At UniTherm International it is our goal to provide outstanding experiences and solutions for our customers. If you are in the plastics industry this post can serve as a guide to the process of outfitting your facility with UniTherm products. [Read more…]
We’ve all been there…sitting through a horrendous sales presentation that’s bursting at the seams with bullet points, clip art, and horribly constructed graphs and charts that in no way conveys any understandable data. Then there is the presenter of said presentation who is pounding through slides, reading every bit of text on the screen aloud to you. Crash. Burn. Done – no way are you buying anything from this character. So why does 99% of Corporate America rely on these decks of doom to be the final step in the sales cycle?
“consider the disparity between the content, design, and production values of [your company’s] $100 million campaign, and the slide show residing on your lap top. Consider also that this slide show may be the last engagement you have with your customers before they make a purchase decision. From an experiential standpoint, few things could be more anticlimatic than a massive campaign followed by an unorganized, unmoving presentation that might not be relevant to what the audience needs from you or the company.”
We’ve placed a strict ban on terrible sales presentations here at UniTherm and in this post we will share a bit of advice to our fellow marketers (and sales professionals) in manufacturing.
Building the Deck
There are so many steps that go before this, but we don’t have time for that in one simple blog post, so I’ll assume you’ve already done the necessary footwork to start building your slides. Now, let me just say this. I am not a fan of PowerPoint, but that is only because I really love working with Keynote. That does not mean however that PowerPoint is in any way bad – it’s the people behind the software that create atrocities, not the software itself. In this post we’re not going to focus on software, we’re going to talk about content and presentation.
Take the Time. Do It Right.
Its so important to allow for an appropriate amount of time to plan, outline, and create your sales presentation. A great deck of 30 slides, well presented is going to take at least 40 hours of work to put together and rehearse. Get folks from marketing and sales together to tackle the task and always, always keep the audience (your potential customer) in the focus of what you’re doing.
Speaking of the Audience…
…they are the only reason you’re even working on the presentation in the first place. Their needs and objectives simply must be the number one driver behind every design and content decision you make. You need to know who your audience is, what their concerns and problems are, what actions you want them to take, and how they will best receive information from you.
Plan. Implement. Refine. Edit.
Here we are, finally ready to get down to business and start creating our sales deck. Every person has their own unique approach to creating, whether it starts with sketches, outlines, or both a key step in the process is planning. Don’t even open your presentation software until you have a very clear idea of what it is you need to convey to the audience and just how you’ll do that. (I’m an absolutely terrible sketch artist, but still rely heavily on “off-screen” planning to really delve into and properly layout the meat of a presentation).
When the time comes to construct your slides, resist the urge to fill them to the brim. Remember that a person has the job of presenting the material and the sales presentation slides only serve as a visual reinforcement of what the presenter is saying. Learn from the likes of Steve Jobs, Nancy Duarte, Marc Benioff, and Garr Reynolds and put only the visual cues aids your audience truly needs on the slides – leave the rest in the capable hands (or words rather) of the presenter.
Do your data right and present it in a clean, simple, easy to absorb format. In the realm of presentations less is definitely more. Bar graphs don’t need gradients and drop shadows, pie charts don’t need to sit at an angle, and only one set of data should be displayed per chart or graphic element. You also don’t have to use charts and graphs at all, many times relevant graphics and icons do a better job of portraying your message than traditional methods.
Once you’ve completed your sales deck, go back and refine and edit the content to every extent possible. Carefully consider each slide, each statement, each word and if its value is worth the space it occupies on the page. The editing step (read: deleting unnecessary junk) is second only to identifying and defining your audience.