Waiting until the last minute to prepare and doing so on the go are both challenges facing sales representatives, a new study finds.
Research from cloud-based business presentation company Brainshark, Inc., revealed that prepping for meetings comes down to the wire for most sales reps, with 40 percent not starting their prep work until the day before a meeting and 12 percent waiting until the day of the meeting.
With such little time for preparation, most sales reps find places other than an office to do it. More than 60 percent of those surveyed prepare for their sales meetings in the car, while 58 percent do so on a plane. Other popular places include the bathroom, the parking lot, a coffee shop and the gym.
The study shows that even when they do have time and a place to prepare, sales reps have trouble finding the materials they need most. More than one-third are frustrated by their inability to quickly locate sales materials, while 41 percent say the materials they do have are often out of date.
"Our survey shows there are very real challenges that sales reps face when preparing for and presenting at meetings,” said Brainshark Chief Marketing Officer, Andy Zimmerman.
In addition preparing for meetings outside the office, many sales reps hold those presentations in non-office locations, too. In addition to formal business settings, those surveyed report giving sales presentations in a wide range of places, such as social events, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, the airport, the gym, at a sporting event and while on vacation.
Because they regularly make presentations on the run, sales reps rely more and more on technology to help them close deals. The study discovered that laptops, tablets, whiteboards, smartphones and Web conferencing are the tools and technologies reps now use most often when making presentations.
"In addition to working toward greater sales and marketing alignment, particularly in terms of content creation and delivery, companies should also gear strategies around today's fast-paced and mobile-oriented landscape," Zimmerman said. "Reps need access to up-to-date, relevant materials no matter where they are and which device they're on."
Overall, sales reps and their managers don't see eye to eye on how well-prepared these sales professionals are, how effective their presentations are or how thorough their follow-ups are. While more than three-quarters of sales reps graded themselves a "B" or better for their prep work, just 58 percent of managers thought the reps deserved such high grades.
Additionally, only 14 percent of reps thought their presentation skills deserved a "C" or lower, compared to 43 percent of managers who felt reps deserved those low grades. When it came to following up after a presentation, reps were twice as likely as managers to think they earned an "A."
The study was based on surveys of 416 sales professionals at companies of various sizes and across different industries.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.