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5 Sales Presentation Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

by Sara DeNunzio on August 5, 2022
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Sales presentations are a powerful tool that can mean the difference between winning a sale and losing a customer. A good deck tells your company’s story in a compelling way and has the potential to spark interest, build trust and inspire your audience to take action. But despite their importance, most sales teams don’t use their sales decks in a way that is optimized for success.

There are some common mistakes that could be making your prospects lose interest and bringing down your success rates. Find out if your presentations are falling into these pitfalls and learn how to overcome them to create presentations that close more deals.


MISTAKE 1: it’s all about you


Crafting a persuasive sales deck around all the amazing things your business brings to the table — like your cutting edge solutions or amazing customer service — seems like a no-brainer. But, in a customer-centric marketplace, it’s not the best way to win sales. A deck only focused on your products and services won’t get the results you want.

By the time they talk to a sales rep, today’s tech-savvy buyers will have already had multiple touchpoints with your business, learned all about your products and services, and compared your offerings to competitors. In fact, by the time a customer sees a sales presentation, they may already be 50% – 90% through the buyer’s journey. Leading sales teams are nimbly pivoting their tools and tactics to meet the customers where they are.

That’s why the presentation shouldn’t focus on you; it should focus on them.


THE FIX: Make it about your customer


Sales presentations need to demonstrate that your business is ready to meet customer needs in a unique way. To create a winning sales presentation, focus less on the capabilities of your company and more on the aspirations of your audience.

Here is an example of a highly effective sales presentation outline:

  1. Begin by laying out challenges that are specific to your customer and their industry
  2. Talk about the results they can achieve thanks to your solutions. Help them imagine what life will look like when they partner with your business
  3. Introduce your offerings by focusing on the solutions that will help them address specific challenges and achieve specific goals
  4. Highlight the tangible differences between partnering with your business and going with the competition (or maintaining the status quo)
  5. Definitively demonstrate that you can deliver on your promises with things like work samples and testimonials


MISTAKE 2: It’s generic


One of the most common mistakes people make is to create one master presentation and use it for every call. They present every capability, feature and benefit to every customer and hope that something in the presentation will hit home.

This approach may save time in the short term but in the long run, it’s wasting your customer’s time with irrelevant slides and wasting your rep’s time with ineffective decks. And it’s losing you sales.

The fact is, one-size-fits-all decks don’t exist. Modern buyers are motivated by personalization.


THE FIX: Customize each presentation


Research your customer beforehand and become familiar with their business and the industry that they operate in. Based on this research, focus your presentation on opportunity gaps you can help close, points of pain you can help overcome, and business goals you can help achieve. Also research their competitors and tailor your presentation to show how your offerings can help them gain a competitive advantage.

One overlooked method for creating a custom presentation is to build out the deck during the conversation with your customer. With the right tools, this can be an effective, efficient way to start nurturing a true partnership with your customer as you talk about their needs and work to build a solution together.

To enable this seamless experience, you’ll need to empower your sales team with a presentation building tool that:

  1. Pulls from an existing set of approved, thoughtfully designed slides
  2. Guides reps and customers through questions that zeroes in on the customer’s needs and priorities
  3. Quickly assembles a custom presentation that the rep can walkthrough on the spot or immediately email to the customer

Learn how GO2 Partners can set you up with a presentation builder that will deliver all these capabilities and more to help build your customer relationships.


MISTAKE 3: It takes too long to make


This is the other side of the customization coin. You need to have a presentation personalized to every prospect, but creating them takes a lot of time away from actually selling!

Reps know that face time with prospects is an extremely valuable resource. The more time they spend stuck at a desk creating sales materials, the less time they have out in the field building crucial relationships. But to make the most of their limited time with customers, they have to take the time to make sales materials that are top notch.

There are only so many hours in the workday and juggling these competing priorities can seem impossible, even for the most industrious sales rep. Thankfully, this tricky problem can be resolved with the right technology.


THE FIX: Use a presentation builder


An automatic presentation builder can save the day in these situations. With this technology, sales teams don’t have to duplicate effort every time they need a new presentation. They can create polished, targeted, effective presentations in minutes.

Our presentation builder, PitchPro by GO2 Partners, is a great example of this technology, allowing sales teams to win back their time and win more sales! It dramatically reduces build time while improving the quality of the content. It helps sales teams spend their day doing what they do best – making connections, talking with customers and growing business.


MISTAKE 4: It has outdated, unprofessional slides


Business never stops moving. To gain advantages in a fast-moving marketplace, you have to constantly evolve everything from products and services to imagery and messaging. To effectively represent your brand, sales materials have to evolve as fast as your company.

But how many times has a rep gone on a call with outdated slides stored on their laptop or a “homebrewed” deck that wasn’t polished or accurate? The latest and greatest materials created by marketing teams often never see the light of day because sales teams don’t have easy access to them.

This results in sales presentations that don’t show your company in the best light because they are off brand, out of date and not strategic.


THE FIX: Invest in the right technology


Sales enablement technology can go a long way toward bridging the gap between sales and marketing. Invest in a platform that gives marketing and admins the ability to tightly control content so all the materials that go out into the world are on-brand and error-free. It’s also important to make sure this content is easily accessible to sales teams on-the-go.

An easy-to-use, mobile-ready presentation tool will ensure the slides representing your company are always something you can be proud of.


MISTAKE 5: You don’t know if it worked


Whether a rep has walked through a deck in person or fired it off as an email attachment, once it’s out of their hands, they are often left wondering what kind of impact it had, if any.

Without feedback you can’t adjust your decks to be more effective and your carefully calibrated sales strategy will start to lose steam at the finish line.


THE FIX: Use a presentation tool that enables analytics


You can arm your sales team with incredibly valuable information just by knowing how customers are interacting with your presentations. Here are a few ideas:

  • Send the deck to the customer before a sales call. Use analytics to see what slides they spent the most time reading to cater the upcoming conversation to their interests
  • Send a deck following a sales call. Use analytics to see what topics really hit home to guide your follow-ups
  • Send out a deck to a list of potential prospects. Get an alert when someone opens it so you never miss an opportunity to reach out to an interested party

If you don’t know how or don’t have the capability to enable analytics on your sales presentations, reach out to GO2 Partners today. We’ll show you how to access detailed analytics so you can easily see exactly who is interested and exactly what they are interested in.


PitchPro - the automated presentation builder


There is a lot to think about when it comes to crafting the perfect sales presentation, but making the effort and investing in the right technology is worth it. A good sales deck strategy will have a big impact on your sales team, your customers and, of course, your business’ bottom line.

If you’re ready to empower your team with actionable sales intelligence, more time to sell and the best, most accurate sales material, reach out and set up a demo of our automated presentation builder, PitchPro today!

Topics: Sales Enablement, Sales Tools