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Sales Presentations and Business Strategy

Developing an effective sales presentation can help generate insights for your business strategy. Here’s how it works:

Most sales presentations fail to articulate a clear value proposition. Those that do often hide the reasons to buy at the end of a presentation, way too late to have any real impact. We’ll develop a clear value proposition, and use it to structure our sales presentation.

Start by brainstorming answers to the question: Why should our prospects buy from us and not from our competitors?

Then, ask how much your prospects actually care about each item on your list. Award marks from 1-10, where 10 is the most important and 1 is totally irrelevant to your prospects. Some items will represent requirements but not discriminators – things that suppliers are expected to have, but where little attention is paid once a hurdle is cleared. Don’t give marks to those items – they typically need to be mentioned in the introduction to a presentation, but not included in the value proposition.

Next, for each item on the list, ask whether your company has competitive advantage in the marketplace. Consider your offering judged relative to those sold by your most frequent or fierce competitors. If you are far better at an item than all of your competitors then give a 10. If you have a slight advantage award a 6 or 7. If you are no better or worse than your competitors award a 5. If you are far worse than competitors at something award a 1 or 2.

Map items onto a 10 by 10 graph. How much customers care should appear on the x-axis, and competitive advantage should appear on the y-axis.

Value Proposition
Those in the top right quadrant may have a role to play in your value proposition. Use them in your sales presentation.

Critical Weaknesses
Those in the bottom right represent areas of weakness in your offering. These items are valued by the market, but you under-perform. Either educate your customers to care less about them, or improve your offering.

Wasted Effort
Items in the top left represent wasted effort. Either educate your customers to value these items, or consider spending less time in this area, and talking about things in this area.

Once you have identified items that prospects care about, where you have competitive advantage, you have some strong ideas for your value proposition. Next, you need to make the audience believe you can deliver. Take each item in turn and justify your claims. Explain how you do things. Show figures measuring your performance. Use case studies and testimonials. Cite industry reports. Just make sure your claims are believed. Use your value proposition to structure your presentation, ensuring that the benefits that you offer are memorable and that your presentation is effective.

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