Fact-Based Presentations — 5 Secrets!

Gone are the days where decisions and recommendations to retail customers are made based purely on intuition and relationships.

Sales and marketing teams need to take a fact-based approach to their business, starting with developing new skills in “retail understanding”, “proficiency in data”, and “category & business insights”. A fact-based presentations approach will help you uncover development opportunities as well as combat potential weaknesses through joint business planning (JBP).

Some of the questions you need to be able to answer, include:

Adding value to the Retailer through solutions and recommendations that tie in with their overall strategies and their biggest areas of opportunity will help move you from relationship-only selling to an added-value, more collaborative sales approach.

The result? Win-win solutions for the Vendor and Retailer. 

But keep in mind, once sales teams answer these questions, their job is only half done. Their next step is to learn how to tell stories through compelling, fact-based presentations that connect with the opportunities and insights they have uncovered. Let’s review the most important elements of fact-based presentations.

Here are some resources to help you get started:

  1. Complimentary Download: Compelling, Fact-Based Presentations Infographic
  2. Course Video Preview: Fact-Based Selling/Presentations
  3. Course Overview: Fact-Based Selling/Presentations

Unlocking the 5 Secrets to Compelling, Fact-Based Sales Presentations

  1.  Look Great!

Every presentation you deliver should look professional and engage your audiences’ eyes. Don’t underestimate the power of a good looking presentation — it’s essential to providing the best possible communication experience. Start by making sure you have mastered your presentation tools — for example, PowerPoint.

Make sure that you know the basics about PowerPoint, including:

  • How to use and modify the SlideMaster,
  • Adding in SmartArt, 
  • Using consistent fonts and colors, 
  • Creating compelling charts & graphs, and
  • Selecting an appropriate balance of images and words
See our guide on how to properly use PowerPoint

  1. Connect With Your Audience

Your presentation needs to focus on your audience and their needs – not you and your priorities. Research your audience’s needs, limitations and opportunities prior to the presentation so you can be strategic about what you include. 

  1. Have a Clear Purpose

If you’ve wondered “So What Now?” at the end of a presentation, it was probably because there was not a well-identified purpose. Or there may have been too many sub-purposes that didn’t fit together effectively. A clear purpose:

  • is concerned with your audiences’ needs and connects deeply to them — through a key statement or take away at the end of the presentation
  • should be related to intended outcomes, rather than the process for achieving those outcomes
  • is specific and measurable (vs broad and intangible). 


Try following a critical thinking framework when developing your fact-based presentation. It will help you create sound, objective and logical arguments that persuade your audience, resulting in meaningful conversations with your audience that often identify the optimum course of action. 

  1. Be Fact-Based

Data should support your purpose and help you tell a compelling story. By including relevant facts and data related to your customer’s conditions, needs, limitations and opportunities, you will show them that you understand their current situation. This establishes credibility and a common ground from which you can collaborate. 


For example, The Retailer’s market and category picture can be captured in a basic category overview, which then supports the purpose of the presentation that you identified in Step 3 above. Of note, this is a category overview (not a brand overview), and it should only include the relevant market / Retailer / Shopper / consumer / competitive data that aligns to your presentation objectives. Using data can help to presell your overall presentation objectives.

  1. Deliver With Excellence

Practicing the delivery of your presentation, smoothing out any “bumps”, and ensuring that it considers and anticipates the objections of your audience is the last secret. Rehearsal is ABSOLUTELY KEY, and should never be shorted or skipped. Whatever type of rehearsal works best for you, it is essential to work through any glitches, errors, or bad flow. Finding these things ahead of time is ALWAYS better than discovering them in the middle of your presentation. 

Another opportunity is to recall past presentations you have given, and consider successes as well as areas for improvement. Identify the conclusion, premise, objection or rebuttal to your argument and consider ways that you can improve.

Knowing how to develop and deliver good presentations is a critical skill for sales, marketing and category management professionals. Moving to a fact-based approach will improve the quality of your presentations, and will increase the return on data and technology investment. It will also create more collaborative relationships with your retail customers through a value-added approach to selling. 

Download the "Compelling, Fact - Based Presentations" Infographic from Category Management Knowledge Group


Looking for ways to a more strategic, fact-based approach to your business? Category Management Knowledge Group can help you, your team or your organization learn more through a single course or a customized program. We have some great category management training options available to meet your needs.

Check out our accredited course on Fact-Based Selling/Presentations (including creating compelling presentations), or watch a video preview of the course by clicking the graphic below.  




Link to Purchase "Fact Based Selling" Category Management Training Course

$125 USD

30-day Access



Reference Guide

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Course Test

Topics: Category Management, Presentations, Fact-Based Sales Process, Individual Solutions

Written by Sue Nicholls, CPSA Founder & President CMKG

Category Management is my passion. Since beginning with P&G in the late 1980s, I have dedicated my work life to building and sharing this passion with others through active involvement in the industry, including long-term business relationships with large Retailer and CPG executives, development and influence on Category Management Association certification standards, curriculum, and conference education, thought leadership publishing and presentations at CSP News’ Convenience University, CMA’s Annual Conference and LinkedIn, and as a member of DePaul University’s Center for Sales Leadership Advisory Board, and Western Michigan University’s Food Marketing Advisory Board. Beginning in 2019, our catalogue of accredited training that my team and I have developed is part of the Category Management Association’s strategic education initiative for all member organizations. Always anticipating where the industry is moving and the skills needed to compete and stay relevant, I’ve helped to bridge the gap between data and insights pioneering the way we use storytelling and data visualization to better understand analytics and make effective decisions for the future. Using my years of experience, I coach clients of all experience levels in the Retail, Manufacturer, and Solution Provider industries to help them propel forward achieving both their learning and career goals whether in eCommerce, sales, or marketing and beyond. My specialty lies in leadership and engagement, networking and consulting with individuals and large companies from around the world to better improve and develop our curriculum and accredited training programs, like our leading-edge Master’s Training, utilized by category management organizations for strategic education. Through this blog and other channels, I share my years of expertise with our industry and believe that an open and ongoing conversation can improve any team’s capacity to implement business strategies that achieve their strategic priorities.