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The ONE Question You’re Asking That Kills Sales Momentum

Brendan Hartt

March 17th, 2016

The One Question That Kills Sales Momentum

There’s nothing that will kill sales momentum more than four simple words: “What’s the next step?” And unfortunately this question seems to have a permanent residence in today’s sales vocabulary.

The key to momentum is to only send value-added touches to your prospects. Putting the ownership of next steps on them (say, through those four simple words) is the exact opposite of doing that.

But what are you supposed to replace that question with? Glad you asked. I’ve recently discovered one tool that makes a world of difference.

A Framework for Value-Added Touches

One tool I’ve found especially effective in creating value-added touches comes in the form of a few slides. The short version: It’s a custom slide presentation that I send over after completing a discovery meeting, or demo.

The long way to look at it is as a customized framework for how you envision rolling out your product or service within the prospect’s organization.

This is effective because it enables prospects to build their business case internally. Usually, your main contact within the company will be the one spending time putting together a business case that he can share with his peers and higher-ups.

But when you send this over, you’ll have saved that person hours’ worth of work. Hours! That makes an impression.

This also works because you’re helping the prospect envision the impact your solution will have on their specific business problem and the strategy for rolling out your methodology and technology.

By creating a custom presentation that integrates both companies, you help the prospect understand how fruitful a potential partnership could be. It accelerates sales momentum.

Step 1: The Research

Before you can build a customized framework for a prospect, you need to do a little intel. Be diligent and listen often.

During the discovery process, take very specific notes on the prospect’s sales and support objectives. Write words down exactly as the prospect says them, using the same language, terminology and structure.

Make sure to include a couple of full quotes from key players in the potential customer’s buying process. People who hold a lot of weight, are well respected and wants to make an impact at their company.

The best quotes for your deck will align to business problems your company has successfully solved in the past.

You can even record the discovery process for accuracy purposes, but I would suggest you ask for the prospect’s permission before recording. Once you have that information, you can start to build your custom deck.

Step 2: Building Your Deck

The Personalized Title Page

I like to start my presentation with a title page that immediately demonstrates how our two organizations fit together. I include our organization’s title, logo and a short intro describing how our product addresses their needs. Here’s a simple template:

Sales Presentation Slide Company Fit

Easy enough, right? Just note that the customized message should be based on what the prospect has communicated to you in terms of their needs and business goals.

The Objective Alignment Overview

This is the most important part of your framework, because it drives home how your product or service will help XYZ company address their challenges and achieve their goals.

Here you’ll use the information you so carefully denoted during the discovery call. I usually put the most impactful quote from a key player in the buying process at the top, along with a headshot of that person and the company logo.

Below that, I include a quick list of the state objectives from XYZ company. Use the same words and phrases that they did during the discovery call so they can immediately identify with them.

Finally, include a list of your product or service’s application objectives. Explain the pain points that it solves, again using the similar language that was originally communicated to you.

You want to help your prospect understand exactly how your product will address their challenges and align with their core objectives.

Take a look at a potential format for this slide:

Sales Product Objectives

The Social Proof

The last customized slide you should include in this deck is the overview and current customer logos. This is where you’ll explain a little bit more about your company and, more importantly, provide social proof for your product or service.

To share more about our company, I include five quick bullet points on the slide that explain:

  • Why we exist
  • What we we do
  • How many customers we already do it for
  • Where we’re doing it
  • How we do it

The information you include here should be unique and relevant specifically to your company. I start with the why of our organization because people often don’t just buy what you do — they buy why you do it.

In the case of LevelEleven, I explain that we are enabling the modern sales leader. Then I explain how we do it: LevelEleven enables modern sales leaders by providing a sales KPI management platform and activity-based selling methodology.

I follow the how with who — LevelEleven currently serves more than 200 customers. But I’m not really waiting this long to tell them who we’re already working with, because the right side of this slide includes logos of current customers with the same company size, region or industry.

Finally, I add a few little extra pieces just to enforce our unique brand identity. (Ex: LevelEleven is located in the heart of downtown Detroit, and we’re backed by Salesforce Ventures).

Here’s an example of how this slide could look:

Sales Product Obejctives

The Final Slides

After that, you can include other slides from your traditional sales deck that demonstrate how your product or service works and how implementation might look.

I like to conclude with a slide of quotes from current customers accompanied by their names, titles and headshots.

Step 3: Repurpose

Not bad, right? Especially because you only need to create this presentation template once, and then you can fill it in accordingly each time you need to create a value-added touch with a prospect.

As always, follow up with even more value-added content, such as proposing a product demo or sharing a recent relevant blog post.

Here’s to accelerating sales momentum.

About the author

Brendan Hartt

Brendan leads the sales development and SMB sales teams at LevelEleven. He has over 10 years of sales experience from top-tier technology companies like Salesforce.com and SAP. Brendan is passionate about spreading the word on what it means to be a modern sales leader.

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