Presentations are a critical part of the sales process and making them effective is becoming more essential. Sales people are facing long odds according to SmartCompany’s report. This report substantiates statistics that have been quoted by others in the past:
- 1% of sales are made on the first contact.
- 2% of sales are made on the second contact.
- 5% of sales are made on the third contact.
- 12% of sales are made on the fourth contact.
- 80% of sales are made on the fifth contact (or above)
Let those statistics sink in for a moment. Almost all deals are closed with at least 5 sales calls. If nothing else, it should make you wonder how much each of those sales calls cost you and how you make the interaction that takes place in each of them as impactful as possible. It should also make you wonder if there are ways to decrease the number of calls.
Regardless of what you think about the number of calls outlined in this report, it demonstrates that when the presentation opportunity does arise, it should be fully optimized. There are three areas that sales and marketing resources should focus on when preparing presentations with the goal of shortening the sales cycle and closing more business:
Preparation: Take Inventory and Think Outside the PowerPoint Slide
Pragmatic Marketing has a worthwhile article covering the importance of preparing for the presentation. In this article they cover a number of items that will help you prepare for an impactful presentation. After all that is what all of us are after, isn’t it? If the presentation doesn’t have an impact, they why are we wasting our time and the customer’s time on it.
The key items covered are:
- Taking inventory of the information you will need to make sure the presentation hits home.
- Thinking outside the PowerPoint Slide. Many of us use PowerPoint as we draft our thoughts. Think about writing out your story instead of confining yourself to PowerPoint.
- Focusing the presentation on the needs of the customer and specifically on the needs of those in the audience. They probably have already researched you on the Internet, so share info specific to their needs, not just info on your product.
- Planning for customization of the presentation. If you do this correctly it can be used with a variety of prospects.
- Balancing brevity with useful illustrations. This important, as there is not much worse for a client than dragging them through a long boring PowerPoint presentation, and there isn’t much worse for your sales team than not getting the point across.
- Mastering the organization and flow of the presentation to make sure it tells the story you want.
- Creating speaker notes.
- Testing and revising the presentation.
By the way, it doesn’t have to be a formal presentation in front of a group to warrant this level of scrutiny. Sometimes…many times…those one-on-one “presentations” can be just as important. Take the time to treat each of those calls or presentations with importance. Think about the fact that if you close just on call earlier what that means in terms of a shortened sales cycle and also being able to use that time closing another prospect.
Delivering the Presentation
If you spent the appropriate time preparing the presentation, you certainly want to do a good job delivering it. This is where most of us have a problem…and the problem is one of familiarity. Most of us in sales are comfortable talking with people one-on-one and even in front of an audience. In fact, many of us are pretty good at it and we’ve been told so over the years.
It’s good you are comfortable, and it’s good you get compliments. The problem is that makes many of us think we don’t have anything to learn or any way to improve our presentation skills. That’s simply not the case. In fact, the world continues to change, and a world dominated by tweets and vines, it requires much more effort to keep the attention of our audience. Steve Jobs probably understood that better than anybody in the recent past. In fact, we can still learn a lot from his approach to presentations.
There is an article in Forbes from several months ago that covers 11 things we can learn from Steve Jobs in terms of making presentations. Three of my favorite learnings are right in the middle of the article:
- Sell the Benefit
- Build Simple, Visual Slides
- Tell Stories
If you haven’t taken the time recently to look at how you can improve your presentation skills, this article is a good starting point. It has several links to brief videos as well, which are always helpful in actually seeing and experiencing these skills in action.
Follow Up: Finish Strong and Quickly
Experts recommend that as much effort should be put into the follow up as the actual presentation. I think most of us intuitively understand the importance of follow-up. It shows interest, expresses importance, and helps serve as a reminder. However, most of us are busier than ever before, and it’s this busyness that can prevent us from following through. Propoint Graphics has an interesting article they posted a while back on some ideas for following up. They included:
- Emailing the deck you used during the presentation.
- Setting up a string of automated emails.
- Creating a series of videos you can email to audience member. You don’t always have to create the videos. You might simply email some existing videos that are pertinent.
- Emailing an electronic brochure, complete with a product animation and a testimonial video.
You don’t have to follow up with media types such as videos, but they do tend to catch the attention of the recipient much more than words alone in an email.
Seeking More Expertise?
Our clients are facing sales presentation challenges but also benefiting from new best practices. They have found that by using engaging visual selling techniques and easy-to-use tools, all three stages of the sales presentation process become more efficient and effective. They are prepping quickly and more effectively, delivering much more engaging presentations whether one-on-one or in a large audience, and following up before even leaving the meeting by emailing appropriate content immediately.
We can help you. Simply email us at 4DSales@4DSales.com or leave a comment on this post. One of our advisors will reach out to you.
Tablet computers are creating substantial advantages for sales professionals and other enterprise departments as PCs are being replaced by iPads and Windows 8 tablets. You and your competition are coping with dynamic sales processes, maximizing return on investment for the sales function and managing an increasing pressure to up-sell and cross-sell. Implementation of mobile technology can help minimize those challenges, while also giving the company a competitive advantage.
Sales management, senior executives and marketing departments are asking five fundamental questions about tablet computing as a sales tool. Below are those areas of interest and links to some sources to assist with answers:
How fast are the trends shifting from PC to tablets?
What are the proven tablets on the market?
What are the proven applications?
What are the expenses related to tablets?
Who do I trust to help attain ROI?
Our customers tell us that the highest ROI comes from sales presentation management applications and 4DSales (http://4dsales.com/client-videos/) is the visual selling app that justified their investment.
We can help you. Simply email us at 4DSales@4DSales.com or leave a comment on this post. One of our advisors will quickly contact you to answer questions.
When a team of seasoned sales executives sets out to help customers increase sales, the sky’s the limit.
4DSales, a Tulsa firm founded by executives who have lived and breathed sales throughout their careers, provides a mobile sales application that allows companies to help their sales reps close more and larger sales. The app runs on both the iPad and Windows 8 tablets.
i2E recently led a $500,000 funding round in 4DSales, which included a $250,000 investment from the StartOK Accelerator Fund.
With 4DSales, a company can easily store and navigate all its sales collateral brochures, photos, catalogues, PowerPoint presentations, technical data sheets, product specifications and even videos putting material at sales reps’ fingertips anywhere, anytime.
This increases the time sales people can be out in front of customers instead of creating PowerPoints, but the strongest impact comes from 4DSales combining ease of access with the power of visual presentations to create a shorter sales cycle.
“Clients absorb so much more when we’re demonstrating something visually,” said Brian Carpenter, 4DSales CEO. “Salespeople close sales by showing solutions. That’s the beauty of 4DSales. Through visuals, salespeople gain customers’ attention and create conversations that produce sales.”
In today’s fast-paced business world, a salesperson may get 10, 20, maybe 30 minutes at the most with a prospect. Reps must be nimble and prepared to go in the direction a prospect wants to go not fumbling through materials looking for the right information.
With 4DSales, reps can switch dynamically between visual material, based on the prospect’s interests or needs. They don’t need to bring a briefcase full of brochures. They always have the most professional and current collateral right at their fingertips, which helps prospects make quicker decisions.
“We’ve taken all the complexity out of the interface between the material and the salesperson,” Carpenter says. “4DSales amplifies the skills that the salespeople already have.”
i2E continually coaches entrepreneurs on the importance of solving a problem for customers with solutions that offer a quantifiable return on investment (ROI). What’s really striking about 4DSales is that the ROI comes primarily from increased revenue.
Growing the top line is something that every CEO and business owner wants whether the company is as global as Microsoft or as local as a landscaping business in central Oklahoma.
4DSales already serves dozens of customers in Oklahoma and nationally. These customers are serving hundreds of their own customers. Several of them talk on 4dsales.com about how their sales have increased.
That’s the ripple effect of innovation. That’s how entrepreneurship creates jobs in Oklahoma and brings wealth from other places into our state.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at Comments@i2E.org.
The entire article can be found on the Tulsa World Website.
If you would like more information about 4DSales, please contact us at 4DSales@4DSales.com or 918.499.8870.
Marketers and executives who create and manage brands have increasing concerns as to whether their sales team is delivering a consistent message while avoiding the ‘used car salesman’ image. In fact one of the things our team at 4DSales hears most often when speaking with the presidents of current clients or prospects is that they aren’t sure what their team is presenting. This is especially concerning when you consider the CMO Council states almost 85% of a company’s brand image is determined by the direct interaction between the sales force and its customers. That’s right…85%!
Econsultancy has recognized this issue and boiled down the solution to three basic awareness steps in their article, Brand Management and Consistency: Is Everyone Singing the Same Song? Their article primarily focuses on a marketing view vs. a sales view. We recommend that sales people pay attention though. The power of your brand, even in a B2B environment, should draw interest from both sales and marketing. In fact, it should interest anybody who has a job related to revenue generation.
An excerpt in this report: ‘In most cases the problem will be a combination of staff not being aware of what they are doing, and the effects that their actions may have on the overall brand. Think of all marketing communications as one part of an extended family. All should look the same, come from the same background and speak with same tone of voice. Internal marketers and external third parties need the correct tools to allow them to communicate the brand in a consistent way.’
Many of the companies we work with have experienced the same brand consistency challenges as a daily course of business. We have learned to manage consistency with engaging visual selling techniques and easy-to-use tools. One of our existing clients, TD Williamson, discusses the how they leverage technology to enhance their brand consistency through their sales team. This brief two minute video discusses how they are able to achieve this consistency leveraging sales tools. Making sure you have a visually appealing presentation is just part of the solution. Making sure all of your reps have all the content they need all the time is just as important. If they can’t find it, it does you no good.
If you are interested in enhancing your brand messaging through your sales force, we can help you. Drop us an email at 4DSales@4DSales.com or leave a comment on this post. One of our advisors will quickly reach out to you.
When a team of seasoned sales executives sets out to help their customers increase sales, the sky’s the limit.
4DSales, a Tulsa firm founded by executives who have lived and breathed sales throughout their careers, provides a mobile sales application that lets companies help their sales reps close more and larger sales.
Full Story: 4DSales demonstrates the ripple effect of innovation