Companies can’t afford to mislead their customers and the public—willingly or otherwise. Doing so can lead to severe fines and a drastic loss in revenue as fleeing customers look elsewhere for substitutes. However, by investing in a powerful presentation management solution, organizations can ensure that everyone in the company is on the same page, all the time—even when they’re rushing to complete a presentation or are working on a different continent.
In today’s digital economy, as much as 80% of a company’s value comes from its intangible assets: brand equity, intellectual capital, and goodwill.
But, to paraphrase billionaire Warren Buffett, while it may take decades to build up your brand’s reputation, it only takes a few minutes to destroy it.
Despite this reality, time and time again we’ve seen what happens when a company communicates the wrong thing at the wrong time. Just ask the executive team at BP what they think about the way the company responded to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
When company communications go spectacularly bad, organizations are forced to invest a ton of time, money, and other resources in rapid response teams, crisis management, PR, recalls, and more. Not only can miscommunication take a big bite out of your bottom line, but it can also shrink your customer base sizably—giving your competitors an edge.
How Weak Internal Coordination Damages Reputations
According to Harvard Business Review, weak internal coordination is one of the main determinants of reputational risk.
To illustrate, imagine a SaaS salesperson is on the other side of the country trying to land a new account. Unfortunately, the sales deck that individual has been given contains several glaring errors that no one in the organization detected before they left on their trip.
During the initial presentation, the salesperson ends up relaying erroneous information about product features and pricing—despite the fact that peers back at headquarters realized the errors were in the deck prior to the presentation. Unfortunately, that fact is never relayed to the salesperson.
The customer likes what they hear during the presentation and agrees to sign on—only to find out later on that a serious mistake has been made. Not only is the salesperson ultimately unable to land the new account, employees there start telling the people in their own networks about the less-than-optimal experience. All of a sudden, the company’s reputation is tarnished for an easily preventable mistake—making it more difficult to land other new clients, too.
In this hypothetical scenario, the weak internal coordination problem manifests itself because the salesperson is unaware they are presenting inaccurate information; whoever created the decks in the first place didn’t do their due diligence and the other team member who discovered the errors didn’t relay them to the salesperson on time.
Does any of this sound slightly familiar? Recognizing the areas where your business lacks strong internal coordination and managing this type of risk is an essential aspect of running a successful business.
The Power of Presentation Management
Thanks to modern technology, it’s now much easier for companies to increase the chances everyone at the organization stays on message every day—thereby avoiding situations like the one described above.
The last thing your company needs is for someone to go off-message in a harmful way—especially when they don’t even mean to. At best, potential customers will think twice about doing business with you once they fact-check your claims and research your company further. At worst, your organization could unknowingly violate laws or regulations. In that case, you may hemorrhage customers and face severe fines.[“With the right solution in place, your organization benefits from an insurance policy of sorts that protects you from saying the wrong things or making statements that are altogether illegal.”]
The good news is that by investing in a presentation management solution, companies can mitigate these potentially crippling risks and continue growing. These tools enable organizations to ensure that all of their digital assets are up to date and accessible and that everyone is working off of the same assets.
Simply put, presentation management is risk and reputation management. No longer do companies have to worry about a salesperson presenting year-old slides that have since been updated to deliver more compliant messaging.
With the right presentation management tool in place, companies benefit from:
1. Message consistency and brand unification
When different arms of a company are relaying different messages, things can spiral out of control quickly. It’s much harder to fix the damage after the fact than prevent it from happening in the first place. Presentation management enables companies to ensure message consistency and brand unification across the entire organization.
2. Product and service information is accurate and timely
Let’s say a customer is interested in buying a SaaS solution from your company. That person calls one of your offices and hears one thing. Then they call another one of your offices and hear something quite different. The customer is unlikely to consider your organization trustworthy after hearing two employees relay different messages. With a robust presentation management system in place, all assets are accessible from a central repository and everyone leverages the most current ones. Everyone stays on the same page—even when they’re proverbially out of the loop.
3. Compliant communications and claims
When your employees send out the wrong messages, it may only be a matter of time before watchdog groups start knocking at your door. In January 2016, for example, Lumosity—a game developer that claims its products improve memory, problem-solving abilities, and mental dexterity—was fined $2 million by the FTC for misleading its customers. Presentation management enables companies to make sure that their messaging is compliant with the law and any pertinent regulations. Taking a proactive approach to digital asset management allows companies to drastically reduce the likelihood they’ll incur fines or other penalties for sharing the wrong messages.
4. Critical information is disseminated quickly and efficiently
Imagine one of your best salespeople has been on the road for the last month trying to nab new clients. There’s a problem: You changed your pricing but nobody informed that individual of the changes. So, as the salesperson moves from meeting to meeting, they are relaying outdated information to prospects. You’re forced to honor the lower pricing to all the new clients that come on board. This scenario is easily avoided with a presentation management system in place. Any changes to relevant data are reflected immediately in digital assets that are available to all team members—no matter where they happen to be. This guarantees that your employees will relay the current critical information and never be pitching off the wrong decks.
5. Comprehensive reporting analytics
Not only does storing unnecessary digital assets clog your repositories, but it can also be quite expensive depending on how much data you have. Presentation management solutions enable companies to see which users are accessing which assets and when. This enables them to get rid of duplicate and out-of-date assets that make it more difficult for employees to find what they’re looking for. It also lets management know which assets are most useful.
Without a presentation management strategy in place, companies are more likely to spread messages that are misleading, deceptive, inaccurate or out of date. On the other hand, with the right solution in place, your organization benefits from an insurance policy of sorts that protects you from saying the wrong things—or making statements that are altogether illegal.
There’s no sense in rolling the dice and risking having employees on different pages. By investing in a modern presentation management system, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing every member of your team is aware of the precise message your organization wants to share.
Not only does this enable you to avoid upset customers and fines, but it also helps you convince your clients that your brand cares deeply about the details. That’s the ticket to increasing the lifetime value of all of your customers and keeping them happy and informed.
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AlexAnndra Ontra, co-founder of Shufflrr, is a leading advocate for presentation management. She has been providing presentation technology and consulting services to global enterprises for over 15 years.
At Shufflrr, she oversees all client services and is a leading expert in presentation management strategy, implementation, and adaptation.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog post or content are those of the authors or the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.