How to create a compelling pitch deck

By Early Metrics Team - 29 July 2022

A pitch deck is a document typically used by companies or entrepreneurs to present their company. It’s a key tool to provide an overview of your business and express its vision in the short and long term. Information contained in this document should help to reassure or convince your company’s audience (investors, corporates, etc). It is therefore crucial to design it with care.

To attract attention and deliver key messages in a short span of time, your pitch deck must be concise, clear and visual. You should avoid slides that are mainly text-based and favour a streamlined design that highlights figures and key words. In general it’s best to include 2-to-3 key pieces of information per slide.

So how should you structure your pitch deck? What information should be included? In this article, we go over the fundamentals to keep in mind when designing this important presentation.

Three essential pillars for your pitch deck

Your pitch deck should be well-organised and follow a common thread. The following sections are essential to any standard pitch deck.

The genesis of your company:

To begin with, it is common practice to start with the origins of your project and its genesis. This is a key step for your audience to discover the reasons behind the creation of your project and to learn more about its management team. In these first slides you should include the answer to certain questions:

  • Who are the founders?
  • What is their background (degrees, past experience, etc.)?
  • How did they meet?
  • How did they come up with the idea of the project?

The purpose of this section of the pitch deck is to highlight the complementary nature of the partners and, above all, to show the coherence between the project and the entrepreneurs’ background. Depending on your situation, it may be wise to spend more time on some areas than others. For example, if this project is not related to your professional background, your audience may want to better understand where you got the idea for the project and how you created it despite your apparent lack of prior experience and expertise.

The presentation of your project:

After presenting the genesis of your company, your audience will want to hear more about the project itself. This part of the pitch deck will tend to be one of the longest. It presents both your technology and your commercial progress to date. Your aim is to ensure that your audience remembers what you have developed from a technical point of view. They need to understand the different aspects of your solution and acquire an overview of your roadmap. This section will also allow you to present your project’s commercial progress thus far. You should therefore include the number of clients you have signed and the turnover you have generated to date. You can also highlight some commercial KPIs and discuss your sales pipeline.

No matter your level of development, you will need to be able to provide a clear vision of your project. You’ll need to highlight key points without over-explaining them.

The presentation of your market: 

Finally, it is crucial to end with a section that addresses your market. This part will help your audience understand the ecosystem in which you’re evolving. Here you should present both the trends in the sector (growth, technologies, level of market education, etc.) and the main players with whom you are competing. Full transparency is expected here, as well as extensive research.

Whether it’s investors or large groups, most audiences prefer a graphical representation of the market rather than a table. Try to make the information visual so that your audience can quickly draw conclusions. This part of your pitch deck is decisive in convincing and reassuring your audience by showing that you master your market.

Details to make your pitch deck stand out

Now that you are familiar with the structure and the main points of your pitch deck, let’s talk about the subtleties that are good to include in order to add value and stand out from ordinary presentations. Here are some tips:

Adapt your pitch deck to your audience:

Generally speaking, a good practice is to adapt your pitch deck to the type of person you are talking to. Indeed, the important information to highlight may vary according to your audience. Are you presenting your project to investors for a fundraising or to a corporate for a partnership? Having two or three different pitch decks to adapt certain elements can be useful.

For example, if it is a presentation for a fundraising, it would be useful to insert slides relating to the amount of money requested, the different uses of the funds and above all the exit strategy. Indeed, you should present the potential options for your future investors to sell their shares.

Furthermore, keep in mind the expertise level of your audience. Limit the number of acronyms used in your pitch deck to avoid any misunderstandings or confusion.

Have a clear HR strategy:

During the presentation of your team, it is important to show a clear HR strategy. You should be able to present your current team but also your recruitment plan. In fact, take advantage of this part to demonstrate that you are aware of the main HR stakes your company faces (the need to recruit certain skills, to grow the team to be able to scale, etc). Your audience will be reassured to see that you have already anticipated future needs to ensure the progress of your technical roadmap and growth of your company.

Include an analysis of your sales pipeline:

Regarding the project part of your pitch deck, in addition to the technical roadmap mentioned above, it is also worth dissecting your sales pipeline. For example, you can distinguish your hot sales leads from the others and class your leads by activity sector.

Be honest about your competition:

Remember to be humble and not to overestimate your strengths compared to your competitors. Try to remain as neutral as possible when presenting your strengths and be clear when talking about your competitors. Take the time to explain their strengths and mention the solutions that are most similar to yours.

Don’t think that presenting competing solutions diminishes the value of your project or takes away your strengths. On the contrary, a good analysis of your project compared to other players on the market will help you explain the differences between you and your competitors and how you stand out. Moreover, your audience will tend to appreciate your measured and objective perspective.

In short, a good pitch deck is an efficient, clear and concise presentation that gets straight to the point. The aim is not to put in as much content as possible, but simply to present your audience the most important figures and data. Don’t forget you can always provide more details to your audience in person during or after the presentation.

Written by Marceau Walker, Analyst at Early Metrics, and translated by Julie Durban

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