B2B Sales Presentations: Tell a Winning Story With Your Sales Deck
Convincing a prospect to say yes to your sales pitch is tough.
…Or is it?
The best sales reps know that the key element to getting a “yes” lies in the art of telling a great story.
And no, that doesn’t mean making any outlandish claims.
It’s all about structuring your B2B sales pitch deck to appeal to your audience and demonstrate your value proposition.
When done right, it’s damn powerful.
Feeling frustrated with your pitches and struggling to tell a story that sells?
Here’s everything you need to know about crafting a B2B presentation deck to get buy-in from even the most skeptical prospects.
What Is A B2B Sales Presentation?
A B2B sales presentation that tells the story of a problem a prospect is facing and how your product or service offering can overcome the challenge and transform their business.
Whether you’re meeting in person or via video, the goal is to showcase your value proposition, tailor your solution to the potential client’s current needs, gain trust and close the deal.
B2B Presentations Are A Conversation
I was once at a small sales presentation with 15 – 20 executives as the audience. Part way through, they needed some sales collateral to follow along in the next section.
But the speaker didn’t hand out the materials.
Instead, he just pointed to the papers stacked on a table at the side of the room.
At first everyone was hesitant to stand up and retrieve the materials. But as soon as one person stood up, everyone else followed.
After the event I asked him why he didn’t just hand out the materials? It would have been more efficient.
The speaker pointed out that by walking over to fetch the materials themselves, the participants were making a ‘micro-investment’ in the presentation.
He further explained, ‘You can’t expect people to listen to you for an hour and then say yes. They need to actively affirm their interest from beginning to end.’
If you get 20 ‘yeses’ in an hour you’re more likely to get a big ‘YES’ at the end.
So think of your presentation as a conversation. You can’t talk for an hour and then expect your target audience to throw money at your feet. It doesn’t work like that.
Instead, welcome interruptions and give participants every opportunity to speak. The more involved they are in the presentation, the more engaged they’ll be with the problem and your solution.
Structure your presentation into sections. Each section should include non-rhetorical questions that participants are invited to answer. Make sure everyone has a chance to contribute before moving on to the next steps.
Another way to think of it is, the audience creates a successful sales presentation. Not you.
Tell a Story with Your B2B Sales Deck
What’s the key to successful sales presentations?
It’s easy to put together a few slides about your company and the solutions you offer, but if you want to reel people in, you need to create an emotional connection.
The best way to achieve this is by creating a plot for people to follow.
To keep your B2B buyers engaged and interested, your slide deck should include these basic plot elements:
- The Hook
- Rising action
- Falling action
Below, I’ll show you how to use each one in a B2B context to make your entire presentation more captivating and master the art of storytelling.
The Hook AKA The Cover Slide
The cover slide is your hook.
Don’t waste the space by only slapping on your logo.
Write an intriguing one-liner to grab the audience’s attention. Give them a teaser of what’s to come. Make them curious about what to expect.
Let’s look at an example.
Zuora is a monetization platform for the subscription and consumption economy. For the cover of its sales deck, the company uses the hook “turning customers into subscribers.”
It’s a hint at what to expect from the presentation deck. You’ll learn how to adapt your business model to the subscription economy and meet modern buyers’ expectations.
The Exposition AKA Context
The exposition gives you background information to understand the world and jump right into the story.
For your B2B presentation, this is where you need to give context and plant the seeds of tension. It’s a crash course on who you are, a company introduction, and everything creating the main problem your qualified prospects are experiencing.
You should explore key points like:
- What are the current industry trends?
- What are the causes of the problem?
Going back to the Zuora slide deck, the context for the slide deck is around how consumers buy has changed for good.
- We now live in a subscription economy.
- It’s no longer product-centric but relationship-centric.
- Consumers expect customization, constant improvement and are more focused on outcomes than ownership.
But like any good story, too much exposition is a bad thing.
You don’t want to overload potential customers with too much background information. Keep everything to the point and centered on the problem.
The Rising Action AKA Pain Points
In a story, the rising action is all the moments that lead up to the climax. It focuses on the characters’ choices and what events are at odds with the protagonist’s goals.
In an effective sales presentation, it means introducing the problems and business challenges your potential client is facing to motivate them to seek a solution.
Why do you want to do this?
It’s a cognitive bias we all have. People find the pain of losing psychologically more powerful than the pleasure of gaining.
By creating a clear picture of the pain point your ideal customer needs to overcome, you’re intensifying the need to solve the problem.
Let’s look at an example.
For your business to succeed, you need a steady stream of leads. You know getting in front of the right prospects is more important than cold emailing everyone and anyone.
But what about:
- The time you lose prospecting instead of focusing on other functions in your business.
- The wasted resources and the dip in morale when you set up a meeting with a bad-fit lead.
Here’s a great example of using pain points in a B2B sales deck from Immediately.
The Climax AKA Transformation
The climax is the turning point your story has been building towards. Your main goal here is to resolve the conflict.
How do you do that?
Use your next steps to focus on your customers’ transformation.
What do I mean by “transformation”?
It’s the future your prospects desire.
After painting a clear picture of the problem, you want to alleviate the pain by showing what the future could look like if that problem got up and said, “So long, and thanks for all the fish!”
For these slides, you want to use phrases like “imagine if” and focus on the transformation that comes from taking action using your product or service.
Immediately’s sales deck demonstrates this concept.
After addressing pain points like:
- “I don’t have the time and context to contact a lead right now.”
- “Data entry on Salesforce is inefficient.”
- “I wish I could use my commute time for sales work.”
It addresses each problem:
- “Opportunity context right in your inbox.”
- “Logging in data is no longer painful.”
- “Work on your pipeline from anywhere.”
The Resolution AKA Presenting Your Solution
Now that you’ve shown your prospects their potential future, it’s time to start wrapping everything up.
But before you get to your sales pitch, demonstrate your value with a success story slide.
It shows your potential customers that your product or service gets results. People want to feel safe about their purchasing decisions.
By demonstrating what you can do for other companies, you’re developing trust and credibility, making it much easier to close a deal.
Next, you need to present your solution.
The key takeaway is to keep it simple, briefly explaining what your product or service does.
Zuora achieves this with a single sentence: “A unified solution for the subscription economy.”
Next, you want to focus on the benefits of your solution and tie everything back to the problem and transformation you mentioned earlier.
Immediately accomplishes this with a single slide.
Your closing slide should summarize your presentation with a single action you want your prospects to take.
It’s your final opportunity to create a sense of urgency in your presentation.
Make your call to action something that’s easy for your prospects to agree to. The more they say ‘yes’ the more likely they are to agree to things in the future.
B2B Presentations FAQs
- What should be included in a B2B pitch? Your B2B pitch should always include a personalized problem the prospect is experiencing, tell a story, offer a solution, and demonstrate your value proposition.
- How do you start a B2B presentation? It’s essential to start your B2B presentation with a strong hook. It gives your audience an idea about what to expect from the pitch before you go into more detail about who you are and what you have to offer.
- What is the 10 20 30 rule? The 10/20/30 rule was coined by Guy Kawasaki for presentations. It states it should only have 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and contain no font smaller than 30 points.
Wrapping It Up
Feeling prepared to whip up a captivating story for your next B2B sales presentation?
Remember, the key is to tailor your offering as the best and only solution to the potential buyer’s problem. Going the extra mile and personalizing your sales deck will make your pitch stand out and convert the lead into a loyal customer.
Have your sales team research extra insights about their business, like an industry trend or something a competitor is doing. When you can tell your prospects something about their business they didn’t know while pitching your solution, you’re laying the foundation for the know, like, and trust factor that’ll close the sale.
What are your B2B sales presentation tips? I’d love to hear from you. Let us know on our contact page.