As sales consultants and salespeople ourselves, we are strong believers in the value that a sales presentation can provide here at SRi. In fact before providing our own proposals, we give an Executive Presentation to our prospects, either in-person or on a call via some slide-sharing medium like Go-to-Meeting.
The purpose of our own Executive Presentations is three-fold: 1) to continue prospect qualification, 2) to show our understanding of their pain points and how our solutions provide a benefit to them, and 3) to tackle the tougher topics of objections and pricing.
You probably have a similar presentation used in your sales process (if you don't, you should!). Generally these slide decks, called Sales Presentations/Capabilities Presentations/Executive Presentations, etc., would occur after the initial call/contact with a prospect and before a full product demo and then a proposal. In some cases, such presentations may occur multiple times with different stakeholders in the prospect account, or they may be used as "leave-behinds" along with other sales and marketing collateral like case studies and brochures. Where a sales presentation fits into the sales process and how it's used is dependent on your unique organization and your prospect's buying process.
While the exact logistics of a sales presentation varies by organization, they are a valuable tool that every salesperson should have access to and be using. Aside from being visually appealing (put your marketing team to work on this), every sales presentation should be given using the following presentation guidelines for outline and style.
FREE RESOURCE! Want a template for better sales presentations? Click here to download.
Remember - this is a TEMPLATE! The only way this will work is for each slide to be made purposefully, tailored to your audience, and incorporating visual elements such as pictures, charts, icons, etc. Listed again below.
Guideline 1: Presentation Outline
Below is the basic outline that we use for our Executive Presentations and as a basis for many of our clients. For every presentation we give, bullets 4-6 (see below) are customized to the audience, not about what we are selling. Throughout the presentation we are focused on continued qualifying, answering objections, and providing meaningful value.
We also have extra slides, such as additional solution offerings, case studies, and more details, that can be swapped in and out of the deck depending on the type of prospect receiving the presentation, what solutions they are interested in, and the time limit for the presentation. Below is an outline of what the core of our sales presentations looks like.
Core Executive Presentation:
- Cover slide:
- Prospect logo and your logo
- Your name and title
- Presentation name and date
- Agenda - outline of today's presentation
- Introductions - who's here today from both sides of the table
- What we know about you - learned through first call/research
- Changes since last meeting - if any
- Goals - 3 clear goals for today's meeting
- About us - introducing who we are
- Our approach - how we work with clients
- Our process - step-by-step project overview
- Our offerings - product/services suite
- NASCAR slide - logos your company has worked with [make sure these logos are approved by your existing customers before using]
<a good place to insert relevant case studies> [same as above goes for case studies, don't use logos and detailed stories without client permission]
- Proposed program of work - for each product/service proposed, explain:
- Proposed solution
- What's included
- Benefits to the prospect
- Pricing for the proposed program of work
- Timeline for the proposed program of work
- Next steps - plans to follow-up
- "Thank You" and Q&A slide - encourage dialogue throughout the presentation rather than holding questions until the end, but give a final opportunity for questions here
FREE RESOURCE! Want the template for this outline? Click here to download!
Remember - this is a TEMPLATE! The only way this will work is for each slide to be made purposefully, tailored to your audience, and incorporating visual elements such as pictures, charts, icons, etc.
Guideline 2: Presentation Style
You've heard these tips before, but in the moment of giving a presentation, salespeople are prone to forgetting them, either due to nerves or complacency (an "I-already know-how-to-do-this-I've-done-it-a million-times" attitude). Hammer the following home with your sales team by regularly practicing presentations together, and reviewing presentations before giving them to an actual prospect audience.
Presentation style guide:
- Pay attention to your voice, don't talk too fast or in a monotone
- Watch body language and posture (even when you're on the phone, it affects how your speak)
- In person, make good eye contact
- Talk to the slides or else you'll confuse your audience
- Let the verbal and non-verbal queues from your audience guide you
- Keep it interesting without being long-winded
- Pop in a little humor
- Make it interactive by asking questions and encouraging dialogue throughout
- Don't be afraid of tough questions, but don't make up an answer if you don't know. Make a plan to get back to the prospect once you've found an answer.
- Spend 1-2 minutes on each slide
- Respect your audience's time, stick to the presentation length they agreed-upon
Sales management, work with your teams to perfect their pitches and presentations, and marketing to make an aesthetically-pleasing slide deck. Good sales presentations, focused on the audience rather than what you're selling, lead to greater credibility, an expedited sales process, and an increase in closed sales. We've seen great results using our version of this outline and our clients have experienced the same.
If you're interested in learning more about how we help clients with sales presentations and other sales tools, visit our Paint-the-Picture solution page!