Never delay the communication of bad results, setbacks or surprises. Share the good, the bad and the ugly with the investors that own the company.
If you’re a part of a B2B SaaS startup, chances are that your company will need to add professional investors in the near future.
Even if you’re already profitable, professional investors like angel investors or venture capitalists can unlock incredible doors for your business, allowing you to build out your product, invest in new initiatives, break into new markets, or connect you with thought leaders for advice or additional investments.
Institutional investors can bring a lot to the table for your company, so it’s critical that you create the best pitch possible. Here we'll be covering the essentials of how to create a pitch deck for B2B SaaS investors by looking at five core components to consider including.
Five elements of an effective B2B SaaS pitch deck
This pitch needs to quickly and effectively describe many things to your investors about your startup, the market it plays in, its plans for the future, and its potential.
Your investor presentation can be the deciding factor between a low and high valuation, a disappointing and company-changing investment, and a cancerous and nurturing investor. So it’s important to make sure you spend the time to get it right beforehand.
Here are some topics you should include to make sure you tell your business’s story the right way.
1. Present the problem to SaaS investors
In order for your B2B SaaS company to be successful, it has to solve a problem in its market.
What problem(s) does your company solve? How impactful are they to customers and the industry? Here are a few ways you can accomplish this:
- What is the problem? Make sure you concisely but effectively describe the problem. What is going on in the world that is causing people headaches or keeping them from reaching their goals?
- How big is the problem? How many people or companies does it affect? How many dollars are wasted on it? What inefficiencies does it cause? Is the problem growing? Do some research and give your investors a quick, tangible vision of the problem, its size, and why it's’ important.
- Who is affected by the problem? What industries, companies, and people are plagued by the problem you solve? This can often result in a slide on your ideal customer profile (ICP) as well as one for your Ideal Partner Profile (IPP). Additionally, you can give examples of the different types of personas that exist in each industry, what their fears and dreams are, and why they care about your product or service. (Here are some blogs on personas, and fears & dreams to get you going.)
- How big is the opportunity? We typically accomplish this by reviewing 3 different types of market segmentation. The total Addressable Market (TAM), the segmented addressable market (SAM), and the segmented obtainable market (SOM). This framework shows investors that you’ve done your research, know your market well, and have a thoughtful go-to-market plan as to how you’re going to attack it in bite-sized chunks. (Here is a blog on how to utilize TAM, SAM, & SOM and their importance in your GTM focus.)
- What does the competitive landscape look like? Who are your direct and indirect competitors? What do they specialize in? How is your product/service different than theirs? Share this information with investors through a matrix, scatterplot, or other visualization that can quickly and clearly tell why and how you’re differentiating yourself. If you have yet to dive deep into your competitor research, you can use our template here to get started.
2. Demonstrate why your software product is special
Summarize why your product or service is important, given the problem you’ve identified in the previous slides.
How does it solve the problem? What underlying technology does it use? And most importantly, what makes your solution different from the competition? Here are a few topics that can help you get this point across:
- Give a product demo: If you have a quick, polished product demo, the investor deck is a great time to use it. Show off your product’s UI, functionality, and ease of use. This is where you get to exemplify your developers’ hard work and give investors a tangible experience of how your company solves the problem you laid out previously. (This blog shows a quick and easy way to create a product demo.)
- Demonstrate your product pillars: What are the pillars of your product or service? What areas do you focus on? What main benefits does your product or service bring to your customers? How have you incorporated those areas into your product?
- Show off some customer testimonials: If you have some great customer testimonials, use them. No one is a more effective advocate for your product or service than current customers. They have no incentive to oversell you and they have decided to spend their money on your product because you solve their problems. If you can, give a customer testimonial for each product pillar, to show tangible examples of how each benefits customers. (If you want to learn how to create a great customer testimonial, read this blog.)
3. Tell SaaS investors why your company is unique
Demonstrate to investors why your company is different from the competition.
This could be accomplished in many different ways but be sure to leverage what is special about your company in your narrative.
Why is your company special? What about your company differentiates you from your competition? Here are some topics we’ve used in the past:
- Company backstory: Do you have an origin story that gives you a better position to create a great product or solve the market’s problem? Whether it’s unique research you’ve conducted, patents that you’ve created, etc. leverage these assets to show why your company is in a better place than your competitors are.
- Superior positioning: Use the GTM slides you’ve created to craft a narrative about how you’ve found your niche. Show where your competitors are going, and how you’re going to go a different way or show them how you’re going to go the same way, but better. This will show that you’ve gone through the necessary steps to ensure that your company is successful in the future.
- Game-changing technology: Has your company been able to utilize a new type of technology that revolutionizes your product or service? Are you the first to bring AI to your industry? Have you harnessed natural language processing in a way no one else has? Does your product have a completely unique functionality or benefit? Be sure to include this in your presentation.
- Market advantages: your positioning or product capabilities can allow your company to circumvent challenges or obstacles that exist for the rest of the market. Give investors a lay of the market’s challenges and how your company is able to use those to its advantage.
Are you positioned to service a different need in the marketplace? Does your product or service allow you to take advantage of market challenges?
4. Indicate why your company is credible
Here is where you get to show off why your company is so great.
What assets, whether human capital, proprietary technology, or unique positioning do you have that will set you apart from your competitors?
- Important staff: Do you have a visionary CEO? Incredible VP of development? Great sales or marketing leader? Display them to investors to show why your internal processes will be better than your competitors’. Especially do this if you have staff with industry experience or a solid track record in launching startups, as this will show investors that you have an experienced team who will give them a good return on their investment.
- Great advisors: Does your company have great board members or advisors that are helping to be thought leaders for your staff? These mentors will help to shape the future of your company, giving you advice in difficult situations and helping you to make the right decisions to make your business successful. Additionally, they can be great avenues to industry connections, investors, or good deals on products or services. Show investors that you’re supported by a set of rockstar advisors who will help to Sheppard your company to a successful exit. This also shows investors that other credible sources have invested in your company, further strengthening your credibility.
- Solid finances & KPIs: Investors will want to know that you’re a financially viable company before investing. Even if you aren’t profitable, show that you are investing your money back into the business for growth, your unit economics are strong, or that you have a solid plan on how to get to profitability or exponential growth. In addition, it is critical that you show solid SaaS KPIs such as logo churn, Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), bookings, and Average Contract Value (ACV) or Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). (Take a look at this blog to see other KPIs you ca+n track.)
5. Show your B2B SaaS investment and growth plan
Now is the time to bring it home.
As great as the information I’ve given you is, your pitch will be dead in the water without a thought-out and specific plan on what you will use your most recent round for. Here are some categories to think about:
- Beachheads: Does your company need to quickly enter new markets or grow within the markets you’re currently in? Show investors how you’ll use their investment for partnerships, research, or execution and show them which beachheads you’ll be attacking and how long it will take you to get XX revenue, XX market share, etc.
- Growth vs. profitability: Give your investors scenarios as to how you’ll either grow or reach profitability fast. Some investors will want a quick but smaller exit whereas others will want to play the long game. Give them both options and use the slides as an opportunity to discuss what their preferences are and what their investment style will be to achieve that goal. Are they hands-on investors? Will they give you more autonomy or hire experts to help achieve the goal? All of these are great things to know before finalizing the deal.
- Staff amplification: Are you going to use the funds you receive to amplify your staff? To grow quickly, you’ll need to build out sales, marketing, customer success, and other departments on top of your development team. Show key hires that you need, how much you’ll spend on them and when you’re planning on adding them to the team. Then discuss what distinct benefit each will bring and how they’ll unlock growth or success for your company.
- Product investment: Are you going to double down on your product or service? At the end of the day that is the main differentiator between you and your competition and is what your customers are paying for. How will you use the investment to continue to improve your product to set yourself apart and solve your customers’ problems?
The right SaaS pitch deck can help you scale
At Kalungi, we have used these five pieces of information to give great pitches to investors and to help tell clients’ stories the right way, to attract the right investment, from the right investors.
However, it is important to note that creating an investor pitch deck is not a science.
Different narratives fit different companies, products, and investors. As a result, the outline will change, depending on your company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the current state of the market.
So take what I’ve given you and make sure to use it in the way that tells your story the best. After all, no one knows your company and what it brings to the table better than you!
Now, go out there and lock in your company’s next round of investments.
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Brian works with companies to help them discover their marketing potential. Through high-level strategy and day-to-day management, Brian helps B2BSaaS companies scale their marketing departments the right way, enabling them to acquire the highest value customers, minimize churn, and drive ARR.