Traditional PowerPoint Presentations Don’t Work. Here’s a Proven Content Strategy to Engage Buyers and Close Deals

By Tom Pisello | July 30, 2019

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If you could sit through another PowerPoint presentation or go to the dentist, which would you choose? One in three people would gladly choose the dentist chair (Zogby). The traditional sales presentation has a well-earned history of being dreaded by customers and prospects, but what’s the real reason behind its bad reputation?

93% of sales content remains provider and solution-centric, with only 7% of sellers focused on buyer challenges and business value. TraditionalPowerpoints_image1-750x375

A sales interaction can be likened to a party. Whether you enjoy yourself at the party depends on a few factors (after the food, of course): the environment, the host, and the level of engagement. Imagine this:

You’re invited to a party at an enormous, impressive home of someone you don’t know very well but have learned about through a friend. You’re not sure if you have shared interests with them or their other guests, but you’re excited to make some new connections. When you arrive, everything looks perfect; everyone is impeccably dressed, the flowers are arranged, there’s not a speck of dust. The host immediately sweeps you off on a tour of the amazing home, detailing the story behind the rare, imported marble, the one-of-a-kind millwork, the vast acreage. You think of sharing your love of home design, or finding out how you both decided to live in the same area, but time runs out. The host thanks you for coming and moves on to the next guest.

Many of us have been to a party like this. And not only did we not form a relationship with anyone at said party, but we’ve also likely already forgotten their names. Why? It was an exhibition, not an engagement.

Transform PowerPoint Presentations Into Strong Sales Engagements

In most cases, the challenge for marketing and sales isn’t accessible content, it’s managing its relevance and volume to build more customized, data-driven presentations. For both marketing and sales, this is difficult. Marketing has a hard time maintaining and controlling PowerPoint presentations, with little to no visibility into what is actually being presented and shared with customers. TraditionalPowerpoints_image2-1 Sellers find the canned presentations or template decks distributed by marketing to be difficult to customize, wasting hours to find and piece together content that will actually resonate with each of their unique buyers.

When the story you’re telling is solely about you, all of the content seems worth including. That means you’re left with monster-sized decks – often for multiple lines of business- that require constant updates. The heavy weight of big sales decks isn’t just way too much paper, it’s these added stressors:

Don’t get me wrong, you have to arm your sellers with compelling content to share with prospects to fuel conversations. The key is to actually change the conversation – from “pitch” to “purpose.” When it comes to the need for value-based sales interactions, the data is in: TraditionalPowerpoints_image1-copy-750x563 74% of buyers want sellers to pivot meetings to discuss what the buyer wants to talk about (Forrester). When sellers are enabled with the right tools, sales presentations become sales engagements. Sellers that move away from legacy selling behaviors toward digital transformation not only improve the overall effectiveness of your sales team, they meet the buyer where they are. Approaching a buyer interaction with a traditional PowerPoint presentation is just as short-sighted as hosting a party that’s all about the host. Sure, your solutions and services are great; they may even be best-in-class. But where does the buyer fit in? Why should they care, and how will it make their jobs easier?

TraditionalPowerpoints_image4-1 Host the Party You Want to Attend (and please, don’t bring a traditional PowerPoint presentation)

There is an incredible competitive opportunity to help your prospects navigate today’s buying process, which is noisy, often complex and rarely about their needs. Sales enablement technology gives sellers the tools they need to approach sales engagements confidently, like interactive presentation tools, customized, agile content that meets buyers where they are, and prescriptive solutions backed by personalized insights. This evolution toward digital transformation not only lifts the weight of those heavy sales decks from your engagements, but also lifts the burden of administrative work from both sales and marketing. Offering these types of sophisticated tools doesn’t just enable your reps, it evolves your sales approach with sellers able to diagnose business issues for customers and prospects and then offer value-based solutions in line with what matters most to each individual buyer.

With an evolved content strategy and sales enablement solution:

Evolving your sales presentation from “pitch” to “purpose” brings buyers into a data-driven conversation about their unique needs. Instead of putting customers and prospects to sleep, you can quantify and communicate the impact your product or service will have on your buyer’s business, in the context of what your buyer cares about most.

Join the party.

Tom “The ROI Guy” Pisello is an entrepreneur, speaker, and author of the book Evolved Selling™: Optimizing Sales Enablement in the Age of Frugalnomics. He joined the Mediafly team in 2018 through the acquisition of the company he founded and led, Alinean Inc. In his role as Mediafly’s Chief Evangelist, Tom is responsible for developing new practices for sellers and marketers to communicate and quantify business value to increasingly frugal buyers. He also leads Mediafly’s Advisory Services group in helping companies evolve their selling practices from transactional to value-led. Outside of the office, he is the proud father of two daughters.

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