Marylou: One of the main questions that most people have is why use a tool like Prezi and what is that bias in terms of shortening the sales cycles. I didn’t know how you wanted to be introduced to that or how you want to talk about that.
Interviewee: I put together some thoughts. I always like to prepare just so I have some structure, so I can make sure that I’m hitting on a point that’s most relevant and interesting for you. Because it sounds like your audience is sales and marketing, so I wanted to focus on that. I looked at some of the work you did on the lead process optimization/ better ways to sell kind of things. I think this fits nicely in a different kind of angle from what people traditionally think about as a sales tool kit.
Marylou: It’s perfect.
Interviewee: Just a background, I came in August to Prezi. Prior to that, I was intern CMO over at iTrade. I was VP of marketing over at Open and I spent several years at Salesforce sort of sitting between sales and marketing trying to basically work on how to optimize working between the organization.
What’s really nice about Prezi is I see sort of a different way of thinking about what does the sales stack of a future look like? I’ll take you to some of my thoughts and then please interject anywhere you might have questions if this helps you.
Marylou: Okay, great.
Interviewee: One thing we think about a lot is what is the future work and what does that new stack look like? More in line with the way people want to work. You feel the tools that are coming out now, tools like Slack and others, and Prezi of course. More collaborative, of course, more visual, more flexible, more engaging.
We see some macro trends that have sort of pushed this into the workplace. The macro trends like consumerization of software changed the way users expect the way they’re going to interact with tools today. Just like the cloud exchanged accessibility from anywhere, we see the shift now on presentation tools where still some marketing people are rethinking the way they engage with prospects and they want a more dynamic, flexible, adaptable approach as they’re having these very critical moments, I would say, with their prospecting customers.
One thing I’ve always thought about, and being in marketing is that, there’s a huge investment in tools and resources that really work up front and they do things like identify the right prospects, you have tools that help you connect with prospects, you might have SDRs calling prospects, you have nurturing the relationship. The goal in most of these interactions is to get to that meeting. Today, with all the digital noise, it’s so hard to get to that meeting and arguably showing up at that meeting once you’ve got it, with a 60 page powerpoint deck and taking them through it slide by slide. It’s probably not where your prospect wants to hear and it’s probably a big myth in terms of that opportunity. Because if you know all the stats, prospect today do a lot of research before they even take a call with you, they know a bunch about you before you walk in the door. It’s a critical moment where a salesperson can really stand out from the crowd, be more memorable, be more engaging by taking a different way in navigating that conversation.
I’m going to share with you a little bit more what we talked about Cold Conversational Presenting. This is a real difference in the way presentations of instructions in the past. We look at it as talking with your audience instead of talking at your audience. We believe that’s a great opportunity to speed that path to the ‘aha’ or ‘wow’ moment with your prospects and customers. What that means from a sales perspective is you can then generate better conversion, better sales velocity and a real vision lock with your prospects and customers.
Conversational presenting, the whole ability to adapt your presentation to the way people want to zoom into a particular topic or pull out and see the overall table content, if you will, the map-like ability to dive into the area if they want to. We think this is going to separate out the really excellent sales team and the kinds of things that marketing is going to want to support, since marketing is looking for the kind of tools that really drive engagement with prospects and the customers.
If you’re a Prezi user which I’ve heard you are, you understand. It’s a lot about the visual focus, the flexibility, it’s showing how ideas intersect. When we create presentations now, we’re really creating stories. Stories that engage and inspire conversations. The traditional approach of static linear slides isn’t really the way that people want to interact with information.
We see that quite a bit in this new stack of work that’s evolving, where Slack disrupted the whole way that it’s not chat, it’s about collaboration and productivity. Prezi is doing this in the presentation stack because now we’re moving to a conversational presenting model that we believe is a great skill that this next generation of sales marketing professionals will want to use when actually getting that moment, that meeting, whether it’s virtual or live, in navigating a conversation, they get to the information that that person wants to hear about.
Prezi is also unique in another aspect, I would say. We look at the whole life cycle of the presentation, we look at it from the dynamic creation site, the visual assets and the delivery of it. I call it five minutes after you leave the room. We have now built in the ability, especially for sales teams, so they can track and see how the content was consumed. If it was shared, what was looked at. It hopes that you have a better indicator if a connection was made after the presentation. It’s very unique and it takes that full spectrum of what is a presentation through and it gives that ability to then inform how successful is that presentation and what could be improved because you can actually have the creation side of it as well.
We believe that being in this guide, which I think is a composite of different tools in this ebook that sales and marketing people want to use is that it’s a platform and it’s a platform that is not just responsive but it’s also informing. It helps improve the way presentations are created, delivered and tracked.
Marylou: I think the interesting part that we have difficulty with now is the tracking components. Especially when we’re trying to hone in on exactly which messages are resonating with buyers at different positions in the pipeline. Having the ability to circle back with marketing, because right now it’s very rudimentary the way we do that. We essentially kluge the CRM to say, “We wrapped up this call talking about this pain point and we started with this pain point and with this other one and they were able to move forward with the meeting because of this.” It’s all kind of kluge-y recorded in the comments area of the CRM.
With a tool like yours, we can not only take them through a conversation but it’s being tracked as to how the conversation flowed, in what order, and a lot of what we’re concerned about is understanding the buyer thought process, the levels of awareness and also which areas of our conversations are resonating better and faster so we can reduce the lag in the pipeline.
Interviewee: Absolutely. That’s what I thought, the sales velocity aspect of it. Imagining you’re in a sales meeting and basically the initial meeting, this is the first call. If you can then dive into the pain glands which gets you more to a stage of discovery, what is that worth? You connect, your sales velocity, the whole sales cycle is accelerated because you’re now focused in what challenge does that particular person have.
One of the things that I think is a great advantage of Prezi is that Prezi itself, it really has people thinking about what information is most important and how your presenters are relevant to the audience. One presentation can be tailored to a different audience without having create or edit new files. Each audience sees what’s important to them. It’s like a math-like interface. If someone can actually see the overview and then be able to navigate, I’ve heard a customer say this, I love this one, it’s like the, “Oh, I’ll get to that slide later,” moment. Because you’re creating a two way conversation.
The other thing I’d like to say to your point before was you were changing the metrics from number of meetings to number of minutes to better understand what people want, what prospects want.
Marylou: The other thing that I like too for the leadership folks listening into this conversation is that we’re always talking about how can we shorten that conversation at top of funnel and also be able to have and leverage other technologies like email to warm up the chill. If we know which topics are resonating with a particular persona in a given account and we’re working similar types of accounts, theoretically we can load up our engines with the predicted path of what they’re going to want to be concerned about ahead of time to help us even when we do get on the conversation, the actual phone or whatever the conversation is over the internet, we’re able to start where they just left off. That’s what I think is wonderful about these types of tools that track that engagement is that we’re smarter to know where we need to start and also where they came from.
Interviewee: Exactly. It gives you context and it informs your discussion so it’s more relevant, it’s more focused. You don’t spend time flailing around trying to figure out what is it that we’re connecting on, what is the area of interest that they’d like to dive into first.
Marylou: And also from the leadership perspective, the term of account based selling personalization, these are all the new buzz words that we’re being inundated with. We’ve embraced it but now we need the tools to help us do that better.
Interviewee: Absolutely. I was going to go into it in a few minutes, also about the way we consume information and sort of mapping that more to help people engage and remember what is being presented. There’s a lot of science that’s been built into how Prezi’s been architected that optimizes around once you get to that point where you got the content that interesting, how do people remember that? If you want, I can actually touch on that right now.
Interviewee: We were looking at different aspect about how people think. For example, we’ve seen that a lot of visual platforms, and by the way, Prezi has been built to be very easy to use so you can then bring in the element that you need to create your Prezi and then create the dynamic flow. It’s all very user driven and our new Prezi business offering which we came out last June, it’s setup for a very fast time to presentation as well.
If you think about how our brains digest information, visuals are digested much faster that text. What we think about and what we store is the deeper detail of the story and layers. You wouldn’t overwhelm a viewer with a bunch of bullet points or charts, it’s divulged in a format and a speed that’s understandable. We structure around a theme and then the visual helps come back to what it is and then you come back to your overall point which is encompassing many elements that allow you to confirm that and people remember these types of presentations.
We had an HR manager that told us, for example, in our training that using Prezi has 50% better retention than using slides when they were actually bringing new people up to speed. That’s a particular case. I would tell you that a common use case is trade shows where it’s really busy, really noisy, a lot of our customers like to use it not just over the large screen that is attracting people but also interacting. You have iPads and tablets, whatever tablet you use, and you can go out and you can engage people on the floor and dynamically go to the presentation as you’re talking to them or go into areas that are interesting for them.
I think it’s really important to merge the visual and then making sure that the visual elements are consumed in a way people want to consume them. It’s really important in marrying the spatial elements like how things are remembered with the visual aspect that really has that overall aspect which presentations are meant to do which is connect with audiences.
Marylou: A lot of the fear that, when I think about the years that I’ve invested personally in power points slides, just the thought of converting that all over to Prezi is a little overwhelming if I think about it. If I look at it as peeling the onion and taking the important conversational components of where I am in the relative position of the pipeline and structuring the conversations that way, eventually I’ll come up with a beautiful roadmap and a transit map almost of the areas that I think resonate based on conversation with my buyers and eventually you have a beautiful system. When you’re actually working with people, how do you do that? How do you suggest that people retrain their brains to wrap around this type of concept as opposed to a sequential slide scenario?
Interviewee: When we work with customers, and by the way there are different ways to do it. You can create it from scratch or we have a number of templates which are really fast and easy to use. We’ve discovered that sometimes people want to have a head start. We have things like everything from sales kick off templates to what’s your 2017 plan kind of thing. Just FYI, we definitely have a whole lot more to offer on that as well.
When you work with Prezi, you think about it in terms of what is the key information? What is a good visual way to represent that? And how does it all relate to each other? There’s this whole notion of relative space like how these things are connected. It really makes you think through the structure of what you’re talking about to what things are related, what things are connected, where you want to go. You can basically have that flow setup.
Some companies, they like to have this at their disposal. For example, one company we worked with had a number of different verticals that they sold to. It was a burden on their team, basically, this is a marketing specialist that landscaped farms. It was really hard for each team member to know each of the six different scripts. When the sales people went out, they had this all at their disposal and they were able to dive into one that was relevant to what they were talking to that day and that particular vertical. There is the ability to have that navigation specific to a target but have it all acceptable in one place. Does that make sense?
Marylou: It makes perfect sense. What I like about this, if sales people really think about this, we are masters of the sales conversation. That’s what we do, that’s our life. Based on that, we should be able to put together the conversation and then it’s out there spatially so whenever we hear a keyword and objection and what sounds like it may be coming to be an objection, we can immediately transition over to the area of our conversation that deals with that.
Interviewee: Absolutely. That’s how people also feel that you’re interacting with them, you’re listening to them. You’re responding to them in the moment rather than sort of just delivering some kind of canned pitch that they may not care about X% of it. By the time you finally get to the part they do care about, they may have already tuned out.
It is a highly dynamic, highly interactive way of interacting with the audience. If you’re a salesperson, you want to get to that vision lock as soon as possible by being engaged. By being able to target exactly where that connection point is in between what you’re selling and what that prospect’s looking for, the faster you get to that next stage. I really do believe there’s a whole element around the velocity.
Investing in that moment. I think that’s another thing when I was telling you about how much money is being spent upfront in just identifying the right people to talk to in getting to that meeting. That is a blind spot between marketing and sales because marketing may have the standard desk, sales may be saying okay I need to bring everything, but they don’t think about what happens when you’re in that moment with that prospect and that’s a really important thing.
Marylou: Definitely in the psychology of the interaction is where I think this is also that building of rapport and trust because you’re hearing them. I’m sure if you’re able to immediately go to the area of concern, the challenge, and contrast that to what their life could be like, that tells them you’re listening, that immediately starts building that internal trust and rapport. How can it not?
Interviewee: Absolutely. Here’s another example, we have a customer Zora which you may have heard of, and the woman, Christina Porter, has the customer advocacy program there. They used Prezi for dynamic case study so that their sales reps can accelerate deals by having persona base case study from different points of view. They can then navigate a case study, they have always available when they’re talking to someone, they can go right to it and then start talking about that with that prospect or customer, and they’re using Prezi analytics after the fact to track and see which part did that prospect really engage with. We see a lot of that connecting the whole experience which is different in the way presentations were created and that was it. It’s really a dynamic living type of the whole process.
Marylou: Presentations, the older fashioned ones are command and control. You start slide one, you go to slide N, and it’s difficult to stop in the middle to try to find a slide, if you did a backtrack. It’s pretty tough.
Interviewee: Absolutely. We find that this works from anything, from internal presentations to customer presentations. We believe conversational presenting is a core competency of what that next generation salesperson or marketing person needs to be aware of and engages in because when we look at the millenials, the way they are consuming information is different in that they want to be much more engaged, they want to be much more responsive, it’s much more visual. We see this trend permeating into the workforce now. We believe that this is going to be a much more of a force that people are going to adopt this through their practices, how they do what they do and then and adopt the tool that helps support that like Prezi.
Marylou: If I was trying to find out more information, I know you said the business product was released last year. What’s the best way to start uncovering the benefits of moving to a platform like this, if I’m listening to this call thinking, okay they’re making a lot of sense here. Let me investigate more. Where do I go?
Interviewee: Right. Basically, you could go to prezi.com, we have a trial that is available so you can test it out and you basically have access to the templates in there. It’s got great on boarding, my team helped build that. We also have CSNs that are available to support teams as they get further along. There’s a lot of resources but we have the trial which I think is the most compelling way to get started. Of course on the website there’s a number of assets that describe more what it is, more about the features and a lot of visuals and examples.
Marylou: Okay, great. Is there anything else that you wanted to add to this conversation before we wrap up?
Interviewee: No. I have a question. Are you making a recording to write an interview or you actually going to use the recording for as is?
Marylou: I am going to see what Adam would like to do. We can go either way, I usually transcribe and it can be written interview or we could piece together the audio and create a mini show out of it but it was more about getting the dialogue recorded and then from there whatever you guys want to do that you think would be most impactful is where we’re going to take it.
Interviewee: Got it. Tell me, from your point of view, did it make sense? Did it flow? I’m fairly new here but I’m getting my arms around. I’m working with our customers so I’d love to have hear any feedback from your side.
Marylou: I think I’m going to relisten to it and I’ll send you the actual recording. If you think it needs to be chopped up or if you want to re-record it or if you think it’s out of order, but for me it’s all about conversation and I liked the way the conversation went. You prepared the business use case for us and that’s really where it’s all about because a lot of people are in the way I am, have been working with other tools for so long now that it’s just daunting to think about a different way of looking at this but the way you explained it and how it’s all about the conversation, that’s what’s going to resonate with my folks for sure on this.
Interviewee: I agree. What we’re really promoting here, and what’s really game changing is you’re changing the way people do something. It’s about how they deliver, it’s not about the tool itself. The tool is an enabler but what it accomplishes today is just a different way of interacting which I think is probably something that’s been very long in the making, a desired outcome that is possible now because this particular space has not really had a lot of transformation in a long time. Newer entrances like Prezi are providing great alternative because another thing is people want to stand out, they want to be different, they want to be seen as innovators and Prezi helps you do that too. There is something too about how people feel also when they’re presenting in this kind of a format. I just wanted to point that out too, I didn’t really make a big point of that but standing out, being different, that’s another key motivator for a lot of the people that are using Prezi. They don’t look like everything else on the market place.
Marylou: Definitely. The big point and the big ‘aha’ moment for people on this particular call is the fact that we’re adapting the way we sell. We are no longer able to direct our prospects, they are in the driver seat. Because of that, we need to meet them where they’re at and this allows us to do that in a way that’s authentic. It shows we’re listening from a psychological standpoint, it builds a trust and rapport, there are so many under occurrence that are going on just by being able to present our conversation in this manner.
Interviewee: Absolutely. I loved your metaphor with the transit map, exactly.
Marylou: That’s borrowed from my client, Gartner. I love the way that they present their maps of tools, the navigation, it doesn’t look overwhelming the way they do that. And that’s essentially what this reminds me of is the fact that you can look at it globally, it’s color coded so you can see where the different streams are, but you know where to get on and you know where to get off. That’s nice.
Interviewee: The analytics really kicks in after the presentation. The presentations deliver, then when you send it you see what the person actually engages with.
Marylou: But if you are actually administering the presentation, is it being recorded at the same time that you’re presenting? If I had five discovery calls over the phone, it doesn’t show that okay, I wasn’t sure.
Interviewee: No, the way it would work is once you send it and they interact with it then you get that interaction.
Marylou: Okay, got you. But you presenting and going through the flow, it’s not tracking where you’ve been and where you’re going.
Interviewee: Not as you’re doing it. I’d have to find out if there’s a way to record that. Generally, you’re presenting it, you’re getting the interaction live from somebody of what they want to hear about. You’ll know in the moment as it’s happening. It’s more when you’re not there presenting that you want to know how people interact with the material and what they’re delving into.
Marylou: If we’re using this as assets in our cold streams or our warm up to chill streams to top of funnel where we’re reaching out to a bunch of people as personalized as possible and we’re sending this for them to look at like a click through, and they’re looking at it. That would help us, the analytics would help us make sure that our sequences are ordered in a way that’s going to reduce that lag. There’s a win-win here for that as well.
Interviewee: Absolutely. Sales people want to stand out and this was a great way to engage, it’s a great way to get feedback, it’s a great way to drive the sales acceleration.
I got to run. But I hope this helped, Marylou.
Marylou: Yes, thank you for your time and I’ll get back with the guys there and see how they want to take it to the next level.
Interviewee: Excellent. Thank you so much.
Interviewee: Bye now.