As founders and executive leaders, you know the importance of sales presentations. They are your chance to make a lasting first impression that can lead to sales or valuable partnerships.
However, by not properly preparing or understanding how to navigate the changing dynamics on the day of the meeting, you risk losing valuable opportunities that can help scale your business. By following these strategies, you’ll increase the likelihood of having a successful meeting and fostering rapport with your prospects.
Lightspeed's Business Development Team
The Business Development & Partnerships team at Lightspeed can elevate your sales sessions by leveraging their vast network to connect you with enterprise IT and innovation leaders. They excel at providing valuable introductions and opportunities, facilitating the establishment and growth of your relationships. For questions about the team, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Grunfeld - VP of Business Development
As the VP of Business Development, Dan spends the majority of his time helping the firm’s portfolio companies connect with global enterprise business leaders interested in top emerging tech solutions. His background as a professional basketball player infuses his role with a competitive and disciplined approach, ensuring world-class support for portfolio companies.
Matthew Garatoni - Director of Business Development
Matthew is responsible for cultivating the CXO network, helping portfolio companies connect with exceptional professionals in the network. He’s worked with enterprise companies, emerging tech companies, and VC and private equity firms, granting him unique insights into how to drive successful partnerships.
Anna Klute - Program Manager
With over 4 years at Lightspeed, Anna passionately supports entrepreneurs. She manages Lightspeed’s Executive Briefing Center & BD events operations. Anna also leads Lightspeed's Vendor Marketplace program and ensures Lightspeed-backed founders have access to a variety of offers from fellow Lightspeed portfolio companies and a range of vetted, third-party vendors and partners.
Goals & Outcomes of a Successful Presentation
When it comes to a successful sales process, it's important to recognize that closing a sale rarely happens in a single meeting. The primary objective should be to introduce your team, create a positive and lasting impression of your product, and lay the groundwork for future conversations.
Below are some additional considerations and outcomes to keep in mind:
Establish Trust and Credibility
One of the primary goals of a sales briefing is to build trust and credibility with the executive. Startups should showcase their expertise, industry knowledge, and unique value proposition. This will build a strong foundation that encourages engagement and exploration of potential partnership opportunities.
Secure a Follow-Up Meeting
A successful sales presentation should conclude with the scheduling of a follow-up meeting. This subsequent interaction allows for a deeper dive into the solution, more time to address additional questions or concerns, and further cement the relationship. Founders should strive to leave the executive excited about a potential collaboration and looking to connect again.
Expand Selling Opportunities
Sales presentations can open the door to broader selling opportunities within the organization. If the meeting is successful, executives can become advocates for the startup's solution. These advocates can help introduce the product to other decision-makers and stakeholders, accelerating the sales process and increasing the likelihood of securing a deal.
Navigate Complex Decision-Making Processes
Selling to executives often entails navigating complex decision-making processes within large organizations. A well-executed briefing equips startups with valuable insights into the decision-making structure, key influencers, and the necessary steps within the organization to advance the partnership.
Differentiate from Competitors
A successful presentation enables startups to differentiate themselves from competitors. Tailoring the conversation to the executive’s specific needs and showcasing an understanding of their industry, can help startups stand out as the preferred partner.
Prepping for Your Presentation
Outline Your Ideal Meeting Structure
When preparing a sales pitch, it’s important to take time to map out the structure of your presentation. A well-structured presentation not only captivates and persuades your audience, but ensures every potential client or stakeholder grasps your product’s core value propositions. After all, clinching a deal isn't just about what you're offering but how you present it. You can use our recommended meeting structure as a starting point:
Introduction/Agenda (2 minutes)
- Begin with introductions to establish rapport.
- Share the agenda to set expectations for the presentation.
Origin Story + Confirm Key Focus Areas (2-3 minutes)
- Enhance your credibility and authenticity by presenting an elevated pitch about your origin story.
- Confirm the target points where your product offers a solution.
Platform Overview (3-5 minutes)
- Provide an overview of the product and delve into the platform's strategy.
- Allocate the majority of your time to showcase the key features of your product that are most relevant to the audience.
Customer Success + Security & Reliability (5 minutes)
- Emphasize the value of your Customer Success team and how they've made a difference.
- Describe the implementation process and underscore your product's security and reliability.
Recap (2 minutes)
- Review how the product addresses the key focus areas previously mentioned.
- If there were any new focus areas identified during the presentation, add them to the recap.
Pricing (3-5 minutes)
- Take a few minutes to discuss the pricing of your product, ensuring to highlight the value proposition.
Buying Discovery (5-10 minutes)
- Explore the buyer's decision-making process. This involves understanding who is involved in the buying decision and the timing they're considering.
Next Steps (3 minutes)
- Conclude by mutually agreeing upon the next steps to move the sales process forward.
Before the Meeting
Prior to the CXO briefing, meticulous preparation and assigning specific team roles are vital for leaving a lasting impression.
Conduct In-Depth Research
Thoroughly research the company and individuals that will attend the meeting, scouring recent news and LinkedIn profiles.
Tailoring Your Message
Through your research, identify common ground to build connections and tailor your pitch. Align your solution with their needs and demonstrate how recent product launches or specific product features will benefit them.
Share Relevant Case Studies
Bring relevant case studies to demonstrate how your solution has benefited similar organizations. By tailoring case studies to align with the CXO's specific challenges and aspirations, you’re creating a personalized approach that illustrates your understanding of their unique needs and how your solution can be implemented to meet them.
Choose Your Meeting Team Wisely
Select colleagues whose expertise complements yours. Curate a cohesive team dynamic where everyone can meaningfully contribute to the briefing.
During the Meeting
Set clear expectations and engage all stakeholders.
Set Clear Objectives
- Setting the Agenda: Start the briefing by outlining your agenda and allowing the partner to add any specific points they want to cover.
- Determining Success Metrics: Ask the CXO what they hope to achieve from the meeting. Understand their success metrics and use them to guide your presentation and deliver valuable insights.
Address All Stakeholders
Engage with all present stakeholders, making eye contact and allocating time for each attendee, giving them the opportunity to ask questions and provide input throughout.
Be open to adjusting your pitch or offering alternative solutions based on the CXO's feedback and preferences. Flexibility demonstrates your adaptability and willingness to collaborate.
Focus on Listening and Understanding
Demonstrate empathy by actively listening and understanding the CXO's pain points to engage in a meaningful dialogue. Ask probing questions to uncover underlying needs and concerns. By focusing on their perspectives, you can frame your pitch in a way that directly addresses their challenges and priorities.
Ending the Meeting
Concluding the CXO briefing with a well-thought-out plan and clear next steps is instrumental in nurturing the relationship and solidifying the potential partnership. Express gratitude for their time, summarizing key takeaways and reiterating your commitment to supporting their business goals.
Closing with Clear Next Steps
Conclude the meeting with a plan, suggesting specific actions like follow-up calls or providing additional information. Recap key takeaways and reaffirm your commitment to supporting their business goals.
Handle Difficult Situations with Grace
In challenging situations or if the presentation isn’t quite the right fit for the company, end the call gracefully. Express gratitude for their time and leave the door open for future collaboration.
Avoid becoming defensive or confrontational, and instead, address concerns and objectives with professionalism and willingness to address any issues during or after the meeting.
Maintain Long-Term Relationships
Nurture relationships even if the current solution isn't a perfect fit. Follow up with personalized messages, share relevant industry insights, and position yourself as a valuable resource for potential future partnerships.
Below are a few additional tips for maximizing your CXO briefings.
Be prepared to adjust your presentation based on time constraints and the partner’s responses. You can anticipate potential detours in the conversation and have impactful responses ready to keep the discussion on track, but also understand what their true pain point is and engage with them on those specific topics.
Avoid Rushed Demos
Instead of rushing through demos in a limited time, ask the audience about their specific interests. Tailor your next presentation to address their questions effectively.
Engage in Dialogue
Strike a balance between pitching and listening, understanding potential customers' needs, and building rapport. Foster a two-way conversation, encouraging CXOs to share their insights and perspectives freely.
Show respect by being punctual, demonstrating commitment and professionalism. Arriving on time signals your dedication to making the most of the meeting and sets a positive tone from the start.
Personalize your presentation by researching the company's initiatives before the briefing. Include their logo and demonstrate attention to detail, showcasing your dedication to understanding their business.
While questions are essential, over-questioning in the initial stages can make you appear overly eager. Balance your inquiries with valuable insights during the presentation, providing the CXO with actionable information.
Focus on Value
Emphasize the problem your solution solves and the business outcomes it offers without diving too deep into product details. Demonstrate how your solution can streamline processes, increase efficiency, or drive revenue growth, showcasing its overall value to the organization.
Preparation is key in running a successful executive briefing. Use the checklist below to ensure you've covered all the critical aspects:
Before the Meeting
During the Meeting
After the Meeting