As a marketing agency owner that wants to get better at marketing strategy and consulting to win new client projects and better service existing clients, I've searched in the past for consulting PowerPoint templates and slide decks but never purchased anything so far.
What I want are consulting templates that have best practices baked in.
As someone who did not work at a large consulting firm, nor has an MBA, I have had to rely on my undergraduate business degree, self-education, and experience working with clients to slowly learn the best consulting and strategy practices over time.
5 Best Paid and Free Slide Deck Templates & Guidance for Consultants
Here are the top 5 consulting template providers that stand out to me. I have been following each of these sources to some degree for a few years, consumed a good amount of content, and paid for the premium version for one so far.
Most if not all of these are paid or have paid components as the main offering, but they all offer plentiful free-to-read blog posts, videos, interviews, and email newsletters to get a lot of information up front before deciding which one is the best fit for you.
- StrategyU – popular ex-McKinsey creator
- Analyst Academy – best video guidance
- John Kim – Emory Business School – best MBA professor-led
- Stratechi – ex-McKinsey Value
- Tom Critchlow Course – best for SEO and analytics focus
Paul Millerd spent time at McKinsey & Co. For someone like me, that's enough to catch my attention. If he shares principles, slides, and frameworks from McKinsey baked into some templates, then that's pretty solid and gets me about 60% of the way there. If I see how they structure things and I adapt to my situation as a consultant I'll feel pretty good about that.
Check out Paul's bio for more:
A good, affordable template offering is his $49 pack of 100+ PPT slides:
2. Analyst Academy
Analyst Academy has caught my attention multiple times via educational, mid-length YouTube videos that show up in my feed. In my mind this looks like a solid resource.
If you're early in the process, it makes sense to watch a lot of Paul's videos to get a feel for his style and get a lay of the land.
He's go great content on the site, this one really looks awesome to me because I really want to see real presentations, not ones designed by designers. This post: 100+ Real Consulting Presentations from McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and More is super helpful, and links directly to
On the one hand, when I see slides like this from McKinsey, I feel less imposter syndrome:
But then, they can get pretty complicated as well:
This PowerPoint Storytelling course based on McKinsey and other top shops has my attention:
Analyst Academy probably has the best YouTube presence of the bunch:
Jump over to YouTube to get a feel, then dive into the free resources on the site first.
3. John Kim – Emory Business School – Consultant's Mind
John Kim might be the most interesting to me – he's currently an Associate Professor at Emory's Goizueta Business School, has his own blog called Consultant's Mind, and has some Coursera courses.
His Courera course called Consulting Presentations and Storytelling is probably the best entry into education on this entire subject, because you can take the course free and get an MBA-level introduction to get jumpstarted.
He has a great beginner's guide to consulting here. With awesome frameworks like this:
Here's his bio:
He looks like he has about 600 blog posts, and publishes roughly once a month recently.
I'll be reading a lot more of his blog and dig into his Coursera course soon.
4. Stratechi – ex-McKinsey Value
I found Stratechi via Googling and what I really love is 3 things:
- Joe's background working at McKinsey
- The tons of free resources and knowledge he shares, presented in a way I haven't seen before
- Very good value pricing for his templates
For example, you can buy an individual 124-slide strategic plan template for $95 or buy the value pack with 5 additional templates for just $55 more. What's more, you can preview all the slides included to get a really good feel for what you're going to get, which I love:
I've purchased the $150 value pack and will be using it more and more on future presentations.
The free education provided on the site is very solid – as an SEO I appreciate the strong internal linking strategy. It's like the Wikipedia of his perspective of management and strategy consulting.
While Joe only has 2 YouTube videos live, I hope he provides more. It's always good to get a video sense of who's behind a website and the thinking.
All-in-all, Stratechi is a solid resource for consulting PowerPoint templates, guidance, and explanations.
I absolutely love the way Tom thinks and visualizes, just look at his homepage:
It's a very cool Ikagi-like diagram showing all the areas he plays in, and ideas and philosophies of work he subscribes to, like Figma Thinkers within Networked Education
I personally took Tom's SEO paid course, The SEO MBA and found his style to be great. He generalizes fairly well for anyone doing digital consulting, but there is a strong fit here for those doing digital marketing consulting that is heavily focused on SEO, analytics, social, and content consultants.
He's also a deep, meta thinker on the broader concept of being an independent consultant, as well as a creator, thinker, blogger, and philosopher.
For example, on his post about high-agency work:
Tom's bring the Brooklyn hipster mentality to independent digital consulting, and I love him for it.
Templates & Tools for Building Consulting Decks Faster
What follows are some great, curated tools for building out consulting decks faster. These cover building out business proposals before the sale, and then also delivering strategy after the sale.
Slidesgo – gets you 25% of the way there with pre-built frameworks
Slidesgo is a general purpose slides provider, and as such they are not going to be fully McKinsey-trained slide creators.
But compared to Canva, I'm seeing better stuff on SlidesGo that's more accurate.
Generative AI Proposal Prompts & Templates
Generative AI tools can get you moving faster, but if you're not an expert yourself you may receive poor results. You should learn the highest quality frameworks, storytelling approaches, and slide deck best practices above so you can confidently leverage generative AI.
Here are a few generative AI prompts I've tested for helping me build out consulting proposals. The great thing about gen AI like OpenAI in this scenario is it's very open ended. You can approach it from many different ways, depending on where you're at in the process.
I like to think on my own for a good while, then create a prompt with a brain dump, and have ChatGPT clean it up and give me options from there.
Then I like to get some frameworks and outlines generated, with a lot of curation and back and forth. The important thing is that you go back and forth about 10-20 times through many iterations, generations, and evolutions to get something really good.
In addition, if you have structured data you can upload to the Advanced Data Analysis or the universal chat interface on ChatGPT, you can feed it good data.
I like to pair ChatGPT responses with building out wireframes in Canva.
Then from there I like to refine further and build out the document in a Google or Word Doc.
I like to take the story framework for a short proposal.
Here are 3 very different prompt approaches, from simple to medium to complex. I recommend building out your own style and variables to craft something that more efficiently gets on paper what you're trying to say. I've found myself facing mental bottlenecks when I have to build a proposal but I don't have time, so using generative AI here to pull it out of your head faster is great.
Prompt 1: I want to write a marketing proposal that follows a storytelling format and is very compelling and convincing of the client. Please ask me a series of multiple choice questions to efficiently build the proposal.
Prompt 2: I am a marketing agency building a proposal for a good fit prospect. The client is named [company_name] and the services I suggested on the call were [recommended_services]. They have a budget of [client_budget] and their goals are [client_goals]. Please build out a proposal outline. Then after help me write the proposal.
Prompt 3: Can you help me build a marketing proposal for a client in the [industry]. The company name is [company_name] and their goal is [goal]. The services I offer are [services_list]. The budget they gave is [client_budget], while the budget I recommend for optimal results is [optimal_budget]. Please write the proposal in a storytelling format. I would like to have a strong hook and opener, get to the executive summary, then build the case. I would like to show their competitors in the context of the industry, show the trends of the industry, and do some lightweight swot analysis. I would like to propose that we work together for 12 months and month 1 is a strategy/discovery project.
Generative AI Full Proposal Builders
Canva is currently a full generative AI presentation/proposal builder that is most accessible to most people, especially those with Canva Premium, with Magic Design.
There are other generative AI proposal builders – and lots coming out by the minute – you should experiment with them, but in my perspective so far, I like being closest to the action and especially in tools I'm already using.
I would much rather go straight to vanilla ChatGPT to build the outline, and help me craft the draft, then go over to one of the above sources like SlidesU or Analyst Academy to align it with real templates, especially one based on a story.
Then if you want to have something easy to design really well, I'd move all that over to Canva or PowerPoint and finish designing from there.
Canva has really beautiful slides. But so does Pitch.com. Play around with those. There could be a huge advantage for those that think clearly, tell a story, support with data, have it flow, and have beautiful slides.
Last Updated on December 27, 2023 by Joe