THE “PITCH MASTER” MYTH
Most of us are familiar with the myth of the “Pitch Master”: a virtuoso who has been touched by a muse and can persuade eskimos to buy ice. They weave stories, metaphors, testimonials, visuals, magic tricks, persuasive speaking, lighting effects, fear, and laughter together to create a compelling truth.
Whether it’s “mad men” winning new corporate accounts, or Steve Jobs firing up society to “think different”, some people possess a personal power to persuade.
EMERGING SCIENCE OF SALES AUTOMATION
It’s true — there are these amazing pitch masters among us. But the reality is people are pitching every day and they don’t have the time or resources to create masterpiece pitches for each and every meeting. Creating sales collateral and pitch books is a very time consuming process. And personalizing them is even harder.
So what if we could get that time back and even increase the effectiveness of the content?
The new generation of document and sales automation software aims to dramatically increase operational efficiency while enriching content personalization. Using cloud technology, mobile first philosophy, and highly integrated into existing business intelligence software, this new crop of products (like Xinn platform, Seismic, and Qvidian) will change the sales game forever.
Let’s look at how these tools are doing it:
THE ANATOMY OF A SALES CONTENT SYSTEM
1. The Synced Content Library: The Backbone of the System
In the age of Google Drive, Dropbox and Sharepoint, documents can be stored, indexed and accessed all through the cloud. Each company usually has a different method, but whatever it is, it’s a critical piece of the equation that is integrated into these new tools through APIs and data connectors.
The new generation of software tools are highly synced with other services and products, and this flexibility is key to adapting to whatever environment a business is running.
2. The Content Specialist: The Ice Cream Flavor Maker
There’s literally hundreds of different types of decks sales people use. Ones for different size companies, different industries, different products, different regions and countries. Content automation systems rely on content specialist to gather, insert and manage the content objects.
But once they are created, the system can organize and sustain them for all the sales people to refine and personalize to their specific situations. Like flavors of ice cream, pitch decks and sales decks can be labeled to serve an almost infinite set of flavors for every situation.
3. Data Automation: The System Brain
So many of the time consuming tasks we used to do — like replacing logos on every page, updating new template styles, freshening up content — can be automated. By placing variables in the place of actual assets, these sales decks work like dynamic applications, displaying the most current data or assets that they are referencing.
The complexity of these dynamic data systems is the heart of how these systems increase operational efficiency dramatically.
UNLEASHING THE TOOL EVERYWHERE
Sales people in particular are on the go a lot. They are also not big fans of using complex desktop software for hours on end. By creating easy and intuitive mobile interfaces for the tool, content automation tools can enable the sales people themselves to create, manage anywhere.
The significant investment these tools make in tablet and mobile experiences could be the No. 1 way they distinguish themselves from the conventional tool sets. They also position themselves for future behavior as mobile usage and BYOD grows in an undeniable wave globally.
1. Personalization of Content: Hitting the Bullseye
Perhaps the most critical part of the pitch is the ability to personalize the content. It’s common sense to allow each sales person to insert their own unique content, but these tools are going one step further. They are creating the ability for the presenter’s audience to self-identify what they want to hear.
By checking with the audience themselves in an instant feedback mobile format, the content can be highly targeted to exactly what the audience is looking to hear. Not to mention avoiding taking time for content that the audience does not want to hear.
2. Instant Content Feedback: Insights That Drive Improvement
These tools are also incorporating “Tinder-like” abilities to get feedback on the presentation.
This is the Holy Grail of measuring sales effectiveness. By looking at insights, trends, and customer ratings, companies can build invaluable intelligence on the effectiveness of their sales presentations.
3. Spreading the Content Around: Amplify the Brilliance
Perhaps the most game-changing potential of these tools is the ability to amplify the sales deck to a massive level.
In the age of Slideshare, content decks can be used as selling vehicles even after the pitch is over. By providing the ability to share the deck privately or publicly, entire audiences can be affected and persuaded, not just the immediate audience.
Why keep the brilliance to a few people?
Masthead image via Shutterstock