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Sales and PowerPoint

Presentation management as the basis for efficiency and success

Reading time 7 minutes
Sales employees with tablet

Customer. Sales targets. Brand. Resources.

The customer is important. His world, his reasoning, his goals and expectations.

Sales targets are important. Persuasion, differentiation, agreements, turnover and margins.

The brand is important. Performance, look and feel, marketing strategy and requirements.

Resources are important. How often do you hear: “You’ve got to get out there more!”?

And then there’s PowerPoint. In most cases the medium of choice in customer meetings where the Sales department wants to acquire or convince customers, inform them about projects or present a new product. Our international survey revealed that over two-thirds of external meetings featured a PowerPoint presentation. Understandably, as the visual reinforcement strengthens the speaker’s own message, and helps them compose and structure the presentation. This is where the balancing act with targets and resources comes in. Because every presentation is either freshly created, or specially adapted for a particular meeting, target audience or subject area. Most companies provide a prepared company presentation, templates or individual subject slides. The division, department, or the sales executives themselves, take care of the rest. With varying degrees of effort, frustration and up-to-date content.

Well-thought-out presentation management encourages sales approaches that, together with new solutions, can save a great deal of effort. Allowing more time to be spent “out there” with the customer.

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Three tweaks to achieve efficiency in sales presentations

Every company, every sales division need only make adjustments in three
key areas in order to turn a tedious but necessary procedure into a loved and successful one.

1. Organization
2. Content planning
3. IT and software tools 

These tweaks are also pretty easy to make. A bit of analysis, reflection and planning in advance, and dealing with presentations in your company becomes easier than you dared hope. With many benefits that go way beyond the merely quantitative. Let’s take a closer look, and develop a practical course of action.


The organizational adjustment

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Make someone centrally responsible for everything concerning PowerPoint in your company. They hold all the threads in their hands: feedback from the field, and from liaising with marketing, brand management, IT and any third parties or external service providers involved. This gives one central contact person an overview of everything that’s going well – or not so well. Someone who can channel people’s wishes and needs, and initiate rapid and targeted solutions by networking with the departments involved. It also allows better management of internal or external service providers to ensure optimal quality and keep an overview of costs. It simplifies things and eases the burden, steering clear of patchwork, go-it-alone or piecemeal solutions.

Don’t worry, once the issue has been properly addressed, the job won’t blow a hole in your regular schedule. Generally, division assistants or PAs are a good choice. It should definitely be someone who is familiar with PowerPoint, who is well networked within the company, and is in close contact with management. Please note: this person is not there to prepare your presentations for you. They’re there to smooth the ground, making your work with presentations easier.


The content planning adjustment

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Step 1

Analyze the main demand for sales presentations in your company. Make a list of regularly occurring presentation types, and the most time-consuming ones. For example:

  • A company presentation for a first pitch
  • A specialist introduction to your division
  • The presentation of products or services
  • Industry-specific solutions
  • Credentials and case studies
  • Recurring basic structures e.g. project
    status or reporting
  • Annual talks
  • Campaigns and promotions
  • Or…?

Step 2

Define your interfaces with marketing and discuss your requirements: your central presentation coordinator can now meet with your contact in marketing. Depending on how your company is organized, this could involve various offices or divisions, but the important thing is to avoid multiple discussions with different colleagues, which make it hard to get a full, clear picture of the situation. Go straight to the person with overall responsibility who is authorized to make decisions. State the challenges and your need for optimal input. Explain the implications and consequences regarding benefits, costs, and time. This is also in marketing’s interest. At the end of the day, your colleagues want you to be an enthusiastic ambassador for the brand, who upholds central directives and presents the relevant current versions and content to the outside world. You’re practically preaching to the choir.

Organisation von Präsentationen

Step 3

Subject to the role of your company marketing (depending on the company’s organization, this may be central marketing, divisional marketing or external service providers) define the basic requirements with which they can contribute to your sales success. On three levels:

Define how Marketing can contribute to your sales success.

Basic level

In most companies, central marketing provides at least a master (also known as a template). In order that you can really benefit from it, the intelligence with which the master has been programmed for PowerPoint is of crucial importance. So define the most important criteria for you as your basic requirements, and ascertain from your marketing contact whether the respective solutions are already available or need to be produced. An excellently programmed master that’s aligned with PowerPoint’s specific requirements should, among other things, contain detailed specifications for the color logic and the typography of each text level, should facilitate working with suitable layouts correctly aligned to the presentation grid, be compatible with other company masters, and be optimized for various types of use, including printing and handouts.

Slide level

Pre-prepared single slides with recurring content that can be used when putting together presentations can save you a lot of time. You should first check if these already exist, and if so, who’s responsible for them. This could be central or divisional marketing, other departments, or perhaps no one so far. Once you’ve clarified this, obtain these slides or outsource the task of creating them to an external service provider. We work with companies that provide thousands of pre-prepared slides, for instance, for products, specific topics, customer testimonials or case studies.

Presentation level

Completely pre-prepared presentations that just need minor adaptations for each meeting (customer logo, etc.), for example:

  • Pre-prepared company presentation for first contacts
  • A pre-prepared product presentation for each product/service
  • Pre-prepared industry presentations
  • Pre-prepared presentations for specific topics
  • Variations for different target groups

Together, the presentation level and the slide level form a modular “sales kit,” from which you can compile, pull out or directly use the exact material required with only a few mouse clicks.

Präsentationsebene Illustration


The IT and software tool adjustment

Ensure with the support of a software tool that slides are updated or changed only once, by one person, in one place. And that regardless of how often the slides have been stored or used, these changes flow automatically into all versions at all locations.

Good software tools for efficient presentation management relieve users of the obligation to constantly check for updates (as is the case with central or distributed file shares with central or distributed folders, email distribution, internet, wiki software, etc.) and the inevitable versions chaos this causes. Users are automatically informed about changes and updates when they use a slide, and can integrate these with a single click.

This applies to changes in data, content and figures, such as number of employees, turnover, developments and histories, etc., as well as to design changes.

A prerequisite is to establish one central data pool where all content is deposited and maintained, accompanied by a proper process and including access and modification rights. An integration of your existing image databases or your MAM/DAM system can transfer this method of operation to all elements in use.

There will have to be a meeting to clarify the environment and software support with your IT department. Prepare a document with your requirements to give IT some rapid orientation. Find out in advance which tools could be useful to you and the kind of presentation management you’d like to have, so that the meeting has a positive outcome. IT must quickly understand your needs, challenges, goals and benefits, so you should smooth the path for them in a service-oriented way. From now on it becomes a little project, at the end of which marketing, together with your sales division, immerses themselves in the digital sphere, where everyone involved can handle PowerPoint and every kind of presentation with considerably more ease.

Relieve users of the obligation to constantly check for updates.


In conclusion

A small amount of effort, some analysis, a few organizational tweaks and a little project with marketing and IT are all that’s required to send you on your way to a digitalized presentation future. Under the slogan “modular sales kit,” and with a significant degree of automation, you enable your sales division to produce PowerPoint presentations much faster and more easily. And make them more attractive and persuasive in the process. And most importantly: always accurate and up to date. Realistically, you should plan across three months for a focused project like this, to equip your sales team with a future-proof setup. But this is a drop in the ocean when you consider how much more time you can then spend “out there” – selling rather than administrating.

Modular sales kit

The success of sales presentations relies on good organization, competent application and perfect presentation.

Modular sales kits in PowerPoint are part of the “organization” aspect. They’re a key focus of the presentation management component of the QuickSlide for PowerPoint add-in. Intelligent integration into the existing IT environment allows presentation activities to be controlled and automated – across regional sales offices and global group structures alike. A significant element in balancing input and benefit, and enabling your sales staff to concentrate on its core competencies.

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