Is there a new client you just need to hook? Sometimes the hardest part isn’t getting their attention or your foot in the door. Often, when it comes to landing effective sales, the real challenge is nailing the sales presentation. Here are five key hacks to creating the ultimate sales presentations with PowerPoint:
Whittled down to the bare bones, PowerPoint sales presentations and slide decks are the key tools in every sales teams’ toolbox. After all, pulling in new clients or managing to excite existing customers about new products will often hinge on the successful delivery of a killer sales presentation, which involves both a riveting talk and a visually-engaging PowerPoint presentation. That’s why any high-performing sales team will have fine-tuned their PowerPoint presentations down to an art.
At Templafy, we’ve done our fair share of PowerPoint sales presentations and have built up an arsenal of little tips and tricks to make life easier and communicate our value propositions clearly to our customers. Here, we’ve compiled a list of five handy hacks to help you master your PowerPoint presentations and deliver the best sales presentations to really nail those effective sales:
Consider the story first
Before you even open up powerpoint or dig out a powerpoint template, there’s a critical factor you need to consider first: the story.
Everyone loves a good story: they’re emotionally resonant, they lead your audience down a logical path from problem to your offered solution, and they provide both context for your listeners and allow you to hit home harder with your points. And the key to a strong story? Structure.
Think of it like a film plot or novel with a clear beginning, middle and end. Set the scene with your introduction, then set up a conflict which can ultimately be resolved by your product or service.
According to CEO and communications expert Nancy Duarte, the most effective presenters reveal the status quo before presenting a path to a better way. She elaborates more in this insightful TED talk on the secret structure of great talks.
For extra inspiration on how to spin an engaging, fascinating narrative about your brand, read up on this Medium article from Silicon Valley strategist Andy Raskin about the best sales presentations out there. The strategist has shared the greatest sales deck he’s ever seen from one of his clients, and analyzed why the powerpoint sales presentation was so successful that it landed the largest deal in that company’s history.
Raskin’s top tip? Don’t dive into selling your product and service, but build up slowly, starting with a global picture before zeroing-in.
Don’t be afraid of “bad endings”
Just because you’re weaving an exciting story about your brand to your audience, doesn’t mean you should shy away from ‘bad endings’ in your sales presentation. Sales presentations are naturally focused on selling your strongest suit, but as this blog post argues, it helps your credibility and sincerity to preempt any potential objections and confront them dead-on.
By identifying your weak points and flagging them with the audience, you demonstrate that you’ve evaluated the issues that may arise.
This approach will help your sales presentation stand out from the pack - while your competitors will spend their powerpoint sales presentation painting themselves in only the most glowing terms - effectively blurring into one long advertisement - you’ve painted a comprehensive picture of the limits and abilities of what your brand can do.
This video helps illustrate the point that when it comes to the best sales presentation, a story with bad endings is not necessarily “bad.”
Go for a “less is more” look
When it comes to securing effective sales, setting out your story is only half the battle. The look and feel of your PowerPoint presentation is equally important - given that audiences retain more from sales presentations with visual aids, it’s important that you get the aesthetics of your PowerPoint presentation right so as to captivate your audience. A professional, sleek and finely-tuned slide deck will send the same message about your brand.
In other words, don’t use a PowerPoint presentation as an opportunity to go text-heavy or bombard your listeners with clashing visuals or design - busy PowerPoint slides will fatigue your audience, look unprofessional and risk obscuring your message. It should also go without saying - you should know your stuff - your slides are not a script, they are visual prompts.
Experts advocate a “less is more” approach for the best sales presentations. Stick to a few key phrases or points, think about an engaging, large font (and use three different fonts, max!), engage bold, sharp visuals which complement the message, make sure your corporate branding is visible and consistent throughout - and stay away from ClipArt at all costs. There are plenty of good stock photo websites out there now – it's not 1997 after all.
Meanwhile, rely on the basics of good design to help shape your PowerPoint presentation. Check out Business Insider’s handy slideshow from designer Damen Nofar for tips on how to achieve a clean, minimalist design. He swears by using no more than three flat colors, neat fonts, and emphasizing the contrast between text and background. And where possible, he says, use infographics to relay data, making it that much easier for your audience to process.
PowerPoint templates are your friend
Of course, not all of us are design experts, which means sales teams often end up reaching for default software presentation templates. It’s important to be wary here - these default PowerPoint templates do not always boast the most attractive design elements. Worse, when they’re in the hands of amateurs, it can be all too easy to fill them up with bad effects and unsophisticated design features.
That’s why investing a little time and effort in best practice presentation templates, and perfecting the look with a designer, will help your company get ahead on sales presentations in the long run and achieve consistency in your presentation aesthetic.
PowerPoint templates mean that you can set your company’s design standards and reign in the creative impulses of those individual sales team members who mean well, but might - ahem - somewhat lack that keen eye for design.
Using the same template for connecting slides will also keep your presentation simple and professional, while visually guiding the audience through the story. PowerPoint templates are also a great productivity hack: your sales team can focus on developing a killer sales presentation as a whole rather than wasting time fiddling with the details or building the PowerPoint presentation completely from scratch.
Of course, the investment in well-designed templates and corporate imagery won’t be worthwhile unless your sleek PowerPoint templates are well organized and accessible to your sales team at any time. Templafy’s software offers an asset library of your best practice slides and on-brand content across all devices.
That means that your sales team can easily create compliant PowerPoint content on the fly ahead of a big sales presentation, even when delivering a sales pitch out of town. It also allows your team to transform generic templates into personalized presentations within the design limits that you’ve set - allowing a little room for creativity while ensuring that your corporate aesthetic is maintained.
Be brand consistent with software
Sales experts agree that your brand should be a key feature of your PowerPoint presentation. It not only makes your sales presentations distinguishable and unique, it also connects the specific message of your sales pitch to your brand. You don’t want to present a problem only to have your audience look to your competitors for solutions - you want them to think of your product or service as the solution.
However in an ever-changing corporate world, visual brand identities are also highly variable. Slide decks or PowerPoint templates can quickly become out-of-date, meaning your sales team either have to spend valuable manpower manually updating them or risk looking sloppy.
Look out for software which can carry out the brand compliance for you automatically. For example, Templafy’s template management software also rolls out seamless updates across the entire company, with a smart, accessible interface that alerts users when out-of-date, non-compliant material crops up on a template.
By keeping your PowerPoint templates brand compliant, the time and effort invested in developing well-designed sales presentation templates won’t go to waste, leaving your sales team with more time to work on nailing the ultimate sales presentation.