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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The buyers are taking over

There’s a lot of talk, or maybe it’s just the stuff I’m reading, that says it’s a buyer’s market; that buyers are in control; and that the role of the sales person is no longer tenable. Is that true? It would certainly be good to hear your views via a comment below.

Over here in marketing land, we have seen a shift to buyers being better informed and sceptical of hype. But that isn’t inconsistent with tough economic times and the need to spend frugally. And that certainly doesn’t undermine the need for canny salesmanship. I do think it’s true that technology has made information very accessible and the ease with which you can seek out the opinion of your peers a breeze. So buyers typically do more research online before they engage with sales and that gives us two challenges to address.

Online content needs to work harder

There really is very little point investing in an outbound direct marketing campaign to drive traffic to a landing page, only to lose visitor with trite arguments and overly complex navigation; or to work hard to build a following on Twitter and LinkedIn only to announce Edna’s brought doughnuts into the office. Online content should be aimed at providing a compelling and persuasive point of view that convinces prospects to take the next step as well as a winning experience that builds strong relationships and reinforces all the good reasons to remain a loyal customer. This is as much about engaging with the visitor on an emotional level as it is about providing the facts and figures that appeal to logic. A robust content and publishing strategy will make sure you hit all the right buttons.

Sales people need information too

And not some weighty tome to wade through, but succinct and easily accessible nuggets that get them up to speed swiftly. They need to be one step (or as many as they can manage) ahead of the customer, understanding the vertical context and the business drivers that are shaping decisions and how to map the solution sets to address these needs. They also need presentation materials to support their conversation with the customer, access to demonstration facilities and references to prove the success of this approach. Making sure your intranet has the right news feeds and is refreshingly easy to navigate, is integrated with and can push information to BlackBerry, Android and iphone apps is key. Oh and, a robust content and publishing strategy will make sure you hit all the right buttons.