Andy Raskin tells use why Zuora had “The Greatest Sales Deck I’ve Ever Seen”
Some people love fine wine. They love exploring the nuanced flavours, the hints of berries and the mellow soft notes. Me? I love a great presentation. Show me how they used transistions, balanced information density and translated an in-person presentation with a beautifully paired take-home and I’ll listen rapt.
- Name a Big, Relevant Change in the World
- Show There’ll Be Winners and Losers
- Tease the Promised Land
- Introduce Features as “Magic Gifts” for Overcoming Obstacles to the Promised Land
- Present Evidence that You Can Make the Story Come True
It’s a compelling read full of practical advice. I realised I’ve taken a similar approach from time to time and found it really hit home. Having the framework laid out so clearly, definitely helped me to refine my approach.
1. Name a Big, Relevant Change in the World
Writing about the first section
But when you highlight a shift in the world, you get prospects to open up about how that shift affects them, how it scares them, and where they see opportunities. Most importantly, you grab their attention. As Hollywood screenwriting guru Robert McKee says: “…what attracts human attention is change. …if the temperature around you changes, if the phone rings — that gets your attention. The way in which a story begins is a starting event that creates a moment of change.”
It’s brilliant. When I evaluate projects, I don’t just ask “why should we do it?” I ask “Why now?”. The world is constantly changing. Calling out those seismic shifts speaks to that and creates urgency.
2. Show There’ll Be Winners and Losers
This is such a great move. Tying into your audience’s fear of missing out while also tapping into some potential arrogance will have them thinking about how much they want to be winners. Zuora did an incredible job in their deck and I think it’s something most of us could leverage. The key is to make the stakes high. Epic winners and catastrophic losers.
3. Tease the Promised Land
This step is the difference between an ok pitch and a winner. Andy puts it well
It’s tempting at this point to jump into the details of your product or service. Resist that urge.
If you move to selling your product at this stage, people will think the above was just blowing smoke. Scaremongering. Instead of talking about your product, talk about the future you see. Talk about how things could be different. What’s the common theme for those aforementioned winners? Sharing this first will give the next stage much more credibility.
4. Introduce Features as “Magic Gifts” for Overcoming Obstacles to the Promised Land
Andy and I have a slightly different perspective on this one. Andy aims for positioning your feature as a mythical saviour, something unimaginable and incredible.
Your prospect is Luke, and you’re Obi Wan, furnishing a lightsaber to help him defeat the Empire. Your prospect is Frodo, and you’re Gandalf, wielding wizardry to help him destroy the ring.
Whilst I love a good Star Wars reference as much as the next nerd, I think you’ll get more traction by being more grounded in reality. Positioning yourself as a miracle could make them doubt whether you can really do what you say you can and give a whiff of “too good to be true”. Instead I’d suggest positioning yourself as already having solved the problems.
Here’s how we did it. We can help.
This more practical approach helps put signing the deal in the realm of “It just makes sense”. Which leads nicely on to:
5. Present Evidence that You Can Make the Story Come True
I’m 100% on board with what Andy’s saying here. Testimonials make this point better than anything else. Especially if they’re people the client knows (and can call to confirm). It’s why those early partnerships are so important. In this step you’re explaining that not only have you built the tool, got the skills and can solve the problem, you can do it for them.
I’ve really just skimmed the surface of Andy’s excellent writing here, so please head over to the article and enjoy; just be prepared to redo all your sales decks after!