B2B marketers have been ahead of the curve when it comes to creating a personalised customer experience for users and prospects, in a lot of ways. The majority of B2B marketers will assign their largest clients a dedicated account manager, or create segmented content marketing campaigns that are delivered directly to relevant customers. They do so for good reason: Statistics from Gartner show that, by the end of next year, companies utilising personalisation will generate 20% more revenue than those who do not.

Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence that many are not applying the same standards to their own sales and marketing presentations, and are still using those endless slide decks that have not been targeted to the audience. This is a crucial and frustrating oversight. The time has come for organisations to start creating more engaging presentations if they want to make a meaningful and lasting impact.

Know your pitch inside out

Not everyone has the time to craft a brand new presentation for every meeting they attend. However, showing every prospect the same presentation will not set you up for success. Rapidly flicking between slides in a linear fashion for the data you need makes you appear unprepared and unprofessional and, ultimately, unengaging. 

Instead of creating a presentation from scratch each time, you can go in and tailor an existing master document for each meeting – although this can be time-consuming.

There is a third option for those looking to break away from a traditional slide-deck. Harvard University recently conducted a study comparing traditional oral presentations with slide based visual aids and ZUIs (Zoomable-User-Interfaces) – such as Prezi. Interestingly, participants concluded that the ZUI presentations were more organised (13%), engaging (16%), persuasive (22%), and effective (25%) than both slide-based and oral presentations.

The research also found a more engaging and enjoyable experience for an audience when zooming and panning over a virtual canvas rather than using sequential, linear transitions.

Trim the fat

Research shows that 50% of people can’t remember a single point from a presentation they saw two days ago. When asked about the reason for this, over 55% of respondents said it was because the information wasn’t relevant.

It is vital to think about who you are meeting and tailor your content to them. There is a general rule of thumb among public speakers that your audience will take away, at most, three key points from your talk. Before the meeting, look at every slide in your deck and decide if it is one of the three things you want your audience to remember. If it isn’t – delete it.

You wouldn’t send a 100-page document to your customers and suggest they “skip to page 72” so why would you structure your presentation that way?

Let the audience guide you

Recently, B2B marketing has seen the rise of a ‘conversational storytelling’ approach to presentations and webinars. The best way to implement this is to treat a presentation like a conversation, by speaking directly with and not at an audience

With conversational presenting, you build just one big presentation that has all the things that you would normally need to cover in a sales meeting. Once you get to the meeting, instead of presenting the entire document and saving questions until the end, you say, “Thank you for giving me twenty minutes of your time. How can we best spend it?”. This allows you to cover off the points that are most important to your audience first – and will immediately engage them by having them interact. 

If you build your presentation in a way that enables conversational storytelling, then you only have to build it once, however, you are able to present a different version of it each time you have a new meeting. You can add, edit and update as time goes on, but the flexibility of your ‘master’ presentation will mean you don’t have to build something new for every pitch. 

Adopting this new approach on how presentations should look, feel and be structured requires a shift in mindset for many marketing professionals. However, if you’re looking to create a personalised B2B marketing presentation that really leaves its mark, then conversational storytelling is well worth the effort for you, and your audience.

Spencer Waldron

Spencer Waldron

Contributor


European Regional Director, Prezi.