Closing an IT sale is a complex process. But in most cases there is usually one pivotal sales presentation that can firmly seal the deal. Darrin Mourer, in a post on the Sales Engineer blog, offers recommendations to help you strengthen and prioritize the key components of your presentation. The starting point, according to Mourer, is that "priorities are always determined by the audience—not you."

Qualify your prospect by identifying all stakeholders. Your solution will have an impact on various departments at your client's site, and each department has its own agenda. As an example, Mourer writes, "the needs of a systems administrator should align to other goals in the organization ... [as well as] with specific goals in their management chain (misalignment is a big red flag)."

Prioritize and map benefits to stakeholders. Outline a list of benefits and map them to appropriate stakeholders. Then assign a rank to each of the benefits. "Avoid the trap of first trying to prioritize your perceived most important benefits based on your knowledge of the product," Mourer says.

Prune your message. "Start with the top 3 benefits of each stakeholder that will be attending your presentation," Mourer advises. "Write each one as a separate statement that characterizes the benefit in a scope that addresses the audience type." Finally, identify "proof points" that support your statements.

The Po!nt: Incorporating these principles can help you sharpen your message. By understanding the complexity of stakeholder goals, you will be better positioned to convey your solution's benefits—and stand out from the pack.

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