Want Better Presentations? Build a Sales & Marketing Feedback Loop.

Originally posted on LinkedIn.

Presentations, especially in B2B sales, are the face of your company at a critical moment in the sales cycle. And they can be so much better.

Marketing has been revolutionized by the tracking technologies that enable real-time feedback loops to provide insight into what works and what doesn’t. Click-through rates. Conversion rates. View-through rates. All of this data comes back to Marketing and improvements are made and pushed back out to be measured again.

Every Marketing Channel now relies on a Feedback Loop of information about what’s working – except Sales Presentations. Sending PowerPoint presentations out to your sales team is a one-way communication – you send them, they change them and whatever the final version ends up being is rarely sent back to Marketing for review and improvement. It’s as if your company put up a website and never looked to see how many people viewed it, what pages they viewed or if they clicked on anything.

Creating a Feedback Loop for Sales Presentations is a combination of workflow and technology, but at it’s core it’s a recognition that Marketing and Sales can learn from each other. Marketing often owns the brand, the voice and the story about what your company does, but Sales is who understands how things get sold and deals closed. By recognizing that each can learn from the other—that Marketing can make presentations that are more effective sales tools without diluting the brand, and that Sales can benefit from a more consistent and branded presentation without selling less—teams can come together to build an effective Feedback Loop to collaborate, iterate and improve their sales presentations.

Key components of a Sales Presentation Feedback Loop include:

  • Agree that Sales Presentations are a Valuable Marketing Channel: Sales Presentations are the only Marketing Channel GUARANTEED to be shown to decision-makers with a sales person able to engage in conversation. Without this initial step, you’ll never get anyone to pay attention to the rest.
  • Agree to Collaborate: Marketing and Sales need to recognize that they can learn from each other and that sales presentations can always be better. Debunk the myth that Marketing doesn’t know anything about sales or that Sales doesn’t need any help from Marketing.
  • Enforce Visibility: Marketing has to be able to SEE what Sales is presenting without relying in sales people to actively send every presentation back to Marketing. This means implementing a system that captures the presentation AS IT WAS ACTUALLY PRESENTED and delivers that information back to Marketing. It’s just as important to know what slides are regularly being skipped as what slides are regularly being requested.
  • Push Updates: Once Marketing can actually see what’s being presented and starts making improvements to the sales materials, it’s critical that the sales team actually uses these new materials. Relying on sales people to actively come back and find the latest version and update all their PowerPoints is a disaster waiting to happen. Marketing and Sales need to implement a system or workflow that ensures that new versions of presentations are pushed out directly to the Sales team in a way that makes it easier to use the latest version than to rely on an old copy of what they had.
  • Identify KPIs, Measure and Repeat: Once a Feedback Loop is in place, now is the time to identify KPIs that connect sales presentation activity with sales success and start measuring them to track improvement.

Paul Shapiro is the CEO of CustomShow, the leader in Cloud-based presentations, and has been giving feedback on presentations for over 20 years.

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