Re-consider PowerPoint — It’s not just a presentation tool

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I love this idea, that it’s not “just PowerPoint” anymore. I think PowerPoint offers organizations untapped potential for improved sales messaging, knowledge sharing, and customer communications.

A better PowerPoint strategy can drive significant content production efficiencies, rapid development and turnaround times, easy content tailoring, the ability to scale content requirements, and dramatically lower production costs compared to documents.

PowerPoint is where the corporate communication process starts. When we stop thinking of it as a presentation tool, and think of it as a business graphic development tool to create visual support for conversations, a new world of possibilities opens.

How Important is PowerPoint to Your Sales Organization?

Several years ago we conducted a survey of 10 technology companies asking them what percent of the hits to their marketing and sales intranet were for the data type PowerPoint. For each company, the answer was between 55% and 62%.

In each company, PowerPoint represented less than 10% of the total content they managed (typically less than 6%). This provides a glimpse of the potential. 6% of content (volume) is responsible for 60% of usage.

I’d really like to know what these numbers are at your company. Please comment to this entry, or email me if you want to keep it private.

  • Percent of hits for PowerPoint
  • PowerPoint as a percent of totoal documents being managed

Critical Roles for PowerPoint

1. PowerPoint can provide visual support for sales conversations in the complex sale.

Sales communication is all about how we deliver our messages to customers. Meetings are more effective and efficient when important and complex ideas are supported by visuals.

This not only helps the person delivering the messages, it makes it easier for customers to understand key ideas. It shortens time spent on each topic. If your sales conversations are conducted over the telephone, visual support is even more important.

Most sales organizations haven’t begun to tap the potential of web meetings using web conferencing technology. Over 8 years of working in this area, I am convinced part of the problem is companies haven’t developed the visual assets that are needed to support this type of sales conversation. So web meetings are used in limited ways during a presentation or (software) demonstration stage of the sales process.

2. Compared with document creation, PowerPoint is a low cost, rapid development tool.

3. A key to effective messaging is being clear and succinct. Most PowerPoint shows need improvement in this area. But I think it’s easier to improve PowerPoint shows than documents in this regard.

4. Just as PowerPoint provides visual support for live conversations, it can be the visual base for recorded audio narration. Narrated PowerPoint creates an experience similar to traditional video, but at a fraction of the time and cost required to produce video.

Companies and individuals should stop railing against PowerPoint and learn how to capitalize on its full potential.