Converting Product Features into Successful Presentations (How to Craft a Sales Story)

November 7, 2022

Sales and marketing leaders are excellent at crafting brand messaging and value positioning, but most don’t have the appropriate skill set necessary to create compelling, visually engaging sales presentations. So why do we keep asking them to create sales presentations? Every day, these unsung heroes use majorly lacking legacy presentation platforms (looking at you, PowerPoint) and limited design skills to painstakingly build compelling sales stories to the best of their ability. The result? Twenty-some slides packed with detailed diagrams and dozens of bullet points, listing every imaginable product feature. These decks are packaged and delivered to sales as a one-size-fits-all prospect pitch.

A few days later, a sales rep encounters a unique use case, dissects their deck, and digitally duct-tapes a ‘custom’ version together for their meeting on Wednesday. With multiple demo decks out in the world, leadership loses control. No one can find the most recent version, major quality control issues arise, and managers lose the ability to make global updates and measure what’s working. Sound familiar?

Our team has had this exact conversation with hundreds of go-to-market leaders, and we’ve analyzed thousands of sales presentation decks. Today, we’re sharing a step-by-step process you can use to transform your Frankenstein sales presentation into an engaging sales story designed to sell itself.

Step 1: Assess Your Current Sales Presentation Design

Before you can convert product feature bullet points into a successful sales story, you need to evaluate your current content. Your goal is to identify opportunities for improvement and strategically prioritize making the changes that’ll have the most significant impact on sales conversions – and, ultimately, ROI. 

For best results, we recommend doing your sales presentation analysis in stages:

  • Stage 1: Collect all your current sales presentations.
    Before you can make changes, you need to compile every sales asset your team is using to pitch potential customers in one place. Imagine having 100 slides spread out in front of you on a large conference table.

  • Stage 2: Assess your existing deck(s) and content.
    It’s time to take a critical look at what you’ve got and start making cuts. Your goal is to simplify your messaging by removing presentation bloat and slides with overlapping or redundant information.

  • Stage 3: Group your sales content into logical themes or modules.
    Time to get organized! “Bucket” all the content you have left by theme. This effectively creates sales modules that can be utilized independently or can be grouped together to address a prospect’s specific needs.

  • Stage 4: Re-think your visuals.
    Take all the content ‘module’ that made the cut and re-evaluate how it’s visualized. The goal here is to streamline and simplify, which can often be achieved by removing words and adding graphic components, which will help sales reps say more with less content. We highly recommend working with a qualified design team to complete this step. 

After completing this exercise, simplifying messaging and incorporating more visuals into their pitch are top priorities for most companies. In fact, modern sales teams are putting a lot more weight on visual marketing as part of their sales success strategy. Why? Science explains that people’s brains process images and videos 60,000X faster than text. Also, people retain 80% of what they see versus only 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear. This gap recently widened, thanks to our notification-heavy digital lifestyle.

Are you using dynamic visuals to your advantage? If not, it’s time to seriously consider the impact a presentation overhaul could have on your sales pipeline conversion rates. 

Step 2: Think Through Outreach at Every Stage of Your Sales Cycle 

Optimizing your sales presentation shouldn’t stop with the pitch deck. To effectively support your sales team, you should provide content assets and presentation flows for prospects at every stage of your sales cycle.

To support this lifecycle initiative, we encourage sales and marketing leaders to do two things: 

  1. Take inventory of all of your sales assets.
    When we say all assets, we mean all assets. Every relevant sales deck, one-pager, case study, and whitepaper should be accounted for. Ideally, your sales and marketing teams will work together to compile all your assets into a sales content library. Taking this step gives you insight into every resource you have available. You can also assess what content is ‘evergreen’ and what may need an update. If you completed step one, you should already be done with this step.

  2. Group sales assets by “deal stage” and category.
    Now it’s time to organize! You may or may not already be operating within campaigns designed around various sales funnel stages. If not, we highly recommend this approach because meeting prospects where they are means you’re consistently delivering relevant content at the right time, which leads to better close rates. 

Rather than thinking of a sales presentation as a solitary thing, think of it as an evolving resource that adapts to your prospect’s needs as they make their way through the sales process.

As you pull content together, we recommend using consistent tagging and having one gatekeeper who manages your sales content library. Setup is time-consuming, but having assets organized in logical groupings and presentation flows that make it easy for sales to find the content they need saves time in the long run.

Step 3: Give Your Sales Presentations a Clear, Consistent & Compelling Story

Across the thousands of pitch decks, demos, and presentations we’ve evaluated, these tips have consistently helped our clients turn product feature bullet points into sales presentations that convert. 

To truly differentiate your presentations and improve close rates, we recommend that you:

  • Convert busy diagrams into clean product visuals.
    Text-heavy diagrams and long feature lists have got to go. Embrace ‘less is more’ as your mantra and think about how to turn copy-heavy content into clear visuals. Using imagery to provide context while sales reps give supplementary details is not only more engaging, it lets you communicate twice as much information in half the time. Win-win!

  • Convert solutions into benefits.
    In marketing 101, you spend a lot of time discussing the concept of “what’s in it for me.” No matter which persona you’re trying to engage, their primary concern is how your product or service will positively impact their life. Product details and features fall flat because they fail to answer this question - while visuals can communicate a lot about personal benefits without using any words. As you evaluate how your solutions equate to benefits, think about which outcomes will resonate most with each persona (time saved, money earned, or results achieved).

  • Convert product features into a brand promise.
    A successful sales story is about more than product features. It’s about buying into a brand promise built around a company’s commitment to your success. Products change over time, but your brand promise holds steady. Made up of everything that sets your company apart from competitors – top-tier support, constant feature evolution, unmatched expertise – a compelling brand promise will come through loud and clear across all sales materials.

  • Convert sales content into a modular library
    Your sales story is only as effective as it is consistent. Sales teams need the flexibility to tailor presentations for each prospect, and brands need a sales story that presents a unified message. And for medical device sales, finance, and other products with serious regulatory and compliance concerns – accuracy is paramount. Investing in a content organization system with built-in guardrails is essential to your success, and a modular sales system may be the solution you need.

Take Your Sales Presentations to a Whole New Level

Successful sales presentations don’t just regurgitate product features and bullet points — they tell a compelling story that engages prospects, peaks their interest, and moves them forward. By conducting an honest assessment of your current sales content, mapping your presentations to the stages of your sales cycle, and implementing best practices for modern presentation design you can truly transform the way your team sells. 

Wondering how to get started? Take the first step by scheduling your 30-minute Hello Call with Nuvue today. You’ll learn how to create the sales story your brand deserves, how to deliver it consistently, and how to empower your team to sell smarter and faster than ever before.