ClearSlide's Acquisition of SlideRocket Puts the Spotlight on Mobile Presentations

ClearSlide's Acquisition of SlideRocket Puts the Spotlight on Mobile Presentations
March 6, 2013

Yesterday when I heard that ClearSlide had acquired SlideRocket, I was excited to see even more attention and activity in the mobile presentation space. Over the past few months, several new companies have arrived on the scene, each with their own unique approach at addressing the challenge of equipping sales reps with tools to help make them more successful while they’re out on the road.

The proliferation of mobile devices and adoption of these new platforms in work environments – formally by the enterprise, and informally via BYOD – is an unstoppable trend that points to a need to make the devices more useful and productive for the folks who are using them, which more often than not are salespeople. A survey by IDG shows that 51% of IT and business decision-makers say they “always” use their iPad at work (and a further 40% say they sometimes use it at work).

SlideRocket’s approach was to give companies tools to create presentations to rival PowerPoint. Some could argue that since PowerPoint now has enhanced features and more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations are created every day (according to Microsoft), the demand for a new presentation authoring tool may not be so significant. VMware’s sale of SlideRocket may be as much a reflection of that as it is that SlideRocket was not core to VMware’s business focus.  That said, I commend ClearSlide for their move to add an on-demand presentation option for their users.  

Adding more utility to the PowerPoint content that companies have invested in is a key component of SlideShark, the #1 solution for presenting PowerPoint on the iPad and iPhone the way it was meant to be seen. Making presentations, though, is just one piece of the sales enablement equation. I happened to be at the Forrester Sales Enablement Forum in Scottsdale this week, where this assertion has certainly been validated. Successful selling depends on a complete cycle of effective prospecting, excellent preparation, effective ongoing engagement with customers and prospects, and the ability to leverage insights and analytics to advance the sales cycle.  Let me elaborate…

A truly effective sales process begins with strong prospecting – identifying the folks who are most in need of the solution you’re selling. Our customers do this by accessing the right content for their target audience, sharing it with potential prospects, and prioritizing their follow-ups with the best leads based on audience viewer behavior. Then, once they have a high-quality lead, it’s time to get prepared for the meeting.  

Keep in mind, today’s customers are smarter than ever – they have the advantage of universal access to nearly unlimited information, so they come to the table with all of the background knowledge they need. What they require from a salesperson is a specific discussion of how their problems can be solved.

To do this effectively, a salesperson must be completely prepared for the meeting. That often means finding and preparing the right presentation material and gathering relevant information on-the-fly, using a mobile phone or iPad – even in a parking lot before going in to the meeting (hey, that’s just reality!). Having an organized method for gathering and accessing all of the information that is important for that meeting helps salespeople be better prepared and more successful when presenting.

Engaging prospects during a meeting is when the presentation becomes important. Being able to use a device such as an iPad to deliver a presentation gives a sales professional ultimate flexibility and can make their message more compelling. The rep also must have full confidence that the presentation technology will work flawlessly so he or she can focus on what matters – engaging in a productive conversation.  

Following the meeting, the rep needs to be able to advance the sales discussion by sharing specific content the prospect wants and can view on their own schedule from any device.  I call this “selling in your sleep.” Even when you’re not talking directly to the prospect, Brainshark tracking delivers detailed information on how your content is viewed or shared by the prospect. This insight gives a salesperson a distinct advantage when following up with the prospect, forecasting an opportunity, and ultimately closing the deal.

To truly equip your sales force for success, you need to think holistically about how you can help them not just present, but also prospect, prepare, engage and advance!