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How Presentations Can Hurt Your Business (and how to fix it)

First published on November 5, 2018 on business.com by AlexAnndra Ontra

Whether it’s sales decks or product updates, a presentation tells a business’s story, but without a strategy in place, they could become a time-consuming and possibly legal mess.

Every day, businesses are on the lookout for better ways to boost productivity, so they can grow their bottom line without sacrificing compliance. A forward-thinking company must keep innovating, whether that means a tweak to an existing workflow or an enterprise-wide implementation of a new process. When it comes to increasing profits, every little detail counts.

One aspect that is often overlooked is presentations – their creation, distribution and usage. Presentations are a critical communications tool for most businesses. Whether it’s sales decks or product updates, a presentation tells the business’s story, but without a strategy, they could become a time-consuming, and possibly a legal, mess.

Let’s take a look at three ways a company can improve their presentation strategy to enhance their business.

1. A solid presentation strategy boosts productivity.

Businesses that are creating one-off presentations for single use are wasting valuable time that could otherwise be spent driving the business forward. In this world of social media, blogs and SEO, content has become king, and many businesses are devoting serious dollars to develop engaging content that is proven to convert. But what does the business do with the content after its initial use?

If a business develops a quality infographic for the company blog, there’s no reason that asset shouldn’t be shared across all company communication channels, from newsletters to social posts and, of course, presentations.

That is why organizations need to house all of their marketing files, formatted and ready to present, in one central location so they can be used by the appropriate team members. Ideally, a presentation management strategy will streamline the process of distributing updated and revised content, so employees can reuse content with minimal preparation time – time that could be better spent on tasks that will actually build the business, like product improvements or meeting with clients. By empowering your team to create presentations in a more efficient manner, they can be more efficient and productive in their respective roles

2. It guarantees compliance on multiple levels.

Compliance issues can manifest themselves on three levels: confidentiality, brand and message, and regulatory. First and most obvious, it’s important that businesses have a system to ensure sensitive information doesn’t get out and that the right employees are directed to the right content so they can get their job done. Furthermore, compliance controls what recipients can do with that content. For example, are they allowed to print it, download it, edit it, etc.? This not only protects the company from risk, but also ensures that the recipient is able to do exactly what’s expected with their presentation content.

Brand and message compliance ensures that everyone is presenting with the proper graphics and language. More importantly, message compliance means that everyone is communicating accurate and up-to-date information about the company products, pricing, mission, etc.

Third, a compliance aspect that is often overlooked when creating presentations is legal compliance, which refers to “required content,” such as disclosure statements. This is particularly critical in highly regulated industries, like finance and pharma, because it guarantees that everyone is presenting the information in a format that complies with the law.

Finally, reporting lets managers know whether or not the team is compliant when presenting, and it gives insights into what gets used and what doesn’t get used in the field. This allows the marketing team to focus on creating assets that actually work rather than wasting valuable time creating materials that wither.

3. A sound strategy enhances efficiency.

A business is at its best when employees are doing what they’re actually paid to do. For example, a sales team is most productive when they’re actually on the road, selling the product, not piecing together single-use presentations for each and every sales meeting.

Royal Caribbean recently overhauled its presentation management strategy after realizing that its sales team, comprising 300 employees, was wasting a combined 86,000 hours piecing together presentations, most of which were only used once or twice. By streamlining their presentation management process and making all assets available in one central location, Royal Caribbean was able to save almost $3.5 million.

Businesses are always looking for that edge to push them to the next level, and often, it’s right in front of them. By identifying specific pain points within workflows like presentation management, businesses will improve their day-to-day operation, establish a more efficient work environment and boost the business.

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