Sales presentations: Elevate your pitch to drive success

Dave DeFranco

Written by

Dave DeFranco

In sales, presentations often serve as the de facto communication between sellers and buyers. Whether you’re pitching a product, service, or idea, the success of your sales presentation can make or break a deal. At Duarte, we understand the importance of crafting compelling sales decks that not only captivate your audience but also drive action.

Let’s start with “What is a sales presentation?”

Sales presentations are a strategic conversation to persuade your audience (often a buyer, prospect or customer) to make a decision in your favor. They come in various formats, ranging from traditional Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, or Google Slide decks to interactive multimedia presentations.

A sales PowerPoint presentation, however, is more than merely a collection of slides; it’s a carefully crafted narrative meant to spotlight the value of whatever you’re selling. The objective of the sales presentation is to captivate the audience while giving them essential information that persuades them to take your desired action.


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10 common use-cases for sales presentations

Sales pitch presentations serve many purposes across different stages of the sales cycle and can be used in various sales situations. Here are ten unique versions of sales pitch presentation examples:

  1. First call deck: A concise and introductory sales presentation used during the initial contact with a prospect. It aims to grab the prospect’s attention, establish credibility, and generate interest in further discussions. Subsequently, a Second Call Deck may have more details on the solution itself including information on implementation, integration, demos, and bringing in more stakeholders to the conversation.
  2. Product demo deck: A sales presentation specifically designed to showcase the features and functionalities of a product or service. It focuses on demonstrating how the offering addresses the prospect’s pain points and provides value.
  3. Investor sales presentation: This sales pitch presentation is created to attract potential investors and secure funding for a startup or business venture. It typically includes information about the market opportunity, business model, traction, and financial projections.
  4. Problem-solution deck: A sales presentation that focuses on identifying a specific problem or pain point faced by the target audience and presenting the company’s solution to address it.
  5. Company overview deck: A high-level presentation deck that provides an overview of the company, its mission, vision, core values, and key achievements. It is often used in networking events, conferences, or investor meetings to introduce the company to stakeholders.
  6. Roadshow deck: A comprehensive sales presentation used by companies preparing for an IPO (Initial Public Offering) or seeking to raise capital from institutional investors. It includes detailed information about the company’s financial performance, growth strategy, market analysis, and future outlook.
  7. Partnership deck: A presentation deck created to pitch potential strategic partnerships or collaborations with other companies. It highlights the mutual benefits of the partnership and outlines how both parties can leverage each other’s resources and expertise.
  8. Executive briefing center deck: An executive briefing center (EBC) deck is tailored for high-level executives or key decision-makers often presented by equally senior representatives from the seller’s side. This type of sales presentation focuses on the value proposition of the company in relation to the client’s business objectives and showcases future innovations and case studies relevant to their industry.
  9. Event or conference deck: A presentation deck designed for speaking engagements at events or conferences. It may include industry insights, thought leadership content, and case studies to educate and engage the audience.
  10. Milestone or progress update deck: A sales presentation used to update leaders, stakeholders, investors, or team members on the company’s progress, achievements, and milestones. You may be asking for more funding, resources, or time so the pitch has to make the case for your ultimate ask.

What should be included in a sales presentation?

Crafting a great sales presentation that resonates with your audience and drives action requires thoughtful planning and development. Beyond the technical aspects of building the presentation, it must also be persuasive while connecting with your audience on a human level. Here are some basic principles for an effective presentation:

Structure matters

An effective sales presentation has a clear and logical structure. It starts with a problem statement that resonates with the audience, followed by a value proposition that presents your solution to the problem along with case studies and more. Later in this article you’ll see recommendations for a sales presentation outline but know that each component of the presentation should connect seamlessly to the next.

Visualize data

Data is a powerful tool in a sales presentation, but raw numbers can be overwhelming and difficult to understand. Data visualizations, such as clear and simple charts, graphs, and infographics, can help make your data more digestible and impactful. We also suggest you find a story in the data (ahem … Duarte DataStory®) to tell your audience, instead of just showing data for the sake of showing it. Add your own narrative to the data so it’s clear to your customers and prospects what they should gain from it.


Chart annotation toolkit


If you need help visualizing your data, download our free Chart annotation toolkit to grab some easy-to-use chart icons and files for your next presentation.

Speak, don’t read

While it’s important to have text on your slides, too much text can distract your audience from your point. Don’t read from your slides, rather use them as a visual aid while you speak. That way, your audience stays engaged with the sales presentation and can absorb your messages.

Great delivery

The physical deck is only one ingredient in a successful sales presentation. How you deliver it matters as well. (We’d argue it matters more than your stunning visuals!) Here are some tips to make sure you nail your communication of your pitch.

1. Make sure it resonates

Always take an audience-centric approach to your sales presentation. You must begin by truly understanding who you are selling to. Who are they? What keeps them awake at night? What goals do they aspire to achieve? Tailor your content to resonate with their unique context. For example, what matters to C-suite executives will not be the same as technical teams. To get started with this, download our free Audience Needs Map™ for instant help!

2. Hook them from the start

How should you begin your sales presentation? Think through how you can hook your audience immediately. Instead of opening with “Good morning,” surprise them by starting with a relevant story, or a provocative question, or a surprising fact that will pique their attention.

3. Be a visual storyteller

Stimulating both the rational and emotional sides of your customers is how people become more receptive to new ideas. Images, infographics, or videos are visual stimuli that create impact. Use them wisely. If you can share a relatable customer success story through visuals while the seller gives their narrative is a way to sustain interest. To learn how to do this, we recommend taking our award-winning VisualStory® workshop, one of our best courses for sales teams on building compelling sales presentations.




4. Be clear. Be brief

Less is more. Each slide should convey a single idea. Use bullet points, short sentences, and clear language. Avoid jargon or complex terminology. When it comes to visuals, organize your content logically and highlight key points, benefits, and calls-to-action so it’s easy for the customer to know what you want them to focus on and remember. If you’re ever unsure if a slide is too busy or cluttered, run it past our Glance Test™, a free downloadable to aid in keeping your slides clear and concise.

5. Persuade with benefits – not features

Avoid drowning your audience in technical details. Instead, focus on how your solution benefits them, their problems that it solves, and how it makes life easier. Prove it by sharing recommendations from others who’ve experienced positive outcomes. Real-world results in the form of success stories, testimonials, and case studies are great ways for your audience to trust that they may also see similar outcomes.

6. Always include a call-to-action (CTA)

Finish strong by clearly stating what action you want the prospect to take next. This is important as it drives towards a decision. Common CTAs include making a purchase, scheduling a demo, or asking for another meeting with the next set of key stakeholders.

How to make an interactive sales presentation

If you’re thinking about how to make an interactive sales presentation, our response is: it depends. The shift to virtual sales presentations has brought about new challenges and considerations for sales professionals. While in-person presentations offer the advantage of face-to-face interaction and rapport building, virtual presentations require a different approach to engagement and delivery. Also, the number of people in the meeting requires a different mindset as well.

For in-person presentations, build rapport

Face-to-face meetings are great for sealing big deals or winning trust. You can adapt on the fly based on body language and feedback. Live demos shine when you can give people that hands-on experience. They’re perfect for building relationships and making connections beyond just the pitch.

For virtual presentations, rely less on tech

Virtual pitches save time and money, especially in today’s remote and hybrid world. And while they’re flexible enough to fit any group size or location, you do need to focus harder on connecting and finding common ground. Just remember, go easy on videos because not everyone’s internet is lightning-fast, and have a backup plan for tech hiccups.

For 1:1 presentations, heighten your personalization

Make each pitch personal. Do your homework on the person you’re pitching to, listen closely, and tackle objections head-on. It’s all about nurturing that relationship.

For group presentations, understand group dynamics

For small group presentations, understanding the dynamics is essential. Figure out who the big decision-makers are and speak their language. Get everyone involved and manage your time wisely to keep things rolling smoothly. While addressing the collective needs of the group, also acknowledge and address any individual concerns.

For large group presentations, focus on common ground

For bigger crowds, focus on what everyone has in common. If it’s virtual, get them involved with polls or live chats to keep things interesting. If it’s on stage or in a large board room, utilize visual aids effectively so you can enhance greater understanding and retention across this large audience. You might not be able to personalize every message, but you can still make a big impact as a group.

Sales presentation outline

When building your sales presentation outline, remember that each presentation will require different information, but there are some familiar sections when planning what should be included in a sales presentation. This doesn’t mean you need to share or show them all. Be choosy. Only share what’s critical based on what you think your audience needs to hear to make the decision you want them to make.




Below are some common sections to consider when building out your sales presentation deck. If this is for a sales team or for sales enablement training purposes, consider making yourself a sales presentation template so you can have consistent messaging across your sales force.

  • Introduction: Always start strong. Tell a story. Ask a question. Clearly state the purpose of the presentation.
  • Problem statement: Define the problem or pain point your product or service solves that is of concern to your customer or prospect.
  • Solution overview: Clearly articulate how your offering addresses the needs of the audience.
  • Value proposition: Communicate the unique value proposition of your product or service and the benefits and results they can expect. How do you set yourself apart from competitors?
  • Customer stories: Model the outcomes and results your customers can expect through the experience of others. Sharing ones that closely match your prospects situation will have the biggest impact.
  • Business model: Explain how your company operates if that helps them see your differentiation.
  • Traction and milestones: Showcase progress, achievements, or milestones your company has reached that are relevant to your story. Include metrics that matter.
  • Market analysis: Provide insights into the competitive landscape and show yourself against competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Team overview: Introduce key members of your team, highlighting their expertise. Emphasize the team’s capability to execute the business plan.
  • Financials: Financial projections, including revenue forecasts, expenses, and profitability can help provide a clear picture of the company’s financial outlook.
  • Call to action: Clearly articulate the desired next steps for the audience. Prompt the audience to take action, whether it’s scheduling a follow-up meeting, making a purchase, or whatever else you need them to do next.
  • Closing: Summarize key points and reiterate the value proposition. Thank the audience for their time and consideration.

If you want a best sales presentation deck, Duarte can help

You might be wondering how you can get started building your next great sales presentation. One option is you can hire Duarte as your sales presentation agency. We’ll work closely with your subject matter experts to craft your narrative and build exciting visuals to bring your ideas to life.

Or you can tackle it yourself, but you may want to consider taking some training first. Duarte offers a variety of workshops that can serve as your sales presentation training.

Sales presentation trainings

Sign up for one, or all of these training courses to improve your sales presentations. From updating your sales presentation template to practicing your delivery, this bundle of trainings will have you covered so you can give your best sales presentation yet!

Learn winning strategies to connect with customers

Our training, Resonate®, designed by communication expert Nancy Duarte, will help your salespeople uncover winning strategies to build the best sales presentations. In this training, your sales professionals can bring their sales presentation with them and come out with a transformed mindset to sales pitch decks. Or, if they’re feeling pretty good about their sales presentation template and how to handle a sales pitch in-person – but need to brush up on their virtual selling skills – our Presenting Virtually™ course will do just that.

Learn to persuade with data

The need to effectively present and interpret data is paramount. Duarte’s DataStory® training can equip your sales teams with the skills and tools to transform complex data into compelling narratives that drive decision-making. This training teaches your sales teams a research-based methodology for explaining data in a way that moves people to action.

Sharpen sales presentation delivery

Delivery plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of sales presentations. Our Captivate™ course blends theory with practical coaching to enhance a sales professionals’ confidence when speaking. They’ll learn how to influence and engage any audience effectively, and how to handle every client interaction or speaking setting. From virtual sales presentations, boardroom meetings, intimate 1:1’s and live sales pitches … they’ll be able to communicate clearly whatever the sales scenario.

Case study highlight

When Veeam® wanted to stand out from the crowd with a new sales presentation, they turned to Duarte for help. They used to let sales reps make their own pitches. This led to inconsistent messaging and results, and ultimately prevented them from standing out in a saturated market. Duarte revamped their pitch using VisualStory® principles that upleveled conversations from product features to business outcomes, and it has transformed the way they land enterprise deals ever since.

You can now set out to create your best sales presentation ever. Don’t underestimate the power and impact of getting it right. It might be the most important thing in between your sales rep and a customer’s decision to act. Seek out our agency services to do it for you, or our training to learn how to do it for yourself.


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