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Video presentations: for when you can’t be there in person

Picture this story: you’ve just finished a pitch, and it’s gone well. The team in the room are smiling enthusiastically, keen to start enjoying the benefits of the solution you’ve outlined in your presentation. Everyone sees the logic of it, and they’re all agreed that it’s the best way forward.

But you know the business doesn’t get closed here today: there are other stakeholders who need to give it the nod before the project gets the green light. You ask when you can get in front of those stakeholders so you can win them over. “Why not send me the slides?” your contact offers. “I’ve got 5 minutes at the management meeting next week and can run through your presentation then.”

Actually, you can think of lots of ‘why nots’ but none of them can be voiced without destroying the positivity surrounding the end of the meeting. Will your contact present with sufficient vigour? Will they connect your proposition with the business challenges cleanly? Do they know enough about how your solution stacks up against competitive offerings to handle likely objections? Just like that, the risk of the wheels coming off your sale can start to feel huge.

What do you do? To refuse to give over your slides to a staunch supporter feels churlish. You could offer to be there — at least in a supporting role — but if that’s not possible or appropriate, then there is another way: you could capture the sales pitch and deliver it as a complete package that your contact can share.

Capture the power of your pitch in video format
There are multiple tools out there that will let you turn your presentation into a video for just that purpose. Even if you have to cut it down to get your message across in the allotted time, doing this means that you retain full control of your value proposition and how it’s presented to those stakeholders, instead of trusting your contact to do your job for you. And don’t panic – it is possible to condense your proposal into 5 minutes without losing impact; we’ve done it with clients who needed to distil their presentation down to the core of what makes them special, and deliver it within a strict time limit, and it’s worked.

To successfully turn your presentation into a video, you’ll need to finely tune your script — just winging it in front of a mic won’t work, no matter how good you are — and use one of the aforementioned tools to layer that audio track over your slides (our favourite is Camtasia, but there are plenty out there). If you’ve got the time, you could even appear on the video in person so your audience can see who’s doing the talking.

Have you tried turning your presentations into videos? Do you think it works? Get in touch on Twitter, LinkedIn or in the comments section and let us know what you think.

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You can lead your sales team to content — but can you make them use it?

I love the autumn, and not just for all the vibrant leaf colours and bright blue skies, but because it’s planning time for many of our clients. There’s something exceedingly uplifting about talking about the future and developing the concepts for new programmes that are going to do even more than the ones we’ve been working on this year. Yup. Love it.

As I’ve been doing the rounds, it’s clear that content marketing is really taking hold as an approach. I’ve seen a recurring challenge emerge, however and — if you’re feeling it too — an add-on we’ve been delivering for some of our clients could well have mass appeal. It’s a simple little gizmo but really gears up the value of your content: conversation starters for the sales team.

Conversation starters: tried and tested

This is a well-proven technique for campaigns and account-based marketing where, from the outset, sales is considered an integral part of the process. For thought leadership and content marketing, on the other hand, sales are not often a primary channel for the materials you are creating and, consequently, not much thought goes into how they might use it to support direct conversations with customers.

Conversation starters: ready to use

It’s simple to fix this with a short piece of communication speaking directly to sales and pointing to the lovely new content that is now available.

  • Tell them the point of view the content puts across and how this supports a conversation about your company’s skills and capabilities.
  • Suggest the opening gambit for a phone conversation or provide the text for a covering email that the salesman can personally send.
  • If your content is a case study or a paper that includes the opinion of analysts, specialists or industry commentators, pull out a sound bite onto a slide so that it can easily be incorporated into the next sales presentation.

 

Making it easy for your busy sales teams to draw content into conversations can make a big difference to the calibre of conversations they’re having and also to your customer’s perception of you as a joined-up organisation.

Sales and marketing working together. How does your garden grow?

One of the best times in my career was working as the marketing leg of an integrated sales and marketing team. I got to see the results of our marketing effort up close and personal as we opened doors for the sales guys and worked hand-in-hand to close the deal. A recent survey by Aberdeen Research highlights that job satisfaction isn’t the only benefit.

With sales and marketing all in a row

strong sales and marketing alignment

Companies reporting close alignment between the two functions saw significantly more revenue growth than those that thought alignment was loose. This is about more than agreed targets and the definition of what makes a quality sales lead. Sales and marketing mindsets need to be aligned so that everyone is pulling in the same direction. When there’s a sense of team work there’s little need to enforce a regime where marketing scuttles around every time sales is on a deadline or sales is forced to trudge through the list of whitepaper downloads looking for a lead. There’s a fertile exchange of ideas that blossoms into a successful sales funnel.

But how do you align sales and marketing?

Alignment demands strong communications to build a shared perspective and open communication that makes essential information readily accessible at every stage of the buying process—before and after a sales person gets involved. It’s two-way—not one-way—traffic between sales and marketing experts: both parties have a huge amount to gain by learning from the other. Social tools like salesforce.com Chatter, Yammer and Microsoft Lync help spread the word; wikis create a shared repository, rich in information; and you can build communities of interest and social intranets where initiatives can flourish using the likes of Igloo, Huddle and SharePoint.

This is a developing area with new players and functionality emerging all the time. Harness the right ones for your business and the benefits can be great. But all too often the “shiny object syndrome” hits and organisations find themselves on all the major platforms forgetting that the way we share ideas and bring about close alignment remains rooted in the perennial principles of best-practice communication.

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