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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

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

When putting together a sales pitch, it's important to carefully plan out the structure of the meeting, create a strong visual presentation, and practice thoroughly using proven techniques to give your team the best chance for success.

Outline Your Ideal Meeting Structure 

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.
Product Demonstration
  • 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.

Build Your Deck

Developing an effective deck is essential to engage the audience and visualize the critical focus areas and solutions for their pain points. Here are a few tips to help develop your deck: 

Keep Your Deck Concise & Balance Visuals and Text

While Apple-inspired slides are popular for storytelling, they can be challenging to use when your brand and product are not yet well-known. On the flip side, text-heavy slides are tiresome to view and tend to divert the audience's attention. Aim to include the least amount of text possible while communicating your message. For slides that will be shared asynchronously, include additional details in the speaker notes or as additional slides to be sent after the presentation.

Avoid Running the Entire Meeting With Slides

While the bulk of the meeting can be about your product and company, it’s important to leave adequate time before and after the presentation for affinity building. This includes time for personal intros, verbally telling your origin story, discussing similar use cases from other customers, and next-step planning. Because it’s important to leave time for these conversations, aim to keep your deck to at most 20 slides and 30-40 minutes of presentation for a 60-minute meeting.

Incorporate Supporting Slides, but Move Them to Appendix

While a short, concise deck is essential, preparing for potential questions, objections, and example use cases is equally important. To bolster your credibility with prospects, create detailed slides addressing frequent questions or objections to the appendix. 

See the sales presentation deck template here to help get you started.

Best Practices

​Practicing for a sales presentation is crucial to convey your message effectively and leave a lasting impression on your audience. Here are some best practices to help you get ready.

Before the Meeting

Research Your Audience

Thoroughly research the company and individuals that will attend the meeting; scour recent news and LinkedIn profiles.

Tailor Your Message

Based on your research, identify common ground to build connections with your attendees and align your solution to their needs, including how recent product launches or specific product features will benefit them.  

Record and Review 

Record your practice sessions using a camera or phone. Use playback to detect non-verbal cues, pacing issues, and clarity issues. You can also practice with a colleague or peer and encourage them to provide feedback on clarity, coherence, and any areas that may need improvement. 

If possible, practice in the room where you'll be presenting. Familiarize yourself with the layout, tech setup, and acoustics.

Anticipate Questions

Think of potential questions or objections your audience might have and prepare solid responses for a confident Q&A.

Share Relevant Case Studies

Bring relevant case studies to demonstrate how your solution has benefited similar organizations. 

Prepare for Technical Difficulties

Always have a backup plan in case of malfunctions. This could mean having a printed copy of your presentation or saving your presentation materials on multiple devices.

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

Silence Devices

Minimize distractions by silencing phones, turning off notifications, and closing unnecessary apps. 

Set Clear Objectives
  1. Setting the Agenda: Start the briefing by outlining your agenda and allowing stakeholders to add any specific points they want to cover. 
  2. Determining Success Metrics: Ask the potential partner 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 Flexible 

Be open to adjusting your pitch or offering alternative solutions based on attendee feedback and preferences. Flexibility demonstrates your adaptability and willingness to collaborate.

Focus on Listening and Understanding

Actively listen and engage in a meaningful dialogue. Ask probing questions to uncover their underlying needs and concerns. By focusing on their perspective, you can frame your pitch in a way that directly addresses their challenges and priorities.

Ending the Meeting

Close 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 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.

Common Presentation Pitfalls

Address the Problem 

Many founders find themselves solely communicating their passion for the product rather than stating the customer problem they’re addressing. The focus throughout the presentation should be how you’re solving the potential partner’s pain point. 

Punctuality Matters

Too many presenters arrive late to their presentation. Show respect by being punctual – arriving on time signals your dedication to making the most of the meeting and sets a positive tone from the start.

Personalize Your Materials

Personalize your presentation by researching the company's initiatives and including small details of this research throughout your deck and pitch. 

Tip: Include the company’s logo on the first slide of your presentation – it’s a quick and easy way to demonstrate attention to detail and your dedication to their business.

Adapt to Time Constraints

Be prepared to adjust your presentation based on time constraints and the partner’s responses. Use some preparation time before the meeting, to anticipate potential detours in the conversation and have impactful responses ready to keep the discussion on track.

Meeting Day

Here’s a breakdown of the key sales presentation elements that will help you engage your audience and communicate the value of your product.


Begin the call by identifying and confirming who is on the call. If there are any prospects joining for the first time, confirm their role and their current understanding of your product. 

Once introductions are complete, establish the agenda. Make sure to align the audience with your plan and address key points they would like to cover. 

You can ask a guiding question like:

  • "My intent for today's discussion is to cover these key points. What specific takeaways are you seeking from our conversation?"
  • "Given our allocated time, what specific outcomes would you like to achieve during this session?"
Authentic Opening

Be personable and authentic in your approach. Begin with a few minutes of small talk to build rapport before delving into the core purpose of the meeting. Feel free to share personal anecdotes or interests to connect with your audience more meaningfully.

Pitch + Confirm Key Focus Areas 

Rather than a slide, weave your 60-second elevator pitch as the opening narrative of your presentation. This should include:

  • A description of your product, value proposition, differentiators, and ROI.
  • Why you built the product.
  • How your product or service is relevant to the stakeholders.

Use these guidelines when tailoring your product pitch to your audience: 

  • C-Suite: Emphasize business impact, whether cost savings, enhanced process efficiency, streamlined setup, and/or examples of other clients who've witnessed notable outcomes, etc. 
  • Practitioners: Focus on feature preferences and usability.
Key Focus Areas

After your pitch, use a slide to display the areas and pain points that were determined during the initial discovery conversation. This will remain the same unless the stakeholders share other pain points and focus areas that you can add to the list.

Platform Overview

Provide a bird’s-eye view of your product and platform strategy to set the stage for your product demo. During the overview, emphasize what sets you apart - be it savings, ROI, ease of use, incremental revenues, etc.

Evidence & Past Work

While larger companies can benefit from well-known brands and a long list of customer logos, early startups rarely have that luxury. Because of this, you can also use the platform overview to show While larger companies can benefit from well-known brands and a long list of customer logos, early startups rarely have that luxury. Because of this, you can also use the platform overview to show data and evidence that backs up your claims and highlight previous successes. data and evidence that backs up your claims and highlight previous successes. 

Product Demonstration

The demo and discussion are the most critical parts of your presentation and where you should spend most of your time. 

Dynamic Discourse

It’s key to leave space for stakeholders to ask questions throughout - don’t leave them all for the end. You should also ask potential customers questions- use them to uncover deeper insights into the prospects’ pain points and how your solutions address them.

Sample Questions to Ask Prospects: 
  • How do you currently source these insights?
  • Are there any standout capabilities in the list that resonate with you?
  • If you had access to a platform like this, how would it impact your current process?
  • Envision the impact of integrating this platform into your current workflow. Can you foresee potential time or cost savings?

Customer Success

Discuss the value of your customer success team or process. Include onboarding and timeframes, support, and provide any links where the potential customer could find more information. 


This is where we summarize the focus areas the potential customer is interested in with your product, the benefits that are important to them, and where they see value. 


Explain any rates, processing, terms, and ROI guarantees. Use a pricing and ROI slide. 

Buying Discovery 

This crucial 5-10 minute exchange helps develop a purchasing plan for the potential customer. 

It should start with open-ended questions about what the prospect believes is the appropriate next step. For example, you can begin this process by asking, "Based on what you've seen and heard, what do you think would be an appropriate next step?" 

If the prospect doesn’t think this will be a match, you can discuss further or end conversations. However, if they’re interested in purchasing, you should follow up with questions about the prospect’s decision criteria.

You want to determine the following factors: 

  • Implementation Timeframe: The time frame the prospect will want the product to be implemented. 
  • Financial Landscape: Your prospect’s financial situation. 
  • Decision-Making Dynamics: How the buying decision is made and any specific criteria their team will judge your product by.
Sample Buying Discovery Questions
  • Are there any other individuals involved in this decision-making process?
  • Is this something that requires approval from a board or senior leadership team?
  • Is there a specific event or deadline for implementation?
Navigating Price Concerns

If you get pushback on price, a good question to ask is: "When it comes to proceeding with [Product], we essentially need to validate two factors: Budget and Value. Are both these considerations aligned? If not, could you elaborate on which aspect needs further consideration?"

Once you’ve received responses to your buying discovery questions, you can confirm next steps. 

Next Steps

Regardless of the Sales Presentation outcome, every conversation should have (1) a scheduled next step and (2) an email recapping the conversation and action items.

This phase, although often overlooked, is one of the most important. Don’t end the meeting without solidifying how they would like to engage moving forward and a timeline for a future conversation.

In the subsequent recap email, ensure the following elements are addressed:

  • Your Objectives: Reiterate the objectives that galvanized the conversation.
  • Your Value Proposition: How you can help with their problem set. 
  • You and your Prospect’s To-do Lists: Outline tasks designated for both parties. 
  • Next steps: Specific next steps and milestones. 

Some next steps include: 

  • Forwarding a copy of the Pricing Proposal.
  • Sending a follow-up email confirming that this isn’t the right time to buy the product. 
  • Sending relevant resources and materials tailored to their focus areas and features of interest.

Handling Questions and Objections

Get ahead of frequently asked questions by proactively presenting the information. 

If someone asks a question you are not ready to answer, note the question and come back to it at an appropriate time. If a question refers to something your company/technology cannot do, don’t be afraid to be objective and upfront about it. It's okay to mention things you cannot currently deliver, but try to provide a vision or a roadmap for the future.

Direction and Engagement

You want to drive the conversation but avoid continuously talking for more than 7 minutes. Include breaks to check in with the room and pause for questions. 

Additionally, observe cues during the discussion. For instance, when explaining a market problem, if a CIO remarks, “Yes, this is a massive problem. I know it well. We have been trying to solve it for a while now." Refrain from a dismissive response like, "Yeah, it is a big problem. We have heard a lot of people say that." 

Instead, delve deeper and ask, "We've heard similar sentiments, but every situation is unique. Could you elaborate on your specific encounters with this issue? This would help tailor our conversation better to your needs." This approach builds rapport and credibility and deepens your understanding of their pain points.

Post-Meeting Follow Up

After a sales presentation meeting, it's important to take timely and strategic follow-up actions in order to convert a prospect into a client. Here are some actionable steps and best practices you should consider post-presentation:

  • Review and Analyze Meeting Notes: Go over any notes taken during the presentation to ensure no detail or question is overlooked in your follow-up.
  • Debrief with Your Team: If you attended the presentation with colleagues or team members, set aside time for a post-mortem. Discuss what went well, what could be improved, and any feedback or cues picked up from the audience. 
  • Send a Thank-You Note: This can be a simple email or a physical note. Thank the participants for their time, reiterate key points from your presentation, and express your enthusiasm about potential collaboration.
  • Keep Promises: Deliver any info, resources, or answers you promised during the pitch. If any concerns were raised during the meeting, provide clarifications or additional information to put these concerns to rest.
  • Welcome Feedback: Invite the attendees to share their thoughts about the presentation. This can provide valuable insights for future presentations and give you an understanding of their concerns or reservations.
  • Schedule a Follow-Up Meeting: If the participants showed interest, suggest a follow-up meeting to delve deeper into specifics and/or to discuss contract terms.
  • Update Your CRM: If you use a CRM system, update it with the latest information and interactions from the meeting. 
  • Assess and Refine Your Presentation: Use feedback and your reflections to improve the next pitch.
  • Offer Continued Support: Stay vigilant about responding quickly to any further questions or communications from the attendees. A swift response can demonstrate your commitment and professionalism.
  • Nurture the Relationship: Even if a sale isn't immediately secured, maintain a positive and ongoing relationship with the prospect. Periodically share updates, news, or helpful resources that keep your company top-of-mind.
  • Set a Reminder for Further Follow-Up: If you haven't received a response after your initial post-meeting outreach, set a reminder to follow up again in a week or two.
  • Evaluate the Outcome: Assess whether the presentation moved you closer to your sales goal with that prospect. If not, try to understand why and use those insights in future pitches.

Effective post-presentation actions, combined with a genuine interest in providing value to the prospect, can greatly enhance your chances of success.


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