Today’s sales processes mix traditional and modern strategies into perfectly timed sales cadences. Created to engage and encourage prospects to pass through the sales pipeline. However, salespeople often forget another effective tool for nurturing prospects, answering objections and demonstrating key benefits – sales decks. Reportedly, consumers are up to 85% more likely to buy a product or service after watching a video. That’s why in this post, we’ll explain the difference between sales decks and pitch decks, and how to get started crafting one!
What is a Sales Deck?
A sales deck is a presentation in slide format (Powerpoint, Keynotes, Slides) that’s used as a supplementary resource during sales pitches. Sales decks illustrate how a solution helps your prospect, making them more likely to buy from you.
They achieve this by presenting a sales “narrative” founded on prospects’ main pain points, challenges and desires in a compelling visual and textual manner. As a result, the sales pitch should offer an overview of the offering, a value proposition and testimonials or success stories from previous clients.
In simple terms, sales decks should give prospects the “bigger picture.” Or the solution to their needs in a concise and visually engaging manner.
What’s the difference between a Pitch Deck and a Sales Deck?
A sales deck is a sales pitch that focuses on persuading a prospect to purchase a solution by presenting the benefits, features and value proposition. In comparison, a sales pitch deck is a presentation created for investors that want to learn more about your company as a whole in terms of vision, mission, audience products, and financials. As a result, a sales pitch deck is more like a concise and easily digestible version of your business plan.
When can you use sales decks?
Sales decks are versatile and can be used to amplify your main message throughout various stages of the sales pipeline. That way you give context to the value of your product. The best instances where sales decks are best applied include:
- Prospecting/Lead Generation: Sales decks at the early stages help spark curiosity amongst leads, whether in-person, virtually or online. For example, you could post a short 5 slide presentation on social media addressing a particular pain point to create awareness around your solution.
- Discovery/Qualification: Assess the prospect’s needs and use sales decks to help you guide the conversation by adding more value to your statements.
- Sales Meetings/Presentations: In this stage of the pipeline, sales decks help present benefits and advantages alongside the features that will be most helpful to the prospect – helping bring the sale to a close.
- Upselling to current customers: When checking in with loyal customers, share sales decks to reaffirm your value proposition and the benefits while pitching them a new product or service.
- Internal Sales Enablement: Keep all departments aligned with the same sales messaging by sharing sales deck presentations around your solutions’ key benefits and features.
What should a sales deck include?
Whatever your industry, customer and selling situation is, there are five core elements every sales deck requires to be successful in its mission of persuading prospects. The five elements must be presented in sequential order, as follows:
1. Cover Slide
The cover slide is the first slide in the deck and is usually how you introduce your brand. As a result, it’s the first slide prospects see. Therefore, should be completely obvious how your company is relevant to the prospect’s needs and industry. It should also be where you place your logo, company name and provocative title with a compelling visual.
2. Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a compact type of sales presentation where a salesperson explains the nature, the benefits and the solution their business offers in under 60 seconds or less – hence the name. An elevator sales pitch is a versatile tool for many sales activities – not just sales decks. It can be adapted for a one-minute mini-speech ideal for networking opportunities, a script to follow on prospecting calls, or even just a classic presentation for key decision-makers. Discover how to craft an effective elevator pitch below:
3. Narrative Structure
Studies show that people are more receptive to stories than almost any other type of communication. Our brains are designed not only to crave stories but to remember them and pass on meaningful ones to others. That’s why incorporating storytelling into your sales deck is so crucial. While every sales deck should follow a narrative that’s easy to understand and has a beginning, middle, and satisfying ending. There are two types of story structures you’ll usually find in sales decks. The problem and solution narrative structure and the industry change and opportunity structure. Let’s discover both in-depth below:
Problem & Solution Sales Deck Structure
A great story always starts with a likeable protagonist who is faced with an obstacle. Through sheer determination and a little help from the product or service you are selling, the hero can overcome the challenge. This type of sales deck narrative structure begins by addressing your prospect’s most significant pain points. Something that deeply resonates with them. Then it highlights the effects that these pain points cause by framing the consequences of not taking action to solve them (usually with a data-driven argument.) Finally, it emphasises how the prospect’s life will look once they invest in a solution. Rather than describing the product or service’s features.
Industry Change & Opportunity Sales Deck Structure
This sales deck narrative structure introduces a shift or change in a specific industry and what opportunities are available to capitalise upon it. It then explains how a product or service will be one of the “winners” in the aftermath of the change. Ultimately, those who sell something complex like B2B technology often find this narrative structure most helpful. As it allows them to use current events as a way to illustrate the benefits your prospects can expect to receive.
4. Proof the solution works
Now, it’s time to prove to prospective customers that the solution actually works – and delivers on the benefits you promise. To include proof within your sales deck, you can either keep it to one single, dedicated slide or opt to weave it through your presentation. The type of proof devices you include is entirely dependent on your industry, product and audience. Yet ultimately prospects are more likely to agree to the deal if they’ve seen other people benefit from your solution – mainly if you use a proof device that addresses their current pain point. Types of proof devices you could use to achieve this include:
- List of clients
- Photos of the successful implementation of your product
- Case studies
- Articles in trade magazines
- Consumer reports
A call-to-action (CTA) is a command that tells prospects the action you want them to take; examples include “buy now”, “contact us”, or “sign up.”
A fantastic story may be entertaining, but it won’t increase your bottom line if the prospect doesn’t have any idea what they should do next. You must always compel prospects to take action – whether that’s to buy now, take the following steps internally, or even start a free trial –prospects need to be told what to do next.
The best way to achieve this and your required result is to always create the takeaway message before writing the story. Most salespeople find it much easier to build a story around a meaningful message rather than attempting to fit in a meaningful message to a strong story.
How to create a winning sales deck
A winning sales deck will help you persuade prospects that your solution is the best option, in turn growing your business and your revenue. However, how can you make sure you create sales decks that effortlessly hold people’s attention while convincing them to purchase? While it seems like an impossible task, we’ve mastered a process that works – discover it below.
Identify common pain points (Customer Research)
The first stage of preparing for a sales presentation is to research your prospect thoroughly; skipping this preparation will likely result in rejection of your ideas. That’s why all salespeople need to be keen researchers of their ideal customers, gathering answers and insights about elements of prospect’s challenges with typical solution selling questions such as:
- What are their most pressing needs?
- What are their most significant challenges?
- What are their aspirations?
- What’s stopping them from currently reaching these goals?
- What do their customers and stakeholders need and want?
- How could your solution help to negate these issues they’re experiencing?
- How will your solution position your prospect with a market advantage?
- How can you accurately communicate the benefits without solely discussing the solution to influence prospects to take action?
Build a narrative
Next, is the narrative going to interest your potential customer? Successful storytelling in sales depends on crafting a good tale. But is your story good enough to do that? Imagine meeting a stranger on the train who tells you the story you just created. Would it hold your interest, or would you start looking for a different seat?
Simple language expressed in an engaging narrative is the best approach, but never get too caught in your storytelling and forget your purpose is to make a sale.
You can easily do this by creating a hero with a name, a personality, and a practical problem to overcome. However, it would be best to take great care when deciding how to reflect your intended message. Ensure your storytelling speaks directly to your customers by including the same hopes, ambitions, fears, regrets, and disappointments they too possess.
Need help crafting your message? Our unique workshop Storytelling In Sales equips you with the knowledge and application skills to plan highly engaging and relevant business pitches. Get immediate access and learn how to execute results-oriented pitches that demonstrate your ability and track record to solve problems.
Highlight 3 benefits
Give your prospective customers a compelling reason that resonates with them so much so that they part with their hard-earned cash. Remember, customers, buy for value, not specifications or technical jargon.
The great thing about social proof is that it’s your actual customers telling the story of how your solution solved their problem. Naturally, prospects are more likely to agree to the deal if they’ve seen other people benefit from your solution. To achieve this, ensure you have plenty of social proof available from the get-go when meeting with your prospect. That way, when it comes to asking for the sale, your prospects will already be feeling good about your offering.
Use simple diagrams
Make it visually compelling
4 reputable sales deck examples
Not sure what the final sales deck should look like? Take inspiration from some of the world’s most reputable businesses sales decks below:
1. Uber for Business Sales Deck
In this compelling sales deck, international taxi-hailing service, Uber has crafted a relatable but remarkable concept that is intriguing, and it connects to what’s happening worldwide in terms of the pandemic. Most of the slides centralise on only one image. In more complex slides, information is limited to groups of three, helping to compartmentalise detailed content and encouraging the audience to follow the message. Overall, it illustrates the growth model of Uber, the digital revolution, and the system that solves the taxi industry’s current problems.
2. Office365 Sales Deck
Microsoft’s vivid and colourful sales deck focuses on exciting graphics and pictograms that accurately display their message highlighting Office 365’s features.
3. SalesForce Sales Deck Example: Simplify the Complex
If you are not aware, Salesforce is the company behind the world’s number one CRM solution – Sales Cloud. Salesforce’s cloud-based applications have transformed the way businesses communicate with customers. Salesforce’s sales deck is simple, easy to understand, and visually appealing, making it easy to focus on the individual product lines and customer success stories.
4. LinkedIn Sales Deck Example
Comparable to their professional social network website, LinkedIn’s sales deck is as professional as can be. The sales deck is longer than many but is full of valuable information, visuals, and graphs that help to captivate audiences from beginning to end.
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