Why you need to start outsourcing your PowerPoint jobs now
Lyndon Nicholson is Founder and Lead Consultant at F5 Presentations and has built several agencies, working with some of the world’s most influential brands.
He talks further on why outsourcing presentation work is something businesses should definitely consider...
A PowerPoint presentation is an extremely powerful business tool. However, many businesses don’t give them the attention they deserve. Your website was built by a web expert and you get an agency to develop your brochures and other collateral. You may even entrust your social media to an agency - so why are you allowing untrained and unqualified people to build those all-important presentation decks?
You might have considered this choice before: do you hire and train your own dedicated in-house PowerPoint team, or do you outsource all your presentation needs to an external design agency? Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen time and time again instances where the latter is always the better choice… and that doesn’t seem to be changing.
The squeeze is on
To put it bluntly, employee budgets are being squeezed across the board. Regardless of your industry, you’re no doubt finding it harder to get new starter contracts approved by ‘those upstairs’. Even self-employed business owners are reticent to invest in new people for new departments as the risk can be great.
If you do end up looking to hire your own PowerPoint developer, you’ll encounter several problems. First of all, the talent pool for a presentation expert can be quite shallow, as the best and most experienced of the bunch are either freelancing (and earning decent money doing so) or employed by larger design agencies. These guys are the ones with all the experience, having worked with many different clients across varying kinds of projects. That’s why it can be easier to hire a bad PowerPoint developer than a good one.
If you do manage to find someone half decent, you’ll then have to train them up. Think about this: your organisation’s lack of PowerPoint design expertise led you to creating your own presentation department. So how do you expect to train up that department?
The knowledge and expertise aren’t there to begin with. That means you’ll have to rely on whatever talent that new starter brings with them, and if they’ve failed to get a job with a dedicated design agency, those talents won’t be cutting edge.
Bleak, I know. Bear with me while I continue to attack this hypothetical new starter.
If you create an in-house presentation department of one, that one person will bear the load of all your presentation demands. Which, if you took the effort to create a dedicated department in the first place, must be significant. Therefore, if that person becomes sick, you lose the department. When that person takes their holiday leave, you lose the department. If that person breaks down one afternoon, calls you all rude names, and storms out… you get the picture.
Plus, with a sole in-house presentation designer, there’s no real scale in the model. If all goes well, you’ll get an individual’s work out of them per day, regardless of your demands. If you have a sudden surge in PowerPoint need, they won’t be able to work any faster. Likewise, if you suddenly have zero need for them, they’ll be sat twiddling their thumbs but still requiring pay.
You’ll also only ever have one person’s point of view. Their creative output will be limited to what experience they currently have and to what they expose themselves. A single designer creating presentations for a single company can quickly stagnate and cease innovating. They’ll get comfortable and you might start to accept what they produce as ‘good enough’ and ‘the way we do presentations’.
As your slide decks are potentially being seen by people who sit through dozens of presentations each week, they’ll know the difference between a professionally built PowerPoint slide deck that engages with them, and one that is merely ‘alright’. Your brand could stand out for all the wrong reasons, damaging your credibility.
The Flip Side
As a presentation design company, the outsourced agency will live and breathe PowerPoint. They will constantly expose themselves to changing design trends and fresh approaches, being totally open to the world of public speaking.
The designers and developers won’t just be more experienced, they’ll actively seek to build upon that know-how each month, attending conferences and seeing what other teams and agencies are producing. The reason you might have found it so difficult to hire your own experienced PowerPoint designer is because all the good ones have been taken by these agencies.
Your project will be handled by a team, not an individual, with each member offering their unique input as to what might work best for you. Each of them will a specialist area of knowledge and interest, so a fresh take will be applied to every new project. Instead of a limited point of view in terms of design and development, you’ll be offered the widest possible, meaning your presentation will turn heads.
As the outsourced team will be made up from the very best in the business, they’ll have a workflow in place to ensure constant efficiency. Illness, holidays and dramatic storm-outs won’t slow down how quickly your project is delivered.
One stop shop
An outsourced presentation agency handles everything. They’ll ask the right questions about your project and your needs and start work immediately. Presentation design is all they do, so no additional training is required, and you’ll know that their knowledge and expertise in PowerPoint is as cutting edge as it can be. Your only concern will be paying the bill, leaving you time to focus on your actual job. Sounds nice, eh?
Speaking of the bills, you’ll have a greater degree of freedom there, too. Instead of committing to a contracted monthly salary (or salaries) of your own in-house team, you can pick and choose when you need the agency to work. You could buy a set number of days each, or simply employ them per project. If things get hectic, give them more work. If things go quiet, don’t. You control the scaling of workloads without having to concern yourself with hiring anyone new.
Here’s what the marketing directors want to hear. It will be far easier to get payments to the outsourced agency signed off as it will all fall under one line on your spreadsheet. It won’t be multiple freelancers all working on different projects at different rates, nor will it be a new employee requiring all the many complex things a new employee needs.
Your constant battle with the MD and the finance department will be lessened.
Presentations can creep up on you. It’s best to be prepared and know exactly who you can rely on to build you something that will wow your audience. You’ll look good, and your brand will thrive.