The quick guide to building a sales strategy deck that sells
Your marketing team has been working hard to get qualified leads into your pipeline. Nurtured them. They've got them excited about your product, and now, it’s time to hand them off to your sales team.
But how do you make sure that your sales team is on the same page and prepared enough to close the deal?
Try building a sales strategy deck that gives your team the exact tools they need to turn every prospect into a paying customer.
This piece is going to break down:
- What is a sales strategy deck?
- 8 essentials to include in a sales strategy deck
- The goals of a sales strategy deck
- How to build a sales strategy deck
- 3 additional pro tips for building your sales deck
- Examples of sales strategy decks to model your own off
Let’s start building that sales deck.
What is a sales strategy deck?
A sales strategy deck is a game plan that outlines the strategies, value propositions, and tools a sales team should use to pitch and close deals. It includes essential information like buyer personas, KPIs, and competitive analysis for sales reps to study to make sure they're (over)prepared for every prospect along with key objectives and goals for them to follow.
8 essentials to include in a sales strategy deck
Although every sales team is different, there are still some "must-haves" that every sales strategy deck should have.
The staples of a sales strategy deck include:
- Sales team goals: Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (i.e., deadline-based), like "reach $100k in revenue each month."
- Ideal customer profiles: To help your sales reps spot good prospects. The profiles should include:
- Their industry
- Their location
- Their job title or responsibilities
- Their pain points
- Their buying process
An example of an ideal customer profile
3. Competitor analysis: That breaks down your competition’s product by features, price, and ability to fix customers’ pain points
4. Product USP: What makes your product unique? Explain how the Unique Selling Point (USP) helps solves customers' pain points and provides value, so your sales reps are aligned
5. Sales benchmarks: Guidelines for how sales reps should upsell, cross-sell, and handle new clients
6. Qualifying conversations: To help reps move prospects through their pipeline, give them tips on how to recognize:
- Whether they’re qualified, based on how well they match your ideal customer profile
- What their dealbreakers and nice-to-haves are (prioritize meeting dealbreakers)
- Who the decision-makers are (and what their process/timeline is)
7. Negotiation allowances: So your reps know they can offer prospects perks like:
- Discounts and the maximum amount they can offer.
- How often they can offer discounts or other perks to customers
- The prospects they can offer discounts or other perks to
8. Minimum viable sales documents: To help your team through each stage of the sale. This should include:
- A sales phone script
- Email templates
- An objection management document
- Updated document with any new sales insights
A sales strategy deck should also answer key questions from your team, like department hierarchy and who they should go to with any questions about the sales strategy.
What are the goals of a sales strategy deck?
The main goal of a sales strategy deck is to keep your sales reps aligned on messaging when they’re pitching the product to prospects.
However, any sales strategy deck worth its salt will attach these messages to a specific goal or target. These are goals that are developed using the SMART method: they're Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
Here are some examples:
🎯 Revenue targets: What targets do you want your sales team to hit every month or quarter? If you set a figure (i.e., $100,000/month), how does that tie in with the overall company's goals? Attaching revenue numbers to your company's vision helps your sales reps
- Goal: Bring in X revenue from new product launch
- Goal: Upsell X amount in revenue in 1st quarter
👤 Customer profiles: How should sales reps nurture prospects with different customer profiles? What are some of the pain points they have in common that sales reps can focus on to close the deal? And once they become customers, how can you make sure they stick around?
- Goal: Acquire X number customers in Q2 from X industry
- Goal: Retain X key accounts for 12 months
💰 Selling strategies: How should your sales reps position themselves when talking to prospects? What makes your product different from your competitors? And how can they talk about the product so prospects know that it’ll solve their pain points?
- Goal: Measure and shorten time to close for sales in Q2
- Goal: Create repeatable strategies that reps can use to close deals
Most of these goals are tied to revenue, acquisition, and retention. But reaching them will require your sales strategy deck to have a game plan for your reps: showing them how they should talk to key accounts, what pain points they should focus on, and what strategies they should use to close the big deal.
How to build a sales strategy deck
Building a sales strategy that works takes planning. You need to think about your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your goals and strategies.
It also means taking a long (honest) look at how your team is currently selling to customers and figuring out what needs changing.
Here is how to create a strategy deck that sells👇
1. Centralize everything around your brand’s message
Anchor your entire sales strategy deck to the overall goal of your product.
Doing this makes it easier for your sales reps to create a vision and tell a story about how your product will help solve the prospect’s needs. Research shows that this is very important to buyers—74% of them are open to investing in a company or product with a vision they believe in.
So, it’s up to you to paint that vision.
What could life be like for the prospect after they solve their problems? How will their working day be improved?
Then, it’s time to introduce the solution: your product.
When you are building out your sales strategy deck, don't just include statistics and scripts. Swap out the usual sales jargon for simpler messages. Show your reps how to tie every customer pain point back to your product and persuade them that you can solve them.
Instead of this:
"Our sales system is made up of a team that integrates frameworks and strategies to give companies profitable interactions with customers.”
Use a simpler, punchier sales line instead. This is how we pitched Elastic to customers:
“What we do in one sentence is provide companies with a sales team on demand.”
We know which message we think is more persuasive.
2. Arm your team with calling scripts and email templates (that actually work)
The best sales strategy decks act as a cheat sheet for all of the best material your team has collected over the years.
So, start by asking your sales reps what works best for them. Does someone have a killer cold calling script? Or an email template that always gets a reply?
Gather them up, start refining them, and then house them in the sales strategy deck so your reps can access them at any time. Every deck should include:
- Phone sales pitch scripts (aka cold calling scripts)
- An elevator pitch (a sentence/paragraph that sums up what your product is)
- Cold email templates
- Sales pitch decks (that reps can easily customize when meeting a prospect)
And if you are starting from scratch with scripts and templates—keep it simple and get writing. For example, a sales pitch script template only needs four parts to help your reps get started:
- Opening the call (What we do in a sentence is we provide companies with xyz)
- Qualifying the prospect (What is your current xyz process?)
- Booking a meeting (We would want to start in X weeks - does this work for you?)
- Next steps (What’s the best email to send you information and the calendar invite? What’s a good time to chat next week?)
It's also helpful for your sales strategy deck to help reps with objections. Prospects will have many reasons why they can't book a meeting (they don't have time, it's too expensive, they're with a competitor), but reps may also hear objections specific to your industry.
Instead of tackling them individually, get your team to fill out a worksheet about the reasons prospects regularly give them so you can combine them (with ways to overcome them) inside your sales deck.
3. Show reps how to qualify and close every lead
Teaching your reps how to qualify leads allows them to spend more time with prospects who may actually buy your products.
Inside your sales strategy deck, create a qualifying checklist that your reps can use to determine:
- Whether they’re qualified, based on how well they match your ideal customer profile
- What their dealbreakers and nice-to-haves are (prioritize meeting dealbreakers)
- Who the decision-makers are
- Their decision-making process and timeline
- Other solutions they are evaluating
Then, provide a list of techniques your sales team can use to close the deal. This will include closing questions like:
- What's your budget?
- What's the timeline for making a decision?
- What's your decision-making process like?
And if the prospect is still a no—that’s fine. Get your team feeling comfortable with prospects rejecting the offer.
4. Create a sales cadence for every deal
No matter which sales rep a prospect talks to, there should be some consistency in your selling strategy.
If a sales rep is emailing a prospect or following up after a sales meeting, there needs to be a blueprint for them to follow so everyone in your funnel gets the same attention. And with prospects needing to hear from a sales rep seven times on average before buying anything, creating a sales cadence is a great way to remind your team to follow up.
A sales cadence is essentially a workflow that reps use to get a lead down their sales funnel. Here’s an example:
Each touch is assigned specific days and channels, giving your team a clear plan to follow up with every prospect. However, the types of sales cadences you should use will depend on how the prospect entered your funnel in the first place, as someone you met at a conference may be closer to a buying decision than a lead that has downloaded an eBook.
Inside your sales strategy deck, show your team where they can find these sales cadences and whether or not they can use pre-made templates to make following up even easier. For example, sales managers can build pre-made email sequences that the whole team can use:
Not only will this help with selling consistency, but it also saves your sales reps a ton of time creating scripts and cadences from scratch.
3 additional pro tips for building your sales deck
Once your sales strategy deck has been built—start thinking about how you can make it stand out.
Remember, the goal of the deck is to fire up your sales reps and help them close more deals. So, think about how you can help them position your product to stand out from the competition without being super sales-y. It’s important for your reps to connect with prospects about solving their problems—not how good your products are.
Use these three tips to do just that 👇
1. Sell your product’s benefits
Don’t flood your sales strategy deck with boring statistics or technical product features.
This isn't what sells your product when a rep is talking to a prospect. What closes the deal is when a prospect knows their problems will be solved when they buy your product.
So, give your sales reps clear language they can use to talk about the main benefits of your product.
"Our award-winning marketing software decreases costs, improves revenue, and increases click-through actions using AI-powered analytics."
"We help companies get more quality leads for less money."
Once you’ve persuaded the prospect that your product can solve their problems, then you can get into the case studies and technical stuff.
2. Perfect your positioning
What are your competitors telling prospects to sell their products?
You need to know this to position your product against theirs. When you are building out your sales strategy deck, you must:
- Identify your top competitors
- For each competitor, compare:
- Time to onboard
- Customer support
- Ability to solve customers’ pain points
- Highlight a difference between you and them: how is your product unique? Why is it better at solving a customer’s problem?
Then, come up with a short and sharp statement on how your sales reps should talk about your product’s value proposition if a prospect brings up a competitor.
3. Tell a story
Building a sales strategy deck isn’t just about selling your product to customers—your sales reps need to believe in a story, too.
We’ve already talked about how important it is to tie everything back to your brand’s message. But this needs to happen inside your sales team as well. They need to believe that your product is going to help their leads solve their problems.
The best way to do this is to borrow material from your sales decks. Show your sales reps specific challenges that customers have spoken about and how your product has helped them overcome them. This helps them see that there are customers outside of the people they've personally sold products to who have also benefited.
Here’s an example from Zuora:
It's basically an elevator pitch that their sales team can take away and use to tell a story about other customers' success with the product.
Examples of sales strategy decks to model your own off
Okay… most sales strategy decks companies use are obviously top secret.
But while we can't show you the slide decks that their sales reps see, we can share the insights from those inside these successful teams about what's worked for them!
Salesforce now sells more products than top competitors like Oracle and Microsoft—and it’s no accident.
Inside the company's sales office, posters are scattered saying "Crush Microsoft" and "Obliterate Oracle." But there's more to Salesforce’s sales strategy. Senior marketing manager Greg Gsell says the team follows some key strategies:
- Keeping it simple and speaking to prospects in plain language: Their reps use case studies to sell the benefits of Salesforce (ran average of 30% in increased sales), but they communicate it simply, like this:
- "You get an extra day and a half a week if you increase your productivity by 30 percent! That's huge!”
- “It means you’ll be selling all day Saturday and halfway through Sunday--but you don't have to work on weekends."
- Turning objections into opportunities: Salesforce has taught its sales team to keep going if they hit a brick wall with prospects. They follow three steps:
- Empathize with the customer and communicate that they understand the objection
- Ask questions and learn more about their hesitancy to get them talking
- Offer a solution to their objection and tell a story about a similar current customer who faced the same issues but is now succeeding
Salesforce senior director Kardyhm Kelly says that the sales team also doesn't paint the product as a knight in shining armor to prospects.
It's how the customer succeeded, not how we saved them.
Shopify is now worth over $100 billion, and it’s thanks to its (hugely) successful sales team that the company has maintained growth over a decade.
Former Shopify GM of Revenue Loren Padelford followed a few simple rules to build his successful sales strategy:
- Focus on data, not gut instinct: Your gut instincts don’t sell products. The only way for your sales team to improve and succeed in the long-term is through tracking, evaluating, and improving their technique and behavior
- Hire great people (even if they’re not sales reps): Shopify hires its salespeople by identifying personality traits: Are they competitive? Intelligent? Creative? Successful? An entrepreneur? Do they have a good work ethic? If you tick all the boxes, you're hired (even if you've never been in sales)
- Having the best toolkit: Do your people have the tools they need to be successful? Do they have an ideal environment for selling? Do they have the proper training? Are you giving them the support they need?
- Getting rid of unqualified leads: Padelford’s team followed a simple process (called the 4/5 threshold) to weed out prospects that didn’t match their ideal customer profile:
- Pain: Does the product solve their problem?
- Power: Are they a key decision maker?
- Process: What's their buying process?
- Budget: Can they afford it?
- Timeline: Are they ready to buy?
And one thing that Shopify does exceptionally well is making sure that every sales rep adds value when they interact with prospects.
“The only successful salespeople are the ones that add value,” Padelford says.
“That’s always been that way. So you just have awesome products and you’re a walking brochure? Nobody cares.
“If you don’t learn how to add value, you’re not going to survive.”
Build a winning sales strategy deck today
There’s no better feeling than creating a sales team that is awesome at selling.
The first step is giving them every chance to get there. And that’s where a solid sales strategy deck can give your company an edge against your competitors.
Throughout this guide, we've walked through everything you should include in your strategy deck, as well as examples from companies who have created successful strategies of their own.
Ready to create your own winning sales strategy deck? Get a head start with our Free Sales Strategy Template.