What is the best way to provide as much information about your company and services as possible without exhausting your prospects?
Hands down, it’s a sales presentation a.k.a a sales deck. Colorful and illustrative, it can tell the story of your brand in a couple of sliders, while giving you a million opportunities for standing out. Also, anyone who knows how to use PowerPoint can make a decent sales presentation! Right?
Sure, PowerPoint is a very convenient tool that allows you to get creative with showcasing your company’s achievements and highlight your services. But being able to work in PowerPoint doesn’t mean:
Knowing how to make a powerful presentation that would instantly win your prospects and potential business partners over;
Not needing your designers’ assistance in the course of making a sales presentation.
Whether you want to create a B2B email template, a sales pitch, a PowerPoint showcase, relying solely on your intuition and not the basic rules and solid data will end up with a strong disconnect between your expectations and the end result.
How do you avoid this outcome and make a killer sales presentation? Valeriia, our designer, agreed to share her expertise and prepared some instructions for everyone who wants to excel at making sales presentations.
This is why the quality of your presentation is as important as the quality of your product. If there is nothing exclusive, innovative or interesting about your PowerPoint slideshow, your prospects rightfully believe that your company doesn’t have what you need. So, they move on, to the next contender with the next sales deck.
To make sure you don’t lose this competition and your sales presentation is on point, you should approach it structurally.
The best way to understand what your sales deck needs would be to break it down into two equally important components: Content and Visuals.
Getting started: message and content
Many people often lump everything they want to say or show into one PowerPoint document. When they do it, forget that they’re not the ones who will be working with the end result.
It’s their sales reps who will be sending the 15-slide presentation covering the history of the company, a report on the company’s performance over 10 years, a bio of the company’s CEO, a product development history and billions of CTAs to prospects — and then trying to explain it.
But how do you explain something you can barely understand yourself?
Remember, your sales presentation is not about you alone. Your sales representatives work on the frontlines, dealing with your prospects’ concerns, frustrations, doubts, and objections. They present the materials you provide and they are held responsible for your mistakes.
An overcomplicated or incoherent product presentation will only bring more chaos to their outreach and engagement tasks.
So, show your sales teams some love. Before you hand your freshly made sales deck over them, make sure its message is clear, coherent and doesn’t put them in a tough spot.
1. Do your research
Yes, that’s the golden rule. If you want to start a project, you start with research. How else would you know what your potential buyers or business partners find appealing in a sales message? Don’t worry about the process of making a sales presentation taking more time than you initially expected — a good product is not made in an hour before lunch.
Before you create a new PowerPoint document, sit down and compose a list of questions:
Who is this presentation for? Do you intend to attach your presentation to your introduction email? Are you going to send it during the qualification stage? Is it meant for all prospects in your ICP or only for a specific industry?
What are my recipients thinking about? Your prospects’ mood matters. Your presentation may either hit the nail right on the head or be a complete miss regarding your recipients’ pain points and concerns. The latter may lead to your target audience treating your sales pitch as part of the white noise and paying little regard to your message.
What do I want my prospects to feel? Your presentation can be informative, emotional, challenging…or plain annoying if you fail to establish the tone and pacing. Think about the response you expect from your customers.
How do my sales representatives communicate with my prospects? Your sales reps are your brand’s voice. Therefore, instead of making them fall in the style of your sales presentation, you should make sure that your presentation fits their way of presenting products like a glove. If your sales teams are comfortable with your product presentation, you’re on your way to success.
Let’s not also forget about your ICP and lead data. Outline your prospects’ key needs and goals before you start putting slides together. It will make your work with structure, main message and even color schemes much, much easier.
You know what kind of problems your products and services solve. But do your potential buyers know about these problems?
Case A. Your prospects are unaware. It’s not uncommon for your prospects to be oblivious to their work progress being constrained by a problem. They don’t know how to locate it, they have no clue about the solution. In this case, the first stage of your sales cycle pursues several objectives:
Educate your prospects on the problem and reveal it to them.
Help your prospects to overcome the fear of change by highlighting the consequences of ignoring the problem
Outline the means to solve the problem and show how they can be implemented into your prospects’ workflow.
Establish your company as the best vendor capable of solving the problem of your prospects.
Case B. Your prospects are aware and searching. If your target audience is well informed about the problem and looking for the means to solve it, your research should focus on:
Pinpointing the criteria your prospects follow when choosing the right vendor.
Shaping decision-making qualifiers (in case your prospects don’t have any criteria).
After you make sense of your recipients, look at your competition. If you operate in Healthcare or Fintech, there is no shortage of competitors who target the same leads as you do and reach out to them with sales presentations of their own. But when you work on your sales decks, knowing that you have competitors is not enough. You should look deep into your competitor analysis and ask yourself:
Is my solution any different from the services offered by my competitors?
What kind of approach to solving issues is more popular?
Is my goal to prove that my product is better than my competitors’ product?
Am I convincing my prospects to change vendors?
Do my prospects want to change vendors?
Who are my real competitors? Are there any companies I should know about?
If you find out that your prospects are working with another vendor at the moment of receiving your sales deck, don’t be surprised. They have to keep things going, after all.
The question is, whether they’re looking for a better alternative. Once you’re able to pinpoint their attitude towards working with a new vendor, you can map your strategy.
In some cases, all you need to do is nudge your audience in the right direction by outlining your performance on the market, your average ROI and the pricing packages. However, if you work with picky prospects, you should use the ace up your sleeve — a reward your company won, an impressive testimonial from an industry leader or an extract from an industry analysis with your name in it.
2. Prepare the structure
Storytelling basics never get old. Not bothering to create a coherent setup, culmination and endgame won’t get you anywhere.
This is where you make the first impression. Therefore, you must reject all things boring and irrelevant, focusing instead on everything that matters to your target audience. Your company history and achievements across 10 years may look fascinating to you, but not to your prospects. If they want to learn more about you, they’ll come to your website or your LinkedIn page. When they receive your sales deck, all they want to know is ‘Why am I reading this?’ and ‘What’s in for me?’
Therefore, your introduction should focus on answering these questions and outlining the challenge your prospects either familiar with or completely unaware of.
As you elaborate on the challenges your prospects face, you must make sure you sound like a vendor capable of solving problems, not a foot-in-door salesman. Avoid being forceful, assertive or fear-mongering. Your task here is to show that you understand your prospects’ challenges, and where these challenges come from and why all previous attempts and solutions didn’t fix anything.
When you start a conversation by saying something your audience doesn’t know or outright challenge their approach to the problem, your presentation will be met with enthusiasm, not skepticism.
Don’t end your presentation with a weak statement. It should summarize the ultimate goal of the entire sales deck and motivate your future customers to take action. Map out their customer’s journey in your company, provide them with pricing packages or available cooperation modules and solidify your point further by showing how your prospects can reach out to you (and encouraging them to do just that).
3. Build the message
After you made the foundation for your sales deck, it’s time to work on the content for each slide. At this stage, many beginners make the mistake of simply copying content from their websites. Yes, it may be well-written and communicate your goals and objectives clearly. But your prospects want something more than you repeating yourself. They crave new information, not something they’ve already seen.
If you cannot tell about your services without recycling one and the same text, your prospects are never going to believe that you care about your company, your image and, logically, the image of your customers.
Here are some tips for delivering your sales message:
Less is more. If you feel like your presentation is too laconic and needs more descriptions, resist the urge. You’re not a novelist, you’re reaching out to people in the middle of their business day. Therefore, your ultimate goal is not to distract them with reading but inform them about the benefits they gain by working with you. Your presentation must outline the main benefits of your product and/or services. There is no need to beat around the bush. Your goal is not to make your viewers spend the rest of their day reading. They must understand what they gain from using your services as soon as possible.
Shots fired. In no way we suggest throwing shade on your competitors…unless you’re subtle about it. If you know why your competitors’ solution doesn’t work for a certain industry or why a portion of your competitors’ customers remains dissatisfied with their services, mention it without pointing fingers. If your prospects have had their share of vendors (including your competitors), they’d catch your drift.
Cut to the chase. If you prepared some powerful lines or phrases, don’t save them for the last slide. Your potential buyers won’t sit through corny, generic slides just to see if the final one would make a difference. Look at your first presentation draft, read it out loud, remove or rephrase every line that sounds. Rinse and repeat until everything clicks together.
Getting started: visuals
So, you know how your sales presentation should speak to your future customers. But what should it look like? Let’s go through the basics:
The optimal length of your presentation up to 10 slides. Each slide must highlight the gist of your message without overloading your viewers with unnecessary info. Remember the 3-second ‘I saw, I bought’ rule of Instagram? Presentations follow the same principle. The shorter they are, the more chances they have of catching your prospects’ interest.
Keep in mind that you send your sales presentation to your recipients’ business inboxes in the middle of their work. Respect their time and they will respect your message.
2. Slide structure
Whether your slides are going to be filled with infographics, diagrams or blueprints, you must always keep them organized.
Spacing is the key. Not all of your readers are perfectionists, but everybody prefers an organized, well-structured text over a massive and barely comprehensible one. Give your slides some air and a consistent text structure. Stick to the text alignment you chose, whether it’s left, right or center.
Your style should be consistent. That concerns every element of your sales deck, from the headlines to the color scheme. When you create a wholesome look, you improve the readability of your product presentation and build credibility.
Font. In total, you can use up to 2 different fonts for your sales presentations. When you do it right, you can create interesting combinations based on contrast. However, if you choose family fonts wrong, you risk creating unreadable headlines and losing your readers’ trust. So, if you’re new to sales presentations, choose one family font and its styles (bold, italic, regular, etc.)
Since your presentation is a mini landing page, the fonts you choose to communicate your tone and the voice of your company. Therefore, if your fonts are too bleak, too small, too large or too fancy, it will end in multiple communication barriers.
Choosing the same font you use for your website is the best option. First, it has already been optimized for desktop PCs and mobile. Second, it will increase your brand recognizability. If you still want to experiment with other fonts, choose one that looks clean and comprehensible.
Tips: If you need a hand with selecting the right font and/or the right font combination, you can go to Google Fonts. It offers a wide range of free downloadable fonts and helps you find a font pair. Additionally, you can look for the most effective font pairs at Typotheque, Fontpair, Typewolf or Fontsinuse.
Color scheme. Usually, the color scheme of the sales presentation is based on the company’s corporate style, letting potential buyers know who made the sales deck and who will be providing the services. It also provides a pre-made color scheme with main and supplementary colors.
If you want to build a color scheme from zero, keep in mind that there are a tone and a character to every color.
For example, when we create visual content for sales and discount seasons and need to get users’ attention ASAP, we use red or yellow. With the right use of tone, you can create a palette of bright and dark hues with just one base color. Make sure to avoid over-saturated tones that would only distract your audience from your message.
Tips: If you struggle with building the right color scheme for your sales presentation on your own, sources like Colordrop.io, Color.Adobe, Dribble, and Pinterest offer color palettes that you can download for free and adjust as you see fit.
There is a structure behind everything. As soon as you made it a habit to organize every bit of info you find, it would be much easier for you to visualize your goals and express them in your product presentation. We would also suggest making sure that your designer is always involved.
If you don’t let your visual expert take a critical look at your sales deck and recommend adjustments, how would you know if your color scheme of choice will be well-received by your prospects? It’s better to get some critical feedback from your colleagues than be attacked by negativity from your recipients, isn’t it?
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Co-founder and Managing Partner at Belkins
Michael is the Co-founder of Belkins, serial entrepreneur, and investor. With a decade of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing, he has a passion for building world-class teams and implementing efficient processes to drive the success of his ventures and clients.
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