First Things First for Making a Lasting Impression


Each year service providers make many presentations to ISG consultants around the world, but few of these presentations make a lasting impact. Consultants have said that presentations tend to follow predictable templates and increasingly sound the same. In response, we polled our consultants to see what they want – and do not want – in service provider presentations. If you want to make a lasting impression, the first step is to follow these guidelines.

  • The presentation should start before you get there and continue after you leave. Consultants highly value receiving presentations or other background material to review in advance of the face-to-face meeting. Provide a briefing document and the presentation in advance, and provide something to leave behind with additional information. Keep the presentation itself to 20 slides.
  • Go beyond background basics. A few slides providing company background are essential. Put perspective on the standard information about company size, locations, headcount and markets served by describing your positioning and go-to-market strategy. Consultants want to hear this in your own words. They especially want to learn about new services and strategies and any observations about market trends and client developments that are driving these changes.
  • Customer references will set you apart. One of the best ways to communicate your company’s specific expertise and competitive strengths is by presenting customer case studies. This does not mean presenting a logo slide. Memorable presentations include details about how service providers solved specific problems for customers with documented results.
  • Avoid the most common pitfalls. The most common complaint that consultants make is that presentations contain too much sales and marketing hype. Be especially careful not to make unsupported references to future capabilities your company will have or services it will offer. Highlight your capabilities and successes, but be sure to provide documentation, such as new customers won, savings attained, etc. Finally, do not bring executives to the meeting who cannot speak to specifics about the market and service delivery.
  • Stay on time and on message. The most valuable takeaways from briefings for advisors are the market insights, strategy developments and customer profiles that service providers present. Be sure to allow ample time to cover these topics and at least 15 minutes for open discussion following the conclusion of the formal presentation. Use the pre-briefing materials, leave-behinds and notes section of the PowerPoint deck to cover much of the company overview and other general information so you can preserve more presentation time for market and strategy discussions.

If you are interested in receiving our best practices deck for capabilities presentations to third-party advisors, please send me an email at [email protected].

About the author

Paul Reynolds leads Momentum, a division of ISG that provides research services to help service providers better target, win and retain business. Paul has 25 years of market research experience with specific expertise in methodology development, data analytics and research process design. Having found many service providers’ Advisor Relations functions to lack appropriate analytics, Paul is working to develop innovative new approaches that allow for data-driven programs based on the unique needs of each client. His approach benefits Advisor Relations, go-to-market functions, sales, strategy, marketing, and market/competitive intelligence teams.