13 Reasons Why Your Pitch Book Stinks

Are you having earned success or bad luck with creating and presenting your pitch book to potential investors? Don’t know what your pitch book’s blind spots are?

13 things your sales deck may be missing – and what to do about it.

1. It’s Too Long

Marketing guru Guy Kawasaki says 10 slides - or 10 concepts - are all you need to make your point with decision makers. Other marketing shops may differ; for example, many decks produced by Charles Schwab, HubSpot, and Google, for example, may run to 75 or 80 slides. But many of the slides are one-sentence quotes, or disclaimer pages, or help explain complex concepts. Key points may be how much time the presentation takes and the engagement it engenders, not how many pages it is.

2. It’s Not About Helping Build a Relationship

If your pitch book is not about helping you establish and grow a relationship with your prospective clients, then your sales deck may not be helping you achieve your sales objective. Don’t even pull out your pitch book at the beginning of a meeting. Just sit down and talk to the prospect. And then point them to specific parts of your book that are relevant within the flow of the conversation.

3. It's Too Crowded

How many presentations have you seen that have charts, pictures, clip art, bullet points, paragraphs of text, multiple typefaces, and tiny type – all on one slide? Well, that’s one way to keep the presentation to ten pages. The net impact, however, is client confusion. Prospects don't know where to look first, so maybe they don’t look.

4. It Has No Clear Value Proposition

“Why you, why now, why this investment” are all part of the value proposition equation. The challenge, beyond saying you are different, or more experienced, or more nimble than others, is to show how you are different.

5. It Has No Discussion of Risk Management

Part of the value prop many decision makers also want to know up front is how you seek to manage and mitigate risk. If you deliver a pitch without a discussion of risk, you’re risking not being heard.

6. It Lacks Competitive Intelligence

Investors have options, and will want salient information on your competitors, and on your firm’s critical advantages.

7. It’s all Bullets

  • No
  • Not today.
  • Not ever.
  • An occasional set of bullet points may help get your point across, but an entire presentation of text and bullet, while perhaps reminding you want you want to say and in what order, may thwart your audience’s enthusiasm.

    8. It Has No Soul

    Your pitch should speak to your audience’s emotions through a compelling narrative. Facts and figures on investment strategy are requisite, of course, but should not be the entire book.

    9. It's Visually Vacuous

    Your prospective investors have probably seen plenty of presentations (50, 100, 200?) before yours. Obvious stock images are a yawner, and likely won’t help your sales proposition.

    10. Its Charts Make No Sense

    Your charts, tables, graphs should be intuitive – easy to understand. If your investors can’t understand the graphics without you explaining it in person, you may have to go back to the drawing board.

    11. It has No Pull Quotes

    A pull quote is a key line, thought, or takeaway shown as a separate slide in the presentation. Yes, it's an additional slide, but a separate slide seeks to reinforce your main point while providing a visual resting place for the audience.

    12. It’s Obviously Home-Brewed

    We get it, many start ups and plateaued investment managers think of marketing content as a discretionary cost, with no clear return on investment – and as a way to conserve cost by doing it themselves. The result, however, is often a perhaps somewhat less than professional presentation of your image.

    13. It’s Not Compliant

    We see many first drafts of pitch books that have left off the favorite part of in-house counsel or the compliance team: the disclosure statements. If the fund is for accredited investors only, your deck should so state. Disclaimers should detail risks. Indices should be cited. Outside data should be sourced. Text should be 8-point type at minimum. Text should be proximate to what is being disclaimed. The fund’s objectives and terms should be consistent from the legal documents to the sales materials. And past performance, of course, does not guarantee future similar results.

    As we've said before, generating leads to help raise capital may also depend on a website that attracts, on eBooks that educate, on emails that speak to prospects wherever they are in the sales process, and on breadth and depth of content that positions a manager as a informed source.