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How to create a powerful sales presentation deck

Have you ever used or received a sales presentation deck that you didn’t consider as professional? You most likely have.

According to our study on how B2B sales representatives spend their time in sales, more than 50% of sales representatives consider their sales content not to be professional or mediocre professional. That’s a relatively high percentage and it must have an impact on sales efficiency and performance! If your team doesn’t feel confident in sharing your organization’s sales presentation deck, it’s either not being used by the sales team or the sales representatives may make alterations to it. This is bad for business for several reasons.

Most importantly, if the sales presentation deck doesn’t convey the value of your offering to prospects, they are not buying and you are missing out on business opportunities.

In addition, if your presentation deck isn’t being used or if it’s being altered, you’ve wasted resources spent on creating the content. Individual changes to the presentation deck also leads to less brand control, as there may be several versions of the sales presentation with different messaging being sent to prospects. This makes it difficult to track what content contributes to sales performance.

Finally, salespeople should spend their time interacting with prospects and focus on closing contracts instead of optimizing standard sales presentation decks.

This post seeks to give a checklist for creating a powerful B2B sales presentation deck that addresses prospects’ needs, that sales executives feel confident about to share and that ultimately accelerates sales performance.

1. Start with your prospects’ needs and situation in mind

One of the biggest temptations to avoid in sales presentations is to list and describe product features instead of addressing your prospect’s needs. We’re bombarded with information, so it’s important that your sales presentation deck is relevant to catch your prospects’ attention and get their buy-in to your offering. Prospects don’t care about your product, they care about solutions that benefit them.

To make your sales deck about your prospects, ask:

  • What are your prospects’ pain points that you can help them solve?

  • What are the consequences if their problems aren’t being solved?

  • Who is the recipient of the sales presentation deck and what is his/her role in the buying decision?

  • What drives them to purchase your service or product and what information needs to be conveyed to get their buy-in?

You may also need to consider whether the sales presentation deck needs customization depending on your prospect’s industry and company size.

2. Be clear on your unique value proposition

As mentioned earlier, prospects care about solutions that help them solve their problems. Therefore, it’s vital that your sales deck highlights the benefits of what you offer and how you meet your prospects’ needs.

But you also need to answer the following question for your prospects: Why should they buy from you instead of a competitor?

Listing out features that are important to your prospects and that your competitors offer as well, do not help you stand out. In order to differentiate yourself from your competition, you want to emphasize the features that are important to your prospects and that are not available from your competitors. These make your offering unique and tilt the buying decision in your favor.

3. Keep text at a bare minimum

How will the sales presentation deck be consumed by your prospects? Through email? During an online demo, face-to-face, or at a speaking event? Depending on whether recipients have to go through the presentation on their own or are guided through the presentation should impact the content format and the amount of text you use.

Generally, you don’t want to clutter your presentation deck with too much text. Stick to headers and main points that are relevant for your recipient. This is especially relevant when you or your sales team is walking through the presentation. When prospects consume the presentation deck on their own, it is okay to add descriptive text with the objective to dot the connections between i.e. your prospects’ pain points and how your offering helps them solve them.

If you’re using a presentation software you may “hide” additional information. You may use visual triggers that indicate that by clicking on a specific item in the presentation, more information can be obtained. That way prospects are allowed to go through the presentation at their own pace and information need.


4. Use visuals to support your messages

Images speak louder and clearer than words and are processed much faster than text. Use photos and graphics that support your messages instead of using too much text. Consider using visuals that trigger specific emotions to influence your prospects experience. You may also consider animations to wow your audience, however, don’t add an animation for the sake of an animation. It has to support your messages.

5. Build your sales deck on best practice

The flow of your content should depend on who you are targeting with your sales presentation deck. Alli McKee from Sales Hacker describes three content flows for C-level executives, budget holders and practitioners and the sales decks usage depending on the size of the prospect’s organization. As with many other strategies in marketing, personalization is key to drive results.

However, if you need to start somewhere, the content flow for the budget holder is a great starting point as it covers all content aspects. More importantly, it addresses the information needs of the contact, who makes the buying decision.

Sales deck content flow for budget holders:

  • Title page

  • Opening

  • Problem to be solved

  • Who has the problem

  • What does it cost the prospect today

  • Shortfalls of existing solutions

  • What’s changed

  • Your solution overview

  • Proof that you’re better

  • What your solution costs (you may include an ROI calculator here)

  • Social proof

  • Include a call-to-action and contact details

Have a clear call-to-action request in your sales presentation to nudge prospects to the next step in the sales cycle. For instance, you can ask your prospects to contact your sales team, to request a demo of your service, sign up for a free trial or other offering.

Once you have created the content listed above, it is easy to customize your sales presentation deck for other stakeholders. Again, if you are using a sales presentation software, individual presentation slides can be selected easily with a few clicks to create and share a customized presentation deck.

6. Track presentation performance and optimize content regularly

Did you know that 80% of organizations do not track which content contributes to higher win rates? Imagine the competitive advantage you could gain if you were tracking the performance of your sales presentation deck? Or worse, imagine the competitive advantage your competition would gain if they track sales content performance but you don’t.

Tracking the following regularly will help you building a sales deck that closes deals:

  • What content do your sales team use in meetings, in demos and emails?

  • Which content is being consumed by your buyers?

  • Which content contributes to higher win rates?

The next question you are probably asking is, how do you collect the information above?

  • Get feedback from sales team on what presentation decks and slides they use.

  • Ask your customers what information and content format they prefer.

  • Finally, use a sales enablement platform that allows you to track the usage of your presentation. The reporting of the sales enablement platform will show you what content prospects look at and for how long.

Tracking your sales presentation deck’s performance will help you in identifying what content adds value and what content needs to be optimized in order to accelerate sales.

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