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Useless sales Pitch Slides #3 — Awards and Certifications

by Rolf Jester  |  April 4, 2014  |  5 Comments

I still see them regularly: slides in corporate presentations and sales pitches that achieve nothing.

Well actually they do achieve something : they waste time, irritate your audience, or, worst of all, cause them to switch off. Experienced speakers know that audiences are highly likely to drift off to other thoughts at intervals anyway.  You don’t need to help them!

#3 in the series of useless sales pitch slides are those “seals of approval”, awards you have won and certifications you have achieved. A high proportion of IT providers’ presentations include them.

The thing is that it may, in some situations, actually be useful to highlight an award or a certification … IF it is relevant … IF it matters to the specific audience and for the specific purpose of this presentation. But almost all the time, these are perfunctorily presented, almost glossed over, with barely a word about why they matter. That’s probably because they don’t.

Awards are often dubious anyway. Industry bodies give awards in order to promote the industry; fair enough. Sophisticated buyers know that. Winning one may give you an excuse to issue a press release or a tweet; it is enough of a small event for that. But unless there’s some compelling value highlighted by the award that matters to your specific presentation audience, there’s no need to inflict the slide with the “gold stars” on them. If you wanted me to care about an award you’d have to tell me who the issuing organization is, how credible it is, its judging process, what the award really means, and crucially, what it means to me. That’s what I never hear in these presentations. How does this add value to me, the potential buyer? 

Similarly with certifications. So you have ISO78654.65 (2009-v1)? Tell me what it means to me. And while you’re at it, you may have to explain what that standard is and what that certification actually means anyway. And also, who certified you, and how credible are they?

If you feel a need for some gold medals on a slide, pick just the one or two that matter to this audience, the ones that are relevant to the value they are looking for. And explain them, and sell that value. And if you can’t articulate the specific value, leave it out.


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Tags: marketing  presentations  selling-it-services  

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

Thoughts on Useless sales Pitch Slides #3 — Awards and Certifications

  1. John says:

    And how about Magic Quadrant placements? 🙂

    • Rolf Jester says:

      Thanks. Yes, indeed: the same advice applies. No favoritism! Does this “award” matter to the specific audience? and if so, explain how.

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