PowerPoint is a ubiquitous business mainstay. Everyone has it, and technically, anyone can use it. But before that program gets fired up, ask yourself, how much is your company’s success worth?

Rains | Birchard Marketing spends a great deal of time working with our clients on a wide range of marketing projects. The big important materials like logo designs, branding, trade show booths, collateral, ad campaigns, website designs, SEO, media campaigns, and the list goes on. These sorts of projects tend to be the high profile ones that receive high level oversight and approval. They also make up what we consider to be a part of our “out-sourced, in-house” value proposition.

However, we found out that one of the sales people at a client of ours was using Powerpoint to pitch big, multi-million dollar sales. We’d addressed Powerpoint, and created a basic template for marketing use, but it was not being used by the sales team. All of our efforts to create great marketing materials seemed to be wasted because sales people were producing presentations themselves without consulting marketing. Why were they doing this? Because they didn’t consider Powerpoint to be a part of their overall marketing plan. In reality, Powerpoint presentations may be one of the most important elements between making that big million dollar sale or not.

Later we received a copy of an actual presentation that a sales person had used, and describing the design as “utilitarian” would be generous.

Marketing is all about perception; when intermingled with sales it’s important to remember that you’re selling the sizzle and the steak.

This Powerpoint had no sizzle, and didn’t resemble any of the branding elements that had been established.

The differences between a Powerpoint put together by the person presenting the materials and one put together by a designer working with a marketing team is like night and day.  They may have the same content, but how it is visually presented makes all the difference.  One of my favorite mantras rings true: “Just because you could, doesn’t mean you should.”

Since then, we’ve created some well designed, versatile and durable (read: hard to screw up) Powerpoint templates for my client’s sales people to use. The reality is the true success of the company hinged in large part on presentations made using Powerpoint. So how much is a Powerpoint presentation actually worth?  For this client, potentially millions.