06.13.2019

Making a pitch-perfect investor deck

3 simple rules for building a presentation with some punch.

You only get one opportunity to make a first impression, and when the viability of your business is on the line, that first impression is everything. Whether it’s an investor/pitch deck or a sales deck, that short PowerPoint presentation truly can be the difference in your company thriving or floundering.

For being such a critical aspect of a company’s success, you’d be amazed at how often the pitch/investor deck is executed poorly. Typos and formatting. Irrelevant or missing information. We’ve seen it all—which is why we decided to put together a quick blog post to help would-be clients with the basics of a pitch deck that wins.

1. Shorter is better.

If you’re still reading this blog looking for an edge in your investor decks and sales decks, start with the length. Shoot for 12 slides. Land at 15 slides. And never, ever go longer than 20 slides. For some of you, this will sound crazy. How can I possibly get my deck down to 12 slides? We’re sorry to say you’re going to have to cut… a lot. In as few slides as possible, use the following as a guide to decide what must be part of your investor deck:

  • Vision
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Opportuntity/Market
  • Competition (and Our Advantage)
  • Your Model and Success to Date (Financials)
  • Growth Strategy – What Comes Next?
  • Team (but only if this matters/helps)
  • The Investment Ask

Use your best judgment to figure out how to best hit each of these notes, but in theory, this outline could take your pitch deck down to 9 slides. To be clear, we’re not saying you should jam everything into 9 slides using 6 point font to take up every inch of the slide. Too much text will annoy your audience. Remember, you can always hide those extraneous slides in an appendix to quickly flip to if the conversation so requires.

2. Personalize it.

Where possible, make each deck feel bespoke. Matching the right message with the right audience is the key to any smart marketing strategy, but it’s often overlooked in sales and investor decks. It can be as simple as including their names throughout their PowerPoint, to building the deck in their brand look/feel, to custom storytelling for each audience. How you personalize your decks will likely change based on audience and ask, but never go into that meeting with a cookie-cutter template.

3. Win the argument.

In just 30 minutes—and now only 12 slides!—you will have one chance to convince your audience to believe in you. Make it count. Prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Deliver an argument so iron-clad and so believable that they can’t wait to give you their money. Appeal to their logic (logos), prove your credibility (ethos), and paint an inspiring vision that gets them fired up (pathos). And practice your pitch in front of a diverse set of people to make sure your message works with every audience.

If you’re a business looking for a marketing partner to stay competitive, give COHN a call. We’re a full-service, fully-integrated marketing agency that uses brand strategy to drive results for you and your team.

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