How to create an effective sales enablement deck
Published on October 06, 2023
How to create a winning sales enablement deck
You’ve worked your tail off to write a perfect sales script and to develop killer marketing collateral. Now you just need to get your team of sales reps to execute your vision. If only you had a tool to effectively align your team like a sales enablement deck.
What is a sales enablement deck?
Sales enablement decks are foundational tools that support marketing efforts and provide sales teams with what they need to close deals. Don’t think of it as a presentation, per se, but rather a strategic internal slide document (or a Slidedoc® as we call them) for your sales team.
A sales enablement deck helps organize your sales process and aligns it to your sales strategy with information that helps your reps win.
What is included in a sales enablement deck?
A sales enablement deck can include important company information, guidance, messaging, and collateral. It can even be organized by each stage of the sales funnel so your reps can help nurture and move prospects along their buying journey with ease. When done right, a sales enablement deck can:
- Reinforce your sales strategy
- Provide concrete sales plays
- Provide brand-approved messaging
- And offer brand-compliant imagery, data, and other helpful resources
It is a great sales enablement tool that provides sales reps with a shortcut to refining their sales pitch and closing potential customers. In other words, a sales enablement deck has the potential to make or break your organization’s bottom line and brand reputation.
So, let’s explore why your team needs one, outline what it should include, and discuss pitfalls to avoid, so everyone is set up for success.
Why you need a sales enablement deck
For your organization to succeed, salespeople need access to the right tools and training. That’s where the sales enablement deck comes in. Sales enablement decks should equip all sales reps to deliver relevant content persuasively — no matter who they’re speaking to.
Additionally, sales enablement decks are a one-stop shop for supplemental content, so sales reps won’t have to scour documents or websites to find up-to-date resources. These decks should:
- Highlight sales plays and outline winning strategies and tactics
- Provide detailed prospect personas and profiles
- Offer objection handling tips
- Share benefits and differentiators for common use-cases
- Customer testimonials and case studies
- Awards, satisfaction scores, reviews, and other third-party metrics to validate your offering or product
Give back precious time to sales reps
Historically, the job fell to sales reps to piece together their own selling information and materials from various sources. Not only does this result in disjointed messaging and visuals — the dreaded Frankenslides, as we like to call it — but it also means that sales teams may spend more time preparing for meetings than engaging with customers.
In fact, research shows that sales reps spend an average of 30 hours each month trying to generate or find their own content. That’s a lot of time that’s better spent selling. When using a sales enablement deck, sales reps can more easily find content to better prepare for tricky or sophisticated sales conversations. The deck will also give reps easy access to download prebuilt materials such as customer-facing sales presentations, send-ahead or leave-behind collateral, and relevant case studies.
4 tips for organizing your sales enablement content for maximum impact
Let’s talk about how to develop and organize your sales enablement deck for maximum impact.
- Depending on the complexity of your sales strategy, avoid building a single sales enablement deck for everything
- Limit each sales enablement deck to a particular overarching topic or category
- Organize each sales enablement deck by what makes sense for your organization. Some examples:
- Customer topics
- Pain points
- Horizontal and/or vertical solutions
- Buyer job title
- Organizational challenge or initiatives
- And more
- Cross-reference and link to other sales enablement decks as-needed
Keeping each sales enablement deck limited to a specific category helps sellers stay grounded in the specific sales opportunities for that theme. The more concise it is, the easier your sales team will be able to digest and maneuver through the content.
Examples of common sales enablement content to provide in the deck
- Sales process: help newer sales reps understand their selling efforts as part of your broader internal process.
- Sales strategy and playbooks: socialize your overall strategy so salespeople see the bigger picture as they choose and run plays.
- Brand or corporate story: include the highest-level narrative that establishes the company’s vision, mission, purpose, and values useful in any sales conversation.
- Sales scripts or talk tracks: provide guidance so reps can find their voice and stay on message.
- Scripts for product/use case demos: blend product features and capabilities with customer benefits and value to bring demos to life.
- Value proposition: make sure sellers can articulate the core value statement about your company, division, or solutions.
- Industry trends and use-cases: connect trends with optimal use cases at the industry and sub-segment level to be more relevant to prospects.
- Buyer/buying center personas: give reps a deeper understanding of your ideal customer profiles (ICP) and the buying committee that will influence the deal.
Examples of customer-facing content your sellers can use with prospects, send ahead, or leave behind:
- Sales presentations: a deck optimized to present live or virtually.
- Sales Slidedocs®: a deck optimized for reading; ideal for send-aheads or leave-behinds
- Internal proof: case studies, success stories, and social proof
- External proof: analyst reports, whitepapers, and third-party research
- Thought leadership: Industry/POV articles, blog posts, and storytelling elements
- Research: data sheets, brochures, performance data, comparison charts
- Templates: resources to customize and personalize emails, slides, proposals, etc.
- Visuals: infographics, diagrams, and models that help tell a visual story to simplify complex ideas.
Examples of additional internal resources the deck should link to:
- Skills training: link to presentation, communication, and soft skills training and education options available from your Learning & Development group.
- Other sales enablement decks: cross-reference and link to other sales materials that help sales reps build their knowledge and expand opportunities.
- Subject matter experts: include clickable email addresses and additional contact information for product managers, solution architects, solution engineers, industry experts, or sales leaders available to help or answer questions.
- Internal sites: point to relevant content-rich intranets and internal sites throughout the organization that help sales reps deep dive, as needed.
7 common pitfalls to avoid when building sales enablement content
- Don’t build your sales enablement content in a marketing vacuum: always include sales experts and leaders in the content creation process. They’re your best proxy for what sales reps need and use, and for what’s on customers’ minds.
- Don’t make one sales enablement deck: create separate decks that let you collocate related sales content tuned to help reps and keep it from becoming too overwhelming to use
- Don’t organize the deck by products: organize by sales play or buying situations so you can drive a more customer-centric approach that may integrate larger solution sets or cross-portfolio sales opportunities.
- Don’t limit product information to features and functions: contextualize the value and benefits of your products, services, and solutions in context of sales plays, use cases, and roles in the buying center. Prospects will understand how you can best satisfy their needs.
- Don’t forget, selling happens beyond the pitch: include sales enablement content and tools that aid sellers pre-sale, during the pitch, after the pitch, and along the sales process.
- Don’t think of it as an encyclopedia: think of the sales enablement deck as a portal with some content in the deck but also with comprehensive links to live and updated resources to guarantee freshness.
- Don’t publish and then forget about it: assign owners to make sure new information, changes to sales process and strategy, and new customer case studies and social proof are continuously refreshed.
Before sending your sales force into the wild, equip them with a sales enablement deck that’ll set them up for success. They’ll be ready to go with a deck complete with a consistent brand story, sales plays, buyer intelligence, comprehensive resources, and customization options. Your entire organization will thank you.
Business, Sales and marketing