In marketing’s arsenal of materials created to enable sales, guess which type of content is the most impactful to buyers? Yes, I gave it away in the title of this blog post – it’s the sales presentation. Our research shows that buyers rank the sales presentation among the most meaningful content assets used during the purchase decision process. Portfolio marketers are now focused on ensuring that the sales deck they provide to reps contains high-quality information that facilitates the buying and sales processes.
When marketers don’t put a lot of effort into sales presentations, the presentations they create are completely different from what’s being used by the sales team. The first step to developing a quality sales presentation deck that can be adopted by the sales team is to understand what’s currently being used. In addition to using the official corporate sales presentation and its mutated versions, marketers should gather slides and decks that reps have created on their own. The reason is simple: Reps who spend time creating slides and modifying content aren’t doing it to satisfy their inner marketing whims; they’re usually sacrificing time that could be spent with buyers to pull together information that is needed to win deals. By understanding what reps are and aren’t using and why, marketers can identify gaps that need to be filled in the sales presentation.
Unfortunately, reps are often afraid to share their custom decks because they’re worried they’ll get in trouble with management or with marketing. One way to encourage reps to share their “black market” decks and pitches is to declare a sales presentation amnesty day when everyone is free to share their sales presentation content without judgment or penalties. Instead of being the corporate or brand police, marketing can use amnesty days to learn what is and isn’t working for sales. By understanding why and how certain information is used in the sales presentation, marketing can create a plan to fill in the gaps and capture best practices that can be socialized broadly.
Clients of SiriusDecisions’ portfolio marketing service have access to the brief “Designing Buyer-Centric Sales Presentations That Win,” which contains the SiriusDecisions Buyer-Centric Sales Presentation Framework. This framework includes the 24 content components of a best-in-class sales presentation that aligns to the buying and sales processes. If you’re not a client, contact us for more information.