Author: Andy Raskin http://andyraskin.com
It’s Zuora’s, and it’s brilliant. Here’s why.
A few months ago, my friend Tim took a new sales job at a Series C tech company that had raised over $60 million from A-list investors. He’s one of the best salespeople I know, but soon after starting, he emailed me to say he was struggling.“I’ve landed a few small accounts,” Tim said. “But my pitch falls flat at big enterprises.”As I’ve written before, I love helping teams craft the high-level strategic story that powers sales, marketing, fundraising — everything. So Tim and I met for lunch at the Amber India restaurant off San Francisco’s Market Street to review his deck.After loading up on the all-you-can-eat buffet, I asked Tim, “At what point do prospects tune out?”“Usually a few slides in,” he said.Intent on maximizing dining ROI, Tim went back to the buffet for seconds. When he returned, I pulled out my laptop and launched into a Powerpoint presentation.“What’s this?” Tim asked.“This,” I said, “is the greatest sales deck I have ever seen.”
The 5 Elements of a Brilliant Sales Narrative
The sales deck I showed Tim came from Zuora, the IPO-bound Silicon Valley company that sells a SaaS platform for subscription billing. If you pay for anything on a recurring basis (e.g. enterprise software), there’s a good chance that Zuora facilitates those transactions.I had received the deck from an ex-Zuora salesperson, who said it helped him close the biggest deals of his career. (I have no connection to Zuora, and no relationship with anyone who currently works there. UPDATE: Some current Zuora employees have connected with me after reading this.)Abandoning his naan in a puddle of curried goat, Tim grabbed pen and paper and took notes as we ran through what made the Zuora deck so effective.Specifically, we noted how brilliantly the deck led prospects through the following five elements, in precisely this order:(The ex-Zuora salesperson asked that I not share the Zuora deck publicly, and I will honor that request. However, I found slides on Zuora’s website and SlideShare channel that exhibit nearly the same narrative flow; all of the images below come from those public sources.)
#1. Name a Big, Relevant Change in the World
Don’t kick off a sales presentation by talking about your product, your headquarters locations, your investors, your clients, or anything about yourself.Instead, name the undeniable shift in the world that creates both (a) big stakes and (b) huge urgency for your prospect.The first slide of virtually every Zuora deck — sales or otherwise — is some version of this: