Rolf Jester

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Rolf Jester
Vice-President, Distinguished Analyst
16 years at Gartner
46 years IT Industry

Rolf Jester researches the business of IT services, particularly business and marketing strategy and best practices for IT services providers. He focuses on the IT outsourcing business globally, and also on the IT services market and service providers in the Asia/Pacific region. Read Full Bio

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Useless Sales Pitch Slides #1

by Rolf Jester  |  March 27, 2013  |  7 Comments

#1 of many …

Over the years as an analyst and marketer I have seen too many bad sales pitches from IT vendors.  I’ve found a number of common slide types that appear again and again.  They actually serve no useful purpose.  If you’ve read my research and the recent blog posts you’ll have seen that I aim to help IT marketers and sales people; so, I’m in favour of good sales pitches.  But I hate waste of time and effort; bad selling makes me wince.

Mea culpa: I talk from experience, having also committed many of the “sins” of sales presentations.

The most outstanding useless slide is the one I call the “common differentiators”.  (Thanks to my colleague Jacqueline Heng for that name.) They are commonly used by numerous vendors, do not create differentiation, are vague and often not particularly relevant to the buyers.  Here are the most common ones.

  • Global presence
  • End-to-end offering
  • Solution provider
  • Focused on business value-add
  • Trusted partner for our clients

… and … most importantly, of course …

  • Our people!

We could analyse each point at length, but it’s not really worthwhile.  They are typically mostly meaningless and irrelevant.  They are so common to all sales pitches that they have become white noise washing over the audience. Not only do people ignore them, they actually switch off and miss the unique gems of business value you are undoubtedly about to share with them.

These non-differentiators are rarely substantiated with credible evidence.  An attempt to do so would likely just show up their emptiness anyway.  Even more rarely are they related to the client’s actual need.  They do not help your sales efforts.  Yet I see them still, time and again.

There’s a lot of good material out there on sales presentations.  For the IT industry, I published Marketing Essentials: Creating Effective IT Sales Presentations a few years ago.

 I propose to highlight more useless sales pitch slides I’ve come across in future posts as I continue to research good selling of IT.


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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Solis Consulting   March 28, 2013 at 3:07 am

    valid points, however I believe that you will continue to see the “white noise” due to the mere fact that sales people can’t really bring a slide deck that is 1-2 pages :)

  • 2 Jonathan Lampe   March 28, 2013 at 3:49 am

    I’m currently guilty of one and I have been guilty as many as three in past lives. Thanks for the timely reminder to cut the crap.

  • 3 Jon Spragg   March 28, 2013 at 6:53 am

    One of my personal favourites is \Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant\. Surely a brilliant key common differentiation that will clearly distinguish you from the identical pitch on said competitors slide decks!

  • 4 Mr I Rony Orisitjustme   March 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Very valid points.

    Is it perhaps troubling that all of those phrases appear on the “About Gartner” page

  • 5 RentRag   March 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Whilst I don’t disagree with you, do you have any data to back these statements up?

    Have you run any substantial A/B testing where one variant is written as above versus another that is more creative?

    I’ve done this recently and found that cutting the crap and focusing on exposing needs can actually reduce click through rates.

    To be fair your assessment can be applied to other form of marketing particularly search and banner ads.

  • 6 Derry Finkeldey   March 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Thank you, Rolf. I wholeheartedly concur. It’s one of the key elements of the “if you took your name out and replaced it with a competitor, could we tell the difference” test.

    Solis Consulting, one might argue that a good sales person that is engaging personally doesn’t need a slide deck! :)

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