How to Create an Attractive Sales Deck That Sells Your Story
Your sales deck is an opportunity to put your company and product in the context of a bigger story. Your goal is to create an emotional frame for your product and put it in the context of a bigger, compelling narrative prospective clients can buy into. We see your sales deck as an epic novel in which you are the Fairy Godmother getting Cinderella (your customer) to the ball.
You have a unique opportunity through your sales deck to create an emotional pull to your product. A good sales deck will speak to a prospect's meta-desires and show them how your product is absolutely necessary to achieving those desires. Numbers will interest prospects but the emotional storyline you create will be what sticks with your prospects.
Create a strategic, memorable story telling why your product matters. A sales deck is usually created in Powerpoint (24slides is another good resource) and used during in-person meetings and to generate marketing material.
To reiterate, the goal is not to create a deck outlining your product's features. In fact, product features will take a backseat. The goal instead is to tell your product's story in the context of your customer's story. A sales deck built on your product's story will invite more conversation, create urgency, and tell your buyer exactly how your product will help them achieve their goals.
We recommend using Andy Raskin's advice on creating a compelling sales deck. According to Raskin, a persuasive sales deck contains the following elements and follows the outline below:
- "Name a Big, Relevant Change in the World.” This is the grander picture. You need to share what is at stake and create a sense of urgency. Specifically name the stakes and how you can uniquely help your prospects end up on top.
- This is not the time to discuss your company, product, or team. Rather your goal is to prove to prospective client that you understand their needs in the context of this big change and intimately understand how to help them succeed.
- To build confidence in your grand picture, it is often helpful to show a building trend related to the relevant change in the world.
Traditional advice is to start a pitch with the problem. Raskin's advice is a mind shift: get prospects to think aspirational first instead of focusing on a problem. This can be broken down into 4 sections:
"Show There'll be Winners and Losers”
- Your goal is to show that inaction means losing. Only with your product will your customer be able to win in the change underway.
- At this point, you have created a change story and created an urgency by discussing winners and losers. Next, you will want to paint a picture of what could happen because of a partnership between your company and the prospect's.
- You are still not giving details on your product but giving an outline of what you could make possible for your prospect.
- You want to make this "Promised Land" attractive but difficult for them to achieve without your company's help.
- The Promised Land is crucial, as it will stick with your listeners. They will likely use the image/tag line you create here to share with others what your product does.
"Introduce Features as 'Magic Gifts' for Overcoming Obstacles to the Promised Land"
- Now, you can explain why it is difficult to reach the Promised Land without your product.
- This part of the deck should include the "fairy godmother" aspects of your product and will be the most detail you give regarding your product.
- What are the magic gifts your product offers to get a prospect to the Promised Land?
"Present Evidence that you can make the story come true"
- They'll be skeptical, so must leave with convincing evidence you can in fact bring them to this Promised Land. This is a good time to include customer testimonials and outcomes to build confidence.
- Generally, it is crucial to be very rigorous and diligent in your approach to sales and marketing. Every qualified sales meeting is very important and worth spending significant time preparing for. Don't wing these meetings. Rather it will pay off to tailor your sales deck to each prospect.
- Consider whether to tweak your language regarding the Promised Land or Magic Gifts for a particular prospect. In the last slides, include customer success stories for customers who have a similar story to your prospect or a customer whose reputation would influence your prospect.
Below is a step-by-step guide to creating an attractive sales deck:
- Find and review several example sales decks to get a vision for how other companies have structured theirs and what works well and what doesn't. You can search online or through SlideShare. Additionally, some companies will post their sales decks on their websites.
- Using the background information above and the example sales decks you've found, brainstorm your “Big, Relevant Change in the World.”
- Once the team has selected the most compelling change, write a description summarizing it. You will use this description to outline your thought process behind choosing this “Big Change” and how it affects your vertical.
- Choose a catchphrase that encapsulates this change. This catchphrase will be used widely in your sales and marketing materials and lingo. It is like a slogan that will be used in materials and by sales reps to remind prospects and customers of the importance of your product.
- Brainstorm any historical trends that can be used in the pitch deck to support your case for the “Big Change.”
- Brainstorm and decide what will happen to those who lose out in the “Big Change” and those who win. What data can be used to support your assertions? Or what company case can be used as an example to illustrate your point?
- Brainstorm and decide what the Promised Land will look like. What will the prospect's life look like because of your product in the context of the Big Change?
- Brainstorm and decide the obstacles the prospect will face in reaching the Promised Land if they don't have your product. What “Magic Gifts” does your company offer to smooth the way to the Promised Land in light of these obstacles?
It may be helpful to work backwards here. What edge does your product offer and then how what obstacles would your product give someone an advantage when facing.
- Create an exhaustive list of customer success stories with relevant information (quotes, testimonials, data, ROI, etc) for you to use in the future as you customize your sales deck.
- Take all of this information and put it in aPowerpoint. Use the example sales decks you reviewed at the beginning of the process to inform your formatting, images, font, etc.
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