Home » How Sales Enablement Teams Can Unwittingly Become Barriers to Sales Success

In the world of sales, a compelling presentation can make all the difference. It has the power to engage your audience, convey your message effectively, and ultimately drive sales. It’s no wonder presentations play such a central role in sales enablement programmes.

That’s the good news.

However, things get a little trickier once we start talking about execution. It’s at this point that well-intentioned sales enablement teams come a cropper, wrongly assuming that a nicely designed presentation that ticks all the boxes (content aligned to the playbook, copious presenter notes, approved case studies) will do the trick.

Sorry folks, it won’t.

So, where do you start?


The first step to sales-enabling presentation content is to develop a compelling story that engages your audience. Our own “Presentation Optimisation” process crafts strong narratives by obsessing about the most important stakeholder in any presentation – the audience.

But, of course, you knew that. The key difference between box-ticking and creating a presentation as a launchpad for success is this – different story structures need to work for different audience types and intended outcomes. It is imperative to equip presenters with the flexibility to engage in a way that is most appropriate to them. Forcing presenters down a single rigid story format immediately limits engagement and runs the risk of audiences either switching off or presenters ‘going rogue’.

Both options spell disaster for a sales enablement programme.


User training for anyone who might be in the orbit of your new presentation is crucial.

  • What to say.
  • How to say it
  • Why they’re saying it.

Yes – we all get that. Nothing new there.

However, if you want to ensure the longevity and adaptability of your presentation in a way that empowers presenters to update and customise the content without diluting its core message, you need to go deeper. Way deeper.

It’s time to face facts – salespeople will tinker with your corporate-approved presentation, sometimes out of necessity and sometimes, well, just because. It is vital that you give them the tools to do this correctly and in a way that doesn’t detract or (heaven forfend) misrepresent your business. Treat them like adults and give them the skills and knowledge to make the right amends when needed.


Presentations should not be limited to PowerPoint and laptops alone, yet so much of the sales enablement training we see is obsessed about clickers and where to stand.
Great presentations and presenters are more nuanced than that. Way more nuanced.

Instead, develop programmes that embrace multiple presentation formats in a way that better serves different audience types and situations, from the informal chat over coffee to an audience-wide conversation. Each requires different tools and training to get the most out of the presentation opportunity, so equip your sales teams with the skills and confidence to step away from the PowerPoint when required.


Sales conversations have changed beyond recognition. Not too long ago, presentations meant standing in front of a group of people and sharing your message in a way that prompted them into action, ideally signing on the dotted line.

Fast forward to today, and we have diverse presentation environments (hybrid presenting, anyone?), easily distracted audiences and decision-makers who can’t join but want you to ‘send your deck’, upon which they will make a decision. Wow.

The rules of the game have changed; however, few sales enablement programmes have changed with them. Only a handful factor in the need for impeccable preparation (the ‘Connect Phase’), flexibility at the point of delivery (the ‘Communicate Phase) or the increasing need to maintain engagement after the presentation (the ‘Sustain Phase’).

Our advice to Sales Enablement teams – obsessing about ‘Communicate’ will only get you so far. It’s time to rethink presentations (and we’re not just talking slides!).


No matter how fabulous your presentation (and the associated onboarding) is today, it won’t last forever. Your presentation needs to keep pace as your business evolves and introduces new products, services, and pricing.

This is where things can come undone very quickly. Version control is one of the seven levels of hell, which, when combined with the challenges of updating a presentation while attempting to keep it coherent and on point, can lead to the creation of a monster. This challenge is so common that we’ve coined a phrase for the mismatched smorgasbord of slides – “Presentationstein”.  

To avoid this, have a strategy and ensure that everyone understands the importance of it. The best sales enablement teams we work with now turn the inevitable updates into an opportunity to refresh stories, add powerful new case studies, polish up the team’s delivery skills and ensure that everyone is au fait with the presentation approach.

Explore how you can turn your headache into a competitive advantage – it works (no, really).

Developing sales-enabling presentation content is a strategic endeavour that demands attention to detail and a commitment to engaging storytelling. It’s also a function that few people fully appreciate or recognise the importance of – such is the lot of the sales enablement team.

However, by following these five steps, you can create a presentation culture that is focused on captivating the audience, aligning sales and marketing, and ultimately driving long-term sales success. Now, that’s the measure of an effective sales enablement team…

Newsletter signup

Pin It on Pinterest