Our compass for how to constantly deliver value to customers is none other than the desired outcome. In more practical terms, our client presentations are the first step in navigating our client towards the road to success.
This is one of your most important assets you will have as a CSM. A structured, well-built presentation for any customer lifecycle stage is the enabler of showcasing clear value to your customers.
In this article, I share best practices and tips on how to build killer client presentations for any stage in the customer lifecycle.
Build a Client Presentation Checklist
When I build a presentation, I always make sure to go over the following items — to guarantee that its content is complete and comprehensive.
- Know your audience & stakeholders - This is one of the most important things to keep in mind when building a presentation. Effective presentations can’t be built without knowing which people will be in the room, and who the ultimate decision-makers are.
Mapping out the people attending the meeting — both on the clients’ side and on the vendor side clarifies your understanding of the material you should include. This should cover important subject matters for the stakeholders so that you can captivate your customers with a clear and powerful presentation.
- Identify the presentation goal - Every presentation will serve a different purpose within the customer lifecycle, so identifying your presentation’s goal is imperative to its successful delivery.
For example, a kickoff meeting’s main goal could be to “showcase the first perception of value”. A QBR/EBR goal, however, would be to “showcase milestones & goals achieved using your product”, and so on. Pinpointing your presentation’s main goal lets you dig deeper into the details and key items that will fulfill the presentation’s goal in the clearest and most impactful way.
- Identifying the Key Items - These items will be included in the presentation’s agenda. Same as the presentation, the purpose of your chosen key items is to exhibit your product’s added value and help you achieve the presentation goal.
Let’s say you are building your product’s basic training presentation with the goal to teach the customers how to use its basic features. The key items in the presentation would then include those exact features; their added value per use case, which you can even show using your customer’s real data or dashboard.
This conclusive list of key presentation items facilitates the next step: building your presentation template and slowly compiling its parts. You can now start connecting the dots that create an impressive narrative; delivering a clear message whose value permeates each presentation slide.
Each slide should tell a brief story (in a few words alone) that helps your value proposition resonate among your audience by the meeting conclusion.
The more value your customers derive from each presentation or meeting, the stronger the CSM-to-customer relationship becomes. Ultimately, you’ll be considered a key part of their success: the strategic advisor within your company.
Build your story
You’ve now mapped out your audience, with a clear definition of the meeting goal and your presentation’s key items. The last step is to design a presentation sequence and flow that will maintain audience interest during the meeting, each slide telling its own story.
By the time you’ve finished presenting, you’ll have achieved the presentation’s goal and by presenting valuable insights to your customers that will keep them eagerly waiting for your next presentation and the information you’ll provide.
Create client presentation templates
Presentation templates are a key part of scaling your customer success capabilities. Templates are more than a time-saver: they also allow you to focus more on improving presentation deliverables, based on your customers’ feedback, industry, and feature preference.
Some templates vary according to product needs (for example, product training & setup). However, for kickoff meetings, ongoing meetings, and QBR/EBRs, I maintain the same structure and tailor it according to customer background and the product at hand.
Here are some templates you can use:
This is one of the customer lifecycle’s most important stages; where your customers see your product differentiation and value.
Here you will present the project scope and timeline, and work with your customer to identify their desired outcome and success plan.
- Agenda - Always have an agenda in place, preferably share this agenda the moment you send the calendar invite
- Your Team - Who will be the key stakeholders within your company (CSM, support, sales, etc.)? Make sure to add the contact details and explain the best communication method for each stakeholder
- About Your Compan - This part of the presentation is your opportunity to ask key questions to your customer in order to better understand their expectations, objectives, and desired outcome
- Onboarding Overview - In this section, you will present your onboarding plan to the customer, make sure you give important context on what does each stage mean and what will they achieve as they progress, and how much more value they will get from your product once they have been fully onboarded
- Key Opportunities - If you did your due diligence, you might have a few examples of how your product can add immediate value to your customer. The best approach is to present use-cases that have a direct impact on your customer’s business outcomes
- Q&A - Leave a few minutes to answer any questions they have about the product/onboarding/anything else
- "Next Steps" - Momentum is key, so make sure the next steps are clear action items that will get your customer closer to the next milestone
Now that you’ve completed customer onboarding, your focus shifts towards the desired outcome and executing the defined action items within the success plan.
Depending on the client, you may want to have this type of meeting on a bi-weekly/monthly basis.
- Open Items - This is intended for a status update for any open items related to your customer, show that you’re on top of things and that you’ll make sure these items are completed
- Account Review - What progress has been made so far? Are we getting closer to important milestones? This is in context to the desired outcome and success plan
- Opportunities - Are we using the product to its full potential or are there any available features that can help us get closer to the desired outcome.
- Key Takeaways - This slide can be used to share your key recommendations and also emphasize key achievements, this will further position you as a strategic consultant to your customer. The key achievements can be anything that gets the customer closer to their desired outcome and closer to achieving the main objectives in their success plan.
- Next Steps
- Executive Overview - The executive overview gives a quick picture and clear report of what has been achieved since the past QBR/EBR, so the rest of the presentation should tell the story of each individual achievement. In a few words, underscore the work set in place that led us to successful results.
- Account Review - If the executive overview includes all of the achievements, this is where you can tell the story of how you obtained them and what the progress looked like.
- Engagement Heat Map - I personally like this one since it’s your opportunity to showcase your added value as an account CSM; emphasize how working together helped the customer reach their objectives. The idea is to account not only for the product’s added value, but for our knowledge and expertise as well.
- Your Success Plan (Milestones) - This is probably the most important presentation slide. There’s no clearer way of proving value than by fulfilling your customer’s expectations and objectives. This is why defining your success plan with your customer is crucial, so that you’re both aligned on the plan’s key objectives, goals, milestones, etc.
- “Looking Ahead” - This slide focuses on future plans: planning for the next Q and opportunities available for exploration. If there’s a renewal coming up, this is also the perfect time to discuss it and discuss their point of view. Don’t forget to update the success plan accordingly.
Killer client presentations spell out added value
At the end of the day, like everything else in life, the more you practice, the better you’ll be. Building and delivering successful client presentations is all about that. Once you’ve found your secret sauce for delivering value through your presentations — take it up a notch and see how you can improve every deliverable.
Work closely with your customers, making sure you understand their challenges, objectives, and business goals. This empowers you to continuously provide added value to your customers and help them achieve their desired outcome.