Managing Sales Presentations to Large Groups

group presentation

This may be the one environment in which it is more appropriate to tell rather than sell.

If you’re using a tool like GoToMeeting or WebEx and you have a sales presentation (or demo) that will be attended by more than 3-5 people do not anticipate making any real headway on that call.

The reality is that complex selling is done in a vertical manner: one salesperson to one potential buyer. Even if more parties are involved, usually you can only really sell to one (or a few at most) at a time…even though your deal might require buy-in from multiple people or departments. Don’t get me wrong, you can make a business case–sure, but you’re not going to be able to persuade any one individual in a direct manner.

Calls with 10-20 or more attendees should be viewed as teaching sessions. Give your elevators pitches and value propositions their proper due, but don’t anticipate actually engaging any one individual in a serious sales conversation. Forget about applying SPIN or any other technique.

The problem with groups is they’re fraught with competing agendas, politics, rivalries, etc. People are almost always shy when in groups too, and even if they’re not you certainly won’t be able to have any sort of conversation that borders on commercial.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Schedule a qualifying call with your lead before the big presentation!

In addition to a proper qualification call, you’ll need to understand who the most important person in the room is, what they do and who they do it for, and that persons pains. The one goal of the group presentation is to win over that person, and you’re going to have to do it foregoing a direct in depth conversation.

2. Tell it fast and don’t stop for questions!

Go through the presentation at a thorough but quick-as-you-can pace. If you’re doing a remote presentation and you can’t see them up close, then stopping to ask for questions ever other minute will just annoy them and waste everyone’s precious time.

3. Personalize it!

Yes, the focus will be on telling, but it has to be personalized. Speak to the business case you’re looking to make, or to the general benefit of your product, but make sure to use the information gathered in the qualification call to make it relevant.

For example, if you’ve failed to get in depth figures and insights into the lead’s business, then focus on other things like process. How do they do things related to your product? Would your product likely improve the way they do things? Then, once you have this info, you can focus on it in the group presentation.

4. Q&A last and then next steps, with the head honcho!

Once your presentation is over, you can begin a round of Q&A, if this lasts more than a minute then you’ve done a good job! After that you want to understand what the next step will be and who it will be with. If the head honcho says indicates that you will be talking with them then you have succeeded.

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Group presentations can be productive if you stick to the points above. The goal here isn’t to sell the tool, it’s to pique the interest of the most important person in the room and get a scheduled call with them to follow up with what they saw…and then sell it. If you try selling to a group in the same way you would to an individual, the process is doomed for failure.

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