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Q: I have recently onboarded a few new hires to our sales team. One area I’d like to provide some training on is giving presentations to clients and prospective clients. Are there tips I can share to help them be more successful?

First off, congrats on expanding your team! Investing in colleagues that can extend your reach and connect in more meaningful ways to grow your business should help you truly move the needle. You’re doing the right thing by trying to equip them to be as efficient as possible in their presentations.

There’s a bit of an art to crafting and delivering a winning sales presentation that can be honed and improved over time, but here are a few fundamental best practices you’ll want to ensure are in place.

Presentation best practices for your MSP sales team

Today, “presentations” could take many different forms. Whether you are giving a 3-minute rapid pitch at a local business networking meeting, or presenting to a group of 4 stakeholders via Zoom, or even in a boardroom, there are a key components to how well your message will be received.

Know your audience. Your success starts with preparation. Learn who exactly you will be presenting to. You can tailor your approach to your research based on where you are presenting. If you’re presenting at a conference or tradeshow, you might not be able to know each and every person in the crowd, but you can look into the main value propositions of that event to understand what is important to the attendees. If you are presenting to a small group of execs in a board room, you’ll want to do some legwork in advance to make sure you understand what their business does, and what each person’s role is. Have you or your colleagues interacted with this company before, and what did you learn coming out of those previous conversations? There’s no harm in structuring your meeting in a way that you start off by asking a few questions that enable you to customize your presentation based on their responses.

Stay focused. These days, everyone is busy and doing their best to ‘get to it all’. That means you need to be respectful of people’s time. Keep your presentation short, to the point, and most importantly focused on the audience – focused on addressing their challenges and aligning to their priorities. You can pitch your products or services if they are relevant and add value, but avoid the temptation to try to sell everything you have, just because you have it, if it’s not a compelling conversation for the client or prospective client at that time. Focus on helping them overcome today’s obstacles, and if you do a good job, you’ll likely have other opportunities to upsell down the line.

Also, be sure to prepare from a logistics perspective as well. For example, if you need internet access to give a presentation, be sure to confirm WiFi availability in advance – you don’t want to waste valuable time fighting with technology or other tools that

Involve the audience. Make it a conversation. The quickest way to lose people’s attention is by not including them in the conversation. On top of that, check your tone and inflection in your voice – if you’re monotone and sound like you’d rather be elsewhere, they are likely to feel the same.

Consider asking questions and even calling on people by name to keep them highly engaged. If you’re presenting to a larger crowd, asking for a ‘show of hands’ or even using polling tools is a good way to keep folks engaged.

There are plenty of ways to get, and keep, people’s attention – so get creative. For example, you could host a ‘pop quiz’ or trivia related to your topic during the conversation. Or ask the group questions that get people thinking about how your topic applies to their day-to-day or past experiences.

Make sure you have ‘next steps’ coming out of the presentation. Any effective meeting should conclude with the creation of some action items or expectations of what will come next. What is the one (or two) things you want your audience to do after your presentation? The more specific, the better. I.e. “Follow us on Twitter (or other social media)” or “Schedule your free consultation” are great examples of calls to action you could use. If it is a small meeting and you own the next action items, make it clear that that is the next step, i.e. “Per our conversation, I will send a follow up invite for two weeks from now so that we can go over your feedback from today’s discussion,” would suffice as an example of this.

Watch your body language. When you’re giving your presentation, position yourself so that you’re both professional and giving off energy that shows that you want to be there. Make eye contact, keep your head up, project your voice, and make sure to leave the chewing gum at home. The best thing you can do is to remember – your products and services have value for your audience, and you can help them. Remember why your MSP business is different from its competitors, what your team is really good at. Reminding yourself of these key things can work wonders for boosting your confidence which, in turn, increases people’s confidence in you.

For your sales team, practice will make perfect (or close to it).

Following these best practices will help your sales team enjoy smoother presentations that they are well-prepared for, and that yield better business outcomes. It’s important to remember, too, that even if you make a mistake, the best thing you can do is learn from it. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from prospective clients that decided to go another route from what you proposed, or from your colleagues who may have been in the meeting with you. The more you and your sales team present, the more natural it will feel and better you will become at it.

Photo: fizkes / Shutterstock

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Lindsay Faria

Posted by Lindsay Faria

As Director of MSP Marketing, Americas, at Barracuda, Lindsay Faria is dedicated to empowering Barracuda MSP partners to grow their businesses by providing tools and information to make marketing and selling their data protection services as effective, fast and easy as possible.

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