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Slide Deck for Intro Call?

Just had a pretty successful intro call where I used a slide deck (which I don't normally do). Decided to build one out because it is one of my largest greenfield accounts and it was kind of helpful for me to have something visual/ something to follow.


Wondering what your thoughts are for a slide deck on an intro call? How do you make it as effective as possible if you do use one?

Do you use a slide deck in an intro call?
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16
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
Never for a discovery call. You need the call to be about them, not you. 
rekled
Opinionated
+2
Strategic Account Executive
Agreed. Never use a deck for discovery calls. And leading up to the demo, i provide the corporate BS deck in advance of the call and the deck i show during the demo is 100% about them - summary of the discovery call (e.g. challenges, objectives, key trigger events, personas) and then a slide or two about what they are going to see in the demo with messaging about how we address their key challenges.  
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Great insight, thank you! What is your ideal seller/customer talking ratio? something like 50/50? 40/60?
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
Have the questions you feel are most important written/planned before hand and allow them to do most of the talking. Then hit them with the recap 😎
Filth
Good Citizen
Director of Client Development
CuriousFox I agree with you, but I am in a situation where I need to illustrate that to a business development consultant my owner brought in. I just started with a small company as their only dedicated sales person and the consultant is the owner's friend and is really pushing the deck to be used on the first call.  I think it's too early in the game to be pitching without having real inside information from the other end. What would you say to help legitimize the claim that a deck shouldn't be used that early in the process?
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
Have the conversation with your manager. Present facts, leave emotion out of it. Don't even mention their personal relationship with the consultant. Pitch a compromise of one slide of bullet points. 
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MMMGood
Celebrated Contributor
+10
Senior Account Executive
I have one infographic that I created myself that provides a broad overview of my company and the solution(s). Anything more feels too sales-y and I hate giving and receiving the “death by PowerPoint” thing. 
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Definitely need to be mindful of that. I think that leaving the presentation out of presenter mode and just glancing through slides quickly helped me avoid some of that, wish it was easier to get feedback on presenting from a client lol
MMMGood
Celebrated Contributor
+10
Senior Account Executive
Always easier if they are on video to gauge receptivity...if they are off, I just picture them walking to the kitchen for another cup of coffee. 

One possible way to overcome that, if you're showing a deck, is to be injecting discovery questions throughout. That "forces" engagement throughout. 
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MidWestAE
Good Citizen
Enterprise Account Executive
I once heard a colleague say "We believe that software is far more interesting than slideware" 
cw95
Politicker
+6
Pricing Executive
We used to do these until we realised the questions after weren't that relevant to the deck. The deck was just about us. Now we just have a normal chat with them and works much better. 
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Good insight for sure, I'll have to pay more attention to the questions that the client asks in my next call where I try a deck!
CoorsKing
WR Officer
+12
King of the Coors Knights
I have a deck template, but it has nothing to do with any marketing BS. I basically create a deck for each call outlining their perceived pain (based on my research - I pull quotes from 10K, investor reports, customer reviews, screenshots of their UX, etc) and then high level the benefits of using us directly relating to the pain I found. 4 slides or less, all specific to the prospect, then I jump into discovery. 

I use it to make sure:
1) I am on the right track
2) Catalyst for discussion
3) Show I did my homework and genuinely want to solve their challenges
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
I like this, customers really seem to like when you do your reading up beforehand
bigtuna
Good Citizen
Enterprise Account Executive
As long as it doesn't start with a "Who we are" slide that tells the prospect how many employees you have... 

Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Definition of deal by ppt 
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Death*
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ARRisLife
Politicker
+3
Account Executive
@bigtuna *raises hand* Excuse me I'm really curious how many offices you have and where they're located?"
bigtuna
Good Citizen
Enterprise Account Executive
@ARRisLife "Great question, we're actually a globally distributed team, so we have offices in Silicon Valley, Austin, TX, NYC, London, Germany, Singapore, and Sydney!" 
GoBears
Opinionated
+3
Account Executive
I've used decks in the past, but just saw the new Gong data and will definitely be stopping
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
I just saw that too, definitely interesting!
VeronicaVaughn
Good Citizen
FVP Business Development
Intro call should have an informality to it. Ask questions! You’re trying to discover if it’s a good fit to work together and where that opportunity might be. While we’re all desperate enough to sell to a rabid skunk, they don’t need to know that. Unless discussed in the outreach, I feel a deck comes across like a one sided sales pitch which is generally a snooze fest. 

They’d rather tell you about their mother-in-laws fungus infection than get pitched. Once you’ve learned about the fungus and bring it up on the next call (you’re a good listener), then you can start pitching. SADNESS for life. 
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
I like that answer! Informal calls definitely feel the best, especially over Zoom. Totally get what you mean about decks coming across salesy though
Lambda
Politicker
+6
Sales Consultant
take notes and listen the more info you have the better
=
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
I struggle with being active in the call and taking notes, definitely something I am working on. do you type or handwrite?
DadFather
Politicker
+5
Enterprise Account Executive
Normally never for an intro.. but if I do, its a strategy slide with industry pain points & how it may be affecting them. Normally gets them to open up and say "you know what, that really makes sense. We struggle with XYZ". Nothing related to my company/product though 
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
I feel like the 1 slider is a good idea. Honestly when I used this deck we only went through the first few slides, the 4th slide alone could have facilitated the whole discussion essentially now that I think about it. Thanks for sharing! Definitely understand keeping it industry focused too - keeps things tailored and about them
DadFather
Politicker
+5
Enterprise Account Executive
Yup! The whole point behind it is to get them speaking about all of their initiatives/problems by simply putting up things we have seen. From there, we get a better view into their problem and how we can solve it. 
MidWestAE
Good Citizen
Enterprise Account Executive
I said yes... but only because I like having something shared up when the prospect joins... Typically one, two or three slides. Agenda, NASCAR slide and some key functionality bullet points that prelude a demo.
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Interesting approach, definitely cant hurt to frame the call right at the start though!
Re
RedLightning
Politicker
+7
Mid-Market AE
We have a pretty good templatized deck. I keep it on an intro slide for the vast majority of the call and use presenter mode to highlight stuff within the deck if it comes up naturally during the call
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Yeah just flipping through and showing quick info can be great, I have some SEs who are incredible at that, have a 100 slide deck or whatever and just scroll straight to whatever it is they need somehow hahaha
Re
RedLightning
Politicker
+7
Mid-Market AE
@Wolfof7thStreet Presenter Mode!
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Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Y'all are fake for voting but not upvoting *Cries*
Allisce
Tycoon
+9
Account Executive
HATE decks, only use them in rare situations
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Any particular reason why? What situations do you use them?
SomeSalesDude
Good Citizen
+1
Sales Engineering Manager
We use them in excess - unfortunately. 


I think for discovery calls it would make much more sense to just have a deep conversation about the client's needs and pain points - it is supposed to be DISCOVERY, right? :) 

And then for the next call you could present your solution in a tailor-fitted presentation that focuses on their topics.
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Yeah that definitely makes sense, making a presentation before meeting them definitely feels like guessing, though we do have a wide enough range of solutions to be able to solve a ton of different problems which helps. I think that what you say about learning more in the 1st meeting, then making a really good deck, makes a lot of sense
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
If the deck is about problems that exist with similar industries and how many % of them remained solved through solutions, etc, yes!

if it is more of the comp, nope
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Thanks for sharing! where are your favorite places to go for industry info?
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
WSJ, bloomberg
Ace
Arsonist
+9
CEO
Depends on how receptive the other party is about decks
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
How can you gauge this?
Ace
Arsonist
+9
CEO
A little bit of homework before hand or simply asking them. I have 2 ways of demoing. I ask which one they're comfortable with
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
Depends on the prospect. Anything with revenue in the billions, most definitely.

Everything else, hell no. Like ever. 
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Yeah this was not a company with revenue in the billions, but was a high-growth unicorn account so similar thinking
Westloopgal
Good Citizen
Account Manager
If I see potential yes. 
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Yeah definitely let's them know you did your homework!
goose
Politicker
+12
Sales Executive
slides allow you to frame a discussion; prospects know where you fit; open discovery without guard rails is way to open ended

just don't read the slides; presentations are supposed to be visual
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Interesting to think that no slides is too open ended, can you elaborate more?
goose
Politicker
+12
Sales Executive
Sure.  Imagine I start discovery but you know nothing about me - What we do, how we do it, why we do it.  You are going to spend some of your time wondering if you want to provide some information.  If I work at a place with a brand name and a track record that's ok.  I can just jump in and you know what you are going to get.  If I don't, though, then we have a problem.
AlexT
Politicker
+9
Account Executive
@Wolfof7thStreet hmmm, this just happened: Data-driven answer to your question right here...  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sales-best-practice-actually-terrible-your-discovery-calls-devin-reed/
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
I saw that too, timely with my post aha
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Thank you for sharing!!
nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
No slides on a discovery call. Your goal is to have the prospect talk, and slides put people in listening mode not talking mode. This article from gong might be helpful:  https://www.gong.io/blog/this-sales-best-practice-is-actually-terrible-for-your-discovery-calls-and-its-not-what-you-think/ 
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
Only if my initial cold call went so well it became a demo
BeyondtheMoney
Senior Account Executive
Discovery part of the call it's not needed but if you are going to educate them about your solution or company then visuals help!

Gong says decks are bad on a disco call but that's also assuming you were supposed to understand their situation but you show up and throw up instead 
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+36
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