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How to Plan a Killer Demo or Presentation

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AdobeStock_64491392.jpegTeam presentations often mean high stakes and a significant investment of time and resources so it’s critical that your team delivers a consistent message and exhibits good chemistry. Sloppy transitions, disconnected messages, and discord among team members can make your prospect feel more like they’re working with a dysfunctional family than a valued business partner!

Unfortunately getting everyone on the same page can be difficult when team members are spread across the country, involved in other projects, and have varying levels of knowledge, skill, and motivation. To make sure your team delivers a cohesive message and presents like a well-rehearsed ensemble, it’s important to consider the following early in the planning stages:

  1. Agree on the objective:

Mixed messages can weaken even the strongest presentations. Get your team involved in defining the presentation’s objective as well as key messages to ensure buy in and provide direction. If you’re the team lead, guide the conversation and aim for selecting a specific definable outcome from the presentation. Of course, the ultimate goal is to win the business, but there may be an interim step and each member’s section should contribute and build toward that common objective.

  1. Assign pre-presentation roles:

All team members should have a clearly defined role in preparing the presentation – whether it’s providing expertise, doing discovery, or developing a theme. Assigning the following roles will help ensure that your presentation comes together in a coherent and timely manner:

Team leader: Every team needs a leader to stay on top of things and keep information from getting lost or balls from being dropped. Most likely this is the lead salesperson or account executive, however you may want to assign the following additional roles to spread out some of the responsibility:

Logistics coordinator: Assign a team member to schedule all team meetings and rehearsals (physical or virtual), coordinate travel, and keep everyone up to date on any changes.

Presentation coordinator/designer: Assigning one person to collect and assemble any discovery and presentation materials will ensure that all elements of your design are consistent. A bunch of different fonts, graphics, and styles gives your audience the impression that your presentation was thrown together at the last minute.

  1. Clarify presentation roles:
    Everyone attending the presentation should have a speaking role during the presentation – even if it’s short – including managers and directors – to demonstrate that your team is actively involved and invested in the opportunity. Consider the following as you determine roles:
  • Who will open and close? The opening is critical for gaining attention and setting the tone for the rest of your presentation and the closing should summarize value and ask for next steps. Whoever takes on these roles should have a clear plan for accomplishing those objectives as well as be familiar with other sections in order to effectively frame the presentation.
  • When and how will you introduce each other? Skip the long introductions at the top of the presentation and simply have the previous presenter give a very brief introduction of the next presenter.
  • How will you handle transitions? This is where many teams show weakness. Practice transitions and keep them quick and seamless.
  • How will you manage Q&A? Appoint one person to handle questions or assign team members by subject or type of question. Agree upon a question-handling strategy as a team and practice it in your rehearsal if you want to shine as a true ensemble.

Proper planning can put your team in a winning position, but it’s how you apply and execute that plan that will really seal the deal. For information on creating a winning team in your organization, check out our SalesTeam2WIN workshop!


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