Marketing departments have it tough. Their task is to create the materials that properly inform customers and prospects about the company’s products and services. They spend the time to get the message right, design it to fit the corporate brand and then release those materials to the sales team.
In most organizations, that’s as far as marketing’s influence reaches, the handoff to sales. They influence, but they do not control what salespeople say to the customers. A huge frustration is seeing sales presentations that were created by salespeople, and are not aligned with the right messaging or brand. Eventually, looking to create uniformity and extend their ‘control’, they reach for the great elixir, the slide library.
The idea is simple. Build a repository of the best decks and slides that are properly branded, messaged and ready to go, so that salespeople will always have fingertip access to exactly what they need. The reality is that it doesn’t work. Even when sold to the sales team with great fanfare, within six months the effort is often abandoned and sales goes back to their previous approach.
There are few things in business as entrenched as the individual sales process. The one-off approach each salesperson creates to hit their numbers. And one of the keys to that is salespeople want to control the message in their presentations.
There is a way to create a feedback loop, however, and gain back some measure of control (or at least extend influence). Salespeople universally agree that they are bad at creating presentations. Not the general message, the actual words on the screen, the design, the PowerPoint itself. And here they are willing to get help, as long as they feel like they are still presenting their message their way. Support them with a great looking presentation that turns their words into beautiful magic, and they will sing your praises to the sky and come back over and over. And in the process you get the ability to suggest products, images, important messages in a non-threatening way, in a way that sales actually appreciates because they see you at their service, rather than dictating from above.
It’s not a simple process, because typically the PowerPoint is the last thing created before running out the door. You have hours, not days, to take what they provide and make it look great. But that step can have a huge impact on the customer, because it realigns the visual message to the brand, and if you gain the salesperson’s trust along the way, you can also influence the content. And that’s a huge step forward.
Think about it. You could be the hero, and get what you want at the same time.