Up Level CSM Presentation Skills

Egan Callahan
Egan Callahan Member Posts: 2 Navigator
edited July 2020 in CS Org Conversations
Hi GGR Community,

I'm looking for a program or resources to up-level my team's presentation/story telling skills. We're a revenue focused CSM team, heavily focused on driving account spend. We spend a lot of call time pitching new features and telling customer stories about what's worked well from a strategic standpoint. We typically do this while presenting slides.

I'd like to take my team to the next level. The Demo To Win methodology is what came to mind first but would love any recommendations on things that have worked well for you.


  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 168 Expert
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Insightfuls 25 Likes
    edited July 2020
    Having sold for a number of years myself, perhaps this is helpful. 

    I often prepared very carefully for sales presentations with a highly polished deck, but found that every customer situation was different. I found the most important slide was the very first--stating what you understand to be the customer's challenges and goals and asking for clarification. In mixed groups, this almost always led to a rich, highly productive conversation as they sorted it out between themselves. Then I would clarify and verify the most important elements until everyone in the room nodded in agreement. Then I would pick ONLY those slides that really mattered--and nothing more--because the customer really didn't care about anything else. Usually that meant choosing only slides #8 and #15 from a deck of 40+ slides.

    The most important takeaway in sales is that it's about them--it's not about you. Your job is to facilitate a decision, not to "sell." My advice is to train your people on asking better questions, verifying what is and is not important, and addressing only those things. Telling a story and showing data (in that order) about how you've helped others is also very powerful, but only after you confirm the story is relevant. 
  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 185 Expert
    100 Comments First Anniversary
    edited August 2020
    Hi @Egan Callahan - what has helped me and the teams I have been involved with over the years:
    • Some form of presentation skills training.  There are plenty of consultants/trainers that will be able to help share tips and tricks to guide your team in the right direction.  This was helpful for me as it guided me down the story telling path, while using my slides to help narrate.  Presenting anything, let alone data, is a tricky proposition.  I think we have all set through painful presentations.  Telling a story is always helpful.
    • Another career development program that helped me was Toastmasters.  This did wonders for my public speaking skills and I would recommend this to anyone looking to sharpen those skills. 
  • Chad Horenfeldt
    Chad Horenfeldt Member Posts: 61 Expert
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments Photogenic
    edited August 2020
    I second Toastmasters - I have been a member for over a year and it's made me a better storyteller and I've got to see what works best on an audience. As Ed said, your message needs to resonate with the audience and you need to show that you understand them. Showing up to the meeting and saying "what are your priorities?" doesn't build trust.

    I've found that the book "Putting Stories to Work" was helpful as it provided story constructs that we could use. I use these same constructs when I pitch ideas to other execs and my team. 

    Whatever you do, it can't be one presentation or a trainer. You need to create a process and then keep practicing if you want to see an improvement. Better presentation skills takes time and one training session won't do it. I also use Gong to listen in to certain calls to see how my team presents information and if they need additional help.
  • BenB
    BenB Member Posts: 76 Expert
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Insightfuls Name Dropper
    edited August 2020
    Something we recently implemented (and its very easy) is a google form that helps provide immediate impact to presentatoin (of any type).  If a lead,manager, director etc... is on a call while CSM is having anything from a weekly call to an EBR - the form is filled out.  everyone is paying better attention to their presentation skills, and the immediate feedback is taken much more constructively (compared to 2 weeks later or in a random review).  

    Simple but its working.
  • BenB
    BenB Member Posts: 76 Expert
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Insightfuls Name Dropper
    edited August 2020
    Can't upvote this enough - thanks for the reminder.