Building a Sales "Deck"


Guy Kawasaki in Art of the Start talks about having two decks, an investor pitch deck and also a sales deck. Have you found this to be useful? I'm about to go pitch to 2 - 3 potential customers as beta testers and am not sure what I should share with them. Lots of stuff in the pitch deck is irreleven to a customer, I'm guessing (like the competition, market size, and even business model, other than what they are going to be paying (in the case of my beta users; nothing!))

Sales Selling

asked Apr 30 '11 at 02:14
1,171 points
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2 Answers


The collateral material for B2B sales needs to be personalized to the audience. You are not presenting to a "bar owner." You are speaking to the person you are facing: the owner/operator of "Drink," a bar on 23rd and Franklin avenue that has 500 tabs a night on Thursday, Friday and Saturday being opened at five stations on 30 stables supported by 8 servers.

I do not believe generic, multi-use "stacks" will close the deal. Identify the core value proposition and desired decision process for the potential beta testing customers. Know how to address their particular situation. Design your presentation (including the "decks") to support that specific presentation.

The product sale needs to stand on it's own. The product at this point is a vision. You are selling them the vision. Then on the power of the vision you are enrolling them in working with you to make it happen. To that end you need to "close" on the value of the vision -- before you transition into the "how" you are going to do it.

When you have sold them the vision-- then rather than discounting you with concerns about the proposed software/business model/pricing -- they will approach their questions in this area with a sense of problem solving and collaboration. That sense is the foundation for a great beta partner.

As a side note on the investment "decks": I have found that no one invests in a product they have not purchased.

  1. Sell the product
  2. Sell the investment opportunity.

I believe that these two need to be consecutive and logical in their flow -- but they need to be delivered with levels of agreement by the listener. "Close" on the product sales before transitioning to the sale of the investment opportunity.

But that might and answer be to a different question not yet asked!

answered Apr 30 '11 at 07:32
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points


In my experience with early stage companies, you will want both kinds of decks, although you can usually reuse parts of your investor deck with your prospects.

Normally, a sales deck should focus on what the product is, what value it brings, and what you're asking the prospect to do.

As a very early stage company, usually some of the background stuff is helpful (it speaks to your legitimacy), but any details about projected growth, leadership team, etc generally gets dropped.

Start with your pitch deck and revise it focusing on what value your product brings and how the beta is going to work. You should be able to make a fairly effective first sales deck pretty easily.

answered Apr 30 '11 at 05:47
413 points

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