Originally posted on LinkedIn.
That presentation with outdated data and old branding? The PowerPoint presentation that was “Frankenstein’d” together with last year’s product inventory and an unapproved logo? The proposal with the wrong pricing? These are the zombie presentations that are eating your company!
Every PowerPoint presentation is a zombie waiting to be born. As soon as it’s downloaded from your company server onto a salesperson’s laptop, it starts to rot and decay. The data goes out-of-date almost immediately. The branding and messaging sticks into the mud as the rest of the company grows and moves forward. And any changes made by a sales rep and shared with other reps is like the virus in World War Z that infects every other PowerPoint it comes into contact with, replicating it’s bad pricing or market size data across your company.
Imagine if every salesperson downloaded their own version of your company’s website to show to clients? How long would it take for that to be completely out-of-date and dangerous to your sales and marketing efforts? And how would you know that it was even happening, since none of the tracking and metrics that work on your hosted website would work on the static version downloaded to every salespersons’ laptop?
Many sales and marketing teams try to fight the good fight against these zombie presentations, reminding salespeople to check the server (or SharePoint, or Box, or Salesforce) on a regular basis. They send out updates and notifications when changes are made and plead with their reps to download the latest version and update all of the decks they’ve already customized with the latest information. Diligent sales reps spend hours combing through servers looking for the latest version of a slide and meticulously comparing it with all of their saved PowerPoints that lie festering on their laptop. Hours are spent, processes are put in place, rules and workflows are implemented, best practices are touted and praised…but still the zombies grow and spread.
A salesperson is working against a deadline. The rep is offsite and can’t connect to the shared server. An updated version of this product slide wasn’t included in the latest update. There are a thousand reasons why the zombies are allowed to reproduce. And all it takes is one zombie PowerPoint to be shared with the team and they’re all infected.
And what do these zombies eat? They eat time: time spent looking for the latest version, time spent building slides that already exist somewhere else, time spent fixing the mistakes after the fact when the wrong pricing or product info was initially presented. Time spent by marketing, research and brand teams trying to track down all of the instances of old content that needs to be replaced or updated.
Zombie presentations also eat Close Rates, Sales Cycle, Throughput and Productivity. Every mistake in the pricing or product info that leads to a lost sales eats into your Close Rate. Every outdated slide that requires a follow-up to explain and clarify eats into your ability to reduce your Sales Cycle. And the constant hunting and checking and updating eats into Throughput and Productivity for everyone involved.
So what can kill these zombie PowerPoints once and for all? Is there anything sales and marketing teams can do?
The Cloud is the only true Destroyer of Zombies. Connected documents, like CRM data in Salesforce, a spreadsheet in Google Apps, hubspot integrations or a shared workspace like Slack, are the only things that can truly destroy these zombie presentations. You need a platform that knows where they are and can push out the latest information or recall them if they’re no longer relevant. You need technology that can track how they’re being used and who’s using and viewing them. You need to have a system that lets salespeople present offline while still retaining control of the presentation centrally. Every business already does all of this for their websites, their CRM, their accounting, and a host of other business-critical systems. But not enough are doing it for their sales presentations.
So join with me in the fight against Zombie Presentations and use the power of the Cloud to connect your presentation materials in real-time so you can track, manage and update your sales materials! Treat your presentations the way you treat your website and care about who’s viewing them and how they’re being used! Fight the decay and rot of outdated information in sales presentations by implementing Cloud-based solutions to enable your sales team to present smarter! Destroy the zombies before they eat your company!
Paul Shapiro is the CEO of CustomShow, the leader in real Cloud-based presentations. Paul has been fighting the good fight against zombies, presentation and otherwise, for over 20 years.