The “8 Slide Rule” in Sales Presentations

Chances are, I would hate your slide presentations, but it’s not your fault.

Most presentations suck because you have a massive slide portfolio to pull from focused on custom fonts/branding rather than what your customers want to discuss.

This week, I’m going to help you cut your presentations down to no more than eight slides that won’t bore your buyers.

Here are my rules for slide inclusion and elimination:


1) Company History/Accolades

People that care about your company history: your founders and their parents

People that care about your growth rates: your investors

People that care about the awards you paid for to win: your marketing team

If your presentation isn’t to any of the above audiences, cut this out.

2) Customer Logo Slides

Congrats on the team winning a two-user license at Microsoft so you can put their logo on a slide.

They are on every else’s slide, too.

Remove it.

3) Tech/Feature-Heavy Slides

The entire point of a tech demo is to show key features in an interactive way. Why would you show it in screenshots on a slide?

Correct: you wouldn’t.



1) Slides for Discovery

Slides are a great opportunity to provide context as you conduct deeper discovery.

If there are concepts that you need to explore with your customer further, include slides that have content geared towards that conversation.

This provides a comfortable give/take cadence to add value/educate on a topic while engaging in deeper discovery.

2) Software Architecture Overview

You aren’t going to demonstrate every feature your product offers (especially if you’ve read my AE Frameworks and applied those lessons). You may even skip significant components that you need your buyer to know you offer.

To ensure a holistic understanding of your offering, use a slide that diagrams the major aspects of your solution as you set the demo agenda. Call out specifically what you are going to show and why.

Call out what you aren’t going to demonstrate and how it fits into your overall solution so they know it’s available.

3) Relevant Customer Stories

The ideal customer story shows you solved the main problem your buyer faces for a company in their industry.

Next best shows you solved that problem for a similarly sized company.

You can settle for a story showing that you can solve their problem.

Not their problem? Not their story.

That concludes this week’s newsletter. Go forth and stop showing boring slides!



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