It's the hallmark of rookie sales reps — the rote PowerPoint presentation, delivered to every new customer and prospect with little to no variation in content and no time for discovery or feedback. The one-size-fits all presentation is unlikely to come across as personalized or inspired, and rarely leads to a sale. When you're trying to impress a prospect with your understanding of their business and commitment to their success, this is simply a poor strategy.
If analog content and a conference-room-based meeting was "Meetings 1.0," and PC screen sharing and video conferencing could be considered "Meetings 2.0," then we can call a personalized, collaborative meeting experience, enhanced with the use of a digital canvas, "Meetings 3.0."
In versions 1.0 and 2.0, meetings were characterized by a presentation that was akin to a lecture. It was a one-way communication experience. Even if the customer responded and contributed their ideas, you probably just jotted down a few notes to (maybe) use going forward. It wasn't a true collaborative conversation.
With an engagement platform, such as Prysm Visual Workplace, you have the means to take your customer meetings to a whole new level. Here are five tips for doing just that:
1) Create a digital canvas for each individual customer. You can start with your core presentation, and then personalize it by adding content — not just new slides, but an entire journey, enhanced with branding, video, drawings, dashboards, background information and other visual content — prepared just for them. This adds only incremental work for you, but confers a sizable payoff in impact.
2) Turn the presentation into a conversation and a continuous feedback loop. The next step after integrating personalized content into your meeting is to take customer feedback in real time and be ready to spontaneously alter your stream of content in response. Not only does this draw the customer out (a tried-and-true method for overcoming objections), it also helps you understand the customer's needs, so you can create customized solutions for each one. This is the first step in cultivating a long-term relationship, which is key to building a lasting revenue stream.
3) Make it an authentic brainstorming session. The traditional PowerPoint is a linear experience, where you proceed in sequential order, not moving on to the next slide/idea/concept until you've finished processing the last. A real brainstorming session is far less linear. Here at Prysm, we foster this type of (more natural) discussion with digital whiteboards and content annotation. If a customer asks a question comparing your offering to a competitor's, you could call up the competitor's website on the spot and annotate directly on the web page. This is genuinely useful and demonstrates your intention to respond to your customer's unique needs and ideas — a hallmark of a consultative sale.
4) Give the customer the opportunity to interact with the content along with you. This is a brand-new concept. Not only can I, as the presenter, flip slides, call up a web browser and use a digital whiteboard, the customer can do the same...simultaneously. This involvement and interaction has the effect of increasing engagement to a degree that was never before possible.
5) Add a sense of immediacy to the interaction. The salesperson's best tool is momentum. Even if you increase engagement, capture the prospect's interest and convince them that you'll respond to their ideas and concerns, if you allow a lag in the conversation, you risk losing them altogether. They'll tune out and move on. But with a digital-engagement platform, you can continue the discussion, uninterrupted. This can be a great asset when it comes to securing a commitment for a pilot or closing a deal.
If your company hasn't yet adopted a digital-engagement platform, you're stuck in Meetings 2.0, and you're incurring a significant opportunity cost. I'd be happy to show you how to step up your game and move into the future. Leave a comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.