How to create & deliver a presentation that wins the sale

Photo by the author Paul Krajewski

Communispond, along with their CEO Bill Rosenthal, have an interesting point of view on how to create a winning sales presentation. (Communispond provides communications skills training for interpersonal communications, management and sales.)

1. Put away your trusty old dog and-pony show and start learning everything you can about the prospects critical needs. […]

2. Create a unique solution to the customer’s critical needs. […]

3. Build the team, and organize the presentation. […]

4. Sharpen your team’s presentation skills. […]

5. Start selling before you begin.
Get to the presentation room early. Stand at the door and greet the audience members as they enter. Introduce your co-presenters and get into a dialogue with the prospect’s people. Make a mental note of some personal information, and cite this in your presentation.

6. Watch for booby traps in the Q&A.
Prepare for the Q&A in advance by anticipating the questions you’ll be asked, particularly the tough ones. Be sure the entire team agrees on how they should be answered. Plan replies that are concise, persuasive, and tie back to one of your major points. For example, if someone asks: “How can you justify such exorbitant prices?” you answer: “Our pricing includes all of the following services.” Then you tie back to the part of your presentation that described your cost-effectiveness. Address the group as you answer questions, but look back to the questioner occasionally to show courtesy.

7. Finish with a flourish. Explain how the information from the previous presenter relates to what’s coming up. Make sure the presentation isn’t dragging on too long. Pre-plan a visual clue that lets a speaker know when to stop. Go out on a strong finish. Look at the audience intently. Smile and express your feelings: “We’d love to work with you.” Pause and drop your hands to your side to signal that you’re finished. Lead your group out of the room smoothly to show that you’re a well-organized team. The final impression you’ll leave with the customer is one of confidence and conviction. You’ll also feel this way because you’ve out-performed the competition.

web conferencing in a virtual 3D environment for remote meetings, training, sales enablement, and sales support

On March 28, 2012 Corporate Visions @corpv tweeted:

“Key findings: Sales enablement tools for customer conversations in a virtual environment are missing”

I would suggest to take a look at my posts on AvayaLive Engage.

AvayaLive Engage (formerly named web.alive and originally developed at Nortel) is was web conferencing in a virtual 3D environment for remote meetings, training, sales [enablement], and [sales] support. I’m no longer affiliated with the product or any of the companies behind it, but I used to do product marketing for it back in 2009.

“[…] rich and immersive avatar-based collaboration […]

    • […] allows you for the first time to meet with your online customer in the same way as if they crossed the physical threshold of your business’ front door. Unleash your real-time voice and existing highly skilled staff to go and talk to your customers, either one-on-one or in a crowd. By doing so, you provide them relevant information to help them down ‘off of the fence’ […]. The same environment can be used to provide support, and a community of users with knowledge can help deepen your relationship with customers, as well as providing a place to work with your customers […]”

B2B marketers keep sales enablement at top of your list

On January 17, 2012, Rich Vancil (IDC) published “B2B marketers need to keep sales enablement at the top of their to-do list” at BtoBlog:

“[…] In IDC’s research, we observe the broad and long process of how marketing assets are created, and then how those assets are provisioned and used by the selling teams. […] tech sales reps are overwhelmed with sales tools, collateral, presentations, etc. […] Sales reps use just one of every five “things” that marketers produce for them! They spend a lot of time trying to get prepared and ready and smart—or in other words “enabled”—but more often than not they leave the office to go on a sales call in a state of un-readiness. […] Tech buyers give tech sellers consistently poor scores on preparedness. […] tech sellers are ranked poorly on product knowledge, account knowledge, relevance of their presentations, and other factors. The purchase cycle from awareness through to P.O. (purchase order) is now 19 months for big-ticket IT purchases, and this expanded by two months just in 2011. […]”

When you combine this with the statement form the Forrester Sales Enablement Forum, that 86% of B2B buyers source information independent of interactions with vendor sales, then it is clear that in many cases the buyer knows more than the seller.

 

Must read Sales Enablement tweets

In case you don’t follow me on twitter @SalesEnablement the following retweets might be of interest to you:

Emely Abbey ‏ @EarlyStageNQE

Companies with Mature Sales Enablement Programs Witnessing 15+ Percent Annual Growth Rates

Paola Norambuena ‏ @panoram

Only 25% of companies actively listen to, and respond to, what consumers say about them. @jeffmancini

@Onboardly

An #Interview With @AprilDunford, #Blogger …

Scott Santucci ‏ @scottsantucci

Q&A with Tamara Schenk @tamaraschenk, VP of #SalesEnablement, T-Systems. #Forrester #Blogs

@corpv

ReTooling #Sales Enablement Tools: Make the Selling Simpler via CRM Magazine destinationcrm.com

dgriesman ‏ @dgriesman

always fun 2 discover: RT @stevekeifer: Shadow marketing: rogue content creation by sales teams outside of corp/product marketing

@fisiononline

“By 2017, a #CMO will spend more on #IT than the #CIO”; says #Gartner Group. #marketing #enterprise #technology

@forrester

From Sales Enablement Forum: 86% of B2B buyers report sourcing information independent of interactions with vendor sales

@JRSilber

Daniel West, Informatica: “18 months ago, sales enablement was nice to have, now it is recognized as a must have.”

@JasonAndersson

#IDC Directions: Sales enablement is marketing’s job # 1.

@julianng

Sales enablement in 2012: Buying cycle now 19 months for big-ticket IT purchases, expanded by 2 months in 2011.

Where does Sales Enablement live within an organization?

An updated version of the following post can be found here, (February 5, 2017)

On September 7, 2010, Eric Nitschke (Launch International) asked the following questions on the LinkedIn Group Sales Enablement Content. Please see my response below:

“Sales Enablement: Where does it live?
Several clients have asked us for best practices in sales enablement – specifically who owns it?

I’d support our marketing colleagues who are trying to align selling messages with product positioning and messaging documents. Others on the training side would say that their training materials are the baseline for sales enablement. Finally, the “sales enablement automation” crowd would claim ownership of the process and fulfillment of sales enablement materials on their web-based or internally-hosted portals.

So I ask YOU – learned Sales Enablement Content Group members: Where does Sales Enablement live?”

Coming from the point of view of someone providing web-based or internally-hosted portals for Sales Enablement, I would not claim ownership. All stakeholders like product marketing, training, CI/MI, the teams for pricing and ROI / business case calculations, the customer reference database, corporate branding, MarComs, etc… should be invited… invited to house their content and – just as important – their contact details in that one joint portal.

A portal… not for the sake of the technology or to have yet another portal… but… a portal to let all these stakeholders see which of their content works and which doesn’t (also which content is missing and which gets insightful comments as a feedback loop from the field or the channel back to corporate).

When there is this one interface that cuts across all team sites and the silos the many regional or functional groups might have built with SharePoint or LiveLink or any of these solutions, your sales people and channel partners can – for the first time – see what is available for the given sales situation they are in. None of the stakeholders “owns” this more than the others and the portal just helps to filter by sales step, region, industry vertical, content type, etc… to make visible whether the sale is being enabled or specific content and contacts are missing.

matrixed organization

The single biggest complaint about Sales Enablement, I hear from sales people is missing content… content that is more specific than the generic pitch. A portal, that comes along with all stakeholders agreeing on content governance, a life-cycle duration for the content and responsibilities to respond to feedback & requests, will first of all make these gaps painfully visible and then guide the content planning to invest marketing’s dollars as effective as possible.

To come back to your question, in some organizations it might be the CMO and in others the sales leader or portfolio manager – who is the executive sponsor, who aligns all the stakeholders to feed the new portal and shut down the old ones.

define a taxonomy of customer pain points and map your products and solutions against them

One of my posts on the question “where Sales Enablement lives within an organization” got a comment requesting further clarification of the following graphic:

The comment was asking where to find sales people in the graphic and what the role of sales playbooks is. I have to admit that it is difficult to read, but the sales people are actually represented within the green area as indicated by the words Sales Force. (This is not a reference to salesforceDOTcom.)

This speaks to the point that sales people and the legacy sales portals, that are supposed to enable them, sit in between a highly matrixed organization on the one side and just as complex an organization on the client’s side. These legacy sales portals are one-dimensional (they fail to show content & contact details of subject experts in the context of the highly matrixed organization and in context to which pain point on the client side is addressed) and there are often several portals as there are so many silos of information.

Each sales playbook is a great tool for a small subset of the sales force (as shown in the graphic), but comes out of one of the silos, fed by only some of the Product/Portfolio Marketing teams or one regional team. When all content (e.g. customer references from different regions or specific value propositions per industry vertical…) lives in a multi-dimensional business context like it is made possible in BizSphere (which is a Sales Enablement Solution Suite that was designed to cut across all silos. Full disclosure: I work with them.), a completely customized sales playbook for any given sales situation can be auto-generated.

In contrast to legacy sales portals, BizSphere takes at least three dimensions into account. These could be:

  • Where is the seller going to a meeting? (Sales regions, countries…)
  • What does the seller want to sell (Portfolio of products, services and solutions.)
  • What does the seller need in order to be successful in the meeting? (Content types like white paper, case study, ROI-Calculator, contact details of a subject matter expert, etc…)

You might also want to define a taxonomy of customer pain points and map your products against them or add other dimensions that your company thinks in. BizSphere then lets you filter down by media type, language of the content, and/or the sales step you are in with the opportunity you are working.

The dimensions of Sales Enablement

  • Imagine the 1st orange arrow in the graphic above to be a customer reference from a Canadian client for a specific security solution.
  • Imagine the 2nd orange arrow to be the contact details of the sales engineer in South Africa who is the expert for a given service.
  • The 3rd orange arrow could be an ROI-calculator for the same service but it is really specific to the mining industry and therefore relevant in Western Australia.
Can you already see how here the regional teams can have as much of say in “which content is relevant for specific sales situations?” as the product marketing team?

Can you get lost in BizSphere? No way, because nothing is easier than answering: What do I want to sell, where do I want to sell it and what would help me to close the deal? Once you set your context in these three dimensions you will have filtered down from thousands of marketing assets / pieces of collateral to only the relevant ones.