Q: My sales team has increased their on-site meetings in the past few months. Some reps have been extremely successful with this approach, but others haven’t. Are there any tips I can use to help my team become more successful in delivering this type of sales presentations?
Extending your reach and visiting prospects and SMB partners in person can really help you strengthen the relationship. By doing this, you’re giving your prospects a face to put to your brand instead of being just another sales person on the phone. Having a personal aspect to your brand can help gain new customers and grow existing relationships by subtly reminding them of your commitment to them.
Creating an effective sales presentation is definitely an art, and to give you the best advice possible we consulted Scott Bennett. He is the Senior Director of MSP Sales at Barracuda and has won over numerous partners by delivering successful sales presentations. Scott sincerely believes that a good presentation starts with a good foundation, and he shared his best practices to help your MSP sales team achieve that.
Best practices for delivering a successful presentation
Sales presentations can take numerous forms. You could be presenting your MSP solutions to prospects via video conferencing, in front of a boardroom of executives, or in a 10-minute time slot at a tradeshow. Wherever and whenever you are presenting, it’s important to follow these best practices.
Know your audience. This means you need to take the extra step and do some research before you present. Are you presenting at a tradeshow? If so, what type of tradeshow is it, and who will the attendees be? If you are visiting an SMB’s office or presenting your solution to a specific company at lunch, you need to understand their specific needs and or challenges. What does their company do? What services do they need based on previous conversations? Ideally going into your presentation you should have a good understanding of who the individuals are, what their roles and responsibilities are and what challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.
Ideally you want to present at the end of a discovery call, tailor the information to reflect your conversation and match it to their needs. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to move the discussion forward, so save yourself some time and effort. For example, if there are indications that they don’t have any pain with their current solution or you don’t have a technical win—don’t present.
Stay focused. Try to keep your presentation short, to the point, and most importantly focused on the customer. Pitch your products or services to their needs or challenges, and avoid talking about things they don’t need. If you talk about services they have no pain with, you‘re going to lose their attention. Try to hone in on the challenges they face and how you can help them overcome those obstacles.
If possible, avoid using the Internet during a presentation. Instead plan it out and use screenshots if necessary. By doing so, you eliminate potential connection issues or other problems that could slow down or derail the conversation.
Involve the audience. Try to make your presentation interactive and engaging. The best way to hold an audience’s attention is to be animated and show enthusiasm for your services and what you’re sharing with them. Talking to them in a monotone or without inflection in your voice is an easy way to lose their attention.
Instead, encourage your audience to ask questions and open up the path for two-way communication. Ask your audience questions and keep them on their toes. If you have a larger audience, find ways to have them do a ‘show of hands’ to get everyone involved.
There are many ways to rope your audience in, so use this as an opportunity to be creative. For example, you could host a quiz at the beginning or end of your presentation. Ask questions that allow them to think, such as what percent of SMBs survive after a data breach has occurred? Encourage guesses and award prizes for the correct answer.
Get a defined next step. Like any good marketing campaign, a sales presentation should include a call to action. What is your audience’s next step? Whether it’s following your MSP on Twitter, contacting you to learn more about a specific service, visiting your booth at a tradeshow, scheduling a demo or a call to go over any unanswered questions, you should always give your audience a next step to take.
Watch your body language. When you’re giving your presentation, avoid sitting down, chewing gum, standing still, or hiding behind a podium. Try to move around a little bit, and convey your energy and excitement—it’s contagious! The best thing you can do is believe that your products and services are a good fit for your prospects. Highlight why your MSP can fill their needs and what you can provide for them. What are your value-added services, and how are you different from your competitors? What is your brand promise? Body language is often overlooked by presenters, but if you aren’t confident in your services it will come across in your presentation. Your body language will give it away.
Following these best practices will help your sales team’s in-person presentation go more smoothly. The most important thing to remember is that a presentation should be a two-way conversation between you and your audience. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience for feedback after your presentation. It will help you improve, and the more your team presents, the more comfortable and successful they will be.
Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between.
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