If you are a sales rep in B2B that spends the days meeting with clients and pitching them your company’s packages, chances are you’ve used a sales deck before.
If you have never used a sales deck or the process of creating one is new to you, you NEED to consider adding in the extra step of creating a persuasive and personalized sales deck for your next pitch.
But, if you still aren’t convinced that you need a sales deck, let’s think about the B2B buying decision cycle. It’s very likely that you have been speaking directly with a champion at your prospect’s company. Although they might be bought in on your solution, they will be required to share your products or services with the greater team, along with the added value that this solution would bring. Most of the time, sales reps aren’t invited to those calls and it’s up to the prospect to sell your solution internally.
With a sales deck, you will not only be able to create visual cues around your main points so they stick out in your prospect’s mind, but you are also empowering your prospects with your sales deck! When a sales deck is tailored to a prospect’s needs, they can use it to convince their internal teams and decision-makers. Not only are you making your champion’s life easier, but you are ensuring that your main points are being shared.
Don’t rely on just your champion to relay the importance of your products or services. Make sure to create sales pitch decks that will reinforce your message even when you can’t be in the room with every decision-maker.
What is a Sales Deck?
A sales deck is essentially a sales representative’s visual pitch. These sales decks are created with tools like PowerPoint, SlideShare, Google Slides, Canva or any presentation creation software you like.
Sales decks are ideally shown in important meetings with your B2B prospect. Some of the main features in a sales deck are a company overview which could include an overview of your company’s history, vision and values, an overview of your products, and a pitch for why they need to buy. Ideally, these decks will be tailored to your prospect’s pain points and needs and also include social proof like testimonials, case studies, reviews and more.
Pro tip: Only provide products and value propositions that relate to your prospect’s goals. Keep it short! Avoid overwhelming your prospect with too much information that doesn’t relate to their needs.
Sales Deck vs. Pitch Deck—What’s the Difference?
A sales deck is a pitch meant to convince or persuade your customers to purchase your product over your competitor’s. Ideally these decks will include the benefits of what you're selling, a list of products that relate and the value propositions.
A pitch deck on the other hand is developed for investors interested in learning more about your company. The intention of this deck is different and will typically include more internal financial, strategic and forecasting information that would not necessarily matter to your prospect. Essentially, this is a more condensed version of your company’s business plan.
Overall, the best way to know the difference between a sales deck and a pitch deck is to understand the audience the deck will be shared with.
Why a Sales Deck Matters in B2B
A sales deck is an important tool in the sales reps toolbox and can provide a lot of advantages which will not only make the rep feel prepared, but help encourage a B2B prospect to decide to buy from the company. Here are a few advantages of a sales deck in B2B:
- Sales professionals can tell a great story. A great sales deck will tell a cohesive story about why your company exists and accurately articulate a compelling vision for why your prospect’s life will be easier when using your solution. Early in the process, it’s your job to get your prospect excited about your service. Your goals are to build a champion, orient your prospect with the products and sell them on their easier, ideal future.
- You can map strategic outcomes. A great sales deck will build urgency around why your prospect needs to work with your company because of the huge impact you will make for them. Remember, make the impact related to your prospect’s challenges so that they are bought into your solution and are able to, in turn, sell the benefit to other decision-makers in their company. Rally around your prospect’s goals with them and you will soon realize you’ve created a champion who will be happy to convince internal teams as to why your solution is needed.
- Provide social proof in a strategic way. When developing a sales deck, think about how you can fold in great customer stories that will resonate with your prospect. Decks make it simple to show credibility and testimonials from your customers. This is also an opportunity to highlight relevant awards you’ve received, great reviews, testimonials and other forms of social proof that you believe will matter most to your customer.
Pro tip: Be strategic in choosing customer stories. Pick case studies and testimonials that are the most similar to your customer's needs and pain points. Keep the case study simple and only highlight the challenge, solution, and outcomes.
- Develop a structure that works. Your B2B sales deck will serve as a structure for how to run a pitch meeting with your prospect. Whether you are conducting a discovery call or presenting a tailored offer, the sales deck will provide a guide for reps to follow.
The 3 Elements of Successful and Engaging Sales Decks in B2B
Whether you are creating a deck for your initial call with a B2B prospect or are in the final stages, ready to close a deal, there are three main elements that are a mainstay in every sales deck (and should not be overlooked or avoided).
1. A Great Story
Your B2B sales deck needs to have a storyline. Research suggests that prospects remember 5-10 percent of statistics presented and 25 percent of images, but retention increases to 60-70 percent when the salesperson tells a compelling story that conveys the information that’s being presented.
If you think about it, we all are overwhelmed by a lot of information in our day-to-day lives and our B2B prospects are not immune to information overload. That’s why telling a story that touches on their pain points while still selling your product or solution is the best strategy to help you close the deal. This story will keep your prospect engaged and provide a nice structure for your sales reps to follow.
However, telling a generic story might not work in your sales deck. You need to know who you are pitching to and tailor that story for your B2B audience.
2. Customized and Targeted Visual Content
Customization is key not only during the initial outreach with your customer, but throughout the entire process. That’s why when creating your sales deck, it’s best practice to pick visuals and messaging tailored to meet your audience's needs.
Over 65 percent of people are visual learners and visual presentations are more persuasive than a bulleted presentation. Because of this statistic, think of strategic ways to take your content and visualize it. For example, if you have compelling statistics, can you turn that into a graph or chart? If you have a customer story or testimonial, do you have video content or pictures of that success?
When you customize your content and take a visual-first approach when creating your sales deck, you will be delighted to see your prospect is more engaged and more likely to schedule another call with you or decide your solution is best for their company.
3. Choosing the Right Format for Your Delivery
Have you ever been in a sales call, presenting your deck and at the end of the meeting your prospect requests that you send this to them to share with their boss? Perhaps you mindlessly sent the deck without editing it and adding additional language or context. This is a huge mistake.
Although it’s best practice to keep slides on your presentation to about 20 words, this really only works when you are presenting this deck to your prospect. You are able to fill in the blanks and add context as needed throughout the rest of the verbal portion of your presentation.
So, when you send your deck to your prospect to share with their boss and internal teams, that important visual context is missing. To circumvent any confusion, consider adding in a few more words for context. Instead of the slides having 20 words, push that word count to 60 words to ensure you are getting your point across yet still being concise.
3 Common Mistakes Sales Professionals Make When Creating Sales Decks
Creating a successful sales deck takes patience, skill and practice. But, if you don’t spend the right amount of time and focus on your presentations, you could be making some mistakes that could cost you a deal with your prospect. Avoid these three mistakes when creating your sales deck.
1. Listing all Products and Features
Have you ever sat in a sales pitch meeting and noticed a rep sharing every single product, SKU and description in the presentation? How quickly did you become disengaged?
Your prospect only cares about what value your product will bring to their company. That’s why tailoring your presentation to their needs is key! Don’t fall victim to listing every offering and add-on you have to your customer. Instead, focus on the solutions that they need right now. There’s always a time for up-selling and cross-selling in the future—but your initial B2B sales deck is not that place.
2. Overloading Slides with Too Much Information
As mentioned above, it’s best practice for your slides to only have about 20 to 60 words. Do not overload your slides with too much text or too many visuals. This approach will be distracting to your prospect and you won’t be able to get your point across.
Our tip: Include one idea each slide. Not only will this help you organize your thoughts, but you will keep your prospects' attention and help them focus on your main ideas.
3. Your Sales Deck Is Too Long
We’ve all been in sales meetings where the pitch is going a little too long and is running over the allocated time. Don’t make this mistake! When creating your B2B sales deck, it could be easy to spend a lot of time customizing and creating slides for every idea and solution that you simply lose track of time.
Consider timing yourself presenting your deck and take out any information or slides that do not align with the goals of your sales meeting and consolidate where you can. For example, you do not need five slides that give a deep overview of your company’s values and mission. Instead, spend the bulk of your time talking about the value you offer and be considerate of your prospect’s time.
Start Creating a B2B Sales Deck that Help You Close the Deal
A sales deck is one of the most important tools that you can use when you are talking to your prospects. Not only will a sales deck act as a guide for your conversation, but it is a great follow-up piece that your prospect can use with their internal teams to educate them about your product.
Getting your B2B sales deck right can help you close deals faster, build better relationships with your potential customers and provide opportunities for up- and cross-selling. If you spend time creating customized and personalized sales decks for your prospects, you’ll find that not only will they be more engaged during the process, but they will quickly become advocates and help sway the decision-makers on their internal teams.