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What Presentation Software Is Right For Me?


As a follow up to our official buying guide to Presentation Software, we understand companies may not purchase software through the lense of “what features I need” or “what presentation problems am I having.”  In many cases, it can be based on the size of the organization and the level of service the company is providing their customer base, and the question of “What presentation is right for me?

Small Organizations versus Large Organizations

We see small organizations that only need particular features in their presentation programs including the following:

  • 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.  Smaller organizations in particular need this function since most traditionally work off powerpoints they may want to export to their new presentation software provider.  This feature is particular crucial to most smaller organizations that are use to utilizing PowerPoint and want to transfer them to the new formatted software.
  • 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.  Another standard for smaller organizations that need cloud storage for big files that want to access when they travel or do work offline.
  • Mobile & iPad Delivery – Having a presentation tool that can delivery your presentations video multiple devices including mobile and iPad is important.  We see this with successful real estate agents for example who do a number of tours of properties, want to overcome their sales problems, and use an iPad to deliver their content and presentation.

Where’s for large organizations, these are the following featured that are critical due to their sheer size and scale:

  • Privacy & Security – Many companies don’t discuss this, but privacy and security really do matter, especially for those investing more into data security, including ensuring team members achieve CISSP certification.  Even if this is an added benefit and not the core of the presentation software, it matters when compared to knowledge base software.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Local versus Distributed Organizations

Some of the same businesses utilizing presentation software have different needs based on whether they are centralized and located in one place versus distributed across various parts of the country.

The following feature likely matter the most to those that are more locally distributed:

  • 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.
  • 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?  

For organizations that are geographically distributed, the following features probably resonate a bit more:

  • 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.
  • 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…
  • 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.

Standard Functionality versus Experiential Functionality

Some organizations have customers where their presentation don’t require but standard functionality.  That wow factor slightly matters, but it’s not absolutely critical for the organization.  Whereas companies that deal in big, flashy and eye popping presentation is critical.  Experiential deals with the need for video, brand and design team collaboration.

Standard Functionality

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • PDF Support – Most software packages allow for PDF support but you can to confirm this one with your presentation software company.

Experiential Functionality

  • 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.
  • 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.

Other functions that matter:

  • 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.
  • 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.