How to Create & Deliver a Sales Presentation (+ Template)

Read our article on crafting a personalized sales presentation and delivering it with confidence to move prospects through the pipeline.

A sales presentation is your in-person or virtual chance to show the buyer the value of your product or service and pitch them on why they should purchase. In this article, we’ll teach you the common elements of a killer sales presentation; how to create an effective one; and how to deliver it in a way that engages, inspires, and sells your potential buyer. We’ll also give you a free template and examples of great sales presentations.

It’s important to note that this article addresses how to create the outline, materials, and spoken portion of your sales presentation. Part of this includes detail on creating a sales deck as supporting information. However, if you’re looking to specifically craft a sales deck — the slideshow portion of your sales presentation — check out our article on creating a sales deck.

What Is a Sales Presentation?

A sales presentation is the act of verbally explaining a product/service and delivering your pitch to one or more potential buyers, usually with the assistance of a sales deck (slideshow). The ultimate goal of the presentation is to convince the buyer to purchase your solution. To accomplish this, sales professionals incorporate key elements, including problems the business addresses, how the product or service solves this problem, and the benefits buyers receive.

The length of your sales presentation depends on your situation. The amount of time you leave at the beginning for small talk and at the end for questions depends on the nature of the sale and the position in the sale cycle. For example, an initial B2B presentation to an influencer might have far fewer questions than a later-stage one to C-suite execs. No matter the situation, it’s best to keep the spoken portion of your presentation to 20 or 30 minutes max.

Regardless, sales presentation usually occurs as a lead nurturing activity once a lead has been qualified as a high-value prospect. The stage of your sales pipeline where a sales presentation occurs depends largely on your product/service, your prospective customer, and the situation in which you’re delivering your presentation. However, a sales presentation is usually conducted towards the end of your sales process as one of the final steps before deal-closing.

Free Sales Presentation Template

As we said, there can be many situations where you may want to deliver an effective sales presentation. To help you craft the best one for your needs, we’ve put together an article on the top sales presentation templates and associated video examples. In it, you’ll find a framework for addressing the most common presentation scenarios that’ll help you craft the outline and verbal portion of your sales presentation (including Q&A, demos, etc.).

However, if you need to specifically create a sales slide deck to supplement your presentation, we’ve also created a free sales deck template to help. This template can act as a base for you to customize into your own deck. It also comes with recommendations for specific written content to put on each slide.

Free Sales Deck Template
Free sales deck template

The template contains ten slides, but feel free to customize. Also, make sure it fits the order of your sales presentation outline and script, which we’ll go over below and is something we recommend doing at the same time. To make the most of your sales deck, check out our article on the top sales deck templates. Now that you have a template to work from, let’s look at the key elements all salespeople should use to structure their sales presentation.

Common Elements of an Effective Sales Presentation

Regardless of your specific business or customer, there are some common elements to include in your sales presentation to make it as effective as possible. Where in the presentation or deck you place each element is up to you, as there are slight strategic advantages to different arrangements. However, we recommend that you bring up the “problem” element early in the presentation. This is what your customers care about most.

Here are the common elements of a sales presentation arranged in a recommended order: 

Company Overview

If your prospects are unfamiliar with your business, tell them a quick story that hits key points such as why the business was founded and how it’s evolved to its current state. Introduce any relevant team members. 

The Problem

This element should receive more discussion than any other. It’s why your potential customer is here. Discuss in depth the problem, its associated headaches, and the consequences of letting it remain unsolved. 

Promised Land & Solution

Tease what they could have if they simply solved this problem. Paint this better world as desirable and free of the pains caused by their current problem. Then, introduce your product or service and briefly explain how it solves the problem and helps achieves the promised land.

Sales Pitch

Quickly and succinctly, deliver your sales pitch to give your audience context about how your value offering provides the solution you highlighted. State whom you help, the problem you solve, the product or service and what it does, and the main benefit buyers experience. It’s a good idea to center this pitch around your unique selling proposition (USP).

Three Key Benefits

Name three benefits the prospect will enjoy if they purchase. Three is a good number because the chances are high that the buyer will resonate with at least one benefit, but it’s also short enough that it won’t confuse them. Sprinkle these throughout.

Use Cases & Social Proof

If there are specific ways in which you envision this specific customer using the solution to their advantage, share them in the presentation. This can include social proof like testimonials, case studies, and anecdotes to show how buyers love your solution.

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Finally, make your ask. What you ask for depends on the situation. At a trade show, you might want to meet with one of the representatives at the booth, while in a B2B meeting you might request time for questions.

Pro Tip:

If you include some of the above elements within stories, your audience will be more engaged and interested. For example, when giving your company overview, tell a brief story about the issue or opportunity that prompted your founder to create the business and how the business has changed over the years to reach its current state.

How to Create a Winning Sales Presentation

Before delivering your sales presentation to a room full of buyers, you have some preparation to do to ensure the presentation is personalized to the audience. This includes researching them and preparing your argument to convince them to buy. Check out the slider below for an overview of each step, or dive right into steps and how to do each:

1. Research Your Prospect

Learn about the attendees; their needs and main problem; and their business goals, responsibilities, processes, and more.

2. Write Your Outline & Script

Write an outline of the main points or elements you want to hit and their order. Then, write a script outline to guide your words. 

3. Gather Essential Materials

Gather marketing messaging, photos, graphs, props, product samples, and anything else you’ll need to deliver your presentation.

4. Build a Personalized Sales Deck

Build out the actual slideshow presentation you’ll use during your presentation. 

5. Rehearse Your Presentation

Practice by yourself and in front of others until the script is locked in your memory.

1. Research Your Prospect

Before you start building a sales presentation, learn about the people to whom you are presenting. This will help you craft a personalized presentation that captures your audience’s attention and makes them feel understood. 

Before building your sales deck, research these three areas: 

  • Your Prospect’s Business: Learn about their pain points, goals, and challenges. Figure out their company size, mission, and sector. And learn about their internal processes. This will help you craft personalized use cases and select relevant social proof later on. 
  • Your Prospect’s Problem: Learn all about their problem and its associated consequences. If you know the specifics, you can bring up targeted insights and solutions in your presentation. 
  • Who Is Attending: If the decision maker(s) are from high-level management, focus on how you’ll help them achieve long-term goals. If the decision maker(s) will use your solution day-to-day, focus on efficiencies and problem-solving.

By now in the sales process, you’ve probably had conversations with the prospect and learned at least the basics of their current needs, internal processes, and goals. If not, propose a call with your main point of contact before the presentation. Frame it as a call to learn more about them to customize their presentation. If that’s not an option, check out their company or personal websites, or study current clients that share characteristics with the prospect.

2. Write Your Presentation Outline & Script

The spoken portion of your sales presentation is the most essential part. In this step, write an outline of the main points you want to hit and a script of the words you want to say. The script will determine the layout and order of your sales deck; while crucial as a guide for you and a visual aid for your audience, the deck should never be read verbatim. The spoken portion should be no longer than 20 or 30 minutes and can be memorized or used as a structured outline.

The outline of a sales presentation will vary across different businesses and presentation situations. Generally, though, you’ll be presenting your product or service in front of a group of decision makers in an office room. So, let’s look at a potential sales presentation outline of the main points to hit for this situation. The script portion would be too long to include in an example, but think of it as all the words you’ll actually say while presenting each main point.

Here is a potential outline of the spoken portion of a sales presentation: 

  1. Introduce Yourself and Your Business: State your name(s) and credentials. Give your business’s elevator pitch. Segue into a common problem you’ve found in their industry. 
  2. Describe Your Prospect’s Main Problem: Talk about your prospect’s problem you found during discovery. Talk about what’s causing it. Come across as an expert. If you know the problem even better than they do, they’ll think you can solve it better, as well. 
  3. Discuss the Associated Costs: Agitate the problem by talking about other negative consequences of letting the problem go unsolved. 
  4. Tease a Promised Land: Talk about a better world in which the problem is gone. Go over three benefits that your prospect can receive if they make it to this world.  
  5. Introduce Your Solution: Reveal your product or service and how it solves the problem. This is a good opportunity to demo the product. Or, simply go over its main features, focusing on talking about the benefits each one offers. 
  6. Share Proof: Share case studies from companies or people similar to your prospect.  
  7. Closing Statement: Wrap up with a closing statement that includes a CTA inviting them to begin this partnership. Then, open the floor for questions.

Below is an example of main points from a property management SaaS brand that wants to replace pen and paper inspections with their software. It tracks closely to the outline above. 

  1. Introduce yourself and the agenda.
  2. Tell a brief anecdote about a property manager struggling to do an inspection. 
  3. Talk about three problems with using pen and paper for tracking inspections. 
  4. Talk about how using spreadsheets is not a viable alternative. 
  5. Discuss statistics on how much time this is wasting for property managers. 
  6. Help them imagine a world in which they have two extra hours each day.
  7. Introduce the software product. 
  8. Go over three main features and associated benefits. 
  9. Share a case study about an existing client. 
  10. Make your closing statement, including a reminder of the value proposition and a CTA.

If you’re presenting with multiple people, it makes sense to switch speakers whenever you move on to the next main point. When assigning main points to different team members, take into account their levels of expertise and enthusiasm for given topics. For example, if one of them spent days analyzing the prospect’s main problem, let them take that part. Genuine confidence is powerful. For this reason, also let your best closer make the closing statement.

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Additional Reading:

The best way to craft an engaging outline and presentation script is to rely on templates and examples. For more information, check out our article on the top sales presentation templates, which includes key frameworks as well as video examples of people doing it well.

3. Gather Essential Materials

Now that you’re familiar with your prospect and their needs, begin gathering the materials for the elements you want to include in your sales presentation. This includes social proof such as case studies and testimonials from your current customers who are similar to the prospect. It also includes data or stats like average ROI or industry trends that will help you back any claims. Talk to your data, marketing, and customer success teams to get these stats.

Other presentation materials include: 

  • Marketing Messaging: Go through your marketing content to find the benefits, value propositions, company timeline, and story details, as well as the USP that will be most relevant to this particular prospect. Talk to marketing for more suggestions. 
  • Props or Demonstrations: If your product lends itself to physical or virtual demonstrations, gather the required materials or set up the virtual environment. 
  • Graphs: Create graphs that will back your claims, illustrate trends, and supplement your stories. For example, if you’re talking about how Facebook ad prices are trending upwards, place a graph of this on the associated slide. 
  • Client or Product Photos: If you want to highlight clients using the product or service to add a bit of social proof, gather these photos from marketing. Or, ask a happy client if they’d do you a solid and send you a picture of them using your solution.

Because you might have to get this material from another department/person or even create it yourself, it’s best to handle this at least two or three days before you plan to begin building your sales deck so you can plug them in immediately when you create the deck.

4. Create a Personalized Sales Deck

A sales deck is the slide presentation that will act as a visual backdrop and guide for your sales presentation, usually created using sales presentation software like Google Slides. A deck meant for presenting should be about 10 slides in length. It should also be light on text (fewer than 30 words per slide) and heavy on images, diagrams, and visuals. The only times you’d use more words is if you’re sending the deck to be read on a prospect’s own time.

It’s best practice to use a 30-point font or above. This forces you to use your space wisely and include only the most salient points on the slides, and therefore fewer words. That way, your audience’s attention will be spent on watching you rather than reading the slides. Your sales deck should also be personalized to the audience so they feel understood and are able to imagine how your solution will help them specifically.

These are a few ways to personalize the sales deck for your prospect:

  • Bring Up Facts About Their Current Situation: In your research, you learned about the prospect’s current state. Bring up this intel to make them feel included. For example, say, “{Name}, you said you did {process X} with {method Y}. Imagine if instead you . . . ” 
  • Include Specific Use Cases: Think of some specific examples of ways you envision your prospect using your solution to their benefit. Consider dedicating an entire slide to these use cases. 
  • Use Social Proof From Customers Who Mirror the Prospect: Instead of simply listing your most well-known clients, use case studies and testimonials from customers who are similar to the prospect. That way, they know you can satisfy their specific needs.

Of course, more goes into creating a sales deck than just personalizing it. You have to choose the right template; create a narrative around your solution; arrange the slides in the best possible order; and design it with the right font, color scheme, and backgrounds. That’s why we’ve dedicated an entire post to the sales deck creation process and the steps required:

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Additional Reading:

For help on creating the best sales deck for your presentation, check out our detailed article on how to create a sales deck. There, you'll find key steps as well as templates and examples to craft the best one possible.

5. Rehearse Your Sales Presentation

Practice your sales presentation at least five times all the way through. Do it alone first and then in front of others so they can spot your weak points. The reason you are rehearsing is not solely to memorize the material verbatim. You also want to be confident enough with the presentation that you can field questions and comments from the audience throughout the presentation without getting lost and nervous — you can freestyle and get right back on the track.

For instance, if a CEO in the audience says “That’s a super cool idea” during your presentation, you won’t have to bulldoze to the next slide in order to keep your rhythm and memory if you’ve rehearsed properly. You can pause and discuss it before picking up where you left off. And you will do it with confidence in your voice and smoothness in your body movements, both of which help you come across as an expert and someone the client will want as a partner.

Pro Tip:

While it’s important to practice presenting in the game-day environment, also take advantage of other free time in your day. Rehearse loudly in the shower or quietly on a walk. That way, you’re checking two things off your list at once.

How to Deliver Your Sales Presentation

An effective sales presentation tells an engaging story, underlines your offer’s value, and addresses the main problems suffered by your potential buyer. It also makes your audience active participants, sparking questions from them and prompting run-off conversations about their specific interests. This helps you build a relationship. Now, let’s go over the seven steps for delivering a sales presentation that covers these bases to win over your audience: 

1. Share Your Sales Deck Beforehand

Email the deck to help them understand what to expect from your presentation.

2. Prepare & Test the Technology

Come off as fully prepared and avoid any tech issues. Don't rely on tech when unnecessary to avoid potential pitfalls.

3. Build Rapport

Make small talk specifically related to the prospect at the beginning to warm the room and create connections.

4. Initiate Introductions

With small talk out of the way, kick off the presentation by making introductions setting expectations.

5. Set the Agenda

State the plan and timing for the presentation, including the intended purpose and what you hope to accomplish

6. Present Your Slides

Start your presentation, making sure you aren't over-reliant on the slides and living time for questions throughout or at the end.

7. Finish With a Strong Close

Guide your prospects into the next steps by answering any questions, handling any objections, and moving to the closing stage.

1. Share Your Sales Deck Beforehand

First, share your sales deck with the attendees two days before the meeting. In most cases, they will look it over and build interest. Of course, some won’t read it, but it’s courteous to give them the option. Most importantly, emailing your deck to the attendees will also help them prepare. They will have time to think up questions to ask during or after your presentation, so the discussions will be top-notch.

If you know a lot about the prospect’s current situation, day-to-day, and goals, take this approach a step further and send them a written vision statement that explains how you see this product or service changing their life or business. It can be as short as a single paragraph or as long as a page. It’s meant to show the prospect that your presentation will be personalized to their needs.

2. Prepare & Test the Technology

Your presentation could be in-person in an office or meeting room or virtual via a conferencing platform like Zoom. In both cases, it’s crucial to prepare the environment and smooth out any wrinkles by testing the technology. If in person, make sure your screen and projector or laptop and the necessary cords are functioning properly. If virtual, test the conferencing software, your mic, and your webcam. In both cases, ensure your slideshow is ready to go.

3. Build Rapport

As people enter the meeting, set a friendly tone by asking them questions and engaging them in light conversation. Consider asking questions that show you’ve been paying attention.

Here are a few examples of personalized questions to ask:

  • “Last time we spoke, you were dealing with X. How’s that been going?” 
  • “How was the football game last weekend?” 
  • “I saw you opened a new office in X. Congrats! Any word on how it’s progressing?”

Besides being fun for the extroverts, small talk like this gets everyone comfortable and in a good mood. It helps everyone relax and drop their “No one can sell me!” attitude. Try to keep the small talk to around five minutes. You don’t want it to cut into your spoken portion or Q&A session at the end. The content of the small talk doesn’t matter, as long as it’s natural. You could discuss business topics or personal ones, as long as they’re business appropriate.

4. Initiate Introductions

After the conversation has run its course, get the ball rolling by thanking your audience for attending. Then, briefly introduce yourself in a friendly and professional manner. To build credibility, bring up relevant credentials or experiences that will paint you as the right person or team to help them in this area. Then, ask each person in the audience (if five or fewer) to say their name and job title; if you have a larger audience, skip this part to save time.

5. Set the Agenda

Before you start flipping through slides, it’s best practice to set the agenda so the audience knows what to expect. This serves the same benefits as reading the SparkNotes of The Iliad before cracking open the complicated epic. When the audience knows what’s coming, they are on the lookout for the elements and topics you mentioned. This increases their comprehension and engagement. Plus, stating an agenda makes you look organized and professional.

Use the Purpose, Benefit, Check method when stating the agenda:

  • State the Meeting’s Purpose: State the main topics you will be covering. “We’re here to go over how {product or service} can help you overcome {problem or challenge}.” 
  • List the Benefits of Attending: Explain how the prospect will benefit from being here. “Besides learning about our solution and how to use it to reach your goals, you’ll also come away with valuable industry insights that will change the way you think about X.” 
  • Check for Alignment: Make sure you’re all on the same page with a simple check. “Sound like a plan?”

Now it’s time to actually start presenting. Let’s go over how to do it effectively.

Pro Tip:

Consider building in extra time to encourage your audience to ask questions and make comments while you’re presenting. This makes your presentation more of a conversation and lifts the audience's engagement level and comprehension. Say something like, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions or make comments throughout. If there’s something you want to discuss in greater detail, let me know.”

6. Present Your Slides

Pull up your sales deck and begin presenting. You’ll be speaking from the script you wrote earlier. Here are some best practices for delivering your sales presentation in a way that both captivates and sells the audience. 

  • Leverage Body Language Tactics: Put your shoulders back, smile, and feel free to move around the stage naturally. Use your hands to emphasize key points or transitions. The Presentation Training Institute has additional tips on body language for presenters
  • Maintain Eye Contact: Alternate eye contact between the people in the room. Try your best not to leave anyone out for too long. 
  • Keep Things Moving and Changing: Don’t spend more than two minutes discussing a slide. When you frequently change the visual stimuli, you maintain the audience’s attention.
  • Be Confident: Avoid apologizing if you make a mistake. This indicates nervousness or discomfort. Instead, take it in stride and keep presenting with confidence.

Most of all, go with the flow. Expect the unexpected to occur, like a confusing question from the audience. Do your best to answer it. If you lack the knowledge on the specific subject, say you’ll do some research and send them the answer in a follow-up email. They’ll understand.

7. Finish Your Presentation With a Strong Close

Who you’re presenting to, your relationship with them, and the price of your product or service will determine how you close your presentation. For example, if you’re presenting a high-priced B2B solution to three executives, you’ll probably ask an open-ended question or open the floor for questions. If you’re presenting a B2C product to 1,000 people in an audience, you might tell them to purchase online.

Here are three ways to close your presentation:

  • Strong CTA: Ask them to make the purchase. For example, “Over 500 satisfied clients are currently using our solution to {benefit}. Are you ready to join them?” or “Are you ready to take the leap and finally rid yourself of {pain point} once and for all?”  
  • Open-Ended Question: Ask an open-ended question that will prompt them to think about and discuss their key takeaways. For instance, you might ask, “How did I change the way you think about X?” Higher-priced items that need further evaluation use this. 
  • Objection-Response Question: If you sense any objections lurking behind their eyes, ask, “Based on what you’ve just heard, what would hold you back from buying today?” Then, you can address the concern or hesitation while you have them in the room.

In almost all cases, it makes sense to end your spoken presentation by opening the room up for further questions. Even if you’re presenting to a few executives and you go with the strong CTA approach, you’re still going to want to give them the chance to ask questions after you tell them what you want them to do, like “join the {company name} family.”

3 Best Sales Presentation Examples From Top Companies

You can learn a lot about sales decks and presentation skills by reading through exceptional sales decks and watching great sales presenters. Here are examples of sales presentations from Facebook, Zuora, and Steve Jobs (Apple), and what makes them so successful. Click the images below to see each example presentation.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Presentation

First off, LinkedIn does a great job of using color to create a visually appealing slideshow. As for the presentation, they begin with an elevator pitch that gives context to the prospect. Then they talk about the current environment of their customers (salespeople), emphasizing that sellers in this age need to be focused, informed, and trusted.

After backing this claim with data, they introduce their solution and describe how it can help them be more focused, informed, and trusted, dedicating one slide to each attribute. They repeat these three words throughout the presentation so that they stick in the prospect’s mind. This is a good example of using three key benefits and the power of repetition.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator sales presentation
LinkedIn Sales Navigator sales presentation

Zuora Sales Presentation

Zuora does a fantastic job in this sales deck of using little text and still making a big impact. The presentation begins with an explanation of a big change (the new subscription economy) in the customer’s industry. This hooks the audience immediately, since it’s top of mind.

Zuora then goes on to explain how there will be winners and losers in this economy and offers up case studies of companies who have used this change to their advantage. Then, they finally introduce how their solution can help the prospect do the same.

Zuora sales presentation
Zuora sales presentation

Steve Jobs Sales Presentation

In this presentation, Steve Jobs introduces the first Apple iPhone. The presentation is an illustration not only of what it means to present with confidence, wit, and charm, but also of solid presentation structure. Steve begins by building credibility, listing past successes. He then describes the problem with current smartphones — their static, plastic keyboards. After dismantling the competition, he introduces the solution to the problem and its many benefits.

Steve Jobs sales presentation
Steve Jobs sales presentation

Bottom Line

Your audience should come out of your sales presentation different than they were at the beginning. Give them insights about their industry, a deeper understanding of their problem or challenge, and ideas about how they can reach their goals and dreams with the help of your product or service. If you follow the steps and best practices we’ve presented to you today, you should be able to do just that.

For more information on creating and optimizing your sales presentation, check out our article on the top sales presentation tips from verified experts.

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