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presentations, sales skills

11 Highly Useful Presentation Tools for Sales and Marketing

My friend TJ McCue, collected some of the most useful tools to help sales and marketing professionals make the most of sales presentations. I’ve got nothing to add, so here it is:

Computer slide presentations are one of the ways we sell in person. We create the slides, show them to a prospect and then leave them on our machines for the next time we need them.

Why let them go to waste? By hosting them online, we can repurpose them as marketing and soft sales pieces.

Aside from repurposing existing presentations by loading them online, what if you want to create new presentations from scratch that do more — that contain a mix of slides, browser screen shots, product images, and even short video clips?  Today you can easily do that and often for free.  Jing and some of the tools below make it possible to create a more dynamic presentation, complete with audio, animation, and video that you can position on the Web for customers to review at their convenience.

So here are 11 presentation tools for creating outstanding presentations or just repurposing already-existing presentations, for your sales and marketing:

1. Slideshare is a well known presentation hosting site. It has great web applications to let you distribute  your presentations to LinkedIn, Facebook, and many other social networks. It is becoming its own social network, in essence. They do not let you build a presentation as many of these others do; you only can host it there. It is simply a presentation portal where your ideas and thoughts can garner traffic and links.

Slideshare

2. Google Presentations – It sometimes feels to me that Google does everything that I need online. It isn’t true, of course, but Google Docs does offer Google Presentations. You can create a presentation from scratch or upload a Powerpoint file to Google and then share it with others. A basic tour is found here.

3. Zoho Show does a lot more than presentation hosting.  Zoho’s tool in this category is excellent and collaborative. If you need to have a chat going while you’re presenting, this is one to look at.

4. Prezi is one of the hottest startups in the presentation world. Takes a new look at presentations, gives you a large canvas to place images, videos, text and then lets you zoom in and out on various parts of your “presentation.” You have to host your presentation at Prezi, but you can embed it into your site or blog once you’ve done that. Their technology appears to be too robust to package up in any current file format. I liked this phrase from their site: “Prezi is zooming sketches on a digital napkin.”

5. authorStream allows you to convert your Powerpoint into video, which then lets you tap into all of the other video type hosting services like Vimeo, YouTube, Viddler, and others. This YouTube Marketing post by Travis Campbell inspired me to investigate the different options you are reading now.  I wondered if I could put my presentations on high traffic video sites without having to do a video.

6. Jing is a screen capture program that lets you capture whatever you have on your desktop (slides, webpage, image) and add audio as you click through. You can then save it to their slide presentation hosting site, Screencast or download it for email, chat or the web.

In the past I have frequently used GoToMeeting.com.  The only problem?  I was unable to save some of the audio from my presentations.  So I used Jing to re-create my presentation, added browser screens in a tour-like fashion, and audio. I was then able to email it to the people who could not join the presentation. The feedback was always terrific.

Jing

7. KinetiCast is a presentation hosting service that’s great for the analytical types who just have to know what happens when a prospect views the presentation. You upload your presentation, then send your prospect a download link which KinetiCast then tracks if the prospect actually visits and what they look at as well as how long they spend. They also let you download your presentation as a video.

8. Empressr has been widely written about and it is one of the market leaders. You can create your presentation, add video, audio, photos, then host it there for free and share it with others. They call it the world’s first free online storytelling tool.

9. 280Slides is a browser-based tool that requires no download. If you do not have presentation software, this is one of the most intuitive tools I’ve seen for free. You simply work right from your browser to create slides, insert video, photos, and audio and save in different formats. It also lets you publish it direct to Slideshare, which I found pretty neat.

280Slides

10. Myplick lets you upload your presentation and then add audio to it. It is a slide hosting service, smaller and less well known than Slideshare, but because it helps you place audio into the presentation, I include it here. They give you various options for including your audio into a presentation allowing you to upload a video with the sound you want.

11. vcasmo allows you to put video and presentations together, which is pretty interesting. Your video goes on the left side and slides on the right. As you talk through your presentation, you are demonstrating your service or product by video. It looks and feels like an in-person presentation with their format.

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These tools can help you create presentations from scratch or enliven existing presentations with audio and screenshots. If you’ve ever given a presentation via PowerPoint or some other software tool, you can give that work a new life and post your presentations online.  Or just create a new whiz-bang presentation with all the bells and whistles.

Give some of these a try and let us know which ones work for you. Tell us about others you may like.

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