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How to Make a Sales Deck Stand Out & Engage?

Learn how to stands out and engage prospects. Move away from legacy ineffective sales presentations and start making decks that rise above the noise.

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Short answer

What makes a sales presentation stand out?

The only way to stand out with your sales presentation is to stop following outdated best practices that leave you with the same-looking sales deck as everyone else. To stand out move away from legacy PowerPoint decks and start making interactive sales presentations.

This post is part of our 6-part sales deck guide series:

  1. What is a sales presentation? (soon)
  2. How to write and structure a sales deck
  3. How to make your sales deck stand out and engage (you are here)
  4. How to make a memorable sales deck
  5. How to personalize your sales deck to your buyer
  6. How to create a sales deck with AI

How to Make a Sales Deck That Stands Out?

99% of sales decks get only about 15 seconds to make their case before they’re thrown into the trash and forgotten. Even the best salespeople struggle to rise above the noise. The competition is just ginormous.

So how do you ensure your sales deck stands out and doesn't get the same 15 seconds of shame everybody else does?

Here’s how -

1) Go from static to interactive content

Upgrade your sales decks from a reading task to an engaging experience by making your decks interactive.

  • Start with an animated or video cover that lets your prospect know immediately that this deck is something different.

  • Let your prospects interact with content - explore live charts and graphs, click around infographics to expose more information, input their information in calculators, communicate with your chatbot, select a meeting date in your calendar, and more.

This makes your prospects active participants. It makes them curious, supports their understanding and decision-making, and ultimately leads to more sales.

Here’s the difference between static and interactive decks. Which would you want to read?

Static PDF or PPT
Interactive Storydoc

2) Go from text-led to multimedia decks

Replace text with multimedia. Don't just tell them; show them what their life will look like with your solution in it.

Bring in media elements that engage your audience and keep them hooked. Think videos, infographics, and interactive charts. They're not just fun; they make your message stick.

Here's a great example of a multimedia deck by one of our clients:

3) Go from spouting facts to storytelling

Construct your deck around a transformational narrative with your prospect and their pain at the center.

In his book “The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business”, Peter Coughter gives the following piece of advice:

“Use some of the creativity and story-telling ability that went into creating the work (...) into selling the work. (...) If you follow this method, you will differentiate your firm from most of the other organizations in the world (...), you’ll sell more work, and you’ll win more business.”

Breathe life into your sales decks with narrated design that guides your audience through complicated information with sound, video, animation, and annotation. We talk more about narrated design further ahead.

Here's an example of a narrated sales deck:

4) Go from generic to personalized

Don’t be generic. Personalize your deck to specific decision-makers.

Address them by name, add a personal video message, tailor your language to their level of understanding, and show that you understand their unique needs and wants.

Note: you can easily do this at scale with Storydoc by integrating our sales deck creator with your CRM. This lets you generate personalized decks based on your contacts’ information directly from your CRM.

It also provides support for calendar integrations, contact forms, and even live chat widgets, so you can stay in touch on the go.

If you like these ideas but have no idea how to actually make it happen, I got you. Stick around and I’ll show you how.

And if you want to see these concepts in action you may want to check out our post on sales deck examples.

How to make a sales deck engaging?

Engagement is the key to a successful sales deck. It's the difference between a presentation that's scanned and a presentation that’s read with undivided attention.

But how do you create a sales presentation that not only captures attention but holds it throughout? Let's dive into some proven strategies.

1) Spark curiosity with an information gap

Your sales deck should spark curiosity. By presenting a problem or question at the beginning and promising the answer later, you create an information gap. Your audience's natural curiosity to fill this gap will keep them engaged.

This approach is based on information-gap theory by George Loewenstein and his research in Behavioral economics and Neuroeconomics at Carnegie Mellon University.

Here’s a handy resource about how to use gap theory in your content.

2) Use peer envy to make them feel like they’re missing out

Priming your sales deck by establishing peer curiosity and peer envy can be highly effective.

  • Start by sharing a story about a professional peer who faced similar challenges to your prospect.
  • Then detail how they successfully used your product or service to overcome those obstacles.

This piques your prospect’s curiosity, but more importantly, makes them feel envious.

Envy is a strong motivator. It taps into prospects’ innate biological aversion to risk and their need for status. They think - “someone like me is doing better than I do” (status). And if I don’t do the same, I could fall even more behind” (risk)”.

Here’s the legendary sales leader Mike Bosworth explaining how to use peer curiosity and peer envy (start at 5:55):

How to use peer curiosity and peer envy

3) Set clear expectations in terms of value for time

Let your audience know what they stand to gain from your presentation. Make the value from reading the deck instantly clear and give them an assessment of how long they will have to spend reading it.

Without knowing the interaction cost they can’t (unconsciously) calculate if the value is worth their time.

But if you provide this information they're more likely to decide to invest the time but also more likely to stay engaged to the end.

4) Prioritize important information

Our research shows that the first 3 slides and the first 15 seconds are your windows to hook your audience.

So, prioritize your information. Put your most compelling points upfront. Make them so intriguing that your audience can't help but stick around for the rest.

5) Demo your product

A product demo is your chance to show prospects how your product fits into their world. Highlight features that directly address their challenges, demonstrating real-world application.

Encourage interaction from your audience. Invite them to envision how the solution would work in their own context.

This way, the demonstrated value from your demo becomes concrete and specific to them. This makes it more memorable and much easier to relay to decision-makers.

6) Break down complex information

Complex information can be a roadblock to engagement. But the way around it is narrated design - also called scrollytelling (I swear I didn’t invent this word, kinda wish I did…).

What is narrated design?

This innovative approach to buyer enablement breaks down complex information into bite-sized pieces.

Think of it as a journey. Each scroll is a step forward, revealing a new piece of the puzzle.

This could be steps in your implementation process, components in your expansive solution, rows in an elaborate table, or critical junctions in your roadmap.

Scrollytelling mixes text and media explanations with visual cues to make each step simple and clear, while scroll navigation allows readers to go at their own pace.

With scrollytelling your audience isn't just passively receiving information; they're actively discovering it.

This active engagement means that with each interaction, the reader becomes more involved and more invested, which makes them more motivated to continue.

But most importantly, the reason great sales teams use scrollytelling is that it helps to cement the information in the prospect’s memory, which supports decision-making and triggers the sales event.

Here's an example of Storydoc scrollytelling:

Narrator slide example

Sales deck templates

To get you started I’ve collected a few of our best sales presentation templates for you to choose from.

All templates were made to help you apply the concepts and best practices we covered in the post. They’ve been tried and tested by real sales teams on real prospects.

You don’t have to know why they work, just be happy that they do.

Grab one!

No templates found
Amotz Harari

As the Head of Marketing, I lead Storydoc’s team of highly trained content-ops warriors fighting to eradicate Death-by-PowerPoint wherever it resides. My mission is to enable buyer decision-making by removing the affliction of bad content from the inboxes of businesses and individuals worldwide.

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