Sales team training is commonplace in many businesses, and universally understood to be a core part of building effective sales teams. So why is it that presentation skills are so often overlooked? If you really want to improve win rate and increase market share, you need to train your people to deliver persuasive stories, consistent messaging, and beautiful, on-brand slides in front of both physical and virtual audiences.
In any industry, you need to keep improving, or you’re going to get left behind. And when it comes to enabling this evolution, you can’t afford to forget about your sales team training. We bet you have learning and development initiatives around sales enablement, but what about presentation skills specifically?
We found out that 77% of people are expected to deliver presentations as a part of their role. And even if your salespeople don’t formally stand in front of slides and deliver a speech, every sales call, coffee chat, and video conference is an opportunity to present your company solution. Yet only 23% have been trained to create and deliver persuasive presentations.
An opportunity for competitive advantage
If a pipe bursts in your house, you’re unlikely to ask your doctor to bob round and take a look.
If you decide to get a tattoo, would you prefer that a trained professional did it for you, or Jeff from the corner shop?
We look to others to provide skills we don’t have, and yet we expect prospects to buy into our company without giving our salespeople the skills those potential clients will be looking for. And the impact of this lack of training is clear. Businesses are losing business. In fact, we found that 26% have lost a potential customer because they delivered a poor presentation, and 25% lost an existing customer for the same reason.
These troubling statistics could carve out an opportunity for you to gain a competitive edge and increase your market share. Give your people the tools they need to win more pitches, and more business, by introducing presentation skills into your sales team training.
Presentation skills for effective sales team training
Presentation skills can help your salespeople connect their audience knowledge to your company story, drawing a line from the prospect’s challenge to a solution you can offer, and communicating a consistent brand story that’s adapted to push the buttons of the person in front of them.
But just knowing what to say isn’t enough. Your sales teams need to know how to deliver these messages. How body language, movement, stillness, gestures, and so much more, go into persuasive communication and forming relationships that last. Presentation skills training can transform raw talent into polished, professional, and persuasive communications under any conditions.
And by giving your team these skills, you’ll empower them to feel more confident in every conversation, show you’re dedicated to their success and increase engagement. With increased employee engagement being linked to better performing businesses and increased profits, can you really afford not to include presentations skills in your sales team training?
In our Improve your sales win rate blog, we gave you eight ideas for learning smart to increase success, briefly touching on the importance of training your teams to be better presenters, and stop losing prospects at the bottom of the funnel. But it is so important that we’re giving this one element of effective sales teams its moment in the spotlight. Let’s break down the complicated world of presentation skills so that you can start to build it into your training.
Storytelling training for sales teams
Storytelling skills aren’t just a core component of effective sales team training regimens, they’re a core component of effective communications. Whether you’re trying to make new friends, entertain existing ones, influence the world or simply make more sales, storytelling is the key to it all.
55% of people say a great story is what holds their attention during a presentation, but 46% of presenters feel that the hardest part of creating a successful presentation is crafting a compelling story. There is a skills gap here that needs to be addressed, if you’re to keep your audience interested.
Your salespeople need to know how to articulate the value that your product has for the individuals in front of them. They need to know why that person needs what you can offer. They need to be educators, therapists and mind control experts, all wrapped up into one. We’re not asking a lot.
Benefits of storytelling training
Telling stories helps audiences to see themselves as the hero, and imagine how much better their life will be with your product or service in it. Stories do the hard work of selling for you.
Messages delivered as stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone. Stories act as mnemonic devices, organising your key messages into meaningful structure so that they can be more easily remembered. If you teach your people to wrap your stats and product benefits up as a story, it will mean your presentations stay with your audience long after you’ve left the room.
Storytelling also inspires audience engagement. Audiences are more likely to connect with messages that trigger emotions and make them feel involved. As well as this, Scientists at Ohio State found that when we’re transported by a narrative, we view the protagonist more favourably and embrace their beliefs. This makes those all-important connections so much easier. When you tell stories, your audience is more likely to connect with both you and your message. For your sales team training, this means you need to have a strong focus on empathy and learning to see the world through your audience’s eyes. This will enable your team to craft the story that will resonate with their audience and compel them to take action.
The possibilities are endless
Storytelling can be applied to all calls, emails, and conversations with new leads, through to established customers. From the first inquiry to the final big pitch, there are numerous opportunities to tell stories, so it’s a fundamental skill for anyone to have in their back pocket.
Our persuasive storytelling training will train your sales teams to tell your company story in a way the individual in front of them will actually care about. They’ll learn how to step into their audience’s shoes, tell tales that change behaviours, and write stories that will blow their audiences’ minds. Be warned though: the next time they ask for a raise, you won’t be able to say no. Their persuasive powers will just be too great.
Persuasive storytelling training session for your sales team
If you’re not sold on storytelling yet, why not download our free eBook and see if the pages upon pages of free, practical advice capture your imagination?
Storytelling training game: Match game
Make a list of all the benefits of your product or service and another list outlining all your audience challenges. Shuffle both lists and have your team members match the problem to the solution. This will prepare them to provide reasoned and persuasive responses to any prospect’s problem and show them you have the answer to all their challenges.
PowerPoint template training for sales teams
Most salespeople spend 50+ hours a month building presentations, with each presentation averaging out at eight hours build time. That’s a whole working day spent simply creating the slides for any presentation. It doesn’t include all the research, practice, travel, and other time expenses that go into a pitch that, our research shows, 54% of businesses are only winning half the time. At the most.
As well as all this wasted time, employee engagement is drastically affected by frustrating software. If your salespeople have never been trained to use PowerPoint, it’s no wonder they’re getting frustrated with it. But PowerPoint wants to help you. It has all the tools you need to build impactful slides quickly and easily. You just need to know where to find them.
An intuitively-designed and robustly-built PowerPoint template, accompanied by a professional, hands-on training session, could recover a big chunk of lost time for everyone tasked with creating presentations in your company, and make them much happier with the task at hand.
Benefits of PowerPoint template training
We already know that 91% of presenters feel more confident presenting with a well-designed slide deck, so imagine the confidence that would come from knowing that that well-designed slide deck was built with their own hands. PowerPoint template training as part of your sales team training could give your people this autonomy and pride.
And the benefits would reach further than just the people making and presenting the slides.
Inconsistent branding can damage the trust between you and your audience, confuse their understanding of your mission, and negatively impact your profits, but you don’t have time to check everyone’s slides before they present. Enable your team to create their own consistent visual stories with an easy-to-use template and next-level PowerPoint knowledge, and rest easy knowing your brand is being correctly and consistently represented.
We’re giving you all the PowerPoint secrets
Our hands-on PowerPoint template training has been designed to teach your sales teams how to make their own next-level presentations, quickly and easily. Whatever skills your team need to bump their presentations up to that next level, we’ll give ‘em those, and then some.
Once they have these skills, it won’t only help when creating pitch decks, but follow-up collateral, proposals, and internal comms as well.
PowerPoint template training session for your sales team
PowerPoint training game: Speed build
Give your team a slide-building brief and find out who’s making the most of all the time-saving PowerPoint tools by seeing who finishes first.
Virtual presentation training for sales teams
We’ve all been thrust into a disconnected world of poor internet connections, muted mics, and lost information that we were previously used to getting from body language, tiny gestures, and minute expressions. Selling remotely has changed, and this includes how we present.
Not only do you need to consider how you communicate when presenting remotely, and how you make up for that lost information, but you need to think about adapting your slides to work just as smoothly across the airwaves, and be just as clearly understood with miles between you, rather than metres. Luckily, our pitch deck designers are experts in pitching in any environment. They can ensure your messages are heard, even with a dodgy connection.
Benefits of training your team to present remotely
The world isn’t ever going to go back to the way it was. Your sales team needs a full skills toolkit, if they’re going to keep delivering results in a hybrid world. If your team can present just as well virtually as they can face to face, you can meet the audience’s need and show you’re both capable and flexible, right from the start of your relationship.
Creating connections will never be as easy over video conferencing software, but not only can you train your salespeople to get the most out of every remote interaction, there are also many other benefits to presenting remotely. You can reach a wider audience, eliminate travel costs and use your time more efficiently. And the same skills needed for presenting virtually can be used for webinars, opening up your capabilities to show the world that you’re thought leaders. Check out our ultimate guide to webinars for an in-depth look at how to write, design and build these important communication tools.
New training for a new world
We’ve all sat through a virtual presentation in the last year that’s been too long, had too much data, and presented too many distractions, such as bad camera and audio quality, and pants hanging up to dry in the background. Make sure your sales team isn’t instilling this same sense of dread in their audiences as we’ve all suffered through, with our virtual presentation training.
We cover everything from writing your story to creating your slides, as well as the best technology and essential home set up, to differences in delivery that every successful virtual presenter needs to take into account. Your team will leave feeling completely confident to smash their goals in this new world.
Virtual training game: Back-to-back
Have two salespeople stand back-to-back and have an improvised sales conversation. The urge will be to turn around so that they can look at the person they’re talking to and gain all that valuable non-verbal insight. Instead, they need to adapt to both give more verbal clues and fill in the blanks where non-verbal information is lost. If they can do this successfully, virtual presenting and sales should be easy.
Delivery training for sales teams
This is the scary part: actually presenting. Fear of public speaking is one of the most common everyday worries in the UK, affecting around 77% of Brits. People who are scared to get up in front of a group and speak might think they’re not cut out for sales, but anyone can overcome these nerves.
Great presenters are made, not born. You only have to compare Michelle Obama’s media appearances a few years ago to her speeches today to see that. Michelle has continuously worked to improve, removing a huge barrier to delivering her persuasive and inspiring message and connecting with her audience. Your salespeople need this same dedication and guidance when it comes to their delivery skills.
Benefits of delivery training for sales teams
There are so many micro movements that come together to create great presentation delivery. You may not even have opened your mouth and your audience will already have made a decision about you. In fact, it can take as little as five seconds for an audience to determine whether a presenter is charismatic or not. This first impression can be a key component to your prospect’s decision whether to work with you or not. If they perceive you to be trustworthy and honest in your presenting style, they’ll believe that’s how you conduct business. If you make regular eye contact, your audience will believe you to be more competent, according to Winona State University. And if you make them laugh, they’ll believe working with you will be enjoyable too.
Teach your sales team to understand these nuances and they’ll be able to present the best version of themselves when they present. For more tips on delivery technique and presentation preparation, check out our blog on the scary topic of public speaking.
Effective salespeople know all about creating connections through conversations, and the biggest delivery mistake you can make is to throw all that out the window and deliver a monologue instead. Great presentations are about interacting with your audience, talking with them, not at them, and guiding them through your narrative. In fact, audience engagement levels have been found to be at their highest if the attendees do most of the talking.
Teach your sales teams to turn their presentations into games and let their audience discover the answer for themselves, while letting their guards down and enjoying the experience. To find out more about creating messages that everyone can understand, retain and connect with, watch our webinar on forging emotional connections.
Improve your PowerPoint skills
Our Improve your PowerPoint skills training sessions are designed to give any level of presenter a huge boost across all the most important areas of presenting, including delivery. We can teach your sales teams to practice smarter, project better, and use their body language as part of their narrative.
In fact, if this is the first time you’re considering presentation skills training, you won’t go far wrong with this comprehensive session. In just two hours, your salespeople will get a huge amount of practical advice they can implement immediately. From storytelling to design, PowerPoint tips to delivery, your team will get access to four of our specialists whose brains are ready for tickling.
Improve your PowerPoint skills training session for your sales team
Delivery training game: Panel show
Hold an internal panel where each salesperson takes turns answering audience questions to make sure everyone’s prepared for audience interactivity and Q&A sessions.
We can bridge your presentation skills gap
The truth is, we know what we’re talking about when it comes to presentations. If we didn’t, you’d wonder what we’d been doing these last ten years. We can create PowerPoint presentation training that covers anything you need to know. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. We’re here to support you on this exciting PowerPoint learning journey.
As well as delivering bespoke in-house or virtual training sessions, we can overhaul your other training materials to ensure the storytelling, design and motion are working as hard as they can, to help all types of learner soak up the information.
Sales team training can turn great sales teams into unrivalled experts that your competition will wish they had on their side. But, to do this, you need to be thinking about the areas of sales that your competition aren’t. Our research shows that presentation skills is one of those areas. Implement presentation skills into your sales team training programme now, and leave your competition in the dust.
It all starts with a chat
If you want to transform how the world experiences your ideas, there really is no time like the present (get it?). Get in touch and make good things happen.