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Sales presentations: templates, examples and ideas on how to present like a pro

Sales Presentation
Topics
What is a sales presentation?
How (and why) to use storytelling in your sales presentation
Creating a winning sales presentation slide deck
What else to bring to your sales presentation
Tailoring your sales presentation to speak to your audience
How to nail your sales presentation delivery
What to do after the sales presentation to close the deal
Great sales presentation examples (and why they worked)
Final thoughts

A good sales presentation is more than a simple pitch, a demo or a list of facts and figures. Done well, at the right time in your sales process, it’s a tool for getting your prospects’ attention, drumming up excitement and moving prospects toward a buying decision.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to use the power of storytelling to drive decision-making and close more deals. We’ll also cover the fundamental elements of an effective sales presentation strategy, what to include in your sales decks and practical ideas on how to deliver them.


What is a sales presentation?

A sales presentation is a live meeting where your team showcases your product or service and why it’s the best option for your prospect.

Although the terminology differs from company to company, a sales presentation is not always the same as a sales pitch.

A sales pitch is what your sales professionals do all day long, on the phone, over Zoom or in person with clients.

A sales presentation (although it’s still a sales pitch) is a point-in-time event that usually happens when your sales team is trying to close a more lucrative deal. It’s not a simple phone call, as it often involves a meeting and a demo.

Because you’re likely presenting to a group of senior decision-makers and executives, sales presentations require ample prep time and coordination across multiple team members.


How (and why) to use storytelling in your sales presentation

Use stories in your presentations to help people remember and relate to your brand.

Statistics, facts and figures can help when you’re trying to persuade a prospect to become a customer, but they’re more impactful if you can frame them with a memorable story.

For example, tell a story about a customer who faced the same challenges as your prospect and supplement it with powerful data, they are more likely to listen and want to know more.

Human beings have a deep relationship with storytelling. Stories move, teach and, in a sales context, persuade audiences.

Chip Heath, a Stanford professor and the co-author of Made to Stick, demonstrates the importance of storytelling by doing an exercise with his students. He divides them into groups and asks them to deliver a one-minute persuasive pitch based on data he’s just shown them.

After the pitches are delivered, he asks the class to jot down everything they remember about them. Although most students use stats rather than stories, 63% remember the stories, while only 5% remember an individual data point.

The stickiness of stories makes them a useful tool for developing a sales presentation outline. They help prospects understand and remember the key points of the presentation and your product.

Analogies or relatable stories are an extremely powerful technique to avoid using internal ‘jargon’ and allows the customer to understand the product/service in the real world

Thomas DredgeSales Manager, Particular Audience


Start with a problem (and a deadline)

Your presentation is about the solution you’re offering your prospects, but it shouldn’t start with that solution.

Instead, lead with the problem your solution was designed to solve.

Value selling is key,” says Bradley Davies, business development at Cognism. “It is important to understand your buyer and tailor their journey to what you can do for them.

“First, you need to understand what is motivating them to have a discussion, which allows you to identify their pains and present how your offering solves their pains. Everything presented to a prospect should be based on the value for them specifically.”

You might choose to tell a story that positions your product as the hero, helping the customer vanquish a villain: their pain point.

Your story should be tailored to the pain points of the prospects in the room. For example, a change to their business, industry or the technology they use.

“If an element of your offering is not relevant, then don't distract them from the important features. It will keep them engaged and help to build their user story,” adds Bradley.

Create a sense of urgency around your product: It’s a solution to their problem, but if they don’t act now, they could miss an opportunity. Tell a story about what might happen if your prospect doesn’t change, framing the consequences of inaction.

Focus on outcomes

You’ve outlined the problem and, if you’re doing your job, your audience is nodding along. Now it’s time to start talking about the solution.

However, that doesn’t mean you should launch into the features and benefits of your product just yet.

Rather than presenting your product, a good sales presentation draws a picture of what life could look like for a customer once they start doing things differently. How will their workload or productivity improve? What will they be able to do with additional time and resources? How will they reduce spending and increase revenue?

From there, introduce your solution and the features that can make this brave new world possible. Do this in a few ways:

  1. Position your features against the old way of doing things

  2. Present those features as “superpowers” that will solve your prospect’s problems

  3. Compare those features to competitors’ features

  4. Quantify the value your features bring vs. the cost of doing nothing

  5. Use a combination of some or all of the above


Creating a winning sales presentation slide deck

Most sales presentations include a slide deck to deliver facts, case studies and statistics that convey the value of your solution.

Create your sales pitch deck in an application like PowerPoint or Google slides to ensure your presentation is visible to everyone in the room (or in a virtual setting).

The best sales decks have a few key elements:

  • A great cover image or opening slide. Like the story you open your presentation with, your cover slide should grab your audience’s attention.

  • Data and key points. Charts, graphs, infographics, quotes and other information back up your presentation. Your slides should support your presentation by visualizing data, not repeating what you’re saying. You can get metrics from third-party sources or (if appropriate) from your own sales dashboard.

  • Testimonials and case studies from other customers. Quotes and success stories from or information about other customers, preferably in the same industry as your prospects, will act as social proof and go a long way to backing up your claims.

  • Competitive context. In all likelihood, your product isn’t the only one a potential customer is evaluating. Savvy sales professionals take the opportunity to proactively communicate how their product stacks up to their competitors’ and anticipate objections.

  • Customized content. While it might seem tempting to use the same content for every presentation, you should personalize your presentation for each meeting. You might want to use your prospect’s brand colors, find data specific to their market or industry, or reference an earlier exchange. You can find ready-to-use customizable sales decks through a graphic design app, such as Canva.

  • A glimpse into next steps. Give your prospects an understanding of what new customer onboarding looks like with a slide that includes a direct call to action offering next steps. For some companies, the training and customer support experience can be a value proposition in and of itself.

  • A note about text in your sales deck: Keep the slides simple and light on text. Your prospects don’t want to look at a wall of words to read. According to data from Venngage, 84% of presenters use visual data in their presentations – and for good reason: You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with text as they listen to you, look at your sales deck and watch the demo.

When you do include text, ensure you use a font (and font size) that can be easily read by everyone sitting in on your presentation.

Download the Sales Presentation Templates ebook

Nail your sales presentations with this guide containing the 8 slides you need and tips on how to make them.


What else to bring to your sales presentation

Now that we’ve discussed the story elements of a sales presentation and your slide deck, what else should you bring to the meeting?

Most sales presentations are in-person affairs and include visual elements like a sales deck, handouts or even an in-person demonstration of the physical product. Here are a few things to think about including in your pitch.

The product

Nothing sells a product like seeing it in action.

Take Scrub Daddy, a sponge that changes shape depending on the heat of the water. When Aaron Krause, Scrub Daddy’s founder and inventor, presented the product on Shark Tank in 2012, he demonstrated the sponge cleaning dirty kitchenware and greasy countertops. He also used bowls of water and two 10-pound weights to show the sponge’s amazing morphic abilities.

The tactic paid off: Scrub Daddy partnered with Lori Greiner for $200,000, in return for 20% equity in the business and is now considered one of Shark Tank’s most successful products.

Not all products are easy to demo, so you may have to improvise.

  • With a physical product, think of the perfect environment for a demo. What would show the product at its best?

  • With a digital product, make sure you have the technology on hand to show what your product can do (and check beforehand that the tech works). If it’s a mobile app, have your prospects download it. If it’s a platform, consider producing recorded or interactive product demos that can be embedded in your sales presentation.

  • For items that are too big to be brought in or which are location-specific, you may have to rely on a video as part of the presentation.

Leave behinds

Depending on the nature of your solution, you may want to have materials you can leave with the prospects in the room.

This can be as simple as contact information or sales literature you pass out at the end of the presentation. It can also be something that’s part of the presentation, like a QR code that allows them to download the demo on their phones. Whatever format you choose, make sure the material is concise and to the point.


Tailoring your sales presentation to speak to your audience

Once you develop a strong sales deck template, it’s tempting to use it over and over with your target audience. Remember, personalization is essential in sales.

During lead generation, prospecting and sales calls, you know that prospects are more interested in buying if your pitches are tailored to them. It’s the same with your sales presentations, especially if you have an unusual prospect.

Let’s say your product is a CRM that’s normally used by sales organizations, but a human resources department is interested in using it to create a recruiting pipeline.

You wouldn’t use a sales deck with sales-related examples to sell it during the presentation.

Instead, you’d research talent acquisition challenges, ask your product department to create a template or a demo aimed at recruiting and build your sales deck accordingly.

Different industries have unique challenges and opportunities. It’s your responsibility to tailor your value proposition and key bullet points accordingly.

“To craft the perfect sales presentation pitch,” advises Danny Hayward, Sales Manager at Unruly, “ensure you take care of these three things:

  1. Ask the right questions beforehand to understand the needs of the client, especially their flaws

  2. Learn your product inside and out

  3. Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse again

Asking the right questions before sculpting your sales presentation pitch allows you to tailor it directly to what the client needs to help them meet their specific business objectives. Learning everything you need to know about your product ensures you know it inside and out, so no stone is left unturned in case you get asked any sticky questions. Finally, rehearsing out loud is fundamental. Record yourself if need be to uncover any sticking points.

Danny HaywardSales Manager, Unruly


How to nail your sales presentation delivery

Here are a few tried and true sales presentation techniques to make sure you close the deal.

Plan ahead

Whether you’re presenting solo or as part of a team, it’s important to plan in advance. Follow these sales presentation tips for preparation.

  • Practice, practice, practice. You’ll need to get the timing right, especially if your presentation has a lot of moving parts. Go through it to make sure your timing works, so that you can nail the meeting itself.

  • Make sure everything works. You don’t want to go into a meeting with a faulty PowerPoint presentation or a broken sample – or find out there is no whiteboard when one is integral to your demonstration. Do your best to make sure everything goes to plan.

  • Decide on everyone’s roles. This one is just for those presenting as a team. Will different sales reps speak through each section? Will one rep talk while the others handle the sales deck and demo? Decide who will do and say what ahead of time.

  • Know your attendees. Make sure you know who from the prospect company will be in the meeting, their titles and the roles they each play in the buying process. Conducting light social media research can also clue you into attendees’ past experiences or alma maters (information that can fuel pre-presentation small talk and forge closer connections with your audience).

Practice confident body language

Presentations usually happen in person, which is why you need to practice strong body language. You want to look relaxed and confident (even if you’re shaking in your shoes).

Here are some ways you can improve your body language:

  1. Eye contact. Make and maintain eye contact, even in virtual meetings. This shows people you’re interested in them and invested in what they have to say.

  2. Stand up straight. Pull your shoulders back and straighten your spine; fixing your posture is an easy way to convey confidence. You’ll also feel better if you’re not hunched over.

  3. Chin up. It’s hard when you’re in front of people, but don’t look at the floor or your shoes. Face straight ahead and make eye contact (or look at the back wall rather than the floor.)

  4. Have a firm handshake. Some people judge others by their handshakes. Offer a firm handshake to make a good first impression.

Engage your audience

Presentations can span 30 to 60 minutes or more, so you need to be able to hold your prospects’ attention. There are a number of ways to keep everyone interested:

1. Understand your audience’s attention span

The beginning and the end of your presentation are the most memorable, so that’s where you want to use your strongest material.

Rather than leading with your product’s features, use the first few minutes of a presentation to briefly introduce yourself, and share the compelling story we mentioned earlier. If your demo itself is compelling, lead with that.

Then talk about product features and pricing. Your prospects might have already researched it or can look it up afterward, so it’s fine that it’s occupying real estate in the middle of the presentation.

Lastly, finish strong. Return to your story, sharing how your product solved an important problem. Close with confidence, and open the floor for questions.

2. Be funny

Humor can be tricky, so if you’re not comfortable making jokes, don’t force it. If, however, humor is part of your brand voice and you think it will be well-received by your audience, go for it. Humor can be a good way to connect with prospects, make your presentation memorable and relax everyone in the room.

3. Use a little showmanship

The best thing about a sales presentation is that it lets you show off your product. Unlike a pitch, a presentation lets you pull out the stops, make a splash and showcase your solution.

Use this to your advantage and be as memorable as you possibly can.

Get public speaking coaching, even if you are a competent speaker. I once took an eight-week course that immensely improved my communication skills during a pitch. Just to drive this home, I then coached someone who entered a Santander startup competition. They won.

Sophie CameronBusiness Development Representative, CAKE


What to do after the sales presentation to close the deal

The sales cycle isn’t over when the sales presentation ends. Here are some tips on how to wrap up loose ends and close the deal.

Take questions

Encourage questions to show prospects you care about their experience.

Sometimes prospects may want a question answered right in the middle of a presentation. Interactivity is a great sign of engagement. If that happens, stop the presentation and take their questions head-on to show you’re listening and validate their thoughts.

Other times they may sit silently waiting for you to give them all the information they need.

In either case, proactively ask for questions once you’ve ended your presentation. Encourage them to share their concerns. This is a consultative selling approach that works to build a relationship with your prospects.

Follow up

By the end of your sales pitch, your prospect should be ready to come along with you and start your business relationship.

Outline the next steps of the process. The first could be offering a trial of your product, scheduling a follow-up meeting or sending over a proposal.

Whatever the steps, make sure they’re clearly defined. If you don’t hear from the prospect soon after the proposal, check back in with a follow-up email or call.


Great sales presentation examples (and why they worked)

Here are some sales pitch examples you can use to inform your next sales presentation; these examples range from great sales decks to presentations and we’ll explain why they worked so well.

The successful demo

Stephen Conway of vegan chocolate brand Pure Heavenly opened his elevator pitch on the UK’s Dragons’ Den in 2019 by handing out samples of his chocolate. The product, paired with Stephen’s story about wanting to create an allergen-free treat that his young daughters could enjoy, led to three offers.

Why it worked: Conway knew the strength of his product and packaged it in a personal story, betting (correctly) that it would sell itself.

The data-driven presentation

Lunchbox is a restaurant technology company that specializes in online ordering, customer loyalty and guest engagement software. The sales deck the company used to raise its $50 million Series B in 2022 relied on bold visuals and graphs to illustrate its market opportunity, ARR history and competitive differentiators.

Lunchbox


Why it worked: The deck tells two stories, one about the company itself and another about the way consumer dining habits have changed in the wake of COVID-19. Lunchbox used data to show how it met the industry’s new pain points for both itself and other companies.

The presenters with overwhelming confidence

When Brian and Michael Speciale went on Shark Tank in 2017 to pitch their product, The Original Comfy, they had very little – no numbers or inventory, just a prototype of a big fleece blanket/hoodie and video of that hoodie being worn everywhere from the couch to the beach. What they did have was a good product and confidence in that product. Their presentation earned them an offer of $50,000 for 30% from Barbara Corcoran.

Why it worked: Corcoran says she bought in because the Speciale brothers had a good idea, the guts to present it and knew they had to strike while the iron was hot. While you probably should be more prepared for your own sales presentation, the Original Comfy story shows just how important confidence is in a sales presentation.

  • How should you begin your sales presentation?
  • How long should a sales presentation be?
  • How to end a presentation (including an example)


Final thoughts

It can be tempting to play it safe with a sales presentation by keeping it to a sales deck and a speech – but a sales presentation should be a show-stopper.

The best sales presentation tells your customer’s story, validates with data, offers a demo and more. It’s a major undertaking that shows the strength of your product. Done well, it keeps your prospects engaged and will make them want to do business with you.

Show customers how your product can push their business forward (or better yet, how your product can make them the superhero) and you’ll have a winning sales presentation that sparks your customer’s interest and drives revenue.

Download the Sales Presentation Templates ebook

Nail your sales presentations with this guide containing the 8 slides you need and tips on how to make them.

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