This article is based on a presentation given by Mikey Mioduski at #GTM23. Catch up on this presentation, and others, with GTM OnDemand. For more exclusive content, visit your GTM Blueprint dashboard.

Whether we’re in customer success, sales, marketing, or the C-suite, we have to communicate constantly. We're busy people juggling multiple priorities. But in this whirlwind of communications, there’s one thing that unites us all: 


(Bet you thought I was going to say “revenue”, didn’t you?)

We’re all using slides to convey key information and strategy throughout an organization.

If you’re in a product-led organization, you probably don’t make a lot of sales decks or enablement slides. After all, your products speak for themselves – but your most important business strategies are likely still getting boiled down into slideshows. 

1980s businessman laughing in front of a background of PowerPoint logos

The scary thing is that anyone can create a deck these days. That means we end up with countless PowerPoints or Google Slides floating around our company drives. You have to wonder – what do some of those slides say? What do they look like? Are they aligned with our company’s core message and vision?

Alignment is a huge challenge as organizations scale. By some estimates, a lack of alignment can cost a company up to 10% of its revenue. That means if you’re in a billion-dollar company and your teams are all pulling in different directions, you could be leaving $100 million on the table. 

In short, you could be in trouble if you’ve got dozens of decks telling conflicting stories. 

Now, I’m not here to tell you to stop everything, cull those conflicting decks, and make sure everything’s aligned – you don’t have time for that. 

Instead, I’m going to talk about two or three key slides we see in most good presentations. If you can perfect these slides, they can serve as “narrative anchors” to ensure alignment across your organization. Scaling a consistent story is hard when different departments have to contribute to the same GTM strategy. Still, by nailing your narrative fence posts in slide decks, you can enable better alignment.

Anchor slides 1.0: The solution

Let’s start at the end and work backwards. We all love a good solution slide. It’s where we get to show off what we do – whether we’re in the SaaS, carbon removal, med tech, or even underwear industry. We get hyped up to reveal what we’re working on – but that’s also where we can trip up.

When we jump right into product features and claims, it can feel off-putting to the audience. Remember the pen sales scene in The Wolf of Wall Street? Jordan Belfort challenges his team to sell him a pen, and they all launch right into claims about how brilliant the pen is without addressing the customer’s needs. Old-school car ads were the same, touting brilliant features and velvety interiors. 

Thank goodness the smart marketers of today know better. 

Old-school car ad

As Christopher Lochhead, co-author of Play Bigger says, there are “too many solutions without problems.” After decades of having these solution slides crammed down our throats, we see them coming a mile off. What worked back in the day now falls flat because it doesn’t speak to our real problems and needs – and we all have unique ones. 

That’s where the tried and true problem-solution combo punch comes in…

Anchor slides 2.0: Problem-solution

If you focus on only two slides, make them the problem and solution slides. They just belong together. We all love a good problem slide because it makes our solution look even better. It’s the yin to our yang, the before to our after, the peas to our carrots. 

As storytelling experts have shown time and time again, engaging an audience with ups and downs makes them feel the story more viscerally. Our brains release chemicals that aid memory when exposed to moments of tension and release. 

And, as Nancy Duarte says,

“If two products have the same features, the one that appeals to an emotional need will be chosen.” 

Yet, most problem and solution slides out there look like this: