Many years ago, when I worked on sales presentations, my team would spend 80% of our time working on the PowerPoint – debating slide order and color, bullet points and font size, this graphic over that graphic. You name it, we debated it. After all that, we’d spend only 24 hours preparing to present that flawless PowerPoint presentation. We would scramble to get our story together, adding undue pressure and stress to ourselves, and we wouldn’t personalize the story as much as we should have.
Eventually, we began thinking differently, flipping our energy and focus – 80% of our time forming the story and preparing our team, and 20% on the supporting materials. This 80/20 rule helped us focus on our end goal: preparing for a sales presentation, not the supporting materials.
Using the 80/20 rule
It’s all too easy to put your time and energy towards your PowerPoint and supporting materials. But PowerPoint doesn’t run your sales pitch – you and your team do. Applying the 80/20 rule (80% story/team preparation and 20% supporting materials) can keep your sales preparation focused and on track.
Here are four tips: Read more
Several years ago, I was sitting in a finalist presentation for a plan sponsor and the key decision-maker made a comment that resonated with me, “If you document it and measure it, it will get done – if you don’t, it won’t.” How about that for a lead into a marketing plan series?
We’ve already talked about discovering your story. Now, let’s get you thinking about writing a marketing plan. Today we’ll focus on goals and measurement: what you want to achieve with your marketing plan, and how you’ll measure that success. Goals and measurement drive your target audience and marketing tactics, but we’ll focus more on that next week.
Sales and servicing keep you busy – I get that. You don’t have time to chase leads, nothing’s worse than wasting precious time on fruitless prospecting efforts. You have to be thoughtful about how you spend your time. A good marketing plan helps you prospect effectively. It keeps you front of mind with your clients and helps create a perception, or brand, with your prospects.
A couple of weeks ago, after a return from an East Coast trip, my five-year-old asked me, “Dad, what do you do on all those trips?” So I went to work and started telling him what his old man does – custom solutions, strategic planning, moving the needle, and all the other buzzwords that rock my world. I was about two minutes into it and he cut me off. “Hey Dad,” he asked, “Can I watch cartoons now?” Yep, I’d lost the sale.
It got me thinking about how we tell our stories – or our value propositions. Through the years, I’ve reviewed hundreds of mission statements, value propositions, core belief statements and I’m convinced most of us (myself included!) suffer from the curse of knowledge (Want to know more about it? Read this short article from the Harvard Business Review).
We’re writing value propositions for our peers – not our prospects and clients. Just like my five-year-old, our target audience doesn’t spend their whole day worrying about retirement plans – but we spend our lives there, and as a result, we’re not addressing prospects and clients on their level. Read more