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 drive productivity

Whether you have 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.

4 tips to effectively use images in your presentations

A quick Google search will undoubtedly tell you that images are an effective way to communicate. However, the images in your presentation need to be high quality, compelling and serve a point or else the audience will quickly dismiss them. In this article, we will describe four main tips to effectively use images in your PowerPoint presentation.

4 Tips to Effectively Use Images in your Presentation

1. Stay Legal

Google Images is often used to quickly find images for your presentation but you likely don’t have permission to use these images. Consider paying for images from a stock collection like Bigstock or Shutterstock. If you don’t have the budget for stock photos, consider using photos licensed under Creative Commons as they are typically more open and often allowed for commercial use if the original author is credited.

2. Use Images that align with your message

Random images that are placed to just fill empty space are distracting and reduce the impact of your presentation. Take time to select images that amplify your message:

3. Use PowerPoint to modify images to improve the fit

Now that you have an image, you can use PowerPoint to make simple edits that can make a world of a difference. For example, you can overlap images with your content as in the example below:

Or even just adding text or your company logo can help:

TeamSlide

You can even make larger modifications like in the example below where we filled in the computer screen to match our application. Note that this was done solely with PowerPoint.

4. Organize your assets

Consider using a slide library solution to organize your images and ensure that your entire team has access to it (assuming covered by license terms). This help will stop duplicated images from being purchased. When uploading content, use a defined set of tags so that your colleagues can quickly search or browse assets to find the one they are looking for. Note that SharePoint’s slide library has been deprecated and is no longer supported.

TeamSlide Partners with PowerPoint Design Agency Buffalo7 to Help Customers Build Amazing Presentations

As you likely know, building a great presentation takes time and attention to detail. From the messaging to the actual delivery and all the slide manufacturing that happens in between, there’s an art to building engaging, effective presentations that leave a lasting impression.

At TeamSlide, our customers often ask us for insight into developing great PowerPoint presentations. While we dedicate our blog to providing presentation support, some customers just don’t have the time or need additional help. As such, we are proud to announce a partnership with Buffalo7, the UK’s leading PowerPoint design agency, to better meet our customers’ presentation needs.

Buffalo7 offers complete presentation design services encompassing the entire presentation lifecycle. From developing your story and refining key messages to bringing your slides to life with impactful visuals, Buffalo7 has the skillset and experience to make your next presentation shine. Everything they do is made to measure: they apply their knowledge in a way that is relevant and tailored to you, your brand and your audience. Buffalo7 has worked with some of the world’s best brands like UEFA Champions League, Sony PlayStation and Unilever to transform their presentation collateral.

For example, the agency was recently approached by Red Bull to build a marketing dashboard built around the DNA of its brand. Buffalo7 rose to the challenge and delivered a robust presentation template in PowerPoint that Red Bull’s team could use internally to report on their work in a very engaging, energetic way. The dashboard combined first-class visuals with the intuitive drag-and-drop editability that’s associated with PowerPoint.

If you need help building slides, ensuring your presentations works across platforms or pressure testing your messaging, consider checking how Buffalo7 can design PowerPoint presentations that deliver your content in an impactful and engaging way.

For more information on how Buffalo7 can help design presentations that blow the competition out of the water, get in touch at: hello@buffalo7.co.uk.

 

6 tips to manage a large number of PowerPoint presentations and slides

If your organization works in PowerPoint, you’ve likely accumulated hundreds or thousands of PowerPoint presentations. As presentations typically start with existing content, efficiently searching your repository to find specific slides can drive significant productivity gains. In this post, we’ll share 6 tips to manage your PowerPoint repository or slide library.

6 Tips to Manage your PowerPoint Repository or Slide Library

#1: Assign a shared location to store your presentations

Often presentations are stored across server locations and personal computers. Set a shared and secure location where your team can store their presentation. Check to ensure all members can seamlessly access the location and that your team is actively using it. This will consolidate all your content and prevent users from having to unnecessarily email presentations to each other.

#2: Define a file naming convention

Setting a standard file naming convention will allow users to quickly sort through presentations. Some best practices for file names include:

  • Start file names with a date that starts with the year. For example: 20200501 Strategy Review. This ensures that files will always appear in chronological order. If two versions are created on the same date indicate a version number: 20190501-02 Strategy Review. Note that ‘02’ was used instead of ‘2’ to allows double-digit versions.
  • For large teams include the initials of the person who created the presentation: 20200501 Strategy Review KS.

#3: Build a folder structure that reflects the business

If you support numerous business units in a large company, create folders for each business. Or if your projects are more functional use the project type as the folder names.

#4: Create a best hits presentation

If you have a set of slides that are used on a regular basis, collate them into one presentation. This can include templates, visual elements, charts, and even important pieces of text.

#5: Assign somebody to continually manage the repository

For manual repositories, you can’t just ‘set it and forget it’. Consistently clean and keep your library up-to-date to maximize its benefits. Give your library manager the authority to ensure team members are compliant with the established rules.

#6: Manage versions of your presentation

During the course of a project, several iterations for a presentation may be created. Ensure that at the end of the project the final version is clearly marked and that older versions are saved in a related but separate folder.

TeamSlide interview with Sunday Mancini from Ethos3

From visuals to narratives, do you need support building insightful, engaging presentations? In our previous careers as management consultants and at TeamSlide, we know how important compelling presentations are to the business process. We were lucky to catch Sunday Mancini from renowned design firm Ethos3 for a quick interview.

Ethos3 comprises an amazing team of presentation experts that are focused on helping individuals and companies build better presentations through design, motion graphics, infographics, narratives, and training. Here’s our conversation with Sunday:

Can you share a little about Ethos3 and its core principles?

Ethos3 is a premier boutique presentation design and training company based in Nashville, TN. At our core, we believe every presentation matters. That’s why we have spent the last decade empowering presenters so that they can inspire others, bring people together, and maybe even change the world. We take pride in our ability to tell stories that matter and finding innovative ways to improve the presentation industry.

To view our core values, you can go here.

How did Ethos3 originally start?

Scott Schwertly founded the company in 2006 after realizing most people struggle with building, designing, and delivering presentations. Shortly after, he created “Meet Henry,” a presentation that snagged 2nd place in a SlideShare competition from that year. If you explore the history of that specific project, you will find that there was really nothing like it at that time period. It’s completely story-driven and visual, an approach Ethos3 still does today.

What has fueled your passion and growth since the early days?

I’m going to try and speak for Scott and the company as a whole here, but I know that we are all fueled by our own creativity and love for great stories and great design. Not all of our client projects allow for creative opportunities, but we still find ways to stretch our imagination. For Scott and the people he trains, I know he is personally pumped to share Ethos3’s philosophy with audiences who want to improve their presentation skills.

What makes Ethos3 stand out from the competition?

Everyone who works on our team is passionate, smart, and excited to try new technology or new trends. Because we’re a boutique and agile, we can adapt to changes and remain at the top of everything. This is not a stuffy company, and it shows in every project that goes out our doors, internally or externally.

As you’ve worked across a variety of customers, have there been any common themes or issues that you’ve noticed?

We see a lot of presentations that are just overwhelmed with content on each slide. There’s absolutely no way we can make a slide look great when it has three charts, fifteen bullet points, and a little paragraph about the weather in San Francisco. 🙂 Clients worry that if we stretch out their presentation, we will double their speaking time. This is absolutely not the case; more slides simply means that each element is featured separately. We’re not adding any content, and the designers have more freedom.

With new entrants like Prezi and Haiku Deck, have you noticed an impact on PowerPoint and how presenters are using it?

Only a fraction of our clients ask us to use emerging software, especially if they are interested in staying on top of trends. But most of the time, it comes down to design. Does it look beautiful? Does it look modern? PowerPoint is a blank slate. Whichever software it takes to create a gorgeous presentation, we’ll be there. If that’s PowerPoint or Prezi or Haiku Deck, we want to evolve along with presenters.

As you look 5 years down the road, how do you expect the presentation design and visuals landscape will evolve?

I’d like to think that we will have holograms, or maybe really immersive virtual experiences that could take audiences into beautiful settings during a presentation. But, if that doesn’t happen, I imagine more presentation software will become increasingly more mobile or fully online/in the cloud. Graphics will become more motion based, animations may become much more advanced, and screens will become way too big for their own good.

Sunday Mancini is a Content Strategist for Ethos3, a presentation design company located in Nashville, TN. She has personally worked with clients in major industries and Fortune 500 companies during her many years at the firm, helping them share their own unique stories. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Mapping your PowerPoint slides

Mapping your PowerPoint slides

In the last blog entry, we shared 3 steps to build your PowerPoint story. With your story written out in paragraph form, you can start mapping your slides.

This step doesn’t require PowerPoint – map your slides with pen and paper, with a word processor, or with a notes application on your phone. You can complete this step while riding a cab, on the plane once your laptop has died, or at your office desk.

Write Action Titles

Each paragraph of your story should correspond to a slide and the first sentence of the paragraph, which consists of your primary point, maps to the title of the slide. These are called Action Titles as they they alone can clearly tell your story and make it easy for the reader to quickly discern your primary points and insights.

Action Titles are far more effective than descriptive titles which provide little information:

  • Action: Price and brand recognition are our customers’ primary purchase decision criteria
  • Descriptive: Customer decision criteria over the last 5 years
  • Action: 70% of widget growth is driven by demand from manufacturing automation
  • Descriptive: Widget sales by customer segment from 2009-2016
  • Action: Our market share has dropped 5% as we have been challenged by new entrants
  • Descriptive: Market share analysis

From a visual standpoint slide tiles should be located in the same position and typically written in a larger font than any other text on the slide. Slide titles should not have a hanging or widow word – a single word that doesn’t fit on the first line and is placed alone on the second line. Either shorten your title or increase its length so that more than one word appears on the second line. Alternatively, adjusting the line break position may be an option. Hanging words are considered poor typography because they leave too much white space. In addition, concise slide titles that fit on one or two lines are more impactful as they are easier to grasp and understand.

Sketch out your slides

You should now have blank slides with completed titles. For each slide, quickly sketch out how you’d like the slide to look. Use a combination, of charts, visuals, and text boxes that will best support your title or assertion and can capture the remaining portion of the corresponding paragraph from your story.

Experience helps when sketching slides as the more slides you’ve read the more visualizations you can pull from. To jump start this process you can complete the following exercises:

Put the presentation frame in place

With the bulk of presentation in shape, step back and review your objective (as we’ve previously discussed). Does your presentation need an executive summary, conclusion, or next steps slide to frame the story?

An executive summary typically follows the title slide and provides a complete overview of the presentation. A well written presentation story can quickly be adapted into an executive summary. As a starting point you can use your slide titles from the body of the presentation (or first sentence from each paragraph of your story) to form a rough executive summary. The conclusion slide provides an opportunity to provide a summary, state any overall insights, and pull the presentation toward the final objective. And the next steps slide helps align a small audience on their tasks prior to the next meeting

Consider breaking long presentations into chapters and placing a rolling agenda – a slide that is repeated with the new agenda item highlighted each time. The agenda reminds the audience how the section fits within the broader story. Or if some slides are not critical to the story, create an appendix or back-up section. An appendix can contain extra analyses or research that may answer audience questions.