How to Prepare an Investor Pitch
Scheduling meetings with investors is only one-piece of the puzzle; once you have booked a meeting, you have to convince them why they should invest in your company. We surveyed hundreds of buy side professionals representing a variety of roles ranging from Analysts to Portfolio Managers to CIOs from major cities across North America to get their opinions on how to prepare a strong pitch.
We’ve outlined what you should know about investors before meeting with them, and some best practices to follow when preparing a pitch for new investors.
What you should know about investors before meeting with them
In one of the most staggering results of our survey, an overwhelming majority of buy-side respondents believe that issuers do not do enough due diligence in understanding who they are and what they are looking for before meeting with them.
A whopping 89% of respondents do not believe that issuers perform enough due diligence before conducting outreach. One respondent said:
“Management teams should think about what kind of shareholders they'd like to have, and what kinds of messages the prospective or current shareholders would be amenable to hearing. That's hard/a lot of work so I understand why many companies don't do it and instead just send around generic IR people. But they have a lot of room to improve.”
So that begs the question - how can I better familiarize myself with the investor I’m meeting with? In today’s age of technology, we have an abundance of information at the tip of our fingers. The first thing we’d recommend is reading more about the investor’s company and what type of investment opportunities they are looking for. If possible, try and do some research on the individual investors that you plan to meet with using the information available online.
Another respondent suggested that IR professionals should better familiarize themselves with the variables of the investor:
“IR teams are generally unaware of our mandates, objectives, AUM or many of the key variables. I start all of my interactions with a 3 minute introduction of these variables to better calibrate the conversation, but question whether they retain this information for future interactions.”
Keep these variables in mind when preparing a business plan for investors. While it may be tempting to take a one-size-fits-all approach, you should be leveraging your internal information on investors to maximize the effectiveness of your communication strategy. Keeping track of what investors look for in a pitch is easy if you use a dedicated IRM to keep notes and conversations organized. This is critical because it allows you to come to the meeting and show that you remember them by summarizing what they told you last time.
Furthermore, you should be tailoring your investor pitch emails to your audience. By doing this you are likely to win more meetings and have a better conversation with the investor.
Preparing a pitch deck for potential investors
When putting together your pitch deck for investors you need to carefully consider your audience. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is their investment style?
- Does this investor have a technical background in my industry?
- How long do they typically hold positions?
- Do they have an ESG mandate?
- Do they hold similar companies to mine?
You have to understand who your investor is and what they want. Sean Mcnulty, Principal at XIB Financial Inc offers this advice:
“Ask some questions at the beginning to ask the investor what they actually care about and are looking for, rather than assuming that they care about everything the issuer is trying to pitch them on. For example, a long-only asset management might only care about the development of your business over the next 2-3 years vs. a small-cap event driven hedge fund might care a lot more about your current balance sheet and whether you need money or what the implication of this currently pending M&A transaction is”. - Sean Mcnulty, Principal at XIB Financial Inc.”
Another respondent echoed this sentiment, and took it one step further by suggesting:
“It might help to have former buy-side people on staff / in investor relations to understand what the investment community prefers to see. Maybe it's a focus on competitive advantages; dividend growth; underlying free cash flow; forward looking industry outlooks. Maybe that helps companies garner higher multiples and a lower cost of capital.”
While it may not always be feasible to have former buy-side or sell-side professionals on your IR team, it certainly is important to do your due diligence on your investors. Preparing a pitch for investors should not be a one size fits all process. While your pitch deck no doubt includes all sorts of information on industry trends, competitors, and forecasts, you should not be presenting the same boilerplate deck each time. When possible, customize your presentation to your investor and make sure to emphasize the key variables they care about.
The best investor pitch is one that is tailored to your investors. When preparing investor materials, nothing is more important than doing your due diligence. Different investors are looking for different things; some might want to see more granular financial metrics while others may be more interested in industry trends and your growth potential. Ultimately, it falls on you to do your research and make sure you’re reaching out to investors aligned with your company’s goals. Keeping your IRM and investor databases up to date with notes about investors and your previous interactions can help you target the right investors and prepare a stronger pitch.