How To Create The Perfect Pitch Deck
Author: collin stewart
Donna Griffit is a Corporate Storyteller who has worked globally with Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and investors in a wide variety of industries for over 16 years. She has consulted and trained clients in over 30 countries. Through her guidance, clients have raised over $1 billion. Donna has the ability to magically spin raw data into compelling stories that captivate audiences and drive results.
Donna joined the Predictable Revenue Podcast to provide helpful guidance on how to create the perfect pitch deck.
Why Storytelling Is So Important When Creating A Pitch Deck
If you’re not telling a compelling story, then you’re losing your audience before you’ve even started. Numbers and other data will make your audience believe but stories will make them engaged listeners.
There’s a big misnomer whereby people perceive storytelling as telling a little ice breaker or making some jokes. This isn’t the case. Storytelling actually dates back thousands of years in the form of artifacts and literature. It’s the way information was conveyed when language first originated in the cave days and that’s how our brains and communication developed.
Storytelling is the “oldest form of communication and it’s still the most powerful form of communication. So, a pitch deck should be a story — not just a row of numbers and facts and figures,” Donna asserts.
The Biggest Mistake People Make When Creating Pitch Decks
One of the biggest mistakes that many people make is putting together disjointed pitch decks that are very heavy on the numbers but don’t have a story element. Presentations that have an overload of information with endless bullet points while still failing to highlight critical aspects such as the customer experience, for example, are a fast track to losing the interest of your listeners.
Instead, go easy on the data. Don’t just add everything with the hope that something will stick. It’s the opposite of what you should be doing. “You should be giving a distilled, clear, concise view because you come across looking much smarter that way — and then let them ask you questions. Don’t feel the need to throw everything at them because it’s like drinking from a fire hydrant, and nobody enjoys that!”
The Best Approach To Creating A Memorable Pitch Deck
When talking about stories, think of greats like Shakespeare and Moliere. You’ll find everything structured appropriately is different chapters to make the literature easier to digest. This is the base of our communication. In this context, you can think of an investor deck or a sales deck as a four-act play featuring the problem.
The best way to highlight the problem is with a story. “You can weave the storytelling into the storytelling framework. Talk about your origin story. Where did you come up with the idea? What was the pain you identified in your lives or in the life of someone that you cared about? I have a client who started his journey in creating a platform for diabetes management and a supplement that actually helps people lower their insulin because his father was diagnosed mid-life with diabetes. And he saw this strong man who loved to eat and loved to celebrate life having all these limitations and he said, ‘I vow to find a cure or an alleviation for this’. He’s created an incredible company that’s now acquiring other companies and really building something meaningful for chronic illnesses all over.”
So think about how your journey began and your inspiration to start. You can then expand it from your micro to the macro by introducing the bigger problem supported by relevant numbers to drive the point home.
The Hero (Your Product/ Solution)
Ensure you can explain your product or solution simply in a solution statement. For example, “we do X for Y by Z.” It’s important that your solution statement is easy for anyone to understand.
You can then show your audience a demo. Take them on the user journey and showcase your product through a user story because it’s a lot more impactful. “It could be a video. It could be screenshots. Use a real client if you can because it’s much more powerful. Even if you have to anonymize them, you’re telling a true story of someone who adores you and that’s also getting points with investors because they’ll probably want to talk to your clients anyway.”
The Hero’s Plan (The Business)
This third section is where you break down what the hero will do to succeed. You need to give a bit more insight into the business element by clearly explaining your business model, the market, the facts and figures, the competitive landscape, and the go-to-market strategy.
People often start off with the hero’s plan as the first act, which isn’t the best route to take. While you absolutely want to highlight that there’s a big market among other factors that show the viability of your product or solution early on, you don’t have to get so deep into it at the very beginning.
What Will The Future Look Like?
The fourth and final is the step that most people don’t give enough power to. It details what the future looks like and the direction your business will take moving forward. “Where are you going? What’s your big vision? What will the company have shifted in the market when you are successful in three, five, or eight years from now?”
Establish the different milestones that will get you to your destination, including the additional markets you’ll look to penetrate and everything you’ll need along the way to turn your vision into reality.
The Best Type Of Data To Include In The Story
If your product is based on cutting-edge technology you’ll definitely want to include a high-level breakdown of how it works in a very simplistic way. If you have IP or patents pending, look to incorporate this into your story too, highlighting how it gives you a true edge.
When it comes to numbers, you want to include things like growth metrics, engagement, and revenue. Stay away from meaningless vanity metrics that add little to no value. Instead, go for the measurable statistics like monthly active users that’ll truly make an impact.
Are you raising series A funding? “Find the six most wow numbers of your sales, of your pipeline, of your engagement, of your growth, of your customer acquisition so that they see from the beginning, ‘oh well, this is a company that’s serious. They’ve really done some work and they’ve achieved things.’”
To learn more about how to create the perfect pitch deck and access helpful resources including investor deck cheat sheets, visit Donna Griffit’s site.
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