How many times have I heard a salesperson curse the marketing maven that created his deck. From a sales point of view, those slides will never “sell” at his next meeting. And vice versa. I’ve heard marketing colleagues bash their sales folks for not being “strategic” enough. They curse the sales person for going off message. They’re both right, and they’re both wrong.
Sales and marketing may work for the same company, to achieve the same overarching goals. But their jobs, and the materials they need to succeed in their respective roles, are different. Every salesperson operates with a quarterly objective. They are judged on their ability to meet, and exceed, their sales goal. Their success is measured in short-term increments. Marketing, on the other hand, is building a brand over time, typically through a combination of different media and marketing efforts.
A salesperson needs a strong brand behind her for credibility when booking meetings and ultimately, closing deals. But a salesperson also needs to have the dexterity to adjust her message, as she learns more about her client’s needs. That often happens on a moment’s notice, during the meeting, as she pivots to what a client just said. After which, the salesperson is proud to have won another deal. But the marketing person is lamenting, “Why did she say that?!?!”
The Importance of Presentation
Presentation management, the discipline of saving, editing and sharing presentations in a way that saves time and yields a more tailored – and approved – presentation, elevates the sales deck, into the marketing mix, giving it the same level of strategic planning, implementation and tracking that are practiced on more traditional media, such as broadcast, web and print; and makes all marketing materials readily accessible, so a salesperson can talk about any aspect of the business, at any time.
Employing a presentation management strategy, whereby you treat presentations as a communications platform within your organization, exploits the cumulative knowledge within presentations. With presentation management, all files -- PowerPoint, video, images, PDFs, Word, Excel, etc. – are formatted to present. It’s like putting a tap on the company’s well of knowledge.
Presentation Management for Marketing
Marketing departments spend hundreds of millions of dollars perfecting their brand message for TV, print, Web, collateral, trade, events and social. They take painstaking effort to develop the strategy, craft the message, execute the plan and then measure the results. But when it comes to presentations, they slap a logo on a PowerPoint template and let salespeople fend for themselves. And even the more disciplined marketing teams that actually make the effort to prepare presentations for their sales teams still don’t institute an efficient means to distribute the presentations and track their effectiveness. It’s a lost opportunity, because what transpires during the sales meeting directly affects the company’s bottom line.
Presentation management elevates the “sales presentation” into the marketing mix, giving it the attention it deserves. It goes beyond writing a great deck and posting it somewhere on the network for someone else to find. Presentation management leverages marketing’s investment, and ensures that the brand value is effectively communicated during a meeting. So that brochure, video or CEO quote, is useable. It allows all files, not just PowerPoints, to be accessed on the fly -- before, during and after a meeting.
Presentation Management for Sales
The biggest benefit for sales teams is increased productivity. Presentation management reduces the time a salesperson takes preparing for meetings, and then following-up thereafter. Think of all the time salespeople waste searching for that one great slide or file, and then repurposing it for their meeting. Presentation management saves an average of four hours preparing for a meeting. It visualizes the content, making all files and slides easier to find, and provides a turn-key (real time) means to re-use them for a new deck, or share them directly with clients. Furthermore, because presentation management makes all files accessible at all times, especially at the most critical juncture when a sales person is face-to-face with a client, that meeting in and of itself becomes more productive. The salesperson now has the ability to talk about any aspect of the business, intelligently, during their meeting, whether or not they had planned to. All the materials are at their fingertips, at all of the time.
In today’s business world, everyone communicates visually. Presentation management formats all files and actions for visual presentation. It combines the tasks that both marketing and sales need to succeed in their roles, into one platform. It turns dormant, one-off files, previously lost on the network, into active sales materials – accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Its combined features automate collaboration between sales and marketing, bridging the gap between their roles. As a result, both sides become more effective and productive.
AlexAnndra Ontra is co-founder of Shufflrr, a presentation management solutions company that organizes, updates, distributes and tracks PowerPoint content. Alex's prior experience includes marketing, sales, client services and project management.