How to best get ready for your first pitch?
What content to put in your pitch deck?
How to craft your story?
These are just three variations of the same question that I get asked often by CEOs, Founders and Startup Executives. They ask for help telling their story, preparing for a round of fundraising or to build their first “Company Deck”.
Here are three fundamental components that I believe will lead to success. Doing these well, will set up up for scale and high quality influencer engagement.
- What makes you special?
- What is something only you can do?
- What are you better at than anyone in the rest of the industry?
This initial question forces you to double-click on the two most power-full words in Marketing: BEST and ONLY. Take your time to answer these, and don’t fall in the trap of focussing on the competition. Focus on your Hero Customers, what they need and how you are the only one, and/or the best they can get, to providing that.
One tool that can help answer these questions is the “Feature Matrix”, that I explain in this blog.
What will you say?
Before you start putting slides for your deck together, try to answer the following questions as clear, and accurate as possible.
- What’s it for?
- “And How will we know if it worked? Answer these two questions first, please. If it's worth doing, it's worth knowing before you do it. A hammer is for getting nails into wood, and it's pretty easy to tell if it does the job well. That's one reason why we have so many good hammers available to us–real clarity about what it's for, and whether it works or not. Too often, we wait until we see what something does before we decide what we built it for.” - Seth Godin
- Who's it for?
”The marketer can change her story, but she can't easily change the worldview of the person she seeks to sell to. It's almost impossible to turn someone who doesn't care about hats (in particular) into someone who cares a lot about hats. This person the product is for: What do they believe? Who do they trust? What do they seek? What are they afraid of? - SethGodin
Let others say it. Make it credible. Case studies, Quotes, and 3rd party data
Here is a Messaging framework template to help guide this second part.
- How to say it?
- Now that you know what to say, to who, it’s time to write it up the right way.
- Five crucial Copywriting rules
- Story Telling - I love the StoryBrand Framework. Buy the book, or at least use the template to help you:
- Talk about your audience an the HERO - Understand their problem at both the business AND personal level (remember, B2B audiences are still people who need to choose to become your advocate to spend the business’ money)
- Become the trusted GUIDE by using empathy to what your audience cares about, and be a credible GUIDE who comes with a plan.
After you’ve done the three above things, you’re ready to create slides, an email, or any other document you have in mind to reach your audience. Here is an example of a great deck that is designed well (after doing the fundamentals before creating the slides).