A sales deck is a tool used to pitch an idea, concept or product. The term was coined by the startup community as the traditional business plan became less popular among entrepreneurs over time. In fact, some investors now say they won’t even read a formal business plan. Instead, they are demanding a concise and persuasive slide deck as the first step in their evaluation process.
If you are looking for investors for your startup or business, it’s important to understand how to put together an effective sales deck that gets people excited about your idea. Here are six critical components to make an effective copy:
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The first thing readers will see is usually your headline. With that in mind, be sure it features what problem your product solves or why there’s demand for it. You can highlight it in your sales deck template.
It’s important for entrepreneurs to develop an elevator pitch that succinctly describes what new product, service or solution they are offering. The key is to get investors excited by the problem statement while understanding its importance in your overall business strategy.
The next section you should cover in your presentation is why this particular product will be successful. This means you must understand where there is demand and who your target customers are. You have to determine their age, gender and income level.
It’s equally important to understand how big the market opportunity is and how much it might grow over time.
Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
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If your startup isn’t differentiated from the competition, chances are investors won’t want to take a risk with you. Your UVP is what makes your business unique and stand out in the market. It highlights why it’s important, what problem it solves and why no one else can offer this benefit or solution.
Team and Experience
The team behind a startup or young business is the essence of its brand. Investors want to know how your work history, personal experience and education have prepared you to deliver on your idea.
Investors want to know who the competition is, including direct competitors as well as indirect ones. If you are successful, what threat does that pose and how will you overcome it?
Many entrepreneurs use a chart or spreadsheet to show potential investors the annual growth of key metrics. This can be revenue or memberships, for example.
If you are looking to attract angel investors, it’s common for them to ask for a three to five-year projection showing specific projections on capital expenses, revenue and earnings. They may also want an executive summary or business plan which can be an additional 20 to 30 pages with all the details of your business. Investors are likely to review these aspects before they commit to making an investment.
Your product might be good, but it’s not enough to win over investors if they don’t fully understand how it works or feel comfortable with its technical capabilities. Product details are the key here so explain how your solution works in plain language that even an experienced salesperson could understand (which often means simplifying complicated technology).
What’s your game plan for selling this idea to customers? How will you get into their hands? In other words, who is responsible for getting the message out and what tactics will they use?
These might sound like meaningless questions. However, to your audience, they are critical to making the right decision so make sure to include the answers in your sales deck outline. If you are unsure how to do that, you can look for sales deck examples online.
Investors want to see that you really believe in yourself and the product or service. Passion is one thing, but you need to have a plan to back that up, whether it’s a strong understanding of the competitive landscape or a strategy for engaging with customers. In short, it’s important to have a strong understanding of your business, all your core metrics and the market you’re operating in.
Nothing excites investors more than a startup that can make them money. It’s important to communicate how you expect the company to grow from revenue, sales, investments and profits.
In fact, some experts recommend putting your financial forecasts at the end of your slide deck since it doesn’t help entrepreneurs convince potential backers that their idea is worth investing in. However, it does reveal whether or not you have developed realistic goals for your business.
Finally, it is important to explain how the company has an advantage over the competition. If you’re the first to come out with a product and no competitors exist, that’s a great place to be in. But if there are competitors, be sure to highlight the advantages of your product or service and why it stands out.
It’s important for startup founders and entrepreneurs to craft their own stories around what they do. Great investors look for passion, conviction and integrity – all of which make a startup or business much more compelling and exciting to work with.
Don’t forget to proofread and get feedback from a trusted colleague before sending your final sales deck design to investors. This makes sure nothing gets missed and the messaging stays consistent throughout the document.
There are many great resources available online to help you develop an effective sales deck. Just look at Venngage. The platform has so many sales deck templates you can tweak based on what your business needs.
Create the best sales deck ever today!