This Ultimate Guide To Creating A Winning Sales Presentation Deck aims to help you to plan, structure and create a sales presentation deck that helps your business to convert more new business.
Here, you'll learn how to create a sales presentation deck with impact that will grab, and keep your audiences' attention and help you to win.
- Why sales presentations matter
- Creating a winning sales deck: Reviewing your current assets
- Getting back to basics
- Creating a winning sales deck: Structuring your deck like a pro
- Starting your presentation with impact
- Creating a winning sales deck: Presenting unique content
- Going non-linear
- Creating a winning sales deck: Crafting a powerful call to action
- Delivering a winning sales presentation: Preparing for your big pitch
Why sales presentations matter
Sales presentations are hugely important to any business, and ensuring that you and your sales team are armed with an effective and impactful sales presentation deck is crucial to your success. Why? Because we found that it takes just 10.71 minutes to lose focus during a naff presentation, which is the last thing you want in a sales situation.
That's why it’s vital to give your sales presentation deck the time and attention it needs to ensure that it produces the very best results and maintains the attention of the potential client throughout.
Even the most experienced, persuasive and well-informed sales teams can be let down if their presentation materials aren’t up to scratch.
The best sales presentation deck is designed to sell. It will help you to make the right first impression, impress your prospects, connect and educate your audiences and persuade your targets that your company should be their first choice.
This Ultimate Guide To Creating a Winning Sales Presentation Deck will provide you with everything you need to transform your existing sales deck, or to produce a powerful, winning sales deck from scratch.
Creating a winning sales deck: Reviewing your current assets
Before you undertake a massive overhaul of your sales presentation and any related sales assets, review what's already there. Look at all of the content that you've probably already spent weeks and years working with.
What presentation materials are your sales team currently using to make their pitches? Does each salesperson have their own personal slide deck, or does the whole team use one you’ve designed in-house? And when were these materials last updated? Are your sales team approaching your potential customers with the most recent numbers, case studies, testimonials and messaging you want to associate with your company?
And, speak to your team. Ask them exactly what’s working and what isn’t. Find out which specific sections of the deck their prospects respond well to, and which sections have little or no impact. Ask your sales team what they think could be improved to help them make a greater impression with their sales deck and, ultimately, achieve more wins.
Next, speak to your customers. Ask them what it is about your sales pitch that convinced them to like you, trust you and ultimately buy from you.
Even better, if appropriate, ask them for a critical review of the presentation, and what they think can be improved.
Taking all of this insight, you can start to map out exactly what your new, winning sales deck will look like.
Getting back to basics
When it comes to presentations we always advise that you have your message, ideas and structure nailed down long before you decide how to create your sales presentation deck. Grab a pen and paper or open a blank Word document – and get planning.
First, it’s important to develop the best possible understanding of your audience. Ask yourself these key questions:
- Who is your audience?
- What problems do they have that you can solve?
- What do they want/need from you?
- Which key messages do you want to be memorable?
- What action do you want them to take?
Here, research is key. That’s because understanding your prospects, the markets they operate in and challenges they face is the most effective way to tailor your sales presentation to them, and to give them exactly what they need to make a buying decision. Use this knowledge to build the framework for your sales deck.
Next, strip everything from your existing presentation away and focus on this simple question: ‘Why choose us?’.
Why should your prospects choose you, your product, or your company? What makes you stand out from your competitors? What are the unique benefits you bring to them? And crucially, how will your product improve your client’s success? These reasons should be the very basis on which you build your new, winning sales deck. Keep your audience-focus throughout. Bring the benefits to the fore.
Creating a winning sales deck: Structuring your deck like a pro
We're not going to tell you exactly what to say (and where), or give you a perfect, rigid structure for a winning sales presentation. That’s because there is no perfect, rigid structure that all sales presentations should follow to achieve success.
Depending on where you are in the sales cycle, and your existing relationship with your prospect, your sales pitch will need to contain different pieces of information, and may need to be structured in a different way.
However, there is a more general structure that often proves successful in sales presentations (as well as in films, books and TV shows, for that matter).
In a sales situation, the ‘Situation, Complication, Resolution’ framework can help you to build an impactful and memorable sales presentation.
As a structure for a sales presentation, it goes like this:
Situation: This is the very start of the presentation, where your prospect’s current situation is explained as a matter of fact. Here, your potential client’s challenges are acknowledged.
Complication: Here is where you introduce a complication. In a sales presentation, this is where to discuss the consequences your prospect will face if they don't act.
Resolution: Finally, the solution stage introduces your product or service as an effective solution to this challenge. In this structure, this resolution comes as a natural conclusion to the journey you’ve taken your prospect on.
In sales presentations, the ‘Situation, Complication, Resolution’ structure helps you to organise your ideas and deliver an effective, persuasive pitch. To find out more about how to embrace this powerful structure, take a look at this blogpost.
Starting your presentation with impact
The one seemingly obvious way to start a sales presentation (or any presentation for that matter) is to introduce yourself and your company.
“Hi guys, my name’s Alex and I’m from this amazing company,” yada, yada, yada. A huge portion of sales meetings start this way, with an introduction to the salesperson and sometimes a long-winded walk through their company history.
But, this type of introduction is one of the least effective ways to start a sales presentation. Why? Because no one really cares at this moment. What your audience really want to get to is what you can do for them.
The chances are, if you’re in a situation where you’re able to pitch directly to your potential client, they already know who you are. They’ve researched you online and read reviews, if only to see if this sales presentation is worth their time.
The first five minutes of your sales pitch are often the most important in capturing your prospect’s attention. It’s in this time that they are most alert and engaged, so why waste it telling them something they already know, or something they probably have no interest in knowing? Skip the bio.
Instead, seize the opportunity in those first five minutes to engage them while their interest is piqued. Start your sales presentation with something that will actually interest your prospect.
Rather than doing what everyone else does, start your sales deck by getting straight into it. Immediately recognise your potential client’s challenges, demonstrate your understanding of their industry and acknowledge that they need solutions. Doing so will help you to build the trust and rapport that’s so essential for making that sale, and create the perfect space to introduce your products and services as a new and better solution to their challenges.
Jumping straight into the benefits will help you to grab and maintain your audience’s attention throughout the rest of your pitch. Skip the waffle and get straight to the point. Your prospect will thank you for it.
This is one of the essential principles of presentation design.
Creating a winning sales deck: Presenting unique content
We know your sales presentation isn’t the only thing working hard to turn your prospects into customers. Having a killer website and social media presence and being visible and credible online are a must too, as they are also crucial in helping you to draw prospects in. Your marketing team will have probably spent hours, weeks, and months perfecting how you look online.
But what’s the point in regurgitating that same information in your sales presentation? None.
Your prospects will almost certainly have already looked you up, browsed your website and checked out your social media. When it comes to creating a winning presentation, there’s no need to waste time telling your prospects what they already know. Instead, utilise this sales presentation deck to really sell yourself and your company.
Speaking of which, is there anything impressive or interesting you can hold back from publishing online? A jaw-dropping piece of info, for example, that you can drop into the sales pitch to really impress your prospect. This type of truly unique content can have a huge impact in your sales presentation deck.
Holding any achievements or stamps of credibility back seem like a difficult concept to sell to your marketing team, who will likely want to publicly promote everything positive about your company. However, it’s worth considering giving your sales team something to surprise and delight the interests of your prospects by giving more in the pitch.
Of course, not everything that goes into your epic pitch deck will be unique. But, putting at least one thing in your sales presentation that can’t be found anywhere else will ensure that your potential clients hear more than what they already know.
Once you’ve got your sales presentation deck structure and key messages nailed, it’s time to consider a non-linear presentation. That is, a presentation that totally removes the inflexibility of a standard PowerPoint sales presentation deck.
In sales situations, it's a real game-changer to have the ability to control the path of your presentation. And thanks to PowerPoint’s innovative Zoom feature, you can instantly skip to a specific section of the deck without the slightly embarrassing and unprofessional frantic-slide-flick-through to get there.
Picture this: you’re presenting your impressive pitch deck to your prospect. It’s going well, and then they interrupt you with questions about a specific area of your pitch (let’s say they’re really interested in your pricing structure). With a customised menu system in place, you can quickly and easily jump to that section of your PowerPoint, answer your eager prospect’s questions, then hop right back to where you were to keep your presentation on track.
A non-linear, modular sales deck completely changes the nature of sales presentation decks, making them significantly more flexible, interactive and better tailored to your audience. The ability to easily adapt each sales pitch to different prospects can also help to transform your sales team’s fortunes by quickly and efficiently honing in on what your prospects are really interested in.
A menu-driven sales presentation provides the ultimate flexibility.
Creating a winning sales deck: Crafting a powerful call to action
Now you’ve got a powerful beginning, and middle your sales deck sorted, you need to ensure you leave your prospects with an equally impactful close.
A powerful call to action here will help move your potential buyers to the next stage and push the sale forward. An overdone and anti-climactic ‘Any questions?’ slide, on the other hand, lacks inspiration. It may even be met with the dreaded ‘no’, bringing the whole pitch to a rather flat end.
A firm call to action might be a suggestion to move the conversation to another time or person, or it might be to get them thinking about something crucial to the completion of the sale. This will have a far greater impact.
Certainly, you should allow some space for your prospect to ask you questions – if your sales pitch has managed to convince them that your product is best, there definitely will be questions! But ensure that your final slides are powerful, revisiting the benefits of embracing your product, and giving a clear recommendation of the next steps.
Delivering a winning sales presentation: Preparing for your big pitch
Recreating and enhancing your PowerPoint sales presentation deck is a fantastic way to rejuvenate your pitches, and make all the difference in improving your win rates. Now, it’s time to perfect it.
No matter how great a salesperson you are, or how many years you’ve been selling your products and services, any drastic change to your sales deck will demand a lot of rehearsing.
Particularly if you’ve followed our advice and embraced a menu-driven, non-linear presentation, ensure you (or your team) take time to learn how to navigate it and learn which key information is where. Then, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
The nature of sales pitches sometimes means that presentations are pulled together last minute, right before what might be a very important pitch, removing any opportunity to practice actually delivering the content.
You should avoid this scenario as often as possible. Instead, rehearsing your impressive new sales pitch should be a priority.
To ensure the most effective delivery of your sales presentation deck, practice it over and over again, out loud and (if possible) in the location you'll actually be presenting in.
This, along with the other tips set out in this post, and our post on best ways to improve your sales presentation, is the key to sales presentation success.