With big dollars at stake and a significant investment of time and resources, it’s critical that you come across as a well-cast ensemble with consistent messaging, seamless interaction, and good chemistry during your team presentation. The way you interact together as a team gives your prospect an indication of what it will be like to work with your company.
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!
How to plan a winning team presentation
You want your presentation to come across as a cohesive message – not several disparate parts strung together, but team members are often spread across the country, involved in other projects, and have varying levels of knowledge, skill, and motivation. How can you ensure you’re all on the same page? How do you communicate effectively as a team? How do you support each other in the presentation during discussion, Q&A, or objections? Including team members as early as possible in the presentation planning stage and clearly defining roles and expectations can set you up for a winning team effort.
Following are some tips to make sure your team is built to win.
Agree on the objective:
Mixed messages can weaken even the strongest presentations. Getting your team involved in defining the presentation’s objective as well as key messages will ensure that you have everyone’s buy in. If you’re the lead salesperson, guide the conversation and aim for selecting a specific definable outcome from the presentation. Of course, the overall objective is to win the business, but you need to know what that next step is you want your prospect to take so that each team member’s section contributes and builds toward the same objective.
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 coming up with a theme. Make sure that everyone has a clear understanding of their responsibilities and a defined timeframe to complete them in. Assigning the following specific 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 the team leader is the lead salesperson or account executive. In addition, you may want to assign the following roles to spread some of the responsibility:
- Logistics coordinator: Assign a team member to schedule all team meetings and rehearsals, including locations (physical or virtual), communicate this information to the team, and keep everyone updated on any changes.
- Presentation coordinator/designer: Assigning one person to collect all presentation materials from other team members and put them into a single format will ensure that all elements of your design are consistent. A bunch of different fonts, graphics, and styles makes the presentation look like it was thrown together at the last minute.
Clarify presentation roles:
Everyone attending the presentation should have a speaking role during the presentation – even if it’s short – and that includes managers and directors. That way it doesn’t look like some of your team members are just there to satisfy a weight requirement, instead everyone on your team is actively involved and invested in the opportunity. The following questions can help you determine presentation roles:
- Who will open and close? Typically this is done by a salesperson or manager. The opening is critical for gaining attention and setting the tone for the rest of your presentation so whoever does open should understand the many objectives that must be met in those first few minutes.
- Who will kick it off? This is not the same as your presentation opening, but a short (less than one minute) pre-opening statement by an executive to show support for the project.
- How will you handle transitions? This is where many teams show their weakness. Practice transitions and keep them quick and seamless.
- How will you handle introductions? Skip the long list of participants up front and have the previous presenter give a very brief introduction of the next presenter.
- How will you manage Q&A? Appoint one person to handle questions or assign team members by subject or type of question, but you must 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. Stay tuned for tips on how to rehearse and deliver a winning team presentation.