* Make conversations with prospects more persuasive and memorable. *
Sellers often fall into the “speeds and feeds” trap. More common in fast-moving, emerging companies, this mistake slows building of healthy pipeline.
The fact is prospects don’t care about you, your company, your product, your clients, or your investors. Emerging companies battle every minute of every day to reach potential buyers. Name recognition is zero. Few have case studies with recognizable brands. Their products may offer compelling value, but often fight the misplaced perception of being “nice-to-have.”
Since every conversation with a “good fit” prospect is priceless, you need to make your product a “must-have” in your first conversation. A tall order under the best of circumstances.
Your Sales Deck Should Tell A Story
It is easy to forget that customers engage emotionally, and justify rationally. If you can emotionally connect with your potential customer, you are way more likely to have a genuine conversation.
Let’s illustrate using Scope 5’s sales presentation. This emerging company sells cloud-based software that helps organizations improve environmental and economic impacts using sustainability data.
Meet Prospects “Where They Are”
You need to meet prospects “where they are” in a uniquely perceptive way that sparks curiosity. Often this requires taking a step back to see the world in bigger terms.
In his “Greatest Sales Deck” post Andy Raskin calls this “naming an undeniable shift in the world.” I call it labeling “big change.” At Scope 5 we believe sustainability is about doing business in a better way.
Pair this conviction with a powerful image to convey feeling and urgency. You are off to a strong start.
Here To Stay
At Scope 5 we follow the “big change” conviction with a slide that makes the point this sensibility is here to stay. We do this by placing where we are today in broader context.
For us building the story requires introducing the fact that some companies will “win” and others will “lose” as part of this big change. Some “get it” and others “don’t.”
Those that don’t will fade away, sometimes overnight. In our sales deck, we cite data validating the point: 90% of CEOs say sustainability strategies are necessary to be competitive.
There are Winners
Next, we show winners. We show how winning companies have shifted their sustainability mindset, and in doing so reimagined legacy businesses, created new ones, or both.
In our sales deck, we make this point by telling stories about Alaska Airlines and Patagonia. Both are recognized brands. Both have emerged as market leaders in their respective categories. We use other examples too.
The obvious point: winners build sustainability into business, and in doing so, differentiate themselves from others.
Failure Can Be Catastrophic
Having made the point about winners and losers, we introduce the question why some win and others don’t. We use a visual to juxtapose these two “states” for added emphasis.
Left unsaid, but implied is the question: Can a business afford to be without Scope 5?
By now you have labelled a big change such that it is your own, and you have made clear there are winners and losers. Now you describe a place that is sought after, but hard to achieve without help from others like Scope 5.
At this point, most sellers are tempted to dig into product minutiae. Don’t. More context is necessary. In his post, Andy calls this “Promised Land.” I call it Nirvana, but we are describing the same thing.
In our sales deck, we define characteristics of sustainable businesses.
Old vs. New
After painting the vision, we lay out the path forward. This speaks to the heart of why Scope 5 exists. We set up contrast based on sustainability data, which is the basis of every company’s sustainability initiative.
There is “old” thinking. Think “big software,” spreadsheets, pricey consultants, unreliable data, and IT-led. Everyone has felt this pain before. This is our competition.
Then there is “new” thinking. Think cloud-based, visual interactive reports, fine-grain analytics, and business-led. This is what we do.
Show Me Others in Nirvana
Prospects are likely to cast a doubtful eye on your ability to deliver results. The most convincing way to overcome this skepticism is with customer success stories. The more quantified the results the better.
As a fast-growing but small company, Scope 5 does not have a client list like a Fortune 50. But it does have a growing number of customers using the software to do amazing things. This group has built impressive sustainability strategies that have produced compelling results. We tell, and re-tell these.
This is one example…
This is another example. We use others too.
Success is Preparation Meets Opportunity
At Scope 5, we use a slide that explains what the software does and how it works. This what-we-do-and-how-we-do-it content brings together all the pieces.
This approach has the added benefit of serving as a springboard to other content when prospects want to learn more in the same conversation.
We bookend the sales deck with a light touch slide that reminds prospects who we are and what makes us special: smart analytics for sustainability.
A Great Sales Deck Taps Into Emotion
Sales never happen on their own. You need great sellers who believe, are naturally curious, and are supported by an organization that rallies around the same story the same way: label Big Change, Nirvana, and New Thinking.
But the catalyst for greatness starts with a great sales deck that taps into emotion. Without it there will be fewer new opportunities and less deals in your pipeline. For emerging companies, this can be the difference between scant progress and breakthrough results.
Chris Preston is a business advisor and sales leader who helps turn emerging companies into market leaders. A former Microsoft executive, two-time startup veteran, and board member, he is founder of True Partners Advisory. If you’d like a little help, contact us.