A brilliant sales presentation has a number of things going for it.
Being product-centered isn’t one of them.
So what can you do to make your offer compelling?
We uncovered some interesting data to answer this question. Plus examples and easy steps to build your own sales presentation in minutes.
7 Types of Slides to Include In Your Sales Presentation
- Title slide: Company name, topic, tagline.
- The “Before” picture: No more than three slides with relevant statistics and graphics.
- The “After” picture: How life looks with your product. Use happy faces.
- Company introduction: Who you are and what you do (as it applies to them).
- The “Bridge” slide: Short outcome statements with icons in circles.
- Social proof slides: Customer logos with mission statement on one slide. Pull quote on another.
- “We’re here for you” slide: Include a call-to-action and contact information.
Inside The Mind Of Your Prospect: Change Is Hard
Many sales presentations fall flat because they ignore this universal psychological bias: People overvalue the benefits of what they have over what they’re missing.
Harvard Business School professor John T. Gourville calls this the “9x Effect.” Left unchecked, it can be disastrous for your business.
According to Gourville, “It’s not enough for a new product simply to be better. Unless the gains far outweigh the losses, customers will not adopt it.”
The good news: You can influence how prospects perceive these gains and losses. One of the best ways to prove value is to contrast life before and after your product.
Luckily, there’s a three-step formula for that.
Before-After-Bridge: The Only Formula You Need To Create A Persuasive Sales Presentation
- Before → Here’s your world…
- After → Imagine what it would be like if…
- Bridge → Here’s how to get there.
Start with a vivid description of the pain, present an enviable world where that problem doesn’t exist, then explain how to get there using your tool.
In fact, a lot of companies are already using this formula to great success. The methods used in the sales presentation examples below will help you do the same.
Facebook — How Smiles and Simplicity Make You More Memorable
We’re all drawn to happiness. A study at Harvard tells us that emotion is contagious.
You’ll notice that the “Before” (pre-Digital Age) pictures in Facebook’s slides all display neutral faces. But the cover slide that introduces Facebook and the “After” slides have smiling faces on them.
This is important. The placement of those graphics is an intentional persuasion technique.
Studies by psychologists show that we register smiles faster than any other expression. All it takes is 500 milliseconds (1/20th of a second). And when participants in a study were asked to recall expressions, they consistently remembered happy faces over neutral ones.
What to do about it: Add a happy stock photo to your intro and “After” slides, and keep people in “Before” slides to neutral expressions.
Here are some further techniques used during the sales presentation:
Tactic #1: Use simple graphics to convey meaning without text.
Example: Slide 2 is a picture of a consumer’s hand holding an iPhone — something we can all relate to.
Why It Works: Pictures are more effective than words — it’s called Picture Superiority. In presentations, pictures help you create connections with your audience. Instead of spoon-feeding them everything word for word, you let them interpret. This builds trust.
Tactic #2: Use icons to show statistics you’re comparing instead of listing them out.
Example: Slide 18 uses people icons to emphasize how small 38 out of 100 people is compared to 89 out of 100.
Why It Works: We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
Tactic #3: Include statistics that tie real success to the benefits you mention.
Example: “71% lift driving visits to retailer title pages” (Slide 26).
Why It Works: Precise details prove that you are telling the truth.
Contently — How to Build A Strong Bridge, Brick By Brick
Just like how you can’t drive from Marin County to San Francisco without the Golden Gate, you can’t connect a “Before” to an “After” without a bridge.
Add the mission statement of your company — something Contently does from Slide 1 of their deck. Having a logo-filled Customers slide isn’t unusual for sales presentations, but Contently goes one step further by showing you exactly what they do for these companies.
They then drive home the Before-After-Bridge Formula further with case studies:
Before: Customer’s needs when they came on
After: What your company accomplished for them
Bridge: How they got there (specific actions and outcomes)
Here are some other tactics we pulled from the sales presentation:
Tactic #1: Use graphics, Venn diagrams, and/or equations to drive home your “Before” picture.
Why It Works: According to a Cornell study, graphs and equations have persuasive power. They “signal a scientific basis for claims, which grants them greater credibility.”
Tactic #2: Keep slides that have bullets to a minimum (no more than one in every five slides).
Why It Works: According to an experiment by the International Journal of Business Communication, “Subjects exposed to a graphic representation paid significantly more attention to, agreed more with, and better recalled the strategy than did subjects who saw a (textually identical) bulleted list.”
Tactic #3: Follow up your descriptions with visual examples.
Example: After stating “15000+ vetted, ready to work journalists searchable by location, topical experience, and social media influence” on Slide 8, Contently shows what this looks like firsthand on slides 9 and 10.
Why It Works: The same reason why prospects clamor for demos and car buyers ask for test drives. You’re never truly convinced until you see something for yourself.
Yesware — How To Go Above And Beyond With Your Benefits
Which is more effective for you?
This statement — “On average, Yesware customers save ten hours per week” — or this image:
The graphic shows you what that 10 hours looks like for prospects vs. customers. It also calls out a pain that the product removes: data entry.
Visuals are more effective every time. They fuel retention of a presentation from 10% to 65%.
But it’s not as easy as just including a graphic. You need to keep the design clean.
Can you feel it?
Clutter provokes anxiety and stress because it bombards our minds with excessive visual stimuli, causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t important.
Here’s a tip from Yesware’s Graphic Designer, Ginelle DeAntonis:
“Customer logos won’t all necessarily have the same dimensions, but keep them the same size visually so that they all have the same importance. You should also disperse colors throughout, so that you don’t for example end up with a bunch of blue logos next to each other. Organize them in a way that’s easy for the eye, because in the end it’s a lot of information at once.”
Here are more tactics to inspire sales presentation ideas:
Tactic #1: Personalize your final slide with your contact information and a headline that drives emotion.
Example: Our Mid-Market Team Lead Kyle includes his phone number and email address with “We’re Here For You”
Why It Works: These small details show your audience that:
1) This is about giving them the end picture, not making a sale;
2) The end of the presentation doesn’t mean the end of the conversation; and
3) Questions are welcomed.
Tactic #2: Pair outcome statements with icons in circles.
Example: Slide 4 does this with seven different “After” outcomes.
Why It Works: We already know why pictures work, but circles have power, too. They imply completeness, infiniteness, and harmony.
Tactic #3: Don’t just list who you work with; include specific success metrics that hit home what you’ve done for them.
Example: 35% New Business Growth for Boomtrain; 30% Higher Reply Rates for Dyn.
Why It Works: Social proof drives action. It’s why we wait in lines at restaurants and put ourselves on waitlists for sold out items.
Uber — How to Cater Your Content for Readers Quick To Scan
People can only focus for eight seconds at a time. (Sadly, goldfish have one second on us.)
This means you need to cut to the chase fast.
Uber’s headlines in Slides 2-9 tailor the “After” picture to specific pain points. As a result, there’s no need to explicitly state a “Before.”
Slides 11-13 then continue touching on “Before” problems tangentially with customer quotes:
So instead of self-touting benefits, the brand steps aside to let consumers hear from their peers — something that sways 92% of consumers.
DealTap — How To Use Leading Questions To Your AdvantageLeading questions may be banned from the courtroom, but they aren’t in the boardroom.
DealTap’s slides ask viewers to choose between two scenarios over and over. Each has an obvious winner:
Ever heard of the Focusing Effect?
It’s part of what makes us tick as humans and what makes this design-move effective. We focus on one thing and then ignore the rest. Here, DealTap puts the magnifying glass on paperwork vs. automated transactions.
Sure, DealTap’s platform might have complexities that rival paperwork, but we don’t think about that. We’re looking at the pile of work one the left and the simpler, single interface on the right.
Here are some other tactics to use in your own sales presentation:
Tactic #1: Tell a story that flows from one slide to the next.
Example: Here’s the story DealTap tells from slide 4 to 8: “Transactions are complicated” → “Expectations on all sides” → “Too many disconnected tools” → “Slow and error prone process” → “However, there’s an opportunity.
Why It Works: Stories with a clear beginning and end (or in this case, a “Before” and “After”) trigger a trust hormone called Oxytocin.
Tactic #2: If it’s hard to separate out one “Before” and “After” vision with your product or service because you offer many dissimilar benefits, consider a “This vs. That” theme for each.
Why It Works: It breaks up your points into simple decisions and sets you up to win emotional reactions from your audience with stock photos.
Remember how satisfying it was to play connect the dots? Forming a bigger picture out of disconnected circles.
That’s what you need to make your audience do.
Zuora tells a story by:
- Laying out the reality (the “Before” part of the Before-After-Bridge formula).
- Asking you a question that you want to answer (the “After”)
- Giving you hints to help you connect the dots
- Showing you the common thread (the “Bridge”)
You can achieve this by founding your sales presentation on your audience’s intuitions. Set them up with the closely-set “dots,” then let them make the connection.
Here are more tactical sales presentation ideas to steal for your own use:
Tactic #1: Use logos and testimonial pull-quotes for your highest-profile customers to strengthen your sales presentation.
Example: Slides 21 to 23 include customer quotes from Schneider Electric, Financial Times, and Box.
Why It Works: It’s called social proof. Prospects value other people’s opinions and trust reputable sources more than you.
Tactic #2: Pad your images with white space.
Example: Slide 17 includes two simple graphics on a white background to drive home an important concept.
Why It Works: White space creates separation, balance, and attracts the audience’s eyes to the main focus: your image.
Tactic #3: Incorporate hard data with a memorable background to make your data stand out.
Example: Slide 5 includes statistics with a backdrop that stands out. The number and exciting title (‘A Global Phenomenon’) are the main focuses of the slide.
Why It Works: Vivid backdrops are proven to be memorable and help your audience take away important numbers or data.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator — How to Create Excitement With Color
Psychology tells us that seeing colors can set our mood.
The color red is proven to increase the pulse and heart rate. Beyond that, it’s associated with being active, aggressive, and outspoken. LinkedIn Sales Navigator uses red on slides to draw attention to main points:
You can use hues in your own slides to guide your audience’s emotions. Green gives peace; grey adds a sense of calm; blue breeds trust. See more here.
Caveat: Check with your marketing team first to see if you have a specific color palette or brand guidelines to follow.
Here are some other takeaways from LinkedIn’s sales presentation:
Tactic #1: Include one clear call-to-action on your final slide.
Example: Slide 9 has a “Learn More” CTA button.
Why It Works: According to the Paradox of Choice, the more options you give, the less likely they are to act.
Step One: Ask marketing for your company’s style guide (color, logo, and font style).
Step Two: Answer these questions to outline the “Before → After → Bridge” formula for your sales pitch:
- What are your ICP’s pain points?
- What end picture resonates with them?
- How does your company come into play?
Step Three: Ask account management/marketing which customers you can mention in your slides (plus where to access any case studies for pull quotes).
Over to you
What are the sales presentation strategies that work best for your industry and customers? Tweet us: @Yesware.