Transform Your Sales Presentations: Crafting Stories that Drive Success.

In recent years, my primary focus has been in one specific, but large, competency area: development of the sales presentation. After receiving and fulfilling training requests from various clients to coordinate internal teams for insights-based storytelling, I've come to realize that the key to success involves creating engaging sales narratives - but it's not easy! These stories need to resonate, align, and make it easy for the retail audience to say yes,  within the massive landscape of sales presentations they see every day. However, achieving this goal isn't solely the responsibility of the sales team—it requires collaboration from various departments to create impactful presentations. Consider this: numerous presentations originate in Marketing or Brand and are later customized by the sales team. Therefore, focusing solely on sales training doesn't address the fundamental issue of presentation development, which often starts with marketing and brand teams.

Revamping sales presentations hinges on crafting compelling stories within organizations. The key lies in the internal alignment I talk about above, a challenge often encountered across teams and organizations. To surmount this obstacle, consider the following steps to follow for your team or organization, with examples of workshop opportunities you can create internally to driven learning in the different areas.

Requirements for Aligned Storytelling:
  1. Market, Category, Shopper and Retail Customer Understanding:

    • Sales teams must deepen their comprehension of retail customers' strategies, market and category results, shoppers, competitors, and pain points. This understanding will help them to identify growth opportunities for their retailer's business.
    • Brand and marketing teams should broaden their focus to understand the total market, channels, retailers (and their shoppers), and categories for strategic growth. Reflecting on my experiences, their attention tends to be solely directed  towards brands and their target consumers.
    • LEARNING OPPORTUNITY:  Conduct a collaborative "Data Alignment" workshop for cross-functional teams. In this session, have teams collectively analyze your data sources across the product supply chain (hopefully from a set of standard reports), fostering a unified and innovative approach to interpreting and utilizing critical data for decision-making. This experience also creates alignment and increases data and report usage for the organization.
  2. Insight-Driven Decision Making:

    • Analyze data to craft genuine insights, explaining business opportunities with context and actionable information. Mastering this topic is no small feat, as it demands an understanding of data fundamentals, key measures, and a touch of business acumen. 
    • Utilize these insights to pinpoint growth opportunities in your business, make fact-based decisions, contribute to revenue growth, focus on cost efficiency, and adapt to changing market trends.
    • LEARNING OPPORTUNITY:  Facilitate a hands-on "Data to Insights" workshop, honing in on a specific priority or area through a compelling case study using your internal data. Get your teams to collaboratively analyze various data sources, combining observations to craft innovative insights, and present their findings to the larger group. This engaging learning opportunity promises new and valuable perspectives for your business. Ensure participants leave the workshop equipped with an approach they can replicate at their desks for ongoing application.
  3. Building the Presentation:

    • Creating an outline or storyboard before immersing yourself in PowerPoint saves time and leads to a more strategic and relevant narrative. Once the framework is established, fine-tuning the slides and getting logic and flow for your story becomes more straightforward. Afterwards, concentrating on incorporating compelling data visualizations will ensure that the key elements of each slide are highlighted.
    • Ensure team involvement in storyboard and presentation creation for alignment. Diverse perspectives can elevate a presentation to excellence.
    • LEARNING OPPORTUNITY:  Facilitate a hands-on series of workshops, including topics on "Storyboarding", "Developing Great Stories" and "Data Visualization".  Provide your teams with a business scenario based on an upcoming initiative, a new product launch, or a pertinent business issue that requires attention. Utilize your data and examples to illustrate the case. Divide the teams into cross-functional groups to generate outputs such as storyboards, PowerPoint slides, and data visualizations, which are then shared with the entire group. This approach stimulates dialogue, fosters a lively competition among the groups, and offers valuable learning experiences for all participants.

Crafting Customer-Centric Narratives:

  1. Develop narratives resonating with the customer, their business, and categories.
  2. Shift from company-centric to customer-centric storytelling.
  3. Foster emotional connections using vivid slides and compelling insights, accentuated by robust data visualization.

Transforming your internal sales presentation strategy and results requires a collaborative company-wide training initiative, with a focus on elevating storytelling. Through fostering internal cohesion and crafting customer-centric narratives, teams can develop presentations that connect, enhance engagement, and pave the way for success in a competitive environment. Additionally, there are numerous ancillary advantages, including time and resource efficiency, cross-functional synergies, teamwork, and improved business outcomes.

Feel free to contact me if you're interested in exploring or brainstorming training possibilities for your team or organization, and how CMKG can provide assistance.


Happy learning! Sue, CMKG


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Topics: storytelling

Written by Sue Nicholls, Founder & President CMKG

Embracing the Joy of Learning and Teaching. Hi there! I'm deeply passionate about training and learning. Since the pioneering days of category management at P&G in the '80s, I've been fortunate to embark on a journey of teaching and inspiring others. My career has been a delightful tapestry woven with long-term collaborations with major retailers and CPG executives, contributing to industry standards, and sharing insights at numerous conferences. I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to shape minds as an Adjunct Professor in Marketing, focusing on consumer behavior.

150 Hours of Knowledge and Countless Moments of Insight. Creating over 150 hours of online curriculum and leading hundreds of instructor-led sessions has been an enriching experience. I've had the honor of collaborating with diverse professionals across the globe, adapting to an ever-evolving industry. The goal? To forecast the future and equip our learners with the skills to thrive and stay relevant.

Learning: A Collective Adventure. I believe learning is a dynamic journey that encompasses individuals, teams, organizations, and yes, even us training professionals. It's not about rigid methods but nurturing a continuous, evolving process. My aim through this blog and other platforms is to share my wealth of experience and encourage open, ongoing dialogues. Together, we can enhance any team's ability to implement effective business strategies and realize their strategic goals. Let's embark on this learning adventure together, growing and evolving with every shared experience! Happy learning!