to clearly know what you’re trying to say. Use PowerPoint slide titles to make your message stand out and help them understand the value you bring. In this article, we detail 5 tips to help you create better slide titles.
Top 5 Tips to Create Better PowerPoint Slide Titles
#1: Use action titles to convey the key message of your slide
Most PowerPoint slide titles tend to describe the contents of the slide rather than the takeaway message. As a result, they do not engage the audience and fail to convey your message. Slide titles are most effective written as an action title, which spells out the ‘so what’ of the slide rather than a written description of the content.
Action title meaning
An action title is a slide title that’s worded to reflect the key takeaway or ‘so what’ of the slide. If written effectively, the audience should only need to read the action title, and not the rest of the slide, to understand the primary message.
By quickly conveying your message, you can create an engaging and creative PowerPoint presentation that your audience will
appreciate. Action titles are critical to creating slides that sell. Your
audience’s attention is highest when they are reading the first item of your
#2: Create a storyline for your presentation
Before you begin using PowerPoint, write out an outline for the story you’re telling. Setting up a story framework prior to creating slides will give your presentation more organization. One way to check if your PowerPoint slides have effective action titles is to stack your slide titles and see if they make a story. Is there a clear message here surrounding the story you are selling?
#3: Make sure title alignment is consistent
Make sure that all of your titles are aligned the same way slide-to-slide. You don’t want to distract the audience and reduce the professionalism of your PowerPoint presentation by having the title to “jump” when you change to the next slide. An easy way to do this for your whole presentation is to go into your slide master [link to our article on master slides] and format the title text boxes using placeholders.
#4: Keep text size the same
Maintaining a consistent font size can also help keep your PowerPoint presentation polished. Once you’ve captured the audience’s attention through storytelling with action titles, make sure the text size is the same from slide-to-slide in both the title and the body text. Manually change this or consider using the slide master again to format the presentation. The consistency of text sizes will add professionalism and uniformity to your presentation.
#5: Stay away from hanging words
Avoid having just one word on the second line of the title as it creates a visual interruption and draws unintended attention to the single word. You can add a manual break to force two or more words on the second line or add more words to the title. Additionally, consider giving your team examples of how to format titles that go on one line or two lines of text the correct way. This can also be easily formatted within the slide master view. When you create the slide master, make sure to format the title text size and color appropriately.
If you create presentation slides or even manage presentations for your company, you’ve likely wanted to find a slide or graphic in an old presentation that you or a colleague has created. Reusing slides versus creating new ones helps drive productivity, promotes knowledge sharing, and aligns communication across your team.
However, scanning through dozens of files in a variety of locations (e.g Box, email attachments, SharePoint) to finally find the slide you want to use only to copy-and-paste it into your new PowerPoint presentation is extremely frustrating. Depending on the number of presentations you have and how sharp your memory is (like you could remember the exact location of the Gantt chart you created 3 years ago), this process could waste a significant amount of time.
Thankfully, it’s no longer necessary to copy-and-paste slides from a previous presentation into the new one you’re working on. PowerPoint offers a “Reuse Slides” feature to appease this issue.
In this article, we will evaluate the pros and cons of PowerPoint’s Reuse Slides tool, show you how to use it, and highlight a few other Microsoft features.
Benefits of Reusing Slides in General
It’s no secret that it’s a waste of time and energy to duplicate efforts. There are a few benefits of reusing the PowerPoint slides that you’ve already created.
Don’t Waste Your Time – Work Smarter not Harder
Reusing slides that you already took the time to create is a no-brainer. Don’t duplicate efforts.
Align Communication Across Your Team
By using SharePoint and OneDrive you can make sure your whole team is able to access presentation slides and PowerPoint templates easily in one place. Sharing slides helps ensure your team is using a consistent voice when communicating internally and externally.
How to Use PowerPoint’s Reuse Slides Feature
In PowerPoint, open the presentation you want to work on.
2. Whatever slide you want to insert will be inserted after the slide that is selected. Click on the appropriate slide.
3. Under the ‘Home’ tab, click the ‘New Slide’ dropdown menu
4. At the very bottom of the menu, click ‘Reuse Slides’. A new pane will open on the right-hand side
5. PowerPoint offers a basic version of Reuse Slides and an enterprise version. The basic version will only allow you to choose a file. The enterprise version will allow you to actually search for the slide you are looking for.
For the basic version,
Click ‘Browse’ and choose if you want to ‘Browse Slide Library’ or a file. If you use SharePoint and have a slide library set up, then this may be the best option to select. If you don’t use SharePoint, then you can browse the PowerPoint presentation files on your computer
Select the PowerPoint presentation file that you want to search and click ‘Open’
For the enterprise version,
Search for any slide on your PC, OneDrive, or SharePoint. The Reuse Slides pane will show you a preview of the first slide in the presentation that has slides that match your search. Select the title slide for the file you want to explore further.
Note: Reuse doesn’t surface the exact slides that match your search. It only provides the first slide in the file/presentation. You have to follow the steps below to manually find the slide
6. The file that you selected will be opened within the Reuse Slides pane and will be displayed as slide previews. Click on the slide you want to insert.
Note: If you want to keep the source formatting of the slide you are inserting, check the box at the bottom that says ‘Keep Source Formatting’. Otherwise, the inserted slide will take on the formatting of your current presentation.
7. Right-click on a slide to see more options
Ta-da! You have now utilized PowerPoint’s Reuse Slides feature and have saved a bit of time. Now Let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons of Reuse Slides. Was it really worth your time?
What are the Pros of PowerPoint Reuse Slides?
There are certainly some obvious pros of using Reuse Slides but let’s spell them out:
Search & Save Time The enterprise version of Reuse Slides allows you to search for slides and presentations, which is much more helpful than the basic version where you have to manually browse and open a presentation.
Slide Search Connections Reuse Slides can connect to SharePoint & One Drive so you don’t necessarily have to have the file on your computer.
What are the Cons of PowerPoint Reuse Slides?
Not a Slide-level Search Tool When you search for a term, let’s say “sales”, Reuse Slides will show you the title slide of the presentation file that matches the search term NOT the actual slide in the Reuse Slides pane. So you have to actually click into that file to see the slide previews and determine if it contains the “sales” slide that you were looking for.
No Filters You are very limited in your search by only being able to search for a term. There are no filters for date, SharePoint columns, or other metadata (e.g. author).
It Doesn’t Always Work Sometimes the “Browse” option on Reuse Slides will completely go away, most commonly after updates. A common search on Google is “PowerPoint reuse slides not working” – red flag alert! Microsoft moderators state that the reason people can’t select files or browse files is that you have to have Office 365 for the enterprise version of Office. A workaround “solution” is to run PowerPoint in Safe Mode.
It Only Connects to Microsoft solutions The enterprise version of Reuse Slides only connects to solutions created by Microsoft – so that leaves you with SharePoint and OneDrive. If you don’t use either of those solutions and use Box, Egnyte, Dropbox, etc. you are out of luck if you want to use PowerPoint’s Reuse Slides.
Access Rights On the enterprise level, Reuse Slides does not take into consideration who has access to different files which can cause difficulties in finding the slides you’re looking for.
Images You are unable to search for images in Reuse Slides, only PowerPoint presentation slides.
Changes to Microsoft Products
No More Slide Libraries
In 2013, Microsoft discontinued slide libraries in SharePoint due to a “Design limitation in SharePoint Server”. As a workaround to this inconvenience, Windows suggests that PowerPoint users insert slides from PowerPoint files using their Reuse Slides feature.
Microsoft Tap feature
In 2016, Microsoft rolled out a new feature for Microsoft Word and Outlook called Tap. Tap lets users quickly select documents, presentations, and spreadsheets that are frequently used by you or your coworkers so you don’t have to leave Word or Outlook to find them. This feature is not yet available to use in PowerPoint.
The bottom line is this: If you don’t have a ton of PowerPoint presentations on your computer or in a drive, reuse slides could be a helpful solution if you have the enterprise version. The basic version is not really a helpful tool. But in the case of large marketing and sales teams that have thousands of presentation slides, this feature may be more of a pain than it’s worth. Especially since there are other, better slide management solutions out there.
Are your corporate PowerPoint templates out-dated or just messy? Do your teams waste time formatting presentations to spruce them up before client meetings? Updating your presentations using PowerPoint’s Slide Master tool will not only ease your frustrations and save you a lot of time, but aligns your team in the process. A concise, up-to-date template also helps create uniform messaging and a common identity. In this post, we’ll explain how to update your master slides and layouts using PowerPoint’s Slide Master.
What is a Slide Master?
Microsoft describes a Slide Master as “The top slide in a hierarchy of slides that stores information about the theme and slide layouts of a presentation, including the background, color, fonts, effects, placeholder sizes, and positioning”
How to update your master slides in PowerPoint
Open PowerPoint and choose the presentation you need to update
2. In the View tab, click “Slide Master”
In this view, you’ll see the master slide at the top, with the layout slides beneath it
3. To make changes to all layout slides, edit your master slide. For example, you can change the background, logo, fonts, and place holders
Microsoft describes a slide layout as containing the “formatting, positioning, and placeholder boxes for all of the content that appears on a slide. Slide layouts also contain the colors, fonts, effects, and the background (collectively known as the theme) of a slide.”
Deleting & Renaming Layouts
1. To remove any layouts that you don’t need in this presentation, simply right-click the slide and select “Delete Layout”
2.Where possible, try and maintain a layout naming convention across your masters. As layouts are shared across masters (or used with newer and older masters), if PowerPoint cannot match the layout name, a specific layout in one master will be replaced with a generic layout in another – this may not be ideal.
To name or rename a layout slide, right-click on the layout and click “Rename Layout”
For example, you could rename your layout “Table of Contents” instead of a generic term like “Layout 1”.
1. To edit the placeholders on a layout slide, click the layout you want to edit.
In the Slide Master view, click the “Insert Placeholder” dropdown arrow
You will see a variety of different placeholder types to choose from. Select the placeholder you’d like to add to your layout
2. Drag the mouse in the area of your slide that you want the placeholder to be. You can insert placeholder text in the box to clearly communicate what the placeholder should be used for
3. To apply the layout updates to a presentation that you are currently editing, click “Close Master View” to go back to the normal view
4. Select the slide in your presentation that needs an updated layout
5. Under the “Home” tab, click “Insert Layout” and select the layout that should be used
The layout should be selected from the “Master” section
Once you choose the layout you want to use, click it. The slide in your presentation will be updated accordingly
By keeping your master and layout slides up-to-date, your team is more likely to abide by visual identity standards and preserve your brand’s integrity.
Establishing your PowerPoint template as the default option allows it to be easily accessible to your team and propels efficiency. Communicating with your customers with a consistent brand voice and visual identity can support your growth. Whether you are in sales or marketing, keeping your approved templates a click away will ensure you utilize it. Plus, if you find it difficult to get your team to use your templates, this will make it just that much easier for them. In just a few steps, we’ll explain how to make your company’s template your default in PowerPoint.
What is a custom template?
A custom template in PowerPoint allows people and organizations to create uniform, on-brand slides. Through PowerPoint’s Slide Master, creators can easily apply headings, fonts, and colors to all slides. This is a great way to maintain slide organization and consistency.
How to make your custom PowerPoint templates accessible
Create your custom template using Slide Master and save it as a PowerPoint Template (.potx). It will automatically be saved in the “Custom Office Templates” folder
2. Let’s set this custom template as your default when you open PowerPoint. Select “New” and click the “Personal” tab
3. Click the template you want to set as your default
4. In a new window, you’ll see a preview of the template. Click “Create”
5. In the “Design” tab, select the “More” arrow in the “Themes” group and a list of themes will appear
6. Right-click your custom theme under the “Office” section and select “Set as default theme”. Every time you open PowerPoint, this will be your theme
Whether you’re just starting out in the world of PowerPoint or you’re an experienced pro, making sure your custom templates are right at your fingertips will boost your efficiency and uniformity. In addition, take into account the size of your template as well. Large templates weigh down your files, so creating a separate library of slides that are not included in your base template can help simplify your template. Consider a slide library solution to manage slides that you want to share with your team but don’t belong in your template.
As you are exploring how to step up your PowerPoint game, consider checking out the following articles:
Copying slides from another presentation is a practice that likely began with the second presentation ever built. Reusing content when developing sales pitches, financial updates, or other PowerPoint presentations leverages existing thinking, ensures consistency, and drives productivity.
However, this feature is a file search tool that works from within PowerPoint and not a true slide search solution. As such, Reuse Slides is not helpful for locating slides. Further, it’s missing critical features that are required for successful deployment.
How does the PowerPoint Reuse Slides feature work?
Open the Reuse Slides pane in PowerPoint and run a search. Note that you need Office ProPlus to access the search bar.
PowerPoint finds files from across your computer, OneDrive, and SharePoint that match the search. A thumbnail of the title slide is shown.
Select the file you are interested in and thumbnails for all the slides in the presentation are displayed. Click on any of the slides that you want to reuse to insert them into your active presentation.
Reuse Slides finds files from within PowerPoint. It doesn’t reveal specific slides that best match your search. You can’t quickly find the slide you need and well-matched slides in poorly matched presentations will never be surfaced.
TeamSlide provides a true slide search solution with an enterprise-ready feature set
TeamSlide is a PowerPoint add-in that enables you to search across your PowerPoint presentation repositories to find slides that best match your needs. Instead of returning files, TeamSlide surfaces the best slides from across all your presentations with a thumbnail preview of the slide. With TeamSlide you can search local folders, Outlook attachments, cloud drives like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, and content management systems like SharePoint.
Slide libraries establish a central location for storing, accessing, and sharing PowerPoint slides. Slide libraries enable employees with appropriate access rights to effectively compose a variety of presentations including marketing and sales collateral.
Rather than accessing content through a web browser, TeamSlide relies on a PowerPoint add-in or plug-in for seamless access to the slide library from within PowerPoint. Here are 3 reasons to access slide library solutions through an add-in:
1. Increase productivity
Web interfaces, including SharePoint’s portal, are not intuitive and finding slides and presentations is a cumbersome process. If users are unable to find content quickly, they resort to duplicating existing work or using old slides.
A slide library add-in allows users to find slides from within PowerPoint and without switching context (no Alt-Tab necessary). As such, they are able to easily search, evaluate, and insert slides from the library. This streamlined process helps maximize the value of the firm’s PowerPoint content and drives user productivity.
2. Improve presentation quality
Because they are
embedded in PowerPoint, add-ins enable new features (that are otherwise not
possible) which improve presentation quality.
For example, you update slides in the library directly from within PowerPoint (rather than uploading it again through a browser). The add-in also notifies users when they have an out-of-date slide that might have been updated by a colleague. Marketing no longer has to worry that sales might be using old or stale slides.
3. Drive adoption
Instead of introducing a tool, an add-in or plug-in extends PowerPoint’s native capabilities. Because the features are provided within the familiar PowerPoint interface, the learning curve is drastically reduced.
As such, team members
will be able to start using the slide library immediately and without extensive
For proposal managers, building well-structured PowerPoint proposals that balance client requirements, key selling points, and standard marketing collateral is a critical task. However, building presentations takes time away from selling and is an art form that may not be mastered by the entire team. Careless mistakes, poor messaging, and stale content can have a significant negative business impact.
Slide library solutions help proposal managers streamline the presentation creation process, ensuring that all team members build winning proposals. They enable high-performing slides to be shared and help create strong presentations.
The problem with managing PowerPoint proposals manually
While preparing for a meeting,
proposal managers edit and modify proposal presentations that align with their
client’s requirements. In these situations, however, there often isn’t much
time to make edits or create new slides.
Hunting for old presentations, modifying formats, making content edits, and collaborating with others is time-consuming and stressful. For example, version control can spin up multiple conversations and delays as team members struggle to determine which slide is the latest.
however, make presentation management completely seamless and help proposal
managers focus on telling winning stories through their presentations.
The benefit of slide libraries
Create an approved central repository Rather than editing previous proposals, a slide library allows for a central repository of approved content. All team members can quickly access these slides and assemble them to create strong client-focused proposals. Slide libraries can typically be extended to include images, too.
Up-to-date slides With a slide library, users get seamless access to the latest PowerPoint proposal slides, while avoiding stale and duplicate content. However, slides are often updated and while the main repository will house the latest version, team members may still have old slides on their computers. To solve this use-case, slide libraries can automatically check slides and suggest slide updates, ensuring users always have the latest content.
Improved productivity and clear business outcome With easy access to PowerPoint slides, simple management tools, and strong search capabilities, slide library solutions drive productivity. More importantly, they help improve the quality of proposals which in turn increases the win rate.
Find the right application to manage slide libraries
While support for slide
libraries was removed from SharePoint 2013 onwards, third-party tools like TeamSlide can help manage proposal presentations and
TeamSlide is a PowerPoint add-in or plugin that lets you build a slide library or connect to an existing repository like SharePoint or Box. It even imports fields and metadata properties which fuel the search and filter capabilities. In addition, TeamSlide can include a central repository for images, including product shots, stock images, and leadership biography photos.
Slide libraries are a necessity for proposal managers looking to organize and maintain proposal slides. TeamSlide helps streamline the proposal creation process which in turn drives productivity and increases the team’s win rate.
At TeamSlide, we’ve described slides and slide libraries a number of ways: shared location for PowerPoint assets, a system to effectively retrieve PowerPoint IP, or a tool to better organize your PowerPoint content. However, a customer recently compared PowerPoint slides and libraries to LEGOs – a simple analogy that we had to share!
LEGOs are standard well-built plastic bricks and can be combined in a variety of ways to build different structures. Similarly, slides are individual components, typically with a specific message, that can be arranged to build presentations.
While bins are used to organize LEGOs by shape or size, slides can be organized using slide library solutions, like TeamSlide, that provide search functionality and quick retrieval.
Since its inception, PowerPoint has revolutionized the way we present. Although PowerPoint has grown to become a ubiquitous tool across multiple industries and worked its way into pop culture (see Dilbert), few know about its early days.
PowerPoint began development in 1984 when Robert Gaskins was hired at Forethought, Inc. in Sunnyvale, California. His initial description of PowerPoint noted that business presentations were a $3.5B industry driven by 35mm slides and overhead transparencies. The idea of presentations wasn’t new and there were already a number of competitors. However, PowerPoint sought to disrupt the industry, making it quicker and easier to build slides with the help of personal computers.
The name “PowerPoint” wasn’t coined until just before its official release in 1987 when attempts to trademark the original name “Presenter” were rejected.
In February 1987, about 2 months prior to launch, Microsoft visited Forethought for a private demonstration. Bill Gates remained skeptical: “No, no, no, no, no, that’s just a feature of Microsoft Word, just put it into Word.” However, Microsoft returned a few days later to offer $5.3M plus incentives. Unhappy with the terms, which included moving the development team to Redmond, Forethought rejected the offer and subsequent offers from Microsoft.
On April 20th, 1987, PowerPoint 1.0 for Macintosh shipped. The initial press reviews were favorable, and their first production run of 10,000 units sold out. On April 28th, Microsoft visited Forethought again and the final deal structure started to take shape. On June 25th, the Microsoft officially agreed to a purchase price of $14M in cash. A permanent ‘Business Unit’ run by Robert Gaskins would remain in California.
PowerPoint 2.0, the first version available on Windows, was released in 1990 in conjunction with Windows 3.0. Press coverage of Windows 3.0 was illustrated in PowerPoint slides, launching a strong symbiotic relationship. Microsoft beat offers by Apple, Borland, Xerox, and others to get a head start in the presentation industry – they’ve never looked back.