Tag Archives: Content marketing

Don’t let old slides derail your customer meeting

An old slide can kill the momentum of a meeting, confusing your team and the intended audience. From sales professionals and marketers to coaches and trainers, we are often asked about our ability to automatically update old slides. They consistently share stories about meetings that were derailed by stale content

SharePoint and other online repositories enable team members to access the latest presentation, typically through a web portal. Access, however, to such repositories is cumbersome, and employees end up keeping a copy of the presentation on their own hard drive or personal cloud storage service (e.g. Box, Dropbox). They keep referring to their version of the presentation even while the primary source gets updated. Over time, these differences grow, and the employee’s slide ends up with stark differences from the latest version available on the online repository. The differences can range from small branding inconsistencies to glaring content errors.

We recently connected with a marketer who noticed that her sales team had old specifications on their product overview slides. As a result, potential customers perceived that their products were inferior to the competition, costing them the sale! One trainer recently told us that his curriculum constantly changes, and at recent session his presentation slide and handout slides were mismatched. This understandably confused the audience, taking valuable time to correct.

At TeamSlide, we built a tool and method to automatically ensure you always have the latest content.

  1. Build an online slide library
    We start by allowing you to build a slide library.  You can manually upload presentations that are split into individual slides or connect to an online repository, including Box, SharePoint, or Google Drive.
  1. Assign a unique ID
    With some help from PowerPoint, TeamSlide automatically assigns a unique ID for each slide. As you download slides from the library, the ID is attached to the slides in a hidden manner.
  1. Check the library
    Now, when you open a presentation or run the content check, TeamSlide reads each slide and look for the ID to identify slides that are connected to the slide library. It then compares the date the slide you downloaded slide with the date of the last update to the library, checking if a new version of the slide exists.
  1. Review and apply
    If updates are found, you can review the changes and accept. If multiple slides are stale, they all can be updated with a single click.

Since developing this method, we’ve even applied the check to portions of a slide. Now teams can store individual charts, collections of shapes, and text boxes and these objects can be updated on a slide (without having to update the entire slide).

The seamless process ensures that you are effectively notified and given the opportunity to review and update old slides in a matter of seconds. Across multiple industry verticals, teams are deploying a TeamSlide slide library to provide easy access to PowerPoint content and ensure that their users never walk into a meeting with an old slide.

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?

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.

Don’t forget to extend your content marketing strategy to your sales teams

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.