The Case for Presentation Management

Your salesperson is a key ambassador for your brand. He's on the front lines, face to face with customers in the process of making a decision to buy your company's products or services. Yet the sales presentation often gets short shrift, if it gets any attention at all, in the marketing mix. Sales reps all too often present cumbersome and poorly designed PowerPoint presentations that put their audiences to sleep. Companies spend millions on sales and marketing staff salaries, development of various media and marketing materials, travel, and other expenses. But they often skip the crucial step of knowing how those materials are presented when they finally make it to the customer's boardroom. Given their impact on the bottom line, shouldn't sales presentations be treated as marketing assets? Marketing managers need a system that ensures sales presentations are as compelling as the rest of their marketing tools and represent the best combination of all of their marketing and sales efforts.

Presentation Management

Having a presentation management strategy means having a system that saves time and resources by managing the creation, revision, distribution, and tracking of PowerPoint presentations, video, and other critical sales materials. Done effectively, it empowers everyone, salespeople in particular, to create cohesive, compliant, and polished presentations in a short amount of time.

Most companies practice some form of presentation management, even if it's not terribly effective. Many default to one or more of the following systems. You may even recognize these in your own organization.

Presentation Guru: The presentation guru is the go-to person who knows where all the slides and content are. Sometimes it's a hired position; other times it's by default. The presentation guru will find the slide you need, when you need it, or even build the deck. But when the guru is not available, the salesperson is left scrambling to cobble something together.

Push and Shove: This is where marketing regularly emails the latest, compliant decks to the team (like anyone has time to read through all their emails) or posts them to a network folder or work site. There is no follow-up or feedback from sales and no one has any real sense of what's useful in the field or resonating with clients.

Needle in a Haystack: The slides are anywhere and everywhere. Sales reps hunt through network folders, emails, and maybe even a colleague's thumb drive. And when they finally find it, no one is 100 percent sure that it's the correct version. Time and money are wasted when misinformation is presented to a client.

You're on Your Own, Kid: Out of necessity, the salesperson creates her own presentation, some of it with repurposed content, some made up at the last minute. And while she wastes a lot of time re-creating slides that already exist, there is an upside. In this scenario, the salesperson writes her presentation targeted to the specific needs of her client—the buyer. She can use her 

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