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What Sales Presentations Look Like At Shortlist

We live in an extremely competitive world where every move matters. Working in the SEO industry that is saturated with quantity over quality puts even more pressure on those 20 minutes you have with a prospect to explain your pitch, and why you’re different.

This is where structuring and creating engaging proposals is paramount. Do this wrong, and you can kiss any hope of a sale goodbye. 

So how do we really create engaging client proposals

To answer this, let’s start by showing one. Here’s an example of a blurred out presentation that we actually pitched to a client.

But of course, seeing just the end result robs you of the most important part; the process

We utilize a variety of tools; Google Slides, Ahrefs, Moz, Mangools, PageSpeed Insights, and of course, our knowledge and expertise, to craft a narrative worthy of the prospect’s time.

Most importantly, we try to create a personalized experience, from start to finish. 

Everything starts with an introductory call, during which we learn as much as we can about their business and ask the key questions that will lead to a differentiated proposal, such as: 

  • What pages on your website do you consider most important for converting visitors into customers? 
  • Which non-branded keywords would you consider important for a link-building campaign?
  • Please describe your ideal customer persona (ICP) in a few sentences.
  • List of 3 to 5 competitors?

From there, we get our hands dirty. 

We conduct thorough research on industry trends, their main competitors, as well as identifying low-hanging fruit opportunities that they can capitalize on with the right SEO strategy.

Above all, we try to hone in on the painpoints. For example, are they…

  • An agency who is tired of working with a fulfillment partner, who has consistently overpromised and underdelivered results?
  • A brand who has been writing content for months, but due to a lack of cohesive strategy and targeting the wrong keywords, is seeing little improvement?
  • An old website that is long overdo for a technical audit and a clean up?

Whatever the case, that problem and our proposed solution marks the beginning of our proposal. 

Next is the industry analysis. We start by looking for gaps. 

For example, we’ll use Ahrefs to check metrics such as organic traffic, number of keywords, and the number of referring domains to assess how strong some of their main SEO metrics are compared to their competitors. 

This helps us understand which areas to dive deeper into and the potential opportunity. After all, if no one in the industry is generating much organic traffic, it could be that no one has a great strategy OR that SEO just isn’t a viable channel for them. 

For example, in the slide below, we highlight the distribution discrepancy of high quality links our brand has compared to its main competitors. 

It’s not the full narrative, but, things are starting to take shape.

Often, accompanying this is that the client is simply not building links at the same rate as their competition. 

To confirm this, we’ll take a look at Ahrefs for each of the competition to see the rate at which they’re adding referring domains. Whatever the discrepancy is, it’s likely to widen over time if it’s not corrected. 

But we are not a one-dimensional agency, and it’s not all just about links. 

We always check our leads’ On-page elements to make sure that they are in line with the industry standards. Because no matter how good your off-page strategy is, if the on-page elements are not addressed they will hold your site back and hinder your ROI!

During this phase, we are doing a preliminary SEO audit (again using Ahrefs) but on top of that we are also checking the client’s Core Web Vitals and Website performance score as they are critical for SEO success (you can check yours here).

The next phase is my favorite; keyword research

It’s always a challenge to come up with a list of keywords that add business value, are winnable, and have sufficient search volume. It’s all about finding that overlap. 

While we don’t do a full analysis as part of the presentation, we definitely want to identify the opportunity and let the client know, directionally, where we would take their campaign if they decided to work with us. 

I would say that because of the nature of our industry, our clients really appreciate the extra effort that we are putting into finding these opportunity gaps and showing how we’ll be able to address them!

And of course, what’s a presentation without case studies and examples from past client successes. 

I believe that being able to lean on our previous experience goes a long way toward keeping the customer engaged and ultimately winning their trust.

Following that is often our statement about how we’ll create KPI-focused SEO campaigns with clear deliverables

Making sure that we are held accountable on what matters to the client is the very essence of why they choose to work with an agency in the first place. 

Last but not least, we doube down on the WHY and WHAT makes Shortlist the perfect partner for their SEO journey. 

Because it’s not just about the campaign strategy, by why we’re the people to execute it for you. 

Shortlist is a boutique agency that specializes in all things SEO, so when partnering with us you get an entire team dedicated to you and your project. Sure, there is one POC that will craft your strategy, but behind the scenes, you are getting a content author, an editor, a keyword strategist, and potentially more!

Transparency is one of our core business values and we firmly stand behind our work. Because of that, we operate on flexible month-to-month plans without any long-term commitments or hidden fees. 
If you’d like to have one of these presentations done for you, just schedule a call and I’d be happy to help!

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