Every day thousands of B2B salespeople go to work with the goal of selling products, and the hope that their efforts along the way will yield that critical first meeting with their dream customer. Every conversation in B2B sales starts with an intro/discovery call that if all goes well, leads to the coveted follow up meeting, which is almost always driven by a presentation. The sure sign that a call went well is when the customer asks at the end,
“Can you send me the deck that you presented?”
Salespeople have a number of ways to prepare for this first formal meeting, and it usually involves a base sales deck with some customization. I’ve seen wild examples of how inefficient this can be- hundreds of versions of the same core deck spiraled into different locations, with inconsistent customizations, and often outdated information. The duplication of content can be scattered across personal hard drives, Google drive, Sharepoint, network drives, and services like Dropbox or Box, with both the cost of storage and the cost of time wasted searching for content escalating as the team grows. Worse than that, the inefficiency in the process of creating “the meeting deck,” is a huge opportunity cost for a salesperson and can ultimately mean closing fewer deals and even worse, outright losing deals to competitors.
Sales organizations include the thousands of sales people in industries like technology, manufacturing, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, travel- the list goes on. The top 500 sales forces include tens of thousands of people who are out trying to sell products/services to other companies, and using presentations in almost every sales cycle. Organizations spend thousands of dollars to train sales people to use consistent sales methodologies, on the products they develop, and often on industry expertise, so that there is consistency across the team. One area that few companies have invested in involves a strategy around the whole process of creating, delivering, maintaining, and repurposing presentations.
Why haven’t companies developed a strategy around presentations? Presentations are the medium in which your company’s vision, product, competitive differentiators are communicated to explain how you are solving a problem and why a company should buy from you.
Some large enterprises are starting to realize the compounded inefficiencies in current processes, the risk of brand consistency and compliance, and the overall lack of insights around what content is being shared and communicated both within and outside the organization. A very helpful book, Presentation Management, The New Strategy for Enterprise Content by Shufflrr co-founder, President and presentation expert, AlexAnndra Ontra, provides an excellent blueprint around why companies need and how to go about creating, a strategy for Presentation Management. She rightly defines presentations as “enterprise assets” that need to be searchable, organized, and tracked.
A Stronger Sales Organization:
Deck Academy: One of the top global enterprise technology companies in the virtualization software space has invested in a program to enable their sales organization to deliver the best presentations. The program is called Deck Academy and there are a number of elements to it including a Presentation Management platform. The benefits of this platform include:
- Marketing Analytics: This enables the marketing team that creates the content to see valuable data about what content/slides are being utilized, shared and modified. It also provides for direction into future content strategy.
- Sales Collaboration: Bringing together the sales, product and marketing teams in one interface allows immediate input to the content, while also providing an easy to use and powerful search interface for the team to quickly repurpose and create custom presentations which are more effective and up to date.
- Brand compliance and consistency of message: Ensuring the right version and the latest statistics are included in a presentation is a never-ending challenge for any large organization. A platform that can control access and version modification, track usage, and make global updates, can solve this.
- Time saved: Ultimately, every minute a sales person is not selling is an opportunity cost.
Empowering the sales organization is not the only reason to consider a Presentation Management strategy. Other examples of Presentation use cases in the enterprise include:
|First meeting, proposals
Quarterly business reviews
|Company all hands meetings
Quarterly reviews Board meetings
Consulting firms deliver a presentation as their product
|External conference presentations/panels
Investment road shows
|HR, onboarding, sales training, product training
Sales is not the only department in a large enterprise that can benefit from a presentation management strategy. Presentations touch both internal and external stakeholders every day. Companies like US Bank have evolved their presentation strategy and the efficiency of their sales team, reducing the time to create a presentation from 4 hours/presentation to under an hour!
- Presentations are the #1 medium through which content is communicated both externally and internally today.
- Too much time is wasted across organizations today creating, searching for and managing presentation content.
- Brand compliance and data integrity are risks that every company without a presentation management strategy faces.
- Powerful enterprise technology solutions exist today to help large companies manage their presentation strategies
Let me know your thoughts and if you’d like to discuss how Presentation Management can empower your organization and have your customers asking your sales reps, “Can you send me the deck?”