As sales grow more competitive, a strong B2B sales deck may be what helps you close a deal or lose out to another vendor. Your decks must be thoughtfully crafted, engaging, persuasive and compelling enough to drive decision-makers to choose your solution.
What is a B2B sales deck?
Sales Hacker’s Alli McKee delves into this topic, and she begins by offering a basic definition of what a sales deck is:
“A sales deck is a slide presentation which is produced in PowerPoint or Slides, which is shown in meetings with prospects to help explain your company’s product and why they need to buy. It’s used to supplement a sales pitch and a demo.”
They are important because they work to engage and connect with buyers, revealing both value and the need for urgency. Basically, they explain why the buyers need your solution and why they need it now.
Common mistakes and what to do instead
McKee goes on to share what sellers shouldn’t do when crafting their B2B sales decks. She lists specific common missteps to avoid, including these two:
- Sharing a list of features
- Including too many slides with too little information
She then counters those mistakes with tips on what sellers should do instead. To start, she explains that too many sellers simply put in a slide that lists the features they offer. This just won’t resonate with today’s buyers. This strategy lacks personalization and doesn’t demonstrate the value of your solution. Instead, tell a story to paint a picture of what the solution looks like when used by the buyer.
“‘Story’ is a buzzword in sales today,” McKee explains. “But for good reason. Prospects remember 5–10% of statistics and 25% of images. But when there’s a story involved, retention shoots to 60–70%. Why? In this age of information overload, stories — not lists of features — are the best way to make your message stick.”
She then explains how different types of stories can resonate with different types of buyers. For example, if your audience includes director-level or VP budget holders, craft a story that illustrates how a purchase de-escalates risk and delivers strong ROI.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of storytelling. Subtle shifts in how you present your solution are easy to do, and your B2B sales deck will have a much more personal connection with the buyers. Take a look at SalesFuel’s tips for incorporating storytelling, from using value-based stories to making sure the buyers are the “heroes.”
Balance visuals with information
McKee reports, “Over 65% of people learn best visually, and visual presentations are 43% more persuasive than bullet-point ones.” But, sellers often get carried away with including visuals in their sales decks and end up not sharing enough vital information. Subtle use of visuals can have as much impact as pictures and gifs. For example, in addition to incorporating the buyer’s logo in your deck, also use their color scheme throughout the slides. This small touch of personalization has a major visual impact.
Her other suggestions include:
- Using visual metaphors to prove a point or help buyers understand a concept.
- Incorporating simple visual diagrams (but keep the layout minimal).
- Demonstrating credibility by using visuals to showcase case studies. Specifically, photos and videos (with permission) are best because they show that these successes belong to real people.
As Vikas Agrawal notes for Customer Think, “Yes, creating the best sales deck takes significant time and effort, but it will pay off by taking your lead generation and sales to new heights.” Avoid common mistakes and incorporate these best practices to ensure your sales decks deliver.
Photo by Edmond Dantès