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Things I’d Like to See Go Away – The Logo Slide

by Hank Barnes  |  April 10, 2018  |  6 Comments

I’m going to start a new set of blog posts focused on things that I would like to see disappear–or at least disappear in certain contexts.   I’m not sure how long this series will go, but I’ve got a few ideas and welcome suggestions from readers.

First on the list – The Logo Slide (as a core component of sales presentations):

Stop Logo Slides

We’ve all seen this slide.   A company shares a slide with a bunch of logos, many of them recognized brands, as customers.   It is an attempt at establishing credibility and legitimacy.  Its origins pre-date the web, when it was harder to learn about new companies and products.

It needs to disappear from the core of sales presentations.   Today, it is much easier to learn information about companies and products–just go online.   If someone is willing to meet with you, you can expect that some (or many) of the participants in the meeting have done some homework.  A level of credibility has already been established.   Therefore a generic logo slide is significantly less valuable than it used to be.

Instead of logo slides, pepper your sales presentations with actual customer stories and customer quotes.   That is the real way to establish credibility.

Should logo slides disappear entirely?  Maybe not.   As appendix material (leave-behinds) that prove you have more customers (and stories) than the ones you shared, they can be useful.  For investors and partners, again as a supplement to real customer stories they can be helpful.  But that context is key.  Logo slides reinforce credibility. They don’t establish it anymore.

What can be done to help logo slides disappear?

Okay, this advice is going to be a bit crass, but here is my suggestion.  Whenever you are in the audience and a logo slide is presented in the context of the discussion, politely interrupt the speaker.  Ask them to tell you the story of what one of the “logos” is doing with the product.  Then ask for another.   Don’t pick the most obvious logos, be creative!   You could take this as far as you want, without being rude (or based on how the speaker responds).   I suspect that in most cases, there won’t be much of a story coming.

You can ask other questions as well.  Things like “Which of these companies are still using your products/services today?”, “Which ones have an enterprise deployment?”, and so on.  To be fair, pick questions that are relevant to your situation.

If they can’t answer them, then (again politely) state “We are much more interested in hearing customer stories that are similar to our situation than seeing logos.”

Bye, Bye Logo Slide.

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Category: go-to-market  

Tags: customer-validation  logo-slide  sales-presentation  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Things I’d Like to See Go Away – The Logo Slide

  1. Robert Travis says:

    Agree Hank, time to evolve and customize content. Big proponent of using a couple customer outcome slides to share narrative of the use case, customer value received/ROI metrics and why we won statement. To go the extra mile, align the customer slide to similar vertical and region for instant brand recognition. And gain a peer reference discussion. Best source of validation. Good blog read, thanks.

  2. Thad Eidman says:

    Hank, this is a good start to cleaning up marketing departments gone wild. To me, the most interesting questions are: 1) what specific problem was the customer trying to solve, 2) what alternatives did they consider, and, 3) how much are they paying you for your services? Many of the logos end up being early “friends and family” deals that don’t represent true customer use cases.

    • Matt Fisher says:

      Seems pretty harsh to blame ‘marketing departments gone wild’. In my experience, as a former VP Marketing, most marketing teams are more in-line already with Hank’s suggestions than their sales counterparts. I believe the logo slide DOES have a place, but I firmly agree that whoever is presenting needs to pick and choose the logos that a) support the opportunity they are working on and b) that they can talk to specifically.

      • Hank Barnes says:

        I would agree that the blame is not on marketing alone. And I’m not even sure that blame is the right word. I put this down to conditioning. We are conditioned to include the logo slide early in our decks by years of doing so. Years ago, it was the right thing to do. Now it’s not. Keep it in your appendices, have it ready as a leave behind, but get it out of the core story you are telling and tell some real customer stories.

  3. Mike Shea says:

    Great suggestion for the audience to ask for the story behind the logos! It’s where the value, if any is really lurking.

    There is a huge number of lazy marketers out there in need of creative retraining!

  4. Shawn says:

    Having presented many different decks (many of them included this slide) I think the entire slide presentation needs to go away. Introduction; Agenda; Key Wins; “The problem”; Conclusion; Call to Action… When was the last time you watched anything really engaging that had these items spelled out…

    People love great movies because they tell great stories. What can you do to turn your presentation into a story that the client will want to watch play out in their business?

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