Value of Presentations

Attending, preparing, and giving presentations is a critical part of doing business. The big question is, what is the outcome of your presentations? How many presentations lead to measurable results? On behalf of Selling Power and I recently conducted a survey of B2B sales professionals to get a better understanding on this subject.

How much time do you spend on presentations?

Of the 175 participants in the survey, 76% indicate they need presentations to do their job, and for 53%, this means they attend at least one to two presentations a week. The most prominent users are product managers, who attend several presentations a day, present once or twice a week and, together with marketing, spend as much as a full day in preparation. Sales, which accounted for 56% of the respondents, present less frequent, and spend only a couple of hours in preparation.

Q1 v2

Q2 v2

Q3 v2

Q6 v2

How much does a presentation cost?  

Let’s take the example of a small company of about 50-100 employees and assume that a midlevel manager creates and delivers a presentation to 10 people in the organization:

  • 8 hours (@ $65/hour) to create      $    520
  • 1 hour to deliver to 10 people      $    650
  • Total cost for one presentation  $ 1,170

This excludes the cost of a conference room, projector, technical support, and condiments for the participants.

The costs of presentations are staggering!

Similarly, assuming a company uses conference rooms for its internal presentations, and inside sales and field sales representatives for its external presentations, it will find itself investing the following:

  • $273,000/year per conference room on internal presentations,
  • $88,000/year per field sales professional on client presentations, and
  • $12,400/year per inside sales professional on client presentations

A company that employs five outside reps and two inside reps will spend nearly a million dollars annually on presentations.  If you want to estimate the amount your company is investing use our online calculator.

What is the outcome of presentations?

There is a great value in getting people together at a set time to share ideas by having a conversation that is initiated through a thought-provoking presentation.  However, in most corporations, the majority of internal presentations are provided by untrained people who deliver monologues instead of engaging in two-way conversations. As you can tell from the results below, approximately one out of two presentations is considered valuable enough and leads to a measurable result.

Q3 How many were worth your time

As for external presentations, the result appears worse.  In the sales industry the monologue, one-way presentation is so commonplace that it is referred to as “a talking brochure”.  It is no surprise that a panel of buyers at the recent Sales 2.0 Conference in London rated only 1 out of 8 presentations valuable. When posed with the question “What do you fear the most?” their response was “long and boring vendor presentations.”

Tweet 1in8 v2

How can presentations be improved

How can we deliver a better return on the sizable investment in presentations both internally and externally?
Q8 What would make your presentation better

These responses can be separated in a few areas of improvement:

  1. Prepare by researching your audience and develop, a story line that matches their need.
  2. Make your content exciting, adding telling visuals, and base it on relevant/reliable data.
  3. Improve your delivery by practicing, and with every practice, shorten it up until the length is between 12 and 15 minutes.
  4. Integrate a way to engage and involve your audience early on.

For those presenting regularly, I recommend Duarte Academy and, in particular, its workshop Resonate.  If you are presenting data, I recommend Edward Tufte and his class Presenting Data and Information.

Rethinking presentations

But the biggest opportunity for presentations does not come from improving the way we present.  There is a far bigger opportunity with new use cases powered by the latest presentation tools.  These emerging use cases operate at a lower cost and provide a more meaningful and measurable return. Use cases that will make you rethink presentations altogether:
  • The briefing presentation: Pioneered by account executives in need of a presentation before the meeting to make room for conversation during the meeting resulting in a shorter sales cycle.
  • The white paper presentation: White papers command the highest sign-up ratio of any online asset. Give your white paper exponential exposure with 100K views and 1,000 likes to drive lead gen.
  • The client roadmap presentation: Developed by a product manager who wanted to let the client drive the discussion using double tap and swipe, resulting in a more productive conversation.
  • The online sales pitch: Pioneered and developed by inside sales teams based on its efficiency & effectiveness.  This includes desktop/application sharing for instant demonstrations.
  • The Starbucks experience: Conversations are moving from a conference room into a coffee shop, where you sit side by side and use an easy-to-navigate presentation tool to spark a conversation.

As you can see, no longer does a presentation need to take place at a set time and location with a lean-back audience being asked to listen intently and ask questions at the end. These new use cases take aim at a lean-forward audience, and its goal is to drive conversation. For more examples, click here to visit my content section.

How do you capitalize on the opportunity?

If you want to capitalize on the opportunity, do not hesitate to contact me.


Passionate about all things social, sales, marketing and business development.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Content, Skills, Tools
5 comments on “Value of Presentations
  1. victoriac4r says:

    Reblogged this on training and development that enables business growth and commented:
    Preparation is key. Measureable results needs to be a must so that is great.

  2. Jacco,

    Thanks for this overview
    Prepare, Talk with pictures, Be reliable, Engage and keep it brief…..;)


  3. How refreshing to receive actual, valuable content rather than page after page of teasing, only to lead to a sales pitch. You are truly a leader in the move to educate and instruct. You went immediately on my list of potential resources.

  4. Mark Grimm says:

    Interesting to see an “engaging story line” is voted the top way to improve a presentation. A speech is not a collection of data, it is a story, a show, that must be engaging and relevant to the audience that sees it. Most presenters prepare the wrong way — focusing on memorizing data rather than outlining a compelling story with a few key points. Much more about this here:

  5. Millie says:

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the
    book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive thee message home a little bit, but instead of that,
    this iss excellent blog. An excellent read.
    I will certainly be back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s