If you asked the average customer they could probably predict the basic structure of a sales rep’s pitch deck long before they ever walked through the door.
First comes the “agenda” slide, followed by background on the company’s market position and growth. Then there are the specifics of the products and services being offered, pricing or bundling options and finally a closing slide with the word “Questions?”
It’s okay if you’ve already started yawning. Sales reps see it all the time.
There’s a disconnect, however, in what the customer may have seen and heard from the marketing team before connecting directly with sales. There might have been thought leadership content in the form of blog posts, white papers or e-books that provided them with pure educational value. They might have sat in on a webinar that gave them insight or inspiration that made them more successful. They might have read case studies that convinced them they were ready to hear a pitch.
It might feel a bit abrupt when customers then hear a pitch from the sales side in which all of that content is left out. A key element in developing an outstanding customer experience with Marketing Cloud (and Sales Cloud, for that matter) is making those transitions from thought leadership to a pitch as natural and as seamless as possible.
Also, bear in mind that not everyone in the meeting with sales might have consumed all that content. It might have been a single member of a larger buying team, which means some of that marketing content might be needed to win over others in the room.
Sales reps, of course, are always busy. That’s why marketers should begin thinking about how they can repurpose the best of their content assets in a way that is easy for their counterparts in sales to work into their presentation and customize it to their respective audience. Let’s walk through each of the main ones to see how it’s done:
What To Include In The Deck: Sales reps may read the blog, as might customers, but there will inevitably be posts that they miss. The elements you want to weave in here are stories or data that show “the state of the market,” and give the rep a credible way to talk with authority about what you’ve seeing from an industry perspective.
If you’ve developed infographics to embed in your blog posts, see whether you can crop or redesign them to have more dynamic elements a rep can talk to in their presentation. Lift paragraphs from the best posts and include them in the “notes” area of the slide presentation application for the rep to consult if they get tough questions.
What To Include In The Deck: These are some of your most comprehensive assets. Some walk through technical details, while others make the business case for purchasing various products and services. The sales rep may or may not have read it in detail, and you can’t expect that the customer, if they read it, will remember everything in it.
Break into bullet points the biggest takeaways from the introduction or executive summary that reinforce why your products and services address a common industry pain point. Dig out any statistics or proof points that can back up the findings, and make them appear larger than any text. Finally, have a single sentence that sums up the biggest question the white paper or e-book can answer (i.e. something that overcomes a common objection from senior leadership).
This can be a slide later in the deck, so that the rep can offer to send a link or copy of the asset to members of the buying team after the fact.
What To Include In The Deck: Besides pulling out the main pieces of insight or advice from your speakers, use a recording or transcript of the event to add the most compelling quotes from speakers into a slide.
If you featured other customers, industry analysts or other experts in addition to your own subject matter experts, make these as prominent as possible to validate whatever the sales rep will be saying in their pitch.
Also, make use of photos that include people -- even if it’s just a good headshot -- wherever possible. Remember that people buy from people, and they will likely be influenced by the people they’ll see in a deck more than any single piece of text.
What To Include In The Deck: These are the assets you might want to break apart into several slides. Look for customers with the best possible brand recognition among your target audience, in which case you don’t have to include a slide that explains who they are.
Use one slide to sum up their biggest challenges, and supplement it with any data or research you have about other customers that will show it’s not an isolated need. Focus next on the “results” area, with bullet points that drill into the most relevant numbers.
Unlike the normal format for case studies, you can bring the information about the “solution” section after the “results,” because a sales conversation needs to move to this area next. Reps can then focus on discussing how the customer in the room can follow in the case study subject’s footsteps.
You can start this process by looking at your best-performing assets in Marketing Cloud and repurpose the ones that really stand out in terms of engagement.
Moving forward, however, think about creating the slides for sales decks as the asset it being developed for one of your other channels. It will help ensure sales gets what they need faster than ever before, and it could also prioritize what kind of assets you want to get finalized vs. others.
Most importantly, get feedback from sales on what kind of feedback or questions they heard based on the marketing content in their deck. You’ll soon get ideas on how to generate awareness and interest from buyers who are weeks or months away from ever hearing a pitch.