A story. I just finished designing a sales presentation for a client that is pitching in a major mobile-related services tender. I started off with minimalist slides for a standup presentation that would be perfect to support the facts that were all written down in the tender submission documents. Rather than focusing on the details of the system specification, I focused on the track record of the company, the many reference installations, the experience in preparing for a successful launch.

Then came the call: "Don't bother to present, we will email your slides to everyone involved and just use the time to ask some questions."

It is actually understandable. The tender issuer can read product documentation, read web sites, and is overloaded with (the same) facts about the industry from all the companies competing for the tender. It would be have been polite to let a tender candidate speak, but it is not the most efficient use of the time.

So, I u-turned on slide design, as I feared that many of the tender committee participants would not bother to read through the full documentation and would rather rely on a PowerPoint file as preparation for the pitch. I added more slides, and added explanatory text on the slides.

Lesson learned: with these multi-million dollar tenders, stay in close contact with the person organizing the pitch meetings to make sure that you carry the right type of presentation document with you.