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July 15, 2022

4 best practices that will make your sales deck effective

The sales deck we use in early-stage meetings is often critical to our success in those meetings. But many miss the mark.  Today we are going to outline the must-have elements of a first meeting deck.

Getting first meetings with high-potential prospects is so hard these days that we cannot afford to waste the meeting by leaving them confused.  

There is no leverage point in the sales cycle more powerful than the first meeting.  Convert at just a few percentage points higher and we see the impact down the sales process.

Unfortunately, there are so many decks in use out there that are just terrible.  They hurt, more than help, your sales.

In the absence of best practices, everyone brings their own (usually uninformed) way of doing it. What often happens:

  • marketing creates a deck that is all about us and uses words humans wouldn't use in normal conversation
  • sellers then take that deck and adapt it (aka tear it apart) to what they think is right
  • this means that every seller is using a different deck 
  • THEN ... each seller has their own talk track for the deck
  • The head of sales then wonders why their first meeting conversion rate is inconsistent
But...the good news is there are some best practices for what the deck should include...and it's not that difficult to adopt them!


1. Start with the problems you solve

If you start with the problems you begin the conversation  oriented around what the prospect cares about i.e. "what do you do for me?"

On the slide, just list 2-4 problems. These are the ones that you solve for most of your customers and for the persona you are talking with.

Start the talk track with something like... "we've talked with over 70 security leaders and these tend to be the things they are experiencing where we can help the most..."

Explain the problems and then ask...

"Are you experiencing these challenges too or do you have a different set of issues that are top of mind?"


2. Show how you solve the problems

Your prospects are silently wondering "how do you solve these problems?"

Don't leave them wondering!

A single slide is all that is needed. 

You don't need to explain every aspect of your offering and walk them through the architecture in depth. Explain what you do, SIMPLY.


3. Explicitly tell them what you do differently

They are also asking themselves "how do these guys do it differently than all the others in this space."

So... don't leave it to chance that your prospects understand how you are different!!!

Be explicit.  Don't implicitly cover this in other slides because unless they are experts in your category they won't figure it out!

In one slide you need to clearly hit them between the eyes with your unique differentiation.  Use a diagram.  Use very few, but impactful, words.

No buzzwords!

Start the slide talk track with "you are probably wondering how exactly we are different..."  This will likely cause their attention to snap back to your slide.


4. Talk about your customers

They will also be asking themselves "who else are these guys working with?"

Be ready with some example customers and tell a great customer story preferably from the same industry as your prospect and with the same use case.

These 4 slides are the foundation of a great deck.  Mastering these slides will increase your first meeting conversion rate.

All around you, there will be people who love quantity. 

They will want to add a ton of words to your slides (and waste days wordsmithing them)

They will also want to a ton more slides to explain all the amazing things they think need to be explained to every prospect. 

Resist these people as if your job depends on it... because it just might!