Steli Efti
CEO of Close

How to build the best sales pitch deck ever in 6 simple steps

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Last updated
November 17, 2020

You’ve been working hard to sell this prospect. You’ve moved them down the pipeline, and now it’s time to clinch the deal with a sales pitch deck that blows their mind.

You’re going into that sales meeting. The bases are loaded. Are you prepared to hit a home run?

The best sales pitch deck is a tool that knocks your sales presentations out of the park every time. But how can you create a sales pitch deck that really sells?

Keep reading. In this chapter, we’re going to discuss:

  • What is a sales pitch deck? (+ when & why do you need one?)
  • Creating a sales pitch deck in 6 easy steps
  • 6 sales pitch deck examples to model your pitches after
  • 9 pro sales pitch presentation tips

What is a sales pitch deck? (+ when & why do you need one?)

A sales pitch deck is a presentation that answers two essential questions for your prospect: what are you offering, and why should they care? When done correctly, your sales pitch deck can help prospects see the real value of your product and convince them of the ROI of the purchase. It’s a gateway to a productive sales conversation that leads to a closed deal.

So, when can you use a sales pitch deck?

There are plenty of different situations where a deck can amplify your message and bring context to the value your product offers.

In fact, sales pitch decks can be used at almost any stage of your sales pipeline, including:

  • Prospecting and lead generation: At the early stages, a simple presentation that sparks curiosity can arouse the interest of new leads. For example, you can post a short, concise presentation on social media.
  • Discovery and qualification: In a discovery meeting, a sales deck can help you guide the conversation and add more meaning to your statements.
  • Sales meetings: At this stage, a sales pitch deck is here to present the features and benefits that will have the most impact on your prospect, and convince them to move towards a close.

Decks are also essential to a startup investor pitch, and can even be created as an internal sales enablement presentation to help keep your sales messaging on track across the team.

Creating these different types of sales pitch decks will empower your sales team to reach their potential and sell in a way that’s tailored to each situation.

Want to get a head start on creating the best decks for your team? Download 6 high-performing sales deck templates and adapt them to your own team and process:

So, what does it take to build a high-performing sales deck? Learn how to do it in 6 easy steps:

Creating a sales pitch deck in 6 easy steps

Building your deck from the ground up? Here are 6 steps you need to take to build the best sales pitch deck ever.

Step 1. Use real customer research to find a key pain point

When you know who you’re selling to, you can tailor your pitch to their needs and circumstances.

That’s why, before anything else, you must do customer research before you start building your sales pitch deck.

Who are your customers? What kind of businesses do they run? What team does your main point of contact work on? What are the team or the company’s main challenges? Which competitors are they considering? How does your product integrate with their current workflow?

To answer these questions, run customer interviews or send out a quick survey to your most successful customers. Here’s an example of what that might look like from SurveyMonkey:

The more intimate knowledge you have of your customers, the better prepared you are to develop a sales pitch deck that resonates with your target audience.

Specifically, try to get constructive answers to these two questions:

  • What are their main needs/wants/challenges?
  • How does your product solve those needs?

Step 2. Develop a narrative around your product

Now that you understand the problems your audience is facing, it’s time to build a narrative around that problem.

In most cases, a sales pitch deck will start with slides that focus on the problem and provide a solution.

So, what’s the story of your product?

Your customer research is a great place to start with this narrative. What was life like before they started using your product? What were the day-to-day challenges that just couldn’t be solved? Was there a shift in the industry that caused new issues for businesses?

Then, paint a picture of the solution. What could life be like after solving these issues? How would the prospect’s day-to-day work life be affected? How would the team or company benefit?

After that, your story introduces its hero: your product.

By creating a narrative that explains the problems your prospects are facing better than they can, you’ll prove your deep understanding of their needs. This builds trust and lays the groundwork for a relationship that will last.

Step 3: Decide on 3 key benefits to highlight

Three is a powerful number.

Of course, your product may be an entire toolshed of features that your customers can use to improve their lives and their business. But remember: your sales pitch deck isn’t here to teach them the A to Z of your product.

It’s here to make an impression and convince them to move forward in the sales process.

That’s why choosing 3 main benefits is essential.

As Brian Clark of Copyblogger said:

To help you narrow this down, pick the three features that your customers regularly rave about. Then, turn those features into benefits and add them to your presentation.

Pro tip: Want to really cement these three benefits into the prospect’s mind? Don’t just include them as a slide in your deck: use them as a quick summary at the end of your presentation to keep those benefits top-of-mind as prospects walk out of the meeting.

Step 4: Choose your most powerful proof

Everyone loves using social proof. It’s spattered across SaaS homepages, wandering across our daily blog reading, and practically taking over our Instagram feeds.

In other words, what was once a powerful tool for trust has become just more background noise to your customers.

So, how can you include social proof that stands out and makes a clear point?

The best sales pitch deck uses social proof that is relatable.

For example, if you’re pitching to a small business owner, featuring a customer quote from P&G may actually turn them away from using your product. Because, while it’s cool that you have P&G as a customer, they’re instantly doubting whether your product is ideal for a small business like theirs.

So, if your pitching to a startup founder, feature a use case and testimonial from another customer that’s a startup founder. If you’re pitching to a restaurant owner, feature a quote from another restaurant owner that loves your product.

SEO software Ahrefs does a fantastic job of this on the product homepage, featuring different testimonials divided by the type of customer:

Use this same principle in your sales pitch decks. Whenever possible, feature social proof from customers that are part of this prospect’s tribe. They’ll automatically feel better understood and more confident about your product for their company.

Step 5: Use a sales pitch deck template that is tailored to you

No, it’s not cheating.

Using an effective sales pitch deck template is a great way to get a head start on your deck and make it truly appealing to your prospects.

But just remember these two essential keys to make a success of your template:

First, personalize the template as much as possible. Any self-respecting sales pitch deck template should be customizable, so change the fonts and colors and replace any stock pictures with your own. Otherwise, your prospects might notice that your sales pitch deck is awfully similar to the competition’s deck.

Second, use a template that’s based on your industry. The way you present your product as a B2B company may be completely different from the way a SaaS company pitches. Also, different types of sales pitch decks work better for different situations.

That’s why we built Pitch: High Performing Sales Deck Templates.

Step 6: Make it visually relevant to their brand

This last step can turn your sales pitch deck into something even more desirable for your prospects.

Your customers have probably seen decks from other reps with their logo in the corner.

Want to make your sales pitch deck stand out? Build it in the colors of the brand you’re selling to.

This frames your message as if it’s coming from the inside, not from an external source. And, it helps you present the message in the voice of your customer.

With the sales pitch deck templates we mentioned above, it’s actually super easy to adjust the colors throughout. (We even include simple instructions within the decks to help you customize them to your own style and needs!)

(Don’t forget to download your free pitch deck templates here.)

Want to see even more examples of what a good sales pitch deck should look like?

6 sales pitch deck examples to model your pitches after

Sometimes, the best way to learn is by example.

See what top B2B and SaaS companies are doing with their sales pitch decks, and swipe the best ideas for your next sales presentation:

1. Shift in the market from Zuora

Industry Focus: B2B

In this deck, Zuora highlights a drastic shift in the market, shows the impact for companies who adapt well, and then uses real customer testimonials to show why their product is the solution. By telling a story, this deck captures attention and holds it to the end.

2. Finding Waldo with LeadCrunchAI

Industry Focus: SaaS

Again, storytelling is essential here. This deck also starts by describing a market change and leans in to the opportunities available. Then, in 6 simple slides, it explains a complicated product in simple terms (and the use of Waldo makes this even more relatable).

3. Problem, solution from ReCheck

Industry Focus: SaaS

This deck doesn't mince words: it gets right into the meat by explaining the problem and providing a clear solution. For a simple product, this kind of simple sales deck is perfect.

4. Proof in the data from Snapchat

Industry Focus: B2B

Snapchat shows the power of their ads with this easy-to-digest deck. It includes powerful data, bright colors, and excellent testimonials.

5. Totally relatable from ProdPad

Industry Focus: B2B

This is a deck that gets the prospect to say, "Wow, that's me!" By telling a story the prospect can relate to, this deck does an excellent job of getting on the same side and showing what's possible if the prospect uses their product.

6. In the mind of the prospect with Immediately

Industry Focus: B2B

Instead of using hard data to prove the value of their product, Immediately takes that data and turns it into the thoughts of their audience (sales reps). This adds a bit of humor to their very relatable deck, and shows what real-world impact their product has on the daily workload of a customer.

9 pro sales pitch presentation tips

Now, your best sales pitch deck is ready to unleash its power on your prospect. But how can you present your deck successfully?

Here are 3 pro tips you need to follow:

1. Create conversation

Your sales pitch deck isn’t here to replace the conversation. It’s here to help guide the conversation and add context and meaning to what you’re saying.

So, use your presentation as a conversation, not a monologue.

While you will probably do most of the talking in this meeting, remember to ask questions throughout. Build context around your value points by talking about the specific pains that they’re facing, then digging into how your product will solve their problems.

By asking questions, you can keep your prospects engaged throughout the presentation. This is especially important when you’re giving a remote sales presentation, since it’s easier for the prospect to be distracted.

2. Send your sales pitch deck before the meeting

But wait, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of actually giving your sales presentation?

Not necessarily.

In fact, sending your sales pitch deck before you go into your meeting can accomplish a few interesting things:

  • Whets the appetite of your audience by giving them a sample of what you’ll discus in your meeting (but saving the best parts for your actual meeting)
  • Gives your prospect the ability to see what topics will be covered during the presentation, and prepare any questions they might have
  • Helps everyone keep in mind a clear agenda for this meeting

So, while it may seem a bit backwards, sending your presentation beforehand can actually help your prospects stay focused and keep your sales meeting on-schedule.

3. Create a deck for stakeholders to read later

While it’s true that it’s best to sell to decision makers, that’s not always the first person you talk to at a company. Especially when selling to enterprise companies, it’s hard to get all the stakeholders and decision makers involved in your sales pitch meeting.

So, create a sales pitch deck that stakeholders and decision makers can peruse later. This deck may include more text than a deck you’re presenting in-person (or online), since the point is that it be easily understood by stakeholders who are going through it on their own.

Also, if an internal champion is presenting this information to higher-ups, they can use this deck to present ideas succinctly and with the right messaging.

Read more of our tips to give effective sales presentations, such as:

4. Adapt your script and presentation to the prospect
5. Open with your biggest selling point instead of saving it to the end
6. Ask open-ended questions
7. Build context around your biggest selling points and value differentiators
8. Never talk price before value
9. Spend less than 10 minutes presenting

Dig into those expert sales presentation tips here!

Build your best sales pitch deck

Giving a sales presentation may get your heart pumping. But when you’re using a sales pitch deck that’s high-powered and follows a proven formula, you’ll be well equipped to knock this presentation out of the park.

Throughout this guide, we’ve given you clear examples and templates to learn from and imitate. Ready for a whole truckload more? Jump to Chapter 7: 14 undeniably good sales pitch examples proven to close deals fast →

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Cloosiv's lean sales team became paralyzed by process as their prospect pipeline and client list matured.
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Cloosiv's lean sales team became paralyzed by process as their prospect pipeline and client list matured.
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