Editor’s Note: Guest post by Brian Cuttica, Director of SMB Sales at PointDrive. Brian is our local co-host for Sales Hacker Series Chicago.
I don’t have an issue with PowerPoint when someone is presenting to me in person. Sure, the standard tips definitely apply, like not treating the slides as a teleprompter or using a tiny font to pack 3 paragraphs onto one slide, but these speak more to the presenter than to PowerPoint itself. Handled correctly, I like the visual that PowerPoint decks provide to supplement an in-person or web-based meeting.
What I hate is when I receive an email after the meeting that has the PowerPoint deck attached to it. Here’s why:
If you are smart, you build your sales deck thinking about the context in which you will use it. Most of the time, the context is a situation where you are meeting with a person or group and will be presenting your idea to them. In context, the deck works to your advantage.
Whether I am meeting with founders I might invest in or sales reps who are trying to sell me something, a good deck usually helps the presenter tell their story.
That’s the thing: it helps tell the story. The deck rarely (if ever) tells the story. A good deck works when coupled with a good presenter, but on its own is simply a long document I’d probably prefer not to scroll through and will likely get little value out of.
I fully admit that at the end of most meetings where I am the one being sold to, I ask for some type of follow-up, usually saying something to the effect of, “Send something over so I can review it later.”
This begs the question: what is the alternative to simply sending the deck attached to an email when that request is made?
To answer that, I’d advise first thinking about the goal of the communication as well as the context in which you are trying to achieve it.
The Goal is to convey the same amazing story you told when you met in-person to keep your audience engaged and interested.
The Context is that your audience is no longer in front of you or on the other end of the phone. They are sitting in front of their computers or, increasingly more likely, opening what you send them on their mobile devices.
With that goal and context in mind, ask yourself if simply emailing a 15-20 slide PowerPoint deck on its own is the best way to follow-up. No way, right?
Two Suggestions For a Better Follow-Up:
Break the Original Deck Up Into Logical Parts That Can Be Shared as Distinct Assets
These more bite-sized chunks will better reflect the way you actually told the story in the live meeting. You didn’t just rip through each slide in the meeting – it was more conversational, right? You paused at times and let your audience take a breath. Replicate that in your follow-up by letting your audience review the deck in a way that more closely resembles the way you actually presented it.
Include More Than Just the Deck
You told anecdotal stories in the live meeting, demonstrated your product and referenced success stories, right? Replicate that in your follow-up by including a testimonial video, demo video, press coverage and other media assets that will be more engaging than the PowerPoint deck on its own.
On the surface, these suggestions may seem to present a whole new problem. Does someone really want to receive an email with a bunch of attachments and links to different videos?
The answer is an emphatic: NO!!! Honestly, that type of email might be worse than just sending the PowerPoint deck.
So, where does that leave us?
- Attaching the deck doesn’t tell the right story given the context
- No one wants to receive a multi-attachment email – even if the content tells the right story
Clearly, we need a better way to package up your sales collateral so you can follow-up with all of the right content in a way that is engaging and easy to consume.
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