One of the best things about going through the rigor of getting a custom pitch deck, is that you can use the output for many things afterwards. We help our previous pitch deck clients build sales decks that pull out the pertinent business and product details in new and compelling ways. Following are a few of our experiences in the sales arena and common tips we give to our clients so you can make sure you have a good foundation to your next presentation.
I. From Pitch Deck to Sales Deck: Tips for Making a Successful Shift
- Problem and Customer Application
- Customer Journey
- Design and Style
II. Making your Best Sales Deck: General Tips and Tricks
- Connect Marketing and Sales
- Sales Decks and Sales Presentations Need Flow
- Sales Presentations Need Practice
III. Investor Pitch To Sales Deck Transition: Final Thoughts
I. From Pitch Deck to Sales Deck: Tips for Making a Successful Shift
Having a good pitch deck will ensure you get your company’s message down from the beginning. It is essential to success in marketing in general as this is one of the first marketing documents a startup will create. Like all firsts, it has a tendency to set the tone for what comes next. For some, what comes next is a fight against their own messaging and content, for others brevity, clarity, and engagement.
We feel like a good Pitch Deck Design Firm will be able to help you accomplish the elements below in a content-rich, message focused way. By the time you are ready for the sales deck transition, you should have at least the following figured out:
- Problem and Customer Application: You may have more uses for your product than you know. The customer problems that come from going through the customer journey successfully during your pitch deck design phases will be key to transitioning to your sales deck. Who are your customers, what does thier life look like? How do you solve their problems?
- Customer Journey: Your pitch deck message and customer discovery should clue you into the essential elements of problem, solution, features, and benefits. It’s easy for an organization to know the solution and features on the surface, but the problem and benefits are hypothesis at best if you are not engaged with the customer. Get with your customer and test products and messaging throughout development and sales cycles. How do you reach your customers? What are they looking for? Who is the decision maker and what do they care about most?
- Design and Style: How your branding and look-feel match the presentation is a key element to the overall design of the pitch deck and will translate well to the downstream collateral that is created for sales. You should be able to align brand, logo, font, colors, graphics, and overall layout to a general design template. In fact, if done correctly, you can use the exact same base decks with custom tailored messaging, graphs, graphics, and calls to action that fit a sales deck.
II. Making your Best Sales Deck: General Tips and Tricks
Connect Marketing and Sales
Let’s start by addressing the root cause issue. Often, marketing and sales aren’t setup to support each other effectively. Sales talks to customers and Marketing gives them what to to talk about. There needs to be some tangible back and forth between these two teams and campaigns focused on a desired result should be created jointly.
Execution comes from testing the effect of the message. If the sales people are properly supported, not only will marketing lead the effort in getting the right deck in their hands, but both teams start to collaborate, problem solve, and strategize their best chance for success. Once the organization is able to capture data from both sides throughout the marketing and sales process funnels, they can start to drive improvement and lock in on what’s repeatable. Repeat-ability ensures that your people can be sustained in the short-run while they put the effort needed for long-term growth.
Focusing on your core message and the ability of the sales force to deliver it effectively is at the heart of this connection. Sales needs a great inflow of quality leads and Marketing needs a great inflow of quality content that they can use in attracting the right customers.
Key Questions: Connecting Marketing & Sales
- Do we have a way to measure success in Marketing Efforts? Metrics throughout all marketing campaigns are essential to knowing if you are getting your desired end result and what it is taking to get there.
- Do we have a feedback loop between Marketing and Sales Teams? This should be a regular interaction where lessons can be learned and behavior adapted. See this as a team building and obstacle removing type of interaction.
- How does Sales rate marketing material effectiveness? Your sales team’s opinion of the collateral they have to sell the product is important. Just like you wouldn’t go to a sales meeting under-dressed, you don’t want your prospect to leave the meeting with your company under-represented. Compelling story, graphics, and flow make for a better understood demo experience. The more engaged the customer during the presentation the better.
- How does Sales rate lead quality and inform marketing of targeting suggestions?
- How does Marketing know what products to focus on and what is helping the sales team?
- In what ways Marketing capture relevant knowledge from the greater organization?
- Are your campaigns aligned from end-to-end and do your sales people have what they need to make a compelling case?
Sales Decks and Sales Presentations Need Flow
Make sure your sales decks have a natural flow to them. Features of the product are great, but remember you are intimately familiar with the product and it’s value to the customer. Framing up problems and solutions is a great way to allow the customer to step into the experience and hear the solutions you are presenting in the proper context. Too many sale presentations and pitches focus on the product feature which in comparison to your competitors aren’t that outstanding. To make them outstanding you have to go beyond features and become part of the customer’s team.
Remember, your solution removes the burden from your clients and makes everything easier. Without it, you are already overpaying. We know our services are outstanding and the results and client satisfaction are our barometers of success. Without us, our clients would be suffering more with sub-standard or non-existent products and services. I bet your company is similar. Capturing this flow of value in a customer-centric way is key to aligning your sales team to your authentic message. Sales presentations made in this way are a service to your customer and if you don’t get the word out, you are responsible for holding back your awesomeness from the world.
Key Questions: Establishing Flow
- What is your authentic message? Knowing who you are and what you are bringing to the market-place is essential. Which Market are you serving and why? What makes you passionate about the brand? In your opinion, what stands out in the business and can you align message and authenticity around that?
- Why you? To get to know what the customer might be seeing in your competitors. What is your real differentiation in the marketplace and how do you absolutely own that space?
- Have you effectively identified your customers problems and use cases? You should be able to get at least 2 -3 target customer personas out of this. You can use these to start differentiating the problem flow depending on how the client fits into the sales process.
- How does your deck start? Is it about the customer? Or the Features? See what shifting your focus to the customer journey does to the flow. Frame it up from their perspective and ground the presentation in common understanding.
- Do you spend too much time on certain points? Where you focus is a good thing to be aware of because good flow focuses timing and delivery on the key message, not the intricacy of the details being presented. The desire for deeper discovery of the details will be the outcome of a successful presentation. Details will change too, but the fundamentals of how you got here, where you are going, and how you are going to get there are important in evaluating potential. With awareness and enough practice, it’s easier to not get stuck in comfort areas that would detract from the presentation.
- How does your deck end? Natural next steps are part of good flow. What now? This is a chance to smooth your way out of output mode and into receptive mode with your investor or customer.
Sales Presentations Need Practice
How does your organization practice it’s pitch? We helped hundreds of people improve their pitch by focusing on capturing and keeping the lead’s attention. This is enhanced with a good pitch deck, but what lies as a problem at the heart of both, is that the pitcher is just a little too close to the product. They are the sales people not the customer who’s using the product. Getting into the customer’s headspace while being given a deck can be difficult. We recommend that you work with an experienced sales coach to at least develop a repeatable process for your team to test. You might think you can wing this, but the pitch is often where deals are won and lost and having an expert help you cut through the clutter and make it right the first time is essential to success.
Recording calls and having sales meetings where we can discuss what is working well and what is not as a team starts to align the sales team around continuous improvement. Once they know their process and can jointly share what’s working with their colleagues, the team will be able to enhance it’s performance and ability to collaborate. You’ll notice that focusing on the team like this will improve things exponentially over focusing on just one individual, and you can setup incentive programs to reward team performance jumps as a bonus to normal individual incentives. This gets the team working together and supporting each other to help improve sales results. Once you have your winning strategies, practicing them on a regular basis will help the team grow and adapt in a positive direction.
Key Questions: Practicing as a Team
- Does your team discuss lessons learned and best practices on a regular basis?
- Do you have a capture mechanism setup to capture, monitor, and rate sales performance outside of basic metrics?
- Are your incentives rewarding a competitive culture or a collaborative culture? Collaborative cultures win together, but rewards on an individual level cannot be overlooked. The key is finding a balance that maximizes team performance while keeping each individual motivated.
- Are you practicing effectively? Working with a pro can help you design effective rating and improvement plans for getting your pitch right the first time. Set practice sessions up for your team and measure the improvement over time. Translate lessons learned and improvement jumps back to the team for group learning and evolution.
- Do we have a way to on-board and immediately bring them up to speed on the team’s basic sales process and methodology?
III. Investor Pitch To Sales Pitch Deck Transition: Final Thoughts
From start to finish, the transition from pitching to investors to pitching to customers is a natural progression in any B2B startup’s life. In the likely case where investor fund raising and sales are happening simultaneously, you can design both types of content in tandem, following the guidance above.
Keep in mind the main differences: Investors are going to want to see how the business might fit into their portfolio; customers will want to see how the product fits into their life and makes it better. Because of the tone these two pitch decks set with internal teams and external audiences, they are some of the most important initial marketing collateral the company will create. The goal is to have an iterative, testable approach to marketing and sales with a focus on creating reusable content that can be evolved along the business’ growth path.
You’ll probably find that with the creation of a great investor deck your confidence in message and brand power will immediately translate to increased opportunities for sales. We’ve seen better stories evolve over time and founders embody the true meaning of the product and message. When someone knows the difference they are making and why – it is powerful. This is why we don’t think you should skimp on making sure you have thoroughly set yourself up for success with these marketing pieces.
We think great sales pitch deck collateral translates to consumer confidence and traction and we wouldn’t want you to be caught without something that doesn’t make you look the best. Take time to work with your customers, your sales and marketing teams, and your delivery teams to make sure the entire value chain is captured and communicated. Pitch decks aren’t just for sales and funding, they are also great ways to present information to your team and external stakeholders. Following the processes laid out here, we hope that the early investment in your message and scalable content will pay dividends through growth, traction, and the ability to be able to communicate effectively across all your channels.