6 Ways to Rework Pitch Decks into Proactive Proposals

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Ah, the sales pitch deck. Most people have either created one (or many), presented one (or many) or been on the receiving end of one (or many). The drill is usually pretty much the same: Open with a potentially cheesy joke (which is not recommended), list what is known about the buyers’ organization and then do a deep dive into why the selling organization is the only choice to make.

A proven way to turn this process around and impress the buyer is to rework the presentation to be a proactive proposal that positions your organization as the industry leader driving the buying process. By following APMP best practices and these six approaches to building a sales pitch deck, you can help your sales teams tell the story that allows them to leap ahead of the competition and close deals.

  1. Make it about them. Just like any proposal, it is best to keep the presentation focused on the prospective customer and their hot-button issues instead of talking all about your organization. This means going beyond one slide of “What We Understand” and building that understanding into every talking point.
  2. Use the four elements of winning proposals. Keep the presentation responsive, compliant, persuasive and graphically appealing. Slides should be easy to read and understand with a specific focus on the buyer.
  3. Tell them something new. Tell them things about your company and solution that are not on your website. If you are at any presentation stage, the likelihood that the prospect has Googled your organization is pretty high, so don’t waste valuable presentation time telling them things they can find on their own. Surprise your audience with something new or unique.
  4. Use similar customer stories. Connect a successful customer story to the prospect’s own hot-button issues. How did your organization help solve a problem that is relevant to your prospect’s own issues? Give them the confidence that your organization is the only ideal choice.
  5. Anticipate questions and concerns. You know what prospects usually ask in presentations and any common concerns they present. Use those to your advantage and answer them before they can be asked. Has your company run into security issues or had a PR scandal? Don’t sweep it under the rug. Succinctly explain the steps you have taken to mitigate issues in the future.
  6. Provide notes. Make it easy for your point of contact to share the information within the buying organization. Don’t overdo the content on your slides so they can be read. Instead, use the PowerPoint speaker notes section to provide relevant information for each slide. When the client feels comfortable sharing what you presented, they’re more likely to offer discussing the presentation instead of just emailing it to their colleagues.

When you present to a buyer, you have limited time to set yourself and your organization apart from the competition. If you rethink your typical deck and presentation, you can position your organization as an industry leader and your team as the buyer’s trusted advisors. When this happens, the potential to avoid the RFP process or drive it increases substantially, along with the potential for closed sales.

Gina Kutsch, CP APMP, is senior director, proposal development for OnSolve, which provides leading critical event management solutions worldwide. She is Shipley Certified and has been directing proposal development efforts for more than a decade, focusing on leadership and process innovations.

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