Famed Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax, the youngest player ever to be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame, once said, “I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.” What he meant was that the best pitchers don’t try to always strike batters out; rather, they try get batters to pop up or ground out.
In sales, however, a good pitch is one where you hit it out of the park, and the best tool for doing that is a presentation. Business presentations help convey your company’s message and drive action; but, without the right strategy, you’re more likely to hit a popup or to ground out.
One of the easiest mistakes to make if you give business presentations regularly is to recycle the same slides, especially if they are nothing but large blocks of text and bullet points. Your presentation slides shouldn’t play like a broken record; they should change depending on the audience you’re presenting to. Moreover, if you’re going to monotonously read bullets from the same PowerPoint over and over again, you might as well just send it over to the prospect… There’s no need to show up, because anyone can read from a deck.
Of course, that approach doesn’t make for an effective strategy. Certainly, you won’t hit it out of the park.
We know that building, editing, and sharing a compelling presentation isn’t an easy task; it’s not particularly cheap, either. Companies spend all kinds of resources on advertising, PR, and other types of corporate communications, but for some reason they have no workflows to ensure presentations are on brand, up to date, and proven to convert. Hours, even weeks, are spent on a presentation that gets used once for one meeting, then gets lost on the network somewhere: one and done.
But with an efficient presentation management strategy in place, your business will instantly witness an enormous impact across the enterprise.
Modernizing for Efficiency
A presentation tells the business’s story. Any forward-looking company should be continually refining its presentations, whether that means supplementing sales decks with product updates, incorporating multimedia items, or tracking files and slides.
But without a strategy in place, constant updating could become a time-consuming endeavor and possibly even a legal mess.
By eliminating single-use, one-and-done presentations, and instead turning them into enterprise assets that are accessible to the entire organization, presentation management adds strategic thinking to the company’s presentation process and allows the business to get the most of its communication assets so that performance improves across the enterprise.
Presentation management positively affects corporate executives responsible for branding and messaging as well as members of the sales team and trainers in the field. Companies that adopt robust enterprise content management solutions, including presentation strategies, stand to realize a 400% ROI within five years of adoption, according to IDC’s ECM Stats.
Features That Eliminate Mistakes
Too often, team members are shuffling around to piece together a new presentation, spending hours searching through old decks with outdated slides, before eventually throwing together a one-off presentation replete with inaccurate information and off-brand imagery.
Presentation management eliminates those mistakes, allowing businesses to benefit from various features, including these:
- A slide library stores all assets that can be used for presentations in one location. They can be located by anyone in the business while eliminating the valuable time otherwise wasted searching for slides. The slide repository is visual: users can see and preview the slides. It empowers users to recreate new presentations from a vast catalog of approved, branded content.
- Controlled distribution directs the right content to the right users. It saves users time sorting through content; they don’t access content they don’t need for their job, and it ensures compliance. It guarantees that everyone in an organization is using the most up-to-date content with the necessary approvals from Legal, Marketing, Sales, and everyone else. You control brand and message across the entire enterprise by determining what assets can and cannot be presented. That helps Legal and senior management sleep better.
- Forced messaging is particularly important in regulated industries, where forgetting disclosure statements is one of the quickest ways to have a compliance catastrophe. This feature is also applicable to all businesses from a brand and message standpoint. Forced messaging can be used to link required disclosure statements to the appropriate content, as well as ensure that the complete message is presented (for example, including all five pages of a case study instead of just the three that the user just happens to like). With forced messaging, the right message is always communicated. It guarantees brand, message, and legal compliance.
- Organization-wide updates help presentation content evolve with the business. Today’s market environment is constantly moving, and businesses either adapt or fail. Presentation content should keep up with your business; it should be continuously refined and updated until it’s proven to convert, and then distributed to the right groups.
- Analytics are how you track slide engagement, so you can see who is presenting what content to whom, for how long, and in what context. Data insights and business intelligence are applied to presentations so the person or team responsible for the messaging is able to see what’s working and determine what’s not, before pushing updates to the entire company.
Manage the Telling of Your Story
The purpose of business presentations is to spur action by telling your business’s story. Stories breathe life into your content, making it easier for your team to create, connect, and close.
Despite the significant role that presentations play, however, too many organizations are overlooking the workflows around their creation and distribution. That’s where presentation management can help.
Presentation management makes your content and marketing resources more productive and effective. You’ll stop creating content that gets used only once; instead, you’ll develop engaging content that can be used over and over again.
Implementing a presentation management strategy that includes a slide library, controlled distribution, forced messaging, organization-wide updates, and analytics will give your sales teams the tools they need to make the perfect pitch—and hit it out of the park.
This article first appeared in www.marketingprofs.com
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