The sales presentation is a great opportunity to establish a relationship with the customer and align your offering with their specific needs. Whether delivered in person or using a web conferencing solution, the presentation should serve as a launching point for a collaborative working model.
Often times, however, sales presentations become a one-way conversation and a rush to flip through as many slides as possible. Here are 3 tips that can help improve your presentations:
1. Tailor the presentation to the customer: Do you have a good understanding of the customer’s needs and perspective prior to the call? What are their primary pain points? Are they using a competitive product? Why are they considering your offering?
While it may take additional effort, tailoring your slides to resonate with the customer’s expectations can significantly improve outcomes. Try splitting all your sales collateral into modules that you can pull together and edit to build a story relevant to your customer.
2. Engage the audience: Through your presentation style and the PowerPoint slides aim to establish a collaborative and engaging meeting. Here are a few ways to achieve this:
– Pause to ask questions and ensure that your audience is following along
– Keep your slides simple and use images and charts appropriately to bring your ideas to life
– Ensure that your slides add to any knowledge the customer may have already acquired from your website or other sources
3. Understand your desired outcome: The presentation is likely an early step in the sales process and it’s unlikely the customer will immediately send you a PO. However, each presentation does have a goal even if it’s as simple as setting up another meeting. As such, you should build the goal into the presentation and leave enough time to address it. Otherwise you may find that the customer was engaged but that the next steps were unclear.
If the presentation goal is logical and represents a small step in the sales process it may make sense to devote a slide to it. However, if the ask is large and the customer not prepared, it may make sense to more gently bring it up.
A quick Google search will point you to hundreds of articles on content marketing and how the buying/selling paradigm is changing. Essentially, content marketing is the act of delivering useful information that makes buyers smarter and establishes a collaborative sales process. Instead of pitching your products, you share relevant content that helps your prospect learn about the problems you are solving. As a result, you’ll generate more leads, have engaged prospects, build your brand, and most importantly, close more deals.
You’ll find articles on how to write blog entries, manage your social media campaigns, and deliver online seminars to operationalize your content management strategy. However, once you have a warm prospect you need to ensure that your sales team is armed with the tools and content required to continue the conversation and deliver the next level of value.
Consider these questions when extending your content marketing strategy to your sales teams:
- Do you have additional content that they can use to continue to engage the prospect?
- Is your content specific to the types of customers you are targeting? Is it tailored for different verticals, company sizes, or the prospect’s role?
- What type of content does your sales team need? PowerPoint slides, PDFs?
- How will your sales team access the content? Do you have a slide library or a digital asset management system? Is it working efficiently?
- As your product and messaging changes, how will you ensure your sales team has access to and uses the latest content?
For some sales teams, PowerPoint slides play an important part in sharing content with customers. In these cases, marketing will need to create a library of slides that explain the market, products, and benefits as it pertains to each specific set of targeted prospects. These slides will need to be formatted to deliver a consistent brand and message. Further, the slides will have to be consumable individually or in groups as sales teams use them to build a customer specific story. As a result, sales teams will need unbelievable easy access to the PowerPoint slides to ensure they stay on script and always use the latest available information.
As enterprises become more data driven, knowledge management has become a competitive differentiator. Some firms have even created knowledge management groups including a Chief Knowledge Officer role. As knowledge is often distilled into PowerPoint presentations, a clear slide management solution is required to maximize the value of product summaries, financial analysis, workflow outlines or even templates and graphics. As you think through your slide management solution, here’s a set of 5 best practices you should consider:
- Easy access to slides is imperative – If retrieving slides takes too many clicks or too long your team just won’t do it. As a result, they’ll be recreating slides, using old slides, and losing productivity. Consider a solution that integrates with PowerPoint so users don’t have to open an Internet browser just to find slides.
- Manage slide updates – Over time slides evolve as the messaging becomes more refined or data is updated. As a result, users need access to the latest material without having to manually search and retrieve each slide. Effective slide management solutions need to be able to automatically find and retrieve slide updates. Ideally, it should warn users if they’ve made local edits to the original slide allowing them to transfer the edits to updated slide if needed.
- Control who exactly has access to each slide – While companies are typically focused on protecting their content from outside threats, they should equally consider who within the company needs access. Otherwise, even harmless mistakes can lead to inaccurate knowledge sharing or content loss. Your slide management solution should allow you to set detailed access rights allowing some users full access, some just download access, and others with no access at all.
- Metadata helps but your search engine needs to be powerful – While it is important to try and accurately catalog all your slides this is not always feasible. As deadlines hit, users will inevitably not add strong metadata. As such, your slide management solution needs a powerful search engine capable of full-text search and incorporating different elements including the slide title and author.
- Continuously measure usage – What slides are used by your teams most often? Which users are actively using the slide library solution? Tracking usage helps identify opportunities for optimizing content and helps find users that are likely not using compliant slides. It also helps justify they ROI of the slide library solution itself.
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.