THE PITCH A blog about the art of persuasion

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Drowning in data

pentagon big-dataNumbers are fantastic for entrepreneurs. They can express enormous market opportunity, excite investors with exponential returns on their money, and prove how pathetic your competitor’s efforts are in comparison.

Sometimes when going about the process of data mining you find a truckload of good data points and percentages that relate to your start-up. Flushed with excitement you create supporting slide after supporting slide, imagining how impressed investors will be with your hard work.

The problem is that numbers, like all good things in life, are not helpful to you when used in excess- and especially not good for your investor pitch deck. When your pitch slides start to look like a screen from the Matrix, brains turn off, eyes drift shut and wallets dry up.

This realization leaves you with two logical questions:

  1. How many data points should I use in my investor pitch?
  2. Which data points should I use?

Unfortunately there is no single correct answer for either question (though wouldn’t it be nice if we could just say 3 per page?). By asking yourself the following questions for each page, however, you should be able to hone in on an answer that fits your pitch.

  • Are these numbers adding value to my presentation?

Sometimes you can tell the same story with three numbers that you can with a hundred. As soon as you feel that individual data points are no longer adding to the story of your pitch, stop putting them on the slide.  Not sure? Test it out by explaining that piece to someone and see when the light bulb goes off.

  • What am I trying to accomplish with this page?

Some pieces will logically need more numbers than others. By thinking about the goal of the page, it should be fairly clear how much support you will need from the data in order to make your point. An example of this is the market-sizing piece; obviously you will need to use more data points on this slide than when you talk about your team members.

  • What is my presentation style?

This will require you to be honest with yourself. Are you a strong enough presenter to get up in front of a room full of investors and talk around slides that are primarily visual? Or do you need some numbers on the slide for reference? Figuring out this answer early in the process of creating your investor pitch will allow you to decide what needs to go on the slide and what can go in the speaker notes.

  • Who am I presenting to?

Investors are as different as individual snowflakes. Some will know a good idea as soon as they hear it, others will want reams of hard data to analyze before they pledge any money. Use whatever resources you can to find out the preferences of your audience beforehand so you can tailor your pitch to them.

The amount of data within each presentation is oftentimes one of the harder decisions to make, and varies greatly from pitch to pitch. How do you normally use numbers in your investor pitch?

Posted by Sol Marketing at 3:28 PM | Comments Off on Drowning in data

Topics: Building a pitch deck, Telling the Story