Directly from many salespeople (clients) over the past 20 years, here are the most popular responses (in no particular order) to the question, “Why don’t you use the corporate positioning deck?“
- Too much fluff.
- I would never say those words to a prospect or customer. I’d sound like an idiot.
- This would kill my credibility.
- It doesn’t tell a story.
- There’s no meat to it.
- It’s all about us and they don’t really give a _________.
- It’s way too long and prospects get aggravated. They just want to see the product.
- It doesn’t help me facilitate a conversation.
- I feel like I’m throwing up.
- Prospects have already seen this on our website. That’s why they contacted us.
Here’s the problem with most positioning presentations that come from corporate marketing. They’re all about how good we are, not how good we’re going to make you, the buyer.
The objective of every sales presentation is to get buyers talking, ideally more than you’re talking. “All about us” positioning is a monologue, not a conversation.
The Simple Fix to Corporate Positioning
Here’s the deal. We all want salespeople to willingly use positioning that comes from corporate and/or product marketing so that our value message is delivered with high impact and consistency.
If that’s going to happen, follow these guidelines.
Make It Consumable
Positioning needs to be written in a manner that’s easy for salespeople to understand, internalize and deliver in their own unique conversation or presentation style. There’s no benefit in turning them into robots. People still buy from people.
Make It Conversational
Casual and conversational is in. Corporate and proper is out! Use words and phrases you routinely hear from customers. If they get the impression you think just like them, then you must be brilliant! Credibility still rules.
Make It About the Buyer
If you want people’s money, you have to make them the centerpiece of the conversation. Positioning content should be mostly about what buyers do, why it’s important to their success and why they can’t do it (80%). Follow it with a few of your key capabilities that get them to their desired outcome (20%).
Create Cue Cards and Stick to the 50% White Space Rule
What’s your first reaction when you’re sitting in a presentation and the presenter throws up a slide with 10 bullet points in small font? “OMG! Are they going to cover every one of those? Time to catch up on emails.” Exactly!
The content on your slides should be short phrases and simple graphics that make a clear point about how buyers will get better at things that are critical their success.
When you’re creating a presentation, start in the notes section and jot down “the point of this slide.” It will help you create content that’s clear, succinct and meaningful.
Less Is More. Keep It Simple.
This one is hard. You have so many great capabilities, strengths and benefits. How do you cover all of them? Short answer: you don’t, and you shouldn’t even try. See #6 from the top 10 list above.
If you really think about it, there’s usually one (strategic) outcome buyers want from your solutions. What is it? Build your positioning around the 3-5 biggest obstacles standing in the way of that outcome and you’ll have a simple value story that everyone understands.
At the end of the presentation (versus the beginning), list the top 3 reasons buyers should partner with you. Company info should be the dessert, not the appetizer.
Simplicity is also the easiest way to differentiate.
If you’re in a role where positioning content is part of your job, do it with your two primary customers in mind – the salespeople and your target customers.
Easier to understand. Easier to sell. Easier to buy.
If you want to learn how to create your company or product positioning in 10 slides using the guidelines above, contact us about a personalized workshop and walk out of the classroom with your positioning deck.