The First 3 Slides

How many ‘corporate overview’ presentations have you delivered?  There comes a point in most sales campaigns when the prospect wants to know more about your firm.  My early selling days allowed me to select any from around 100 of the old 35mil projection slides.  My elders and betters reckoned 45 minutes was a decent time to devote to any such presentation.  Oh, the luxury, and on today’s scale, at least ten-times too long 🙂 The structure was pretty simple, and as I discovered fairly standard, incorporating; historical facts ‘n figures, product summary, customer examples/stories.

My next place had a much more structured approach, which could be delivered in 5 minutes:

  1. impress with growth figures and date milestones
  2. show financial growth
  3. product map
  4. customer metrics

And then when I moved onwards and upwards, I developed a corporate overview for my next team along similar lines.  Nowadays, a decade on, I never deliver a corporate pitch.  When in any formal forum, I simply talk for a couple of minutes.  Quickly saying 2 or 3 bullets around figures demonstrating growth to date at the outset across all product offerings, then majoring on where I’ve made my clients money, and going into detail on such stories.  The precise tales chosen are designed to match the prospect’s scenario.

Whilst sales trainers may shudder at this lightness of touch, it works well for me.  One barometer of this, is how often someone senior asks me ‘corporate’ questions at the end or outside the meeting and our discussion meanders across various general business topics.  I love that.

So it was with a keen professional interest I sat in on a meeting in Cape Town where a local reseller was pitching a piece of software from Sweden; HansaWorld.

Before kicking off, we were to be treated to 3 slides describing them.  It lasted half-an-hour.  This felt at least 29 minutes too long.  The trio of slides covered:

  1. company history
  2. product pyramid
  3. what makes us different

The first two could have been condensed into a mere handful of words, rather than waffling about having 68,000 installations in 27 languages with any of 45 modules in a manner that was all ‘me’ rather than ‘you’.  But the one I thought had promise, although poorly executed (due to over-emphasis on technological reasons), was the finale.

In their incredibly crowded field of ERP-cum-workflow, the daddies SAP are moving downwards, Sage upwards and a plethora of eager beavers in between like Microsoft with Axapta are creating carnage second only to the sales software arena.

So in such context, getting the client to consider what makes you unique is a belter of an approach I thought.

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