Slidegenius, Inc.

Signs You Need to Outsource Graphic Design

Outsourcing is a polarizing topic. Some companies are staunchly against it, while others readily delegate work to partners and independent contractors alike. For skilled tasks like graphic design, outsourcing is almost inevitable.

Eventually, there will come a time when work exceeds capacity. In these cases, it’s best to embrace the benefits of outsourcing, no matter your stance.

Outsourcing Is Trending

It might surprise you to learn that more companies are outsourcing graphic design work than ever before—and not necessarily under the duress of a heavy workload. Choosing to outsource graphic design has some great benefits, and it’s easier than ever thanks to the gig economy.

In the age of remote work and side hustles, finding a qualified graphic designer (or team of designers) for an affordable price takes minutes. You might hop on a freelancer bidding website, contact a friend of a friend, or search the web for a trustworthy partner (like SlideGenius!).

There are now few-to-no barriers to outsourcing, which has made it a viable solution for many companies in managing their workflow.

The Top Reasons Companies Outsource

So why outsource?

Every company has its own reasons, and different situations call for different solutions. To understand why outsourced graphic design is such a booming trend, take a look at some of the top survey answers from major companies:

  • 59% – Reduce/control costs
  • 57% – Focus on core functions
  • 47% – Solve capacity issues
  • 31% – Improve services
  • 28% – Gain access to expert talent and knowledge
  • 17% – Manage the business environment
  • 17% – Accelerate organizational transformation

From the numbers, outsourcing is often the function of cost control and task delegation.

Companies need a way to get quality collateral fast, without hampering their already-busy production teams. While these are all valid reasons for seeking outsourced graphic design help, it’s important to recognize the many other situations that might call for a helping hand.

Recognize Outsourcing Opportunities

It’s not always easy to recognize outsourcing as a solution. Here are a few of the most common scenarios companies run up against and why outsourced graphic design is the most viable solution.

Scenario 1: You need to cut costs

There’s a misconception that outsourcing is more expensive than in-house graphic design.

This simply isn’t true in most situations. Consider the cost of a full-time salary and benefits packages, versus the cost of delegating a set number of hours out to someone. Not only will an outsourced specialist ultimately cost less than an in-house employee, they’ll also likely accomplish more in less time, instilling more total value in your cost per project.

Scenario 2: You’ve hired your first dedicated marketing person

A dedicated marketing manager is the first step to a robust marketing team—but they’re still only one person.

No matter how talented they are, they don’t have time to create and coordinate collateral. Let them focus on the administrative tasks crucial to campaign execution. Being able to focus on tact and strategy is what ultimately lifts your campaigns to success.

Leave content and collateral creation to a specialist.

Scenario 3: You’re growing and your internal design team is overwhelmed

Working at-scale is hard when you’re growing.

You might have more work than four graphic designers can handle, but not enough to justify bringing on a fifth person. It’s workflow purgatory!

Outsourcing graphic design as an intermediary measure allows you to function at-scale, without straining your operations to prematurely accommodate more staff. With outsourcing, designers are there when you need it and gone when you don’t. It’s the ultimate in flexibility.

Scenario 4: Your internal design team is getting burned out

Repetition is a precursor to burnout. If your in-house team works on the same projects over and over again with little deviation, they’re bound to stagnate and fizzle.

Outsourcing these repetitive and monotonous graphic design tasks is a win-win for everyone. Your in-house team gets diversity and exposure to new projects, while a an outsourced specialist gets consistent work they understand and can plan for.

Scenario 5: Your internal marketing team needs specialized support

Every once in awhile, there’s a project above the pay grade of your in-house team.

Instead of turning the project away, consider outsourcing. It’s easy to meet the demands of the project when you have an entire world of skilled professionals to pick from. They’re able to help you deliver a quality result, without serving in a full-time capacity where they’re otherwise unneeded.

Like this post? Check out our “How to Effectively Support Busy Graphic Design Teams” guide:

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Conclusion

No matter your feelings about outsourcing work, it’s important to recognize the benefits associated with it.

Every business is likely to encounter a situation in which outsourcing is the answer, and when they do, having the wherewithal to turn to a outsourced designer can be the difference between success and hardship.

Keep an eye out for opportunities to improve capacity, cut costs, and control workflow with the help of outsourced graphic designers.

Capitalizing on these opportunities and utilizing an outsourced graphic design solution will put your business in a position to keep moving forward, full steam ahead with marketing and branding goals.

Ready to start your journey to presentation perfection? Schedule a free presentation consultation now.

Going Above & Beyond: 3 Bio/Pharma Presentations We Love

These days, to stand out in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries, companies need to drive meaningful activity at every stage of the buyer’s journey—from creating awareness to validating their expertise to closing those highly-coveted prospects.

It’s not hard to understand why. After all, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms operate within mammoth industries ($188 billion and $112 billion, respectively).

Standing out, therefore, is a must.

In addition to other marketing efforts, like harnessing content marketing, which drives both awareness and expertise, pharma and biotech companies need to make sure their marketing and sales presentations are doing everything they can to help educate and close prospects.

So what does this caliber of presentation look like?

In this article, we will take a look at what makes a good presentation in the bio and pharma space. 

How We Did It

We sat down with our accomplished team of SlideGeniuses to discuss the sector in detail.

We had them answer the following questions for three of our customers (Johnson & Johnson, Astellas Pharma, and Pfizer) that operate in the vertical:

  • What were the client’s goals for the presentation? 
  • Are there any recurring issues that presentations have in the biotech and pharma industry?
  • How did the presentation design strategy help accomplish these goals?

Recurring Issues with Biotech and Pharma Presentations

1) Visuals Aren’t Enticing

The Pharmaceuticals sector has always had issues with having stale graphics and data within their presentations.

2) Poor Data Visualization

Data is generally very scientific and is hard to understand unless presented in a digestible way.

3) Inconsistent Branding

Typically, companies in the space don’t have a well-established brand or style. In large markets like biotech and pharmaceuticals, companies have a hard time standing out.

COMPANY #1: JOHNSON & JOHNSON

Johnson & Johnson’s goals for the presentation:

Their audience was made up of businessmen and women eager to learn what is on the horizon for the company. Johnson & Johnson created this deck to provide an overview of the company, what they stand for, what products they create, financials, and who are some of the minds within the company. They wanted the audience to understand the core of the business.

Original presentation’s main issue: visuals weren’t enticing enough.

The Final Product:

How did our design enhancements help accomplish Johnson & Johnson’s goals?

Johnson & Johnson wanted to inject their brand into their presentation to stray away from the typical, dull PowerPoints we see in that sector. 

With that in mind, our goal was to keep their classic red and white colors and pair that with a modern yet minimalist design to engage with the audience in a meaningful way.

For their credo slide, we showcased pictures that tell a story of Johnson & Johnson’s mission. 

It was important to showcase the many areas of the healthcare sector that the company touches and this slide helps the audience understand that by provoking an emotional response through imagery.

COMPANY #2: ASTELLAS PHARMA

Astellas’ goals for the presentation:

Astellas was concerned that their message got lost with poor use of graphics and monotonous data. They had an important engagement with potential investors in their audience, so it was key to enhance their messaging through graphic design.

Original presentation’s main issue: Poor data visualization.

The Final Product:

How did our design enhancements help accomplish Astella’s goals?

Our strategy for this project was to take Astellas’ strong brand colors and create a bold impactful presentation that will help drive their message home. Astellas wanted us to highlight their company, products, and sectors they service in a way the audience would understand.

In the product introduction slide, we showcased a few of their products that were new to the market. The goal was to highlight these with meaningful imagery and short descriptions to educate the audience of Astellas’ current projects.

For the “therapeutics” slide, we used iconography to help showcase the different fields of expertise Astellas’ is concentrated in.

COMPANY #3: Pfizer

Pfizer’s goals for the presentation:

Pfizer’s audience was comprised of scientists and researchers. They wanted the audience to have up-to-date information with new products, road maps, and financials.

Original presentation’s main issue: Inconsistent branding.

The Final Product:

How did our design enhancements help accomplish Pfizer’s goals?

Going into this project, the client and SlideGenius agreed that visuals were needed to drive the narrative. Knowing that we incorporated stunning imagery, that drove home the message of each PowerPoint slide.

For example, for corporate responsibility, they wanted to showcase their involvement in healthcare with a strong visual that emphasized the message. 

Under “leadership”, we highlighted top team members of the organization to showcase expertise in each sector. We wanted to show the audience the full breadth of their services within healthcare.

Why Your [SaaS] Sales Presentations Aren’t Helping Your Sales Team

Cloud-based computing and data management is becoming the global standard for corporations. SaaS providers are leading the charge in developing the infrastructure for this digital-centric future. 

The SaaS market is one of the tech industry’s fastest booming sectors, with new players rising left and right. 

SaaS providers carry all the pressure to stand out against their competition and land key partnerships. This means having an impressive sales presentation is absolutely critical for pushing a company to success.  

At SlideGenius, we specialize in creating impactful sales pitches using PowerPoint. We are experts in utilizing the power of creative visual storytelling. 

The unlimited potential within PowerPoint enables us to consistently create fresh and exciting sales presentations and help businesses from all industries achieve success. 

Our team of presentation designers is fully trained to ensure that every slide is treated with masterful design that’s engaging and intuitive. From the introductory slides to closing remarks, we guarantee any audience to be hooked on your presentation.  

While platforms, formats and audiences may be different from pitch to pitch, it’s essential to remember these to guide the direction of every presentation.

Deliver a Refined Core Message

It’s important to understand the mindset of c-level clientele in the boardroom. They carry all the power in the company but have very little time on their hands. When information is not straight-to-the-point, it’s a waste of their precious time. Getting them into the boardroom takes work. Be sure your presentation is capable of fully capitalizing on the time you have to make a strong impression.  

Whether your product is tailored for enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), human resource management (HRM) or supply chain management (SRM), your core message should stand out clearly. Don’t hesitate to put the spotlight on the value your SaaS platform provides. This lets you establish expertise early on in your presentation.  

Use your core message as the guiding anchor of your presentation. It should be what you always go back to when fine-tuning your content.

The moment a slide deviates from your core message, you run the risk of losing your audience. Refine your presentation to a point where every slide feels relevant to the story you’re telling throughout the presentation.

Visualize Data  

Executives are big on data, but they will not waste time personally sifting through the raw numbers. Your job is to showcase all relevant data in ways that make understanding quick and easy. 

We’ve all seen the slides that look like raw financial statements pasted onscreen. This is a common mistake that’s absolutely unacceptable. Not only are those slides unappealing to look at, they come across as lazy. It takes a bit of graphic design expertise to accomplish, but infographics are great for presenting relevant pieces of data in engaging ways. Even when the information is seemingly uninteresting, unique graphics can really improve its reception.  

Practice, Practice, Practice  

Want to deliver a better presentation? The secret is simple… rehearse before stepping into the boardroom. Presenting to executives is always a high-stakes affair. Considering the power their decisions hold, you cannot simply rely on “winging it” to carry yourself to success. Executives are in their position because they know all the skills necessary to take control of any boardroom. Those who just “wing it” stick out like a sore thumb and only do more harm to their business than good.  

Practicing your presentation beforehand breeds confidence. Enough practice will help put you in the right state of mind to deliver an effective presentation. The more you rehearse, the more you improve. Whether it’s in your delivery or the content itself, rehearsals put you face-to-face with the imperfections that would have been unnoticeable if you had simply improvised on the day of the meeting.   

SlideGenius Creates Presentations for You    

From PowerPoint presentations to animated marketing videos, we craft brilliant pitch materials capable of generating invaluable results.

Let us unlock the power of your next SaaS sales presentation. We’ve proudly helped our clients raise hundreds of millions of dollars for their businesses. We look forward to doing the same for you!

Contact us today! 

Brand Consistency Mistakes Companies Consistently Make

The power of consistent branding is unrivaled.

Think about the Golden Arches of McDonalds, the iconic iPhone from Apple, or Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan. All it takes is a symbol or a few words to stimulate much broader thoughts about what these companies offer.

That’s the power of a well-branded company.

Most companies have the nuts and bolts of their brand, but have a hard time assembling them into a well-oiled machine. Here are some of the most common mistakes holding them back:

You Don’t Have a Brand Champion

Every brand needs a champion.

Find someone with a clear vision of what your brand should be and put them in a position to execute—President, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), or a similar position.

When most people think of Apple, they think of Steve Jobs. The man is synonymous with the brand, despite having passed away. Why? Because he was the foremost brand champion for the company. His iconic blue jeans and black turtleneck mirrored the clean lines and polished design of Apple products. The way he spoke was indicative of Apple’s focus on innovation.

Jobs saw Apple’s brand as something to harness and he turned it into the monolithic company it is today.

It takes a true brand champion to recognize the potential and take the right steps to realize it. Find a person who’s passionate about your brand and put them in the pilot’s seat.

You Have an Inconsistent Brand Identity

The biggest brands are built by their consistency. No matter where you look, everything from the colors, logos, verbiage and imagery are uniform to the brand without any deviation. That repetition is the key to association within the minds of consumers.

The more people see a uniform, coordinated message the easier it becomes for them to familiarize who and what they stand for. Using outdated assets, poor visuals, or disorganized concepts will only drag you down. 

The easiest way to establish a consistent brand presence is to create and strictly adhere to guidelines. Define every single aspect of your brand, down to the smallest details. Some facets to identify include:

  • Voice. What type of voice does your brand project? Authoritative? Funny? Whimsical? Trustworthy? If your brand were a person, the tone of voice is how it would present itself.
  • Color palette. What colors represent your brand? Pick a palette and stick to it across all branded materials. Use CYMK or Hex color codes to ensure every hue is the same.
  • Logos. Define your logo and any alternate logos. Make sure everything from color and font to proportions and angles are all characterized.
  • Typography. What fonts are acceptable for your brand? Serif or sans-serif? Do you have primary, secondary, and tertiary fonts? What size lettering is acceptable?
  • Imagery. Determine the types of imagery acceptable to use in conjunction with your brand. Delineate things like image type and content, as well as resolution and licensing.

All these factors should come together in a comprehensive and cohesive brand style guide. Anyone who represents your brand in any way should have access to the style guide and refer to it frequently. If you ever evolve or update, so should the guide. It’s your branding bible!

You’re Holding Back Your Creative Experts

Look at a LEGO. There’s nothing complicated about blocks that connect together.

The product itself isn’t necessarily exciting either. But what is exciting—and the reason LEGO has maintained popularity for more than 80 years—is the creativity behind the brand. Beyond the various LEGO sets themselves, the brand exudes limitless imaginative appeal.

Just by looking at Legoland, a theme park brimming with creativity, you’ll already see from their social profiles how much ingenuity the LEGO team has! They’ve built life-sized cars, near life-like sculptures, and recreated iconic movie scenes using only LEGOs.

They continuously showcase the power of the product in ways that inspire imagination and connect that feeling with the brand.

LEGO has built its brand beyond just blocks, doing so with unmatched creative action. Whether it’s building life-sized replicas out of LEGOs or creating exciting brand collaterals, the concept is the same: Put creatives in a position to succeed.  

RELATED: Get More Out of Busy Graphic Design Teams

You’re Wasting Your Design Team’s Time

Do your designers work overtime making mundane updates to existing content, like a brochure or flyer?

If that’s the case, then they’re not properly utilizing their talents. It could be limiting your company’s reach and costing you on the bottom line.

Designers are a core asset in brand building…don’t squander them!

As a rule of thumb, your design process should never be boring. If your designers are toiling away at their computers producing content that looks like everything else, your brand can hardly stand apart.

Conversely, if they’re excited about creating something unique, there’s a good chance it’ll contribute to the strength of your brand. Don’t waste their time or skills with a thousand little tweaks to a piece of collateral that’s a one-time pitch.

Instead, focus their passion on the larger concept and encourage them to create diverse collateral that fuel your business’ many branding efforts.

Your Content Creation Rate is Too Slow

If your brand is locked down to the point that it stifles new content creation, corporate marketing will turn into a bottleneck. You’ll acquire a perception of being outdated and irrelevant within your industry.

You need to open the floodgates and create a consistent cadence that continually pumps life into your marketing efforts.

Take Pepsi, for example.

The company doesn’t roll out new products every few months—instead, it rolls out new content daily. There’s always a new commercial, contest, social media posts, and so on. At some point during the day, a person is going to come into contact with Pepsi in a way they haven’t before.

When they do, the brand’s strength grows. Even if that person doesn’t drink Pepsi, they know and respect the power of the brand.

You don’t have to create content every day, but make sure you’re generating new, quality, engaging content often enough to stay relevant in the eyes of your target audience.

Your Brand is Static

The marketplace constantly evolves, as do your target customers.

As a result, your brand must be dynamic. You must recognize important shifts and evolution in your market, and refine your brand so it reflects these changes. The value proposition you project today may not be the one you focus on tomorrow.

Look at Walmart, for example. For years, Walmart’s main brand proposition focused on lower prices—but that’s not its chief message today.

Today, it’s all about convenience. Walmart is building brand equity through convenience—offering an in-store grocery, curbside pickup, and robust online shopping experience. The message has evolved. “I’ll go to Walmart because it’s cheaper” has become “I’ll go to Walmart because it’s convenient.”

They have grown stronger because they have adapted.  

Your Branding Overemphasizes Sales

Modern audiences won’t give your brand the time of day if you only seem interested in their money.

People want to choose to spend their money on you, not feel bullied into it. An approach that’s too aggressive will get stonewalled. Opt for an approach that’s relatable first and foremost.

Starbucks doesn’t push people to buy coffee or hound them into spending money. You can walk right into a Starbucks, grab a seat, and hang out without ordering anything at all! Starbucks’ brand isn’t wrapped up in selling coffee. It’s focused on welcoming people. Customers spend money because they want to, not because they’re asked to.

They have found success outside of sales, and in a roundabout way, that’s what drives its sales.

RELATED: Boost Sales Presentation Effectiveness Using Basic Marketing Principles

You Don’t Understand Your Target Audience

This is marketing 101, which is why we saved it for last. We constantly see companies that don’t truly know their target audience. 

A brand should fill a niche in someone’s life. For you to stand out, understand your target audience and communicate a clear value proposition to them.

Successful companies don’t just understand their audience at a surface level—they understand the values of their customers and the journey they’ll take in connecting with the brand. McDonald’s doesn’t just sell hamburgers. They sell hamburgers to single moms on-the-go who need to grab a quick bite for their kids on the way home from school. McDonald’s goes beyond their products, forming an identity their target audience relate to.

Get to know your target audience and work backward from their needs, wants, challenges, and values. The more you align with their lifestyle, the more trustworthy and established your brand becomes. 

Don’t Make These Classic Mistakes

Building these things takes patience and focus. Most importantly, it means avoiding the common mistakes that hamper even the best efforts. Pay attention to these mistakes and focus on creating your brand through consistent, concerted effort.

Staying true to the brand you’re trying to build goes a long way in making it a reality.

Does Your Presentation Need Animation?

Once upon a time, animation was a taboo topic in the world of corporate PowerPoint presentations. 

Today, it is far from the gimmick people once thought it was. We now recognize it as a powerful tool in design and branding.

Why Animation Is Important: The Data Shows It

The impact of animation comes down to how it affects a presentation. 

Even against a backdrop of appealing text and engaging images, animation captures an audience’s attention. Where everything else is static, animation breaks the plane and stimulates the senses. Its eye-catching appeal makes it the best tool for improving engagement and comprehension.

In a study by the Harvard Department of Psychology Decision Science Laboratory, findings show people tend to characterize presentations with animation as quantifiably more “dynamic, visually compelling, and distinctive.”

These same respondents also rated presentations without animation poorly.

In the context of the study, it raised the standard for the entire presentation. Respondents felt more informed and had a higher opinion of the presenter, citing them as “more knowledgeable, professional, effective, and organized.”

As you can see, there’s a reason animation is now a standard in corporate presentations and no longer a taboo or tacky addition.

When used properly, it can help an audience better understand new concepts and fight “presentation fatigue” by actively directing audiences to focus on important points for better information retention.

Related: PowerPoint Animation Capabilities Most People Aren’t Aware Of

 

How to Approach Animation

But you need to be careful.

Integrating animation into presentations is not a golden ticket to more engaging presentations. The trick is to use it with purpose and discretion, otherwise it will only do more harm than good as it will confuse your audience instead of engaging them. 

To incorporate animation correctly, you need to follow a set of important guidelines:

1) Know Your Audience

The subject matter of the presentation has a lot to do with where animation fits in. Apart from this, the level of animation used will vary depending on the audience. 

Take a look at a heavily animated presentation for Blizzard versus a simply-animated slideshow for USAA:

 

As you can see, two completely different industries and audiences demand different approaches to animation.

Think about how the animation affects the message. 

In the Blizzard example, animation shows life and exuberance to illustrate the world-building concepts of the company. For USAA, animation acts as an exclamation point for every important fact presented. 

Both different, both effective.

2) Determine the Purpose

Animation should serve a purpose for the overall message. 

To understand its purpose, animations should come after you build your slides. 

The first four steps to creating an effective presentation are:

  1. Create a storyboard (yes, even presentations need storyboards!).
  2. Develop the content.
  3. Sequence the slides.
  4. Determine the key talking points.

Long story short: Content comes first.

After building the framework and creating the content, then consider animation.

Where do you want your audience to look? What slides or content need extra emphasis? 

Animation encourages focus, so use it within the greater context of the presentation to direct attention where it’s most-warranted.

Mastering animation means mastering “eye flow” and being able to control the engagement of your audience.

3) Use “Motion Paths” to Your Advantage

PowerPoint motion paths are great tools when telling a story or explaining a process.

Through motion paths, designers have the flexibility to walk an audience through different steps of a process. Here’s a great example of motion path use:

As you can see, motion paths are useful for text, objects or images. In addition, there’s plenty of room for creativity with the custom animation option.

Use motion paths to literally guide your audience from point to point. As a presenter, you’ll gain more control over the presentation’s pace and engagement. 

Motion paths instill much-needed cadence to topics for incremental education.

Related: Three Technology & Software Company Presentations We Love

4) Don’t Overdo It

Think about animation like an exclamation point on the statement you’re making. 

If you write a paragraph and every sentence ends with an exclamation point, the punctuation loses its power. 

(If everything is exciting, nothing is exciting!)

Animation emphasizes a great idea or caps off a bold statement.

Overusing it or getting too complex with how it’s featured is a recipe for chaos. People won’t know where to look, what to focus on, or what’s important. 

Keep it simple and organized.

5) Continuity is Key

The nature of animation should stay consistent throughout the entirety of the presentation. 

Consider it a part of your brand guidelines. Don’t deviate from the style you choose. Your audience will notice a “star wipe” in the middle of dissolving slides, just like they’ll notice if your simple animation suddenly becomes very complex.

Maintain animation consistency to avoid confusing people or detracting from the message. 

If at any time during the presentation the animation becomes more of a focal point than the content, it’s time to reassess.

6) Don’t Do “Defaults

Consistency in style and intensity are important. It’s also critical not to let animation become monotonous. 

Using default animations over and over again are just as bad as using poor photos or bad text. If anything, it detracts from the message you’re trying to deliver. 

Take the time to customize animations and keep them original every time. 

The style may be consistent, but the way they affect your messaging should always complement the point you’re trying to make.

Animation Keeps Your Audience Engaged

Used right, animation is perhaps the most powerful tool at your disposal for designing a robust PowerPoint presentation. 

It helps your messaging leap off the page, makes concepts more pronounced, and improves audience perception of the presentation as a whole.

Presentations become more like movies, adding more stimuli for viewers to engage with.

Similarly, it can complement the core concepts you’re presenting, but only when used correctly.

Ask yourself how engaging your presentation is from an audience standpoint. 

Is every slide a flat representation of information? Do the most important callouts of your deck get their due? 

If you find yourself struggling to stay focused or distinguish the key takeaways, your audience undoubtedly will, too. 

Sprinkle in some animation and watch its transformative effect. When done right, it’ll bring new appeal to your PowerPoint and get your message across in an undeniable way.

Ready to take your presentation to the next level? Schedule a free presentation consultation now.

Going Above & Beyond: 3 Tech & Software Presentations We Love

These days, technology and software companies need to go above and beyond to stand out.

After all, recent trends in the industry show just how difficult it can be to operate in the space.

Take the SaaS industry for example:

  • According to Gartner, the SaaS market should reach USD $75.5B within the next three years
  • Fragmentation is increasing as market entrants regularly offer new innovations (AI, business analytics, Internet of Things, migration to SaaS from traditional enterprise software)
  • The largest vendors are acquiring smaller and mid-sized players to increase their valuation while adding multiples of existing revenue

The fact of the matter is that even if a product or service is game-changing, failing to showcase your solution’s unique attributes will leave your business dead in the water. 

That’s the immeasurable value of having a great looking and effective presentation in your arsenal of tools. In this article, we will  take a look at what makes a good presentation in the technology and software space. 

For those of you on the go, we’ve packaged this post into a handy PDF:

Download Resource

How We Did It

We sat down with our accomplished team of SlideGeniuses to discuss the sector in detail.

We had them answer the following questions for three of our customers (Qorvo, Spotify, and Duolingo) that operate in the vertical:

  1. What were the client’s goals for the presentation? 
  2. Are there any recurring issues that presentations have in the tech/SaaS industry?
  3. How did the presentation design strategy help accomplish these goals?

 

Recurring Issues with Tech & Software Presentations

1) Lack Engaging Stories

B2B Technology companies consistently struggle with developing a strong storyline. This is usually due to their content being full of complex jargon.

2) Visuals Aren’t Enticing

When presenting SaaS offerings, companies tend to struggle with making their visuals enticing to their audiences while also explaining how their software works.

3) Inconsistent Branding

Typically, companies who sell SaaS offerings don’t have a well-established brand or style. In large markets like tech/SaaS, companies have a hard time standing out.

 

Brand #1: QORVO

Qorvo’s goals for the presentation:

Qorvo needed a presentation that would showcase their new technology while also paying homage to their impressive track record as a strategic partner. They were going to be presenting in front of some big time decision-makers and c-suite executives. They needed the deck to convey their forward-thinking drive as an industry leader.

Original presentation’s main issue: Lack of a strong story-line.

 

The Final Product:

 
 

How did our design enhancements help accomplish Qorvo’s goals?

Once we were provided the final content for the deck, we set out to meet the challenge outlined previously… develop a cohesive, visual story without drowning out the technical information. 

Graphically, this translates into a minimalist color palette, a modest amount of visual cues like icons and photos, and a focus on the actual information needing to be conveyed. 

With the graphics doing their job displaying the content, we could now focus on using animation to tell the story. The simplest way to do that is through transitions. 

Between every slide, we built a quick and interesting segue that led the viewer from one layout to the next, mostly with classic fly-in animations and smooth ends. 

On the slides themselves, the animations included zooms and slow pans, providing a sense of professionalism without losing interest. Transitions were quick, while animations were softer in speed. This helps the viewer feel like they are moving quickly through the presentation but still gives them ample reading time. 

You can most accurately see this action when the “Qorvo by the Numbers” slide transitions into the “Strategic Services” slide and the animation that follows on that slide.

Related: Does Your Presentation Need Animation?

 

Brand #2: DUOLINGO

Duolingo’s goals for the presentation:

The client was looking for a lift on their company overview presentation. Duolingo has a very fun and vibrant brand identity, but that was missing in their deck. Being a B2C SaaS company, as well as a free language learning app, the presentation had to appeal to a wide array of audience members from all walks of life. By elevating the visuals to match their identity, Duolingo hoped to use this presentation in an effort to increase sign ups for their service. 

Presentation’s Main Issue: Unenticing visuals.

 

The Final Product:

 

How did our design enhancements help accomplish Duolingo’s goals?

From the get-go, we knew that implementing the client’s branding was only going to be half of the job.

The client wanted the presentation to be as interactive as possible, much like their app. After discussing it among ourselves and the client, we decided that having a hand come on screen to initiate each slide transition would be an interesting and unique way to navigate through the deck as well as mimic the app experience. 

The animations also had to convey interactivity, so we leveraged several Motion Path animations with moderate pacing.

This would help to guide the viewer through the deck without working against the upbeat tone of the client’s branding. We also added some bounce to the Zoom animations we were incorporating to maintain a level of “fun” and “excitement” that directly correlated with the experience of using the Duolingo app. 

We utilized an animation that we don’t always get the opportunity to use. On Slide 6, we didn’t just want to fade in the data visualization, so we implemented some Spin on the pie charts. This is typically too playful for a Tech or Financial client, so we were excited to get the chance to incorporate it.

Related: How Data Visualization Can Maker or Break a High-Stakes Presentation

Duolingo’s branding, coupled with the interactivity that the team was able to inject with transitions and animations, lent to a unique presentation experience that would go a long way in enticing new users for their app.

 

Brand #2: SPOTIFY

Spotify’s goals for the presentation:

Spotify was looking for a dynamic and engaging Company Overview presentation that they could use at trade shows and events. The idea was for something to play on a loop at the booth that would entice event-goers to spend some time in Spotify’s space. What’s more, they also needed the same Company Overview deck to be designed for static purposes.

Presentation’s Main Issue: Inconsistent branding.

 

The Final Product:

 

How did our design enhancements help accomplish Spotify’s goals?

Our first task was to create the static version of the presentation. We knew that it would be more difficult to make the static deck look dynamic and enticing than the animated version. In order to accomplish that, we leveraged Spotify’s use of color gradients in conjunction with circular, bubble-like shapes.

On each slide, we changed the color palette to create a new mood. This has a similar effect to different genres of music. Along with the colors, we used pictures of people we thought would be listening to something the other was not. 

With the static deck complete, we set about animating the different components of the slides so there would never be a dull moment.

Additionally, we broke up the content a bit so the viewer was only focusing on one message at a time. This had a dual effect of giving them ample reading time, but also keeping them engaged more than a giant wall of text would. 

We used several types of animations in this deck, including pan, grow, motion paths, pulse, spin and appear. We also used gifs to create a continuous flow of music notes. It’s a deck that could be set to any type of music and seamlessly be animated to the rhythm. 

Ready to go above and beyond on your next presentation?

Schedule a free consultation with a SlideGenius now.

The Importance of Storytelling in Presentations: The Why, How & Where

Try going a day without sharing a story. 

Sound impossible?

Stories are an intrinsic part of our experience as humans. They’re a vital part of how we communicate with one another.

That said, if storytelling is so essential to our daily lives, then why do we leave it out of high-stakes presentations? 

When we address an audience, we tend to focus on the important points we need to convey. We talk about data or explain a business model.

We concentrate on information that’s crucial to the outcome we’re hoping for.  Yet despite this, we still forget to answer why everyone in the room needs to hear what we have to say.

Your presentation content has to be more than just a barrage of information and numerical data.

This is where presentation storytelling comes in handy—there’s nothing more compelling than a good story. 

Just ask Dr. Zak, who carefully explains how the human brain responds to effective storytelling in this video:

Pretty cool, right? 

The effectiveness storytelling in presentations lies in how your audience reacts to it.

As social beings, we’re all naturally attuned to our emotions. It doesn’t matter whether it makes you sad, happy, angry, or nostalgic — our brains love a good story.

This is something TED presenters have capitalized on.

If you review the list of the most viewed TED Talks, you’ll see each of them has a story integrated into the discussion.

As Forbes contributor Nick Morgan points out:

No matter how interesting the information, you’ll run up against the limitations of the brain and quickly overtax your audience. If instead you tell your audience a story, you get to jump right into the deeper parts of their brain, where emotion and memory work togetherthe hippocampus and amygdala.”

So the importance of storytelling can’t be overstated, but what can integrating a story arc do for your business presentations?

They Make Your Messages More Relatable

There’s a reason many of us filled our notebooks with doodles during our school days. Facts and figures can make any lecture boring and mind-numbing. 

When incorporating storytelling, the right stories can make your message more meaningful and—most importantly—digestible. This is especially true if you take the time to understand your  audience and the type of life stories that will grab their attention.

They Help You Connect with Your Audience

Stories can help establish a bond between the storyteller and the audience. They cut through the audience’s filter better than facts, giving you a greater chance of garnering more meaningful attention, earning their trust, and — ultimately — consuming your message.

Once you have a connection with your audience, you can have them hanging on every word you say.

They Make Your Audience Agree with You

When stories hit their mark, they can add a greater impact to your presentations, making it easier for the audience to agree with your points.

This happens because stories shut down whatever counter-arguments your listeners have, making them less likely to develop reasons to disagree. 

Integrating Storytelling in Business Presentations

man giving a business presentation

What is business storytelling?

According to Mike Murray, business storytelling is about “brands sharing their messages in ways that engage audiences and drive them to a desired action.” 

This might sound like content marketing, but Murray maintains that the two separate, but related, things ideas:

“Business storytelling is a distinct content discipline that leverages well-crafted narratives in a diverse range of content types. Content marketing is much broader and speaks to the collective efforts that companies use to communicate with their audiences in an informative and engaging way.”

But how does one integrate storytelling into a business presentation?

Actually, it’s pretty easy to create a heart-warming story for a presentation. The real challenge is turning data into a narrative that packs an emotional punch. 

First, Structure Your Presentation Like a Story

According to presentation storytelling expert Bruce Gabrielle, you’ll need to follow a simple but effective structure: Beginning, Middle, End.

Beginning: The Human Element

Start your presentation by letting your audience see there’s a genuine and relatable story behind what you’re presenting. For example, identify a hero that your audience can relate to instead of leading with numbers or graphs. There is always a face behind all the abstract concepts and issues you’re taking on and that face will allow your audience to relate your topic to their own experiences.

Substitute “what” with “who do I really want to talk about?” For example, if you’re trying to discuss a marketing strategy, your hero could be a potential client. Describe the person you want to engage with your services. Talk about their demographics, traits, and values.

Middle: The Conflict

What would your favorite movie be like without conflict? Like any good story, business presentations also need a bit of tension. Apart from his or her goals, you also have to identify the challenges and risks faced by your hero.

What are the things that bother your potential clients? What’s preventing them from engaging with your services?

End: The Resolution

After building conflict, offer your audience some reprieve by giving them a satisfying resolution. At this point, you can put everything together and focus on data necessary to your discussion. While explaining the graph on your slides, keep referring back to your hero. What do these numbers have to do with the hero of your story? How does it solve the problems you identified earlier?

One thing to note is that although using stories in presentations will provide more impact, try to make use of captivating visuals, as well. While your narrative is certainly the most important part of your presentation, visuals remain to be an effective way to enhance audience immersion.

Let’s Take This A Bit Further…

Presenter telling a story on stage

To elicit even more powerful emotions from your audience, craft a story that follows the solid structure Gustav Freytag first envisioned 150 years ago:

Exposition

In a literary story, this is where the author lays out some “ground work” by presenting the characters, setting, and basic conflict.

This is where you establish context for your presentation. Introduce the point-of-view you’re presenting and share some background information. If the story focuses on an experience you had with a client, set the scene and illustrate the important details.

Rising Action

After presenting the context of your story, it’s time to build tension and increase conflict. Start identifying obstacles that prevent your character from feeling fully satisfied or happy. If your story is from a target customer’s POV, tell your audience about the challenges they face.

Climax

As the turning point of your story, the climax is the part where your character comes face-to-face with their problem. This is where the conflict becomes fully-realized and a solution is seen on the horizon. For your presentation, the climax marks where you start driving home your core message.

Falling Action

Slowly, as a solution becomes clearer and clearer, your character takes a course of action towards the identified goal. In the traditional sense, this is where the protagonist battles the antagonist. For your presentation, this is where you further flesh out your core message, expounding more on how it helps resolve the problems you introduced early on.

Conclusion/Resolution

Finally, describe how your character meets their goals. This is where you explain how you and a difficult client came to an agreement. In another example, the conclusion is when your target customer finally achieves full resolution.

The Different Types of Business Stories

Man telling a joke during a presentation

In literature, stories are told to reveal broader themes. 

While you’re not expected to philosophize abstract themes in your presentation, the story you share should also have a purpose. 

At its core, it should be more than just a story. Your narrative should be driven by a rationale that is essential to illustrating your presentation’s core message.

To get there, consider asking  yourself these key questions:

  • What is the main point you’re trying to get across?
  • What is the underlying principle behind your presentation?
  • What is the significance of this particular story?

The more you understand the key takeaway, the better you can deliver your presentation story.

In her book, “Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins,” Annette Simmons identified six kinds of stories that can help facilitate business communications:

  • “Who am I” Stories
  • “Why am I here” Stories
  • Vision Stories
  • Values-in-Action Stories
  • Teaching Stories
  • “I know what you’re thinking” Stories

(You can read about each story here.)

While Simmons uses these stories to help frame interactions that are more straightforward, her insights can also be helpful to marketing presentations.

Particularly, it’s the first three that are important to presentation storytelling. 

These are the type of stories that help reveal insights to build trust and establish rapport between you and your audience.

Obviously, you won’t be telling stories from your own personal experience. Instead, think of answers to “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?” and “What do I envision?” in terms of your brand and company identity. 

Here are a few specific questions, courtesy of Content Marketing Institute, to help you narrow it down:

  • What’s your reason for being?
  • What’s your history?
  • Who are your main characters?
  • What’s your corporate mission?
  • How have you failed?

Humans have always been storytellers. It’s our way of connecting with each other. 

In whatever form, the core of all our communications is the primordial impulse to tell and hear stories. Why not use that to improve your presentations?

A Tale as Old as TED

Man giving a TED Talk

As mentioned earlier, TED speakers are some of the best people to ask about storytelling tips. 

Human rights attorney and public speaker Bryan Stevenson has received the longest standing ovation ever given at a TED Talk. 

Carmine Gallo from Harvard Business Review shares that Steven describes his speaking style like he is talking to a friend over dinner. He talks at an average of 190 words per minute, as compared to a motivational speaker who may go upwards of 220 words per minute.

He must have had something up his sleeve if he’s capable of coaxing his audience to a lasting standing ovation.

In March 2012, Stevenson held a TED Talk called We Need to Talk About an Injustice

Here, he talks about his grandmother and other people in his life, allowing him and the audience to establish a personal connection. 

What made it successful was its emotional arc—a compelling story of overcoming a relatable struggle.

If you don’t have a personal experience to share with your audience, tell them stories about real people—previous customers that have benefited from your company. 

Relevant real-life case studies are irresistible because the audience knows these are from other customers and not just opinions based on your thoughts alone.

Does your brand have an interesting origin story? You never know, this could be engaging and entertaining, like Airbnb’s—three guys making a few bucks by letting attendees at a local conference sleep at their place. 

Not only did this pay for the steep rent, but it also sparked a $30 billion-dollar idea.

TED Talks have stood out as an effective medium because it provides extensive information that’s easy to understand. 

But what else makes TED Talks special?

Carmine Gallo boils its core elements down to three. He notes that the success of these presentations can be attributed to these three qualities:

  • Emotional
  • Novel
  • Memorable

Apart from these, top quality visuals are also necessary in engaging the audience. Consider consulting with PowerPoint presentation experts, it will prove a valuable step in the long term, especially for sales pitches.

The Other Half of Effective Presentation Storytelling: Visual Aids

To presenters shaking hands on stage

So what about your presentation’s visual aid (typically a PowerPoint)? Should you bolster your narrative with visuals?

Humans are highly visual creatures. We’re naturally attracted to beautiful colors and interesting patterns. 

In fact, our brain is able to process images 60,000 times faster than information presented in text. It’s also easier for us to retain visual information. 

According to Dr. John Medina, after three days, we’re able to recall 65% of information if it was presented with images or illustrations.

So if you’re presenting information that’s bulky with data, the audience will thank you if you can integrate comprehensible illustrations. Take the usual charts and graphs a step further by weaving stories through imagery.

Let’s take a look at some facts.

According to a whitepaper published by NewCred and Getty Images, the following statistics are proof:

  • 40% of people will respond better to information presented visually
  • 83% of human learning is visual
  • 44% of users are more likely to engage with brands on social platforms if they post pictures

Articles and blog posts that contain images get 94% more views than those without

It’s easy to see why images are important to presentations and marketing materials. 

Through visual storytelling, you can create stronger emotional impact. Visuals convey a story that immediately allows your audience to connect with the message you’re sharing.

So whether you’re delivering a presentation or revamping your social media profiles, visual storytelling is the best way to go. 

When selecting pictures to use, try to keep in mind the four key characteristics of visual storytelling:

Authentic

The best stories come from candid moments.

It’s why photo sharing has become so prevalent in the age of social media. Replacing the super-polished stock photos are snapshots that allow others to see the world through a more personal perspective.

Take, for example, Dove’s Real Beauty campaign. Instead of featuring models that are photo-shopped to perfection, Dove featured everyday women and challenged today’s absurd beauty standards.

To find images that are more authentic to your story, focus on what your brand stands for. Look for images that convey your identity and experiences as a brand. Next, look for something that will resonate with your audience.

Think about the people you’re addressing and what might be authentic for them.

Relevant

Visual storytelling should also take into account what’s happening in the world.

After all, your message doesn’t exist in a bubble.

It’s contextualized in a milieu—a world where billions of individuals are discovering new things every single day. Make sure your visual stories are relatable and relevant to the audience you want to target. Consider what Oreo did to make the most out of a blackout that interrupted the Super Bowl.

For your own visual story, choose images that evoke a sense of time and culture.

Sensory

The only thing better than a picture is the real thing.

But since you can’t have real situations on a PowerPoint slide, you’re going to have to settle for the next best thing. Visual storytelling thrives on imagery that can heighten emotions and senses.

Close-up and macro shots are great for showing textures that audiences can almost touch. On the other hand, a long shot can also take your audience into a particular scene, allowing them to experience it through a wider perspective.

Archetypal

Lastly, the best of visual storytelling alludes to narratives that are practically as old as time.

If you think about it, you’ll notice that all your favorite stories are tied together by recurring themes and archetypes.

These are universal symbols—called such because they can be found across many different countries and cultures. For your visual stories to be a success, you need to take these symbols and turn it into your own.

Find an archetype that relates to your brand and make it your own. Get to know your own new character and find images that correspond to this new version of a well-loved symbol.

Visual storytelling is a great technique to use in presentations and marketing efforts. By weaving imagery together, you can create a story that speaks volumes about your core message.

Integrating Visuals to Enhance Your Core Message

There’s more to visual storytelling than sticking random pictures to your slides. You can probably guess what we mean by “visual storytelling:”

Your statistics won’t make much sense if the visuals you add only serve an aesthetic purpose. Visual storytelling is about using different media that contribute to the message you’re presenting.

As an example, here’s a small part of an interactive infographic by Collaborative Fund, Hyperakt and Start Up American Partnership:

The infographic showcases the positive effects of car sharing to the environment.

It offers a lot of statistics that are perfectly illustrated to create more impact. It’s hard to envision the difference a vague number makes but through this illustration, you can perfectly see how much carbon dioxide emissions have diminished.

Related: Mastering Data Visualization for High-Stakes Presentations

Your text-based, bullet point-ridden PowerPoint design isn’t helping anyone. It’s not engaging your audience, and it’s not helping you get your message across.

Instead, you should consider taking inspiration from visual storytelling. Showcase and illustrate your key points with visual elements, and your PowerPoint design will have more impact.

Hopefully this post has conveyed the importance of storytelling in presentations from both the aural and visual perspectives. Ready to take your next high-stakes presentation to the next level? Schedule a free presentation consultation!

5 Reasons Your Company Conferences Aren’t Engaging

Company conferences are a great opportunity for your company to affirm itself. They’re ideal for celebrating successes, addressing headwinds, and generally setting the tone for your company’s direction. 

It’s a premier opportunity to reach a broad internal audience and convey a meaningful message.

Capitalizing on the prospect of a company conference takes diligent planning. Specifically, with regard to presenting information. 

Failing to present yourself in a meaningful way can undermine your message, putting you at risk of losing authority. You need your conference to leave your employees feeling good about the direction of the business.

If you haven’t had much success with company conferences in the past, it’s time to reassess the message you’re putting out there. Here are five things that could be holding your conferences back.

1. They’re Not Striking

If you’re bringing your people together for a specific reason, make sure there’s a sense of ceremony. 

Pomp and circumstance go a long way in setting the tone for importance. Start with décor and imagery that’s visually striking.

Above all else, accent the brand. Balloons, table runners, name tags, programs, or any other physical event materials need branding. 

Use your company colors. Slap the logo on things. Reinforce the idea that, no matter the message, the company is the central concept—an annual gala to celebrate the company, a summit conference to discuss the future of the company, a thank-you event for employees of the company.

Create a visually striking atmosphere that emphasizes the brand. 

Even beyond the materials, hold it at a venue that’ll excite guests. Or, enforce a dress code that sets a chic professional standard. 

A striking event is one people want to be at.

2. They’re Not Stimulating

There’s a big difference between striking and stimulating

Striking piques attention. Stimulating holds it. For as much as your conference should be attention-grabbing, make sure it’s attention-holding.

The best way to get people stimulated by your conference is to provide information in conjunction with visual appeal. 

A beautiful program that contains great information about event speakers, for example. The design gets people to pick up the program. The information keeps them reading it. 

The same goes for any speaker presentations or participation activities. 

Give people a reason to pay attention. Draw them in with flash and keep them captivated with substance.

3. Your Presentations Lack a Theme or Motif

Presentations are a cornerstone of any company conference. They reinforce a specific motif or idea, and help instill concepts in attendees. 

Unfortunately, they’re also one of the biggest opportunities for making mistakes.

Your presentation could be ineffective for a variety of reasons. Cluttered slides, too much or not enough information, confusing data visualization, and lack of preparation are all barriers to communication. 

Moreover, a poorly designed presentation simply won’t command attention. But the biggest issue with most presentations is a lack of narrative.

Good presentations take time to put together. 

The slideshow needs to set a tone, introduce a narrative, and read like a story. And, once you have a well-crafted deck, you need to rehearse until you know your topic and the flow of your presentation like the back of your hand. 

Being able to deliver a well-designed, engaging presentation with the right cadence is the hallmark of a successful company conference.

4. You Don’t Have a Bold Takeaway

What’s the point of your conference? 

If there’s a reason you’re bringing everyone together in such a grandiose manner, you need to make sure the takeaway is deserving of the buildup. Putting on a spectacular conference only to end it with a clear lack of direction all but invalidates the entire event.

It doesn’t matter what the takeaway is, it needs to be bold. 

  • Make sure it’s emphatic and true. 
  • Make it confident and clear. 
  • Keep the tone calm and honest.

Above all else, make sure your company conference builds to a final idea. 

The bold takeaway of your event will validate everything you worked so hard to put together. And, it’ll affirm the narrative of everything you presented—whether it’s awards or informative slideshows.

5. You Don’t Address the Right Topics

Take the pulse of your company before you start planning an event. 

Failing to do so could mean putting on a conference that’s overshadowed by the elephant in the room.

  • Business facing hard times? Talk about the headwinds and the plan to address them. 
  • The past year been a booming success? Talk about what went right and who made it happen. 
  • A shift in the industry? Show how you’re adapting and what the path to success is.

Address the topics that your company needs to be talking about. Otherwise, your conference could come off as disingenuous.

Bonus: Find Ways to Engage!

If your company conferences haven’t traditionally been engaging, ask yourself if you’ve been giving people the opportunity to be active participants in them. 

There’s a big difference between sitting everyone in a big room for a slew of presentations and actively involving attendees.

Consider giving people the ability to register for presentations they want to see or participate in.

Host games, raffles, activities, and other fun asides that offset the more professional aspects of the event. Solicit audience participation. 

Whatever it is, make sure it draws people in instead of keeping them at a distance. 

And, of course, get feedback wherever possible to help decide what works and what doesn’t for future events.

Company conferences are an opportunity for both the business and its employees to have a level-set. Don’t squander the occasion! Spend the time to create a conference that’s engaging for everyone in attendance, while ultimately fulfilling the purpose of the event.

Ready to take your presentation to the next level? Schedule a free presentation consultation now.

How Harnessing Basic Marketing Principles Can Help Sales Presentations

Sales and marketing have a unique relationship.

It’s marketing’s job to create opportunities for sales. In turn, the sales team works with the marketing team to continually hone and refine the messaging. 

When this partnership is firing on all cylinders, the company grows, but alas, there’s a gap in the process.

If Sales Guy Steve doesn’t tell Marketing Maggie what he needs to sell better, how could she provide him with the right sales presentation? 

Likewise, if Maggie doesn’t know Steve’s prospect audience, the presentation he’s getting won’t help him illustrate value. 

Marketing and sales need to be on the same page. 

Channeling core marketing principles into sales presentations is the best way to bridge any gaps.

Define Strategy Before Deploying Tactics

What do you want the results of the sales presentation to be? 

Having a goal is an important first step in creating effective sales presentations. 

This is where sales needs to collaborate with marketing and say, with certainty, what the final objective is. 

Is it to:

  • Capture prospect interest?
  • Introduce or emphasize benefits?
  • Create an immediate sale?
  • Take market share from a competitor?

The biggest misconception is that sales is always about making an immediate sale. 

It’s not. It’s about building customer confidence. 

Sometimes the sale might come right away; other times, the presentation is just a stepping stone on the way to a future sale.

No matter the audience, have a goal. Know the goal. Design with the goal in mind.

Strengthen Your Message by Knowing Your Audience

Before a sales presentation is given, you need to know who you’re talking to. 

As simple of a concept as it is, however, it’s often overlooked in the rush to illustrate benefits.

Benefits are universal; how they’re presented depends on the audience. Presenting benefits without the right spin tends to come off as generic or vague.

Consider these two examples for the same product:

Generic: Product X lasts 2x longer than the competition and costs half the price!

Targeted: Single moms on a budget trust Product X because it lasts 2x longer than the competition. At half the price, it’s easier than clipping coupons.

The benefits are the same in both examples, but the latter is more powerful. The targeted example speaks to someone, not at them. It shows the concerns of single moms—shopping on a budget and saving time. It shows this core consumer group that you see them and understand what’s important to them.

Once you have their attention, make sure you hold on to it. 

Make a Connection (and Move the Needle) with a Story

Once you know who you’re talking to and have their attention, give prospects a reason to act. 

Inspire them. Evoke emotion. Get them fired up! 

The simplest way to tap into feelings and action is to craft a narrative. Simply put: Tell them a story.

Let’s face it: People don’t like being sold to. They prefer to make decisions on their terms, which means relying on your sales presentation to do the selling for you. 

Presentations that tell a story are more likely to get a favorable response than a classic sales pitch. 

Consider the following example:

You worked 60 hours this week. You’ll work 60 hours next week. But today’s Saturday and you’re not working today. Today is all about sweatpants and slippers, comfort food and naps. Today is your day. What better way to make the most of it than with Product X?

Even that small snippet is a story. 

A story is something people can relate to, that evokes emotion and creates understanding. 

It’s the modern way of selling, and it’s only possible when sales and marketing work together. 

Use storyboarding to identify the right narrative for your target customer. Then, support your presentation with powerful copywriting and design to drive home the sale.

Increase Interest by Keeping Engagement High

Engagement. 

One of the most important objectives for any marketing campaign is just as important when it comes to sales presentations.

This is where beautiful and thoughtful design comes in and can really take sales presentations up a notch.

All of the following are powerful stimuli that keep prospects attentive and engaged in your messaging:

Giving prospects something to look at beyond text is important. 

Remember, sales presentations have to be stimulating to generate interest in the sale itself. 

If the message (and how it’s delivered) is uninspiring, prospects won’t pay attention.

Keep It Simple, Especially with Data Visualization

A marketing presentation needs to be as simple as possible. It should stay focused on a specific topic and remain straightforward from start to finish. 

Just like brand experiences need to be cohesive and consistent, slides in a deck should be as well. 

It all comes back to the KISS philosophy.

As a good rule of thumb, every slide of a sales presentation should present a singular idea. That idea should be succinctly summarized and supported with engaging text and images. 

This is especially important when it comes to data visualization.

Someone should be able to process what’s in front of them in about a minute or two. The simpler things are, the more likely the idea will land.

It’s the job of sales to tell marketing what these most important features are. Then, it’s the job of marketing to convey them concisely.

Differentiate Your Message

Too often, sales will hand over competitor marketing materials to the marketing department and say “I want it to look like that.” 

As a result, your sales pitch and presentation won’t look any different to your customer. 

Worse still, it might look like a rip-off if they’ve already been pitched by a rival.

Don’t focus on designing a presentation that disputes your competition. Instead, focus on designing one that distinctly differentiates your brand and its products or services. 

This is the foundation of a successful sales presentation. 

A novel idea is going to get much more traction than a rehash of something your prospect has seen and heard before.

Fall back on your branding. Make sure the benefits speak clearly to the audience. Keep prospects engaged. The success of your presentation hinges on how appealing you make your message—and there’s nothing more appealing than something new.

Deliver a Compelling Call-to-Action

When the presentation wraps up, what do you want people to do? 

What’s the most important takeaway for them? 

Ending on a blank slide with the company logo immediately invalidates your efforts. Instead, end with a call-to-action:

  • Contact a sales rep
  • Visit this website
  • Place your order
  • Call this number

Giving explicit instructions leaves no room for error in helping prospects act. 

It’s the final step in an effective sales presentation—arguably the most important step.

A well-crafted sales presentation helps Sales Guy Steve sell better. But to get one into his hands and in front of prospects, Marketing Maggie needs to understand his needs. 

When sales and marketing collaborate, it’s evident. Sales presentations not only look great, they speak volumes to the people they’re made for. 

Ready to take your presentation to the next level? Schedule a free presentation consultation now.

6 Design Team Issues that Negatively Affect Marketing Departments

Even some of the world’s biggest brands have trouble marketing. 

Not every idea is a home run and often, internal struggles are a primary cause of marketing failures. Sometimes, bringing concepts to fruition just isn’t a smooth process—especially when the struggles involve design.

Self-inflicted wounds are avoidable, but only if your team is able to recognize how it’s holding itself back.

If the problem involves the design team specifically, it’s important to look at where failures occur and how to avoid and overcome them. Here are seven of the most common for enterprise-level design teams.

1. Isolation

In today’s turbulent, customer-driven marketplace, Agile has become king, and although its practices allow companies to flourish in the volatile and complex environment we now live in, the same practices can cause unintended inefficiencies beneath the surface.

For example, designers are now finding themselves embedded in cross-functional teams with engineers and product owners. Although this has its advantages, it isolates designers from each other, bringing problems of its own.

In isolation, designers can no longer receive the career-progressing design feedback they received when working closer to other designers. In time, this isolation can cause feelings of career stagnation and ultimately drive them to search for greener pastures.

For obvious reasons, this reality can lower the caliber of a company’s marketing efforts.

Yes, designers need to work with the people in charge of producing the concepts they’ll create, but they also need to collaborate with other creatives who have a hand in marketing, like copywriters and web designers.

Isolating the design department means losing the cohesion between these groups and the capabilities they have when working as a team.

2. Loss of Vision

With successful products come product expansions, related offerings, supporting services, and the like.

As teams divide to specialize in each corner of the product segment, the shared vision of the original product can get diluted (or worse, completely lost) in the shuffle.

As a marketing professional, you understand a lack of cohesion and identity can negatively impact the customer experience.

And internally, designers feel the loss of product vision most acutely.

Marketing can help designers working across product divisions by providing a North Star to guide design systems.

3. Confusion Over Branding Guidelines

This is related to Point #2, but pertains to when the company or brand itself evolves rather than an individual product or service. 

As a brand grows and evolves, so does its core elements: fonts, colors and proportions change, logos, verbiage as well as imagery. 

Even companies with well-established brand guidelines need to keep their branding updated and consistent. Confusion over even small nuances can stall a project. If it’s not on-brand, it’s not approved.

A freelancer unfamiliar with the branding rules. A tenured designer who’s seen several iterations. Anyone on the design team can get confused if the brand guidelines aren’t clear and accessible. 

Make sure everyone involved in the design process—from graphic artists to copywriters, web developers to consultants—has access to the most up-to-date version of the style guide at all times.

Like this post? Check out our “How to Effectively Support Busy Graphic Design Teams” guide:

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4. Handcuffing Design by Stakeholders

One of the quickest ways to crush the design team and stagnate marketing is to handcuff creators. 

Put them in a box. 

Put a cap on their imagination. 

Whatever you call it, it’s death for any prospect of marketing success.

This is a top-down problem. An executive doesn’t like the bold new idea, so they tear it down and go with the same old concept. A marketing manager doesn’t listen to the idea of a talented designer because they “haven’t put in their time.”

Handcuffing can happen any time you invalidate an idea before actually considering it. 

For design concepts especially, something new or bold is always worth considering—even if you don’t ultimately use it.

Designers who feel heard and valued are more likely to keep coming up with concepts. 

Eventually, one of them will be a winner.

5. Circular Feedback & Revisions

Any creative is used to getting feedback. 

But no matter how much feedback you provide or in what capacity you deliver it, there’s nothing more infuriating than circular revisions. 

It typically goes like this:

  1. Jane marks up a design and changes elements A, B and C. 
  2. The designer makes revisions. 
  3. Then Mark changes element A back to the original and tweaks element C again. 
  4. The designer makes revisions. 
  5. Then Leslie changes elements A, B and C a little bit. 
  6. The designer makes revisions… again.

Look familiar?

This vicious cycle can go on forever, and it will if people continue to make changes to changes that have already been changed.

It’s frustrating for a designer who sees every iteration. They’re often changing things several times, only to revert to an earlier design.

The simplest way to nip this problem in the bud is to encourage holistic feedback. Have everyone provide feedback or revisions on a design before sending it back to the artist.

Holistic revisions result in more cohesive final designs and a sane design team.

6. Project Hierarchy & Delegation

If everything is urgent, nothing is urgent. 

It’s the motto of someone who has been at the receiving end of a project barrage—often, a designer.

Good design work takes time and there’s a clear difference between work that’s rushed and work properly managed.

The solution to getting high-caliber design work and top-tier marketing graphics is to manage projects and delegate work with a mind for turnaround and capacity

Designers have varying capacities and work at different speeds, and each project comes with its own demands. 

Instead of throwing the next available designer at a project or heaping more into the fire, pay attention to logistics.

Conclusion

These seven problems nag at even the biggest brands. Sometimes, working with creatives requires a break from the business mindset. It takes emphasis on the human element and an understanding of team collaboration to tear down these roadblocks and kick marketing design efforts back into high gear.

Design issues hindering you from making successful marketing campaigns? Contact SlideGenius today and we’ll help you get back on track.