Ta da! Your marketing team just delivered a brand new, spiffy presentation to your sales team. So why, three months later, is no one using it?? Here are just a few of the reasons I hear from salespeople:
“It’s not my style. I like to just have a conversation. It’s already out of date. It’s too much information. It’s hard to find what I need…”
Both sales and marketing want a presentation that is as effective as possible in communicating your product’s value to the customer. So what to do? Before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, both sales and marketing have a role in this impasse. Here are some ways that both sales and marketing can meet each other halfway to achieve the same goal.
- Sit in on presentations. Presentations are often created for ideal conditions. Going on an actual sales call will help you understand how presentations are being delivered and received in the “real world.” This will give you great insight into some of the challenges salespeople are facing and you’ll be a hero for addressing them proactively!
- Break it into chunks. Encourage salespeople to use different elements of your presentation by creating a number of self-contained “chunks,” i.e., 3-5 slides on a topic or sub-topic. Make these chunks easy to add or delete without affecting the overarching message of your presentation.
- Organize it intuitively. Sales reps spend 440 hours a year searching for content. That’s 2 ½ weeks!! Make it easy for them to find what they need quickly. Keep it in one shared place. Use a number of keywords to quickly locate topics.
- Keep it up to date. The market is changing rapidly and it’s critical that salespeople have access to up-to-date content. Stay in the loop by keeping communication lines between marketing and sales open. Sit in on regular sales meeting. Ask what’s working and what’s not and be ready to update quickly.
- Look for the positive. True, the presentation may include too much information, use language you don’t normally use, or have too many “corporate” slides. But likely there are some good things about it that you can use. Salespeople often have a more critical eye than their client. Recognize that marketing put a lot of thought and research into the presentation, so it’s likely not all bad. And it certainly may be more reliable than trying to come up with something on the fly.
- Make it your own. How do you make something that you didn’t write sound like your own? Actors do this all the time. They take someone else’s script and using their own personality and a few learned techniques, deliver it as convincingly as if they’d written it themselves. It’s a skill that you can learn too. Click here to find out how.
- Customize the opening and ending. The opening is a great place to add your own personality and style. Create your own unique opening and it will make the rest of the presentation feel more personal. Of course you want to customize the ending to highlight the next steps for each individual customer.
- Pick and choose your slides. There’s no law that says you have to show or read every single slide. (if there is, you’re best breaking it!) Logo-laden or bullet-point heavy slides can be quickly addressed in a broad overview. For example, “as you can see we’ve helped hundreds of companies like yours…” Refer them to a handout or your website if they need access to the data.
- Commit to it. Don’t act apologetic or embarrassed. Your client doesn’t need—or want—to know that you didn’t come up with this material. Half-hearted attempts will bomb. Go all in or go home.
Remember, sales and marketing have a shared goal: communicating the value of your solution to your customer in a way that drives action. To achieve this goal, keep the lines of communication open, look for the positive, and learn some simple ways to adapt the presentation to your unique situation.
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