The company overview is today’s business selfie. It’s that slide (or series of slides) that seems to be in most salespeople’s decks that shows any or all of the following: a picture of your building (ho hum), the timeline of your company’s growth (blah, blah, blah), and the awards your company has won (I’m sorry, are you still talking to me?)
One thing I’ll say about the company overview is that it is an equal opportunity slide: it is as boring for the salesperson to deliver as it is for the customer to receive. The truth is that these particular slides are better suited for a brochure than a live presentation. In this day and age your prospect likely already knows–or has access to–much of what you think you need to tell them about your company. Sure, there are key points you want to highlight for your audience, and there’s a place for that, but it is not in the first few minutes of your presentation.
I see hundreds of presentations from fairly experience salespeople each year and what’s surprising is that while the rest of the deck may be perfectly zen-like, the corporate overview slide violates all the rules of good slide design: too many bullet points, small fonts and boring pictures. And of course, since it is content-heavy, salespeople end up reading it, further disengaging from their audience. All in all a very poor start to a presentation or demonstration where trying to win the audience’s attention is already a challenge!
Put yourself in the shoes of your prospect and imagine the presenter reading the following slide to you right at the beginning of the presentation:
Example of a Typical Company Overview Slide:
Salesperson: “Before we get started I’d like to tell you a little bit about our company. We started as a small data management company in Wisconsin with ten employees. By 2000 we had grown to 1000 employees and moved to our current office in Stamford, which you can see here, to make room for everybody. In 2001, we started with data management, and then you can see we added order management in 2002 and finally e-commerce in 2004. And these are all the industry awards we’ve received for technology and design over the past ten years. On this next slide you can see some of the over 500 customers we’ve helped, including…”
Remember getting cornered by “that guy” at a networking event who went on and on about himself immediately after being introduced? Bad news: You may be “that guy” if you’re still opening with a corporate overview like this.
“But won’t our accomplishments give me credibility?” I often get asked. Thumping on your chest too early doesn’t give you credibility. In fact, it probably creates more skepticism at that point. You need to earn the right to talk about how great you are to avoid losing your audience so early on in your presentation. Focus on delivering value in the beginning and your credibility will build quickly and naturally. Then, and only then, have you earned the right to talk about how great you are. And even then, limit it to small doses, please. Want to learn how to gain instant credibility? Click here.
Here’s how to Dump the Company Selfie and still look good:
- Start with what’s of most interest to your customer! That may be an outcome, an insight, or something you found out in discovery, but it is never how many offices you have or how long you’ve been in business!
- Sprinkle in relevant facts or customer success stories throughout your presentation or demo as opposed to dumping it all on a few slides.
- When delivering corporate overview information, remember to apply the same features/benefits test to it. If it’s a feature (i.e., we have 1000 employees) tie it to a benefit (which makes us available 24/7 to address your needs.)
- Place your overview at the end, have it available as a leave behind or drop it all together. Trust me, it won’t be missed.