Official Buying Guide To Presentation Software

CustomShow Screen Shot
It’s one thing to purchase presentation software for your personal or business needs.  There are well over 100 presentation software programs that cater to over 100 different industries including church presentation software and medical presentation software.  Navigating through the multitude of options can be daunting if you’re not considering the actual problems you’re trying to solve with your presentation software or the particular features you desire in your software.
At CustomShow, we believe there are three core problems people are typically trying to solve with their presentation software:
  • Design: The “Better-Looking PowerPoint” Problem
  • Management: The “Where’s the Latest Deck” Problem
  • Delivery: The “How Do I Email or Share This” Problem

A fourth one may be centered around analytics, but that would typically fall under the Management problem.  Lets discuss these three in more detail.

Design Problem

At the core of every presentation is the beauty and design elements that tells the proper story and brings your message to life.  Without the particular design functions, the “Better-Looking PowerPoint” problem will not be solved.  In many cases below are some of the design functions many people search for in a presentation software:

  • PowerPoint Import Capability
  • Video Import Capabilities
  • Multiple Animation Functions
  • Large Swath of Typography & Colors
  • Shapes & Design Options

Management Problem

Being able to manage your presentations can be just as important as the design of them.  Without proper management functionality, sales managers cannot see the work their sales reps have done or new updates to new slide decks that were created.  Or even the concept around team collaboration and multiple people being able to work on the same deck.  Management of your presentations becomes a core function for many companies.

Delivery Problem

What is the best way to deliver my presentation and share it with the end user?  Is my presentation in such a format where I can email it and they’ll open it up seamlessly?  Maybe I want to PDF the presentation and send it in that format.

Content delivery really does matter and there are but so many features each presentation software can offer without the price point increasing.  Some of the primary delivery problems we see companies face include:

  • Mobile/Ipad Delivery
  • Sharing & Formatting
  • Importing & Exporting to other formats (i.e. PowerPoint, KeyNote)

Despite these three being the high level buckets that companies will typically need addressed, we’ve identified roughly 20 different features that you should consider as you are navigating various presentation software tools.

Top 20 Features You Need To Solve That Problem

  • Powerpoint Import – Ability to take your presentation and “seamlessly” export it into a Powerpoint file.  Companies like Prezi and Apple Keynote provide this functionality and knowing you can export into Powerpoint is critical because many companies will not have the same presentation software as you do.
  • Team Collaboration – The ability to collaborate with teammates on the design and delivery of presentations under development matters to sales and marketing teams in particular.  CustomShow being one of the companies that offers cloud collaboration, but a clear example of collaboration being one teammate updating the presentation while not overwriting the original version saved by the prior teammate.
  • Video/Multi-Media Import – Video matters and incorporating video in presentations is a standard in today’s world.  If your presentation software does not provide this, you’re seriously behind the curve.
  • Cloud Storage – Most companies should have cloud capabilities but if the software requires direct download to your desktop or laptop, it may not.  Cloud storage ensures you’re not using up your own space, but more importantly you can work from multiple computers and leverage team collaborations when working on the same presentation.
  • True Customization – Some presentation tools claim you can solve the “better than powerpoint” problem, but the truth is many do not offer REAL customization where you’re creating eye popping presentations that wow your audience.  The best way to understand this is to ask the support team to share 3 – 4 different presentation developed by the software.
  • Analytics & Tracking – Companies that strongly utilize their presentation software for sales and marketing are incorporating more analytics and tracking tools to get a better sense of how their sales force is doing in utilizing the presentation, which presentations are being accessed, and who is viewing them.
  • Web Meetings/Live Stream – Not in an effort to compete with the likes of Join.Me and GoToMeeting, Web Meetings that occur seamlessly from the presentation tool can be a bonus and differentiator if all you need to send out is a special url that does not require any download of software.
  • Mobile & iPad Delivery – Having a presentation tool that can delivery your presentations video multiple devices including mobile and iPad is important.  We see this for real estate agents for example who do a number of tours of properties and want to use an iPad to delivery their content and presentation.
  • Stock Photography – Does the software come with stock photography that can be used for the presentations?  Another important questions to ask.
  • Stock Templates – Does the software company with 10 – 20 pre-made templates?  If so, this can help any company get started in learning the software and developing eye popping presentations.
  • Content Management – The ability to manage content is a MUST.  Think about the videos, images, icons, typography you want to upload and store.  If the software offers cloud storage, this shouldn’t be a problem but be sure to check on any caps in storage capabilities.
  • PDF Support – Most software packages allow for PDF support but you can to confirm this one with your presentation software company.
  • Active Company Support – Company support matters and you need to investigate this area to ensure you either have a company number you can call when you have issues, a true tech support team who’s responsive, a knowledge base you can access from time to time, or even a dedicated rep you can connect with directly from time to time.
  • Interactive Elements (Polls/Feedback/Audience Chat) – Some companies offer a feedback loop not just within teams working on the presentation, but also among audience members who are viewing the presentation.  Definitely a neat feature if you want to garner audience collaboration and interactivity.
  • Demo/Free Trial Available – As simply as this may be, people want to try your tool out for free.  If a company is not offering a free trial, this can be a deterrent to you but don’t let it stop you from giving the software tool a try if you can provide vast savings, increase team productivity, and vastly improve your presentations.
  • Animation Capabilities – Heard of Powtoon?  There are software packages that stick strictly to animation capabilities.  If your software package offers this as another solution, it can be a benefit, but don’t expect the majority of tools out there to offer this.
  • Online/Offline Capabilities – Online and offline really does matter.  If you’re on an airplane and want to be able to work on a presentation while not having online access adds to the productivity conversation.  This tends to be a big need for people looking for presentation software that makes their team productive.
  • Multiple App Integrations (Word/Numbers) – Being able to incorporate EXCEl, Numbers, Word Doc, etc… can be a bonus for software packages and simply knowing you can pull this documents and apps into your presentations.
  • Video Editing Capabilities – It’s one thing to import vide and another to be able to edit videos inside of the software tool.  Probably not the core needs of a presentation designer, but if you’re looking for an all-in-suite, this can potentially tip the scales for those designers that are key influencers to deciding on which presentation software package to go with.
  • Privacy & Security – Many companies don’t discuss this, but privacy and security really does matter given many companies that are investing more into data security.  Even if this is an added benefit and not the core of the presentation software, it matters.
  • Custom URL’s – Creating custom URL’s that can be shared with clients and people you’ll be presenting too makes the shareability component very easy for people.
  • App Integration – Apps are huge this day in age.  People love their apps and being able to integrate them into presentation software can make it productivity and communications even better.  Great examples is Slack, a new communications software that integrations with ClearSlide’s platform.  Keep an eye out for any presentation programs that create opportunities for your favorite apps like SalesForce, Slack, etc…

How To Sell Within Your Company

There are 4 components to consider when working to sell the software you choose internally within your company.  Below are the four criteria to consider:

Demo & Training Day

People will not release their grips on PowerPoint unless they actually see what else is out there and what’s possible. Sales and marketing managers may be convinced that their new presentation tool will help them generate more leads and win more business, but their subordinates cannot get onboard until someone does a demo for them.  It can be either a webinar or a video you send them that will showcase the ease and functionality of the software.  Get them immersed into the experience of the software and they will let go of PowerPoint slides.

“You’ll Make More Money”

Telling your staff that they’ll make more money with this software may not be enough, but it can be a compelling reason as you share with them the statistics as to how many more companies close deals with the existing presentation software (PowerPoint) versus the new presentation software you employ.  As you know, case studies are powerful.  If they know something is going to help them make more money, then show them examples of other companies that closed more deals when they switched away from PowerPoint.  Most presentation software companies can provide this data for you to share with your employees.

Your own staff will save more time

They may not be fully convinced the new software will save them time because there is a learning process.  But when you explain that they no longer have to search for new collateral, they can store everything in the cloud, and share the content with their peers better than powerpoint, then it becomes an easier sell.  Show them the times saved on the backend and they’ll become more open and likely to test out the software.

Because You said so

You can always strong arm your staff and just tell them they have no choice.  That doesn’t always do over well but that is an absolute option.  We think if you utilize the initial three recommendations, this won’t be necessary.  You will always get pushback from those diehard PowerPoint fans, but those who are open to seeing the value will work to take advantage of it and get others on board to do the same.

Consider The Current Problems You’re Facing

Remember to go back to the three core problems most sales and marketing professionals experience including delivery, management, and design.  Here is our standard step by step process for identifying and offering up solutions to those presentation software problems:

  1. Identify one or more of the three presentation issues your team/company is experiencing
  2. Write down the challenges your specific team is facing as a result of the gap
  3. Jot down the benefits of that problem being resolved with better performing presentation software
  4. Consult with the said presentation software company on their standard process for implementation and transition to the new software program.

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