Controlling your sales story is critical to a consistent, effective sales process. But the ways in which you control your sales story also matter. If your plan is to lock sales presentation templates to ensure a certain level of consistency, you’re actually working against your sales team. In reality, the key is ensuring they’re using the right content at the right time.
Crafting a compelling sales story is an important step in the quest for killer sales presentations. But it’s just that — a single step. Making sure your team is using the right content to deliver a cohesive, up-to-date, and exciting sales presentation is the next step. Then, you need to round it out by tracking presentation and content usage to determine story and content efficacy.
Here’s how you do it.
Lay the Framework to Control Your Sales Story Without Constant Oversight as You Scale
Imagine you’ve got a sales team of just five or ten people. Keeping an eye on the sales presentation materials they’re using might not be overwhelming. Inconvenient? Sure. Handholding? Maybe. But not totally outlandish.
Now, imagine it’s a few years later. That sales team has doubled or tripled in size. It’s totally unrealistic to imagine anyone in your organization keeping track of the materials everyone on your sales team is using. And that’s a problem.
Who’s presenting what content? And at what stage of the sales pipeline? Is the branding current? Is the pricing current?
The short answer at this stage: who knows? Unless, of course, you’ve already done the work to allow you to scale without the headache. When you’ve got thousands of sales presentations being created each year — which is not at all unlikely, depending on the size of your business — it’s just impossible to maintain constant oversight. The control needs to be there from the start so you can trust every presentation out there is telling the sales story you want being told, in the way you want it presented.
To build this framework, you need to:
Give Your Sales Team a Modular Sales Presentation System
Trust us — even if you give your sales team a regimented template, it won’t do the trick. They’ll still freewheel their sales decks as they deem necessary. That puts the consistency of your branding, messaging, and the content you’ve spent time and money developing at risk.
Different sales team members need different tools to do their job. For example, a seasoned salesperson might cut some of the story that a newer recruit would lean more heavily on. When you design and build a modular sales presentation system, you give your sales team the ability to adapt their presentations without straying from the established narrative. There are a set number of options they have to work with. They can’t add to or delete from the story with abandon. You retain control of your brand and your sales story, and your sales team doesn’t feel restricted in what they have to work with.
Provide Your Sales Team with Immersive and Engaging Visuals
Any sales story will fail to make a lasting impression if it’s not told in an engaging manner — regardless of your story’s content. Forcing your prospects to read a ton of copy, or to have that copy summarized for them in a meeting, won’t result in the message retention you’re after. It’s up to you to give your sales people the approved, on-brand, engaging visual assets they need to close the deal.
Without immersive, engaging visuals provided, your sales team members might:
- Bog down the sales presentation with excessive bullet points and descriptions. Even important content can come off dry when only conveyed through text. What might take 150 or even 1,000 words of content to describe might be more effectively explained through an enticing, on-screen visual element followed by a short explainer animation.
- Seek out their own visuals to compensate for what they see as key missing elements. This is where things really go off the rails. Your sales people may be the best at what they do — but that doesn’t mean they’re the best designers. Despite their good intentions, they can torpedo their own presentations by using poor-quality or off-base visuals to get their point across. Pulling your own company’s logo from a Google search, using outdated visual brand guidelines, or going directly to a manufacturer’s website can result in subpar or inaccurate visuals being used.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of a sales presentation’s visual components. If those visual components are lacking, your sales people are at an immediate disadvantage. Solve the problem before it develops, and avoid the additional problems that your sales team’s “fixes” create.
Track Sales Presentation and Individual Slide Usage to Determine Impact
Your sales numbers alone won’t reveal if your presentation content is effective or not. Obviously, if you’re struggling to close any deals, you might have a presentation problem to deal with. But this high-level view doesn’t do much in terms of helping you to iterate on your content and drill down on what’s really working.
That’s why tracking presentation and individual slide usage is so important. You need to analyze where viewers are spending their time. Using a system that allows you track engagement is vital for refining sales presentations. You must take into consideration data like:
- How much time are viewers spending on individual slides?
- Are they playing your videos?
- If so, how long are they running those videos?
- Which content is being used by your sales team the most? Which content isn’t used, and can be cut loose?
- Where in the presentation are prospects dropping off entirely?
You’re going to have a very difficult time leading your sales team effectively if you’re not paying attention to this type of data and key benchmarks,
If they’re struggling to do their job, you want them turning to your leadership — not going rogue and trying to overhaul their sales presentations on their own. Taking control of your sales narrative is one thing, but maintaining that control in the long run is a whole other story.
Effective Sales Leadership Leads to Confident Sales Teams
When your sales team is confident in the sales materials they have to work with, they’re going to do a more effective job of selling. And that’s what it all boils down to at the end of the day. Don’t expect your control over your sales story to pay off if that confidence isn’t there.
Skip the restrictive templates, make sure your sales team has the engaging sales content they need, and give them some control over how they present without giving up control over what they present. That way, your team presents confidently, and your sales narrative doesn’t get diluted.