How to create & deliver a presentation that wins the sale

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.) Get the full document on their website.

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.

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.

recent numbers to show the return on sales enablement software

On August 22, 2011, Forrester’s TJ Keitt pointed out…

“…some key differences between Enterprise 2.0 users and the rest of the workforce:

  • They’re your highest paid employees. Over half of this group earns more than $60k a year, compared to just 36% of non-users.
  • They’re the most educated members of the workforce. Sixty-five percent of this group has completed at least a 4 year college degree compared to 55% of the rest of the workforce.
  • They’re the leaders in your office. It’s not surprising to see 49% of this group are managers are executives given management’s enthusiasm about social technologies. Just 31% of non-users are in similar positions.

On August 17, 2011, BDSolutions tweeted that its VP of Sales Enablement, Bill Golder, said:

“Alignment of sales and marketing impacts revenue growth up to 3x.”

In a post by Amanda F. Batista from August 16, 2011, IDC is quoted with the statement that…

“B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year, or $100 million for a billion-dollar company.”

inability to get sales and marketing teams aligned around the right processes and technologies costs upwards of 10 percent of revenue per year

On July 21, 2011, IDC hosted a webinar entitled “Setting Your Sales Enablement Strategy”. In the invite for the webinar IDC revealed a very interesting number that really helps to put the financial impact a proper Sales Enablement strategy can make into perspective:

“Is Sales Enablement a new concept? Certainly not. Marketing and some sales organizations have been attempting for decades to equip their direct and indirect sales channels with the right information, at the right time, in the right format, to assist in moving specific opportunities forward. However, companies’ inability to get their sales and marketing teams aligned around the right processes and technologies (or at least consistent ones) has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year; or $100 M for a $1B company. […]”

The following chart (source IDG Connect) was also shared during the webinar:

too_much_content_that_is_not_useful

The Importance of Context

On September 7, 2010, Matthias Roebel from BizSphere wrote “The Importance of Context for the Enterprise 2.0”:

Just a few days ago Joe Galvin from Sirius Decisions wrote about how important Social Media – as an approach for better internal collaboration – is as part of a Sales Enablement strategy. I think he is absolutely right. What used to be the informal coffee corner chat before nowadays is mimicked in Social Media platforms. Over time, people will learn that even within an enterprise the sharing of information is beneficial for everyone in the end. Yes, there may be a lot of sceptics around, especially in sales teams, but with the right programs and incentives offered, they will make the jump to the new social collaboration paradigm.

However, the flip side of extensive social collaboration might be the appearance of new information silos as well as growing information overload. Without the social collaboration being moderated to a certain extend, it might lose some of its potential impact on the overall performance of the sales teams. Aaron Roe Fulkerson discussed this in a recent blog post: “The importance of context: why Enterprise 2.0 still fails to deliver value”.

web 3.0 with BizSphere

 

A company might use a lot of different types of social collaboration platforms – the challenges is: How can they be orchestrated in a way, that actual knowledge exchange is taking place across existing team and functional structures? And how can the content generated be aligned to some generally agreed upon enterprise structures? What companies, that are serious about implementing a Social Media strategy for sales, should think about, is to create and maintain an enterprise context.

Enterprise 2.0 from a Sales Enablement point of view

Then collaboration can take place within this context and will add greater value to a broader audience. Ideally, the enterprise context should constantly evolve based on feedback gathered during the ongoing social collaboration.

Reading List – Beginning of September 2010

“Engage early with Senior Execs, or Lose the Deal” (Tom Pisello: The ROI Guy; May 13, 2010)

“[…] Many salespeople are not armed today to adequately engage executives in the consultative strategy phase. That can be changed with Executive Assessment tools, providing a structured way to connect and engage with executives in this crucial early buying phase. […]”

“In Sales Productivity, Coroners’ Inquests Won’t Improve Life Expectancies” (John Cousineau, CEO, innovativeinfo; AUGUST 27, 2010)

“[…] Today, one of the productivity-improving therapies often recommended in sales operations is Loss Analysis. When a deal’s lost, do a post mortem to determine what happened + what should be done to prevent future deal deaths. In my view, it’s a bit like holding a coroner’s inquest. It accepts that fatalities are unavoidable other than by learning from them after the fact. It’s a strange way to stretch life expectancies. […]”

“Meet the Chief Listening Officer” (Neville Hobson; August 30, 2010):

“[…] So I wonder how a Chief Listening Officer will do.

In my view, such a role implied by the title is surely and exactly what organizations need today, especially large organizations. It’s not enough just to listen to conversations, analyze what’s going on and interpret the metrics: you need to know exactly, with precision, what the huge amount of interpreted data means to your organization specifically and what the people in their different roles can and must do as a result of the knowledge and insight you’ve gleaned from that listening, from that interpretation of the data.

Above all, you must know who in your organization needs what information, and be able to get that info to those people, on demand, when they need it. […]”