Financially Responsible Marketing

How to Build a Kickass Investor Relations Deck, part 1 of 2

Posted by on May 20, 2015

This is the first of two related posts on how to create a successful Investor Relations (IR) deck.  In this post, we focus on how to build your IR presentation deck.  The second will focus on presenting your slides.

Engaging The Street

Engaging the street

Presenting to investors is not easy. You’re asking flat-out for funds and support from the buy-side, a tough crowd that has seen countless presentations from countless presenters. You need to appeal to analysts, portfolio managers, and portfolio analysts.

To engage the street, you need a good story. Your investor audience wants your story to be:

  1. Short-and-sweet
  2. Easy to follow
  3. Compelling – designed to address their concerns and tickle their interest.

Core components of your story

Your story will supply answers to:

  • Who are we?
  • Where are we?
  • What do we do?
  • Where we have been?
  • Where are we going (what’s the opportunity?)

Typically, you’ll accomplish that with the following slides, which will form the core of your presentation:

  1. Company overview
  2. Service overview
  3. Past performance
  4. Strengths
    • Leadership team / Who we are / Experience
  5. Overview of competition/ Our competitive advantage
  6. Market opportunities
  7. Financials
    • Growth plan

How to be brief!

Listeners hope for brevity, a clean hard-hitting story. Presenters fear leaving something out and often think that everyone else shares the same fascination they have for their business.

As a presenter, what tips and tricks can you use to arrive at the brevity your audience wants?

First, cobble together a rough draft of your presentation as above, outlining your company, your strengths, and the opportunity. Once you’ve got that:

  1. Focus on one-three opportunities in your presentation. Anything else, delete. Your audience cannot retain more than three. Try for more and you’re likely to end up with zero in terms of interest and retention.
  2. Adopt Guy Kawasaki’s excellent 10-20-30 rule for PowerPoint pitches. Guy (who was on the marketing team for the first Mac in 1984, and went on to start and fund many e-ventures) developed the rule after listening as a venture capitalist to hundreds of pitches. What’s the rule? Maximum 10 slides, maximum 20 minutes, minimum 30-point font. For IR presentations the 10 may go to 15 (not including disclaimers, title pages and section breaks/headings)and the 30 may go as low as 18, but only for bios. Keep that font-size large for a better, stronger presentation.)
  3. Put the bulk of your text in your speaking notes. This will make your slides more attention-getting. It will also prevent your audience from reading ahead of you and nodding off until the next slide.
  4. Think about what will appeal to your audience, rather than what gets you excited. As an example, you might be captivated by Healthcare’s way-finding technology, whereas your audience might be more interested in how much competition you have, the scope of your market, and the barriers to entry. Sexy and hi-tech as your opportunity may be, your audience needs the story of the boring repetitive income, the solid cash flow growth, the protected barrier to entry. Do NOT be afraid to tell a story that might be dull to many but hits hot buttons with investors. Remember – you want their money!
  5. The market is now well beyond tired templates. In other words – invest in your presentation. With professional support on design and content you draw investor interest more easily, you show you’re leading the charge in investing in your opportunity, you set yourself apart. As a major bonus, your professional design and content can be re-purposed and used in initial IPOs, quarterly reports, and future roadshows.

You can lose’em… but you can’t win ’em

You cannot win the deal in your first presentation. You can only spark enough interest that an interested investor moves to the next step. But you can lose your audience, by over-presenting. Put just enough on your slides to spark interest and induce questions. But never enough to overwhelm.

Your objective is not to put everything about your business on your slides. Your objective is to create a clear, concise, compelling story that shows your audience the opportunity and induces questions.

Worried about where to put the numbers and details? Don’t forget – you can always provide appendices and leave-behinds (e.g. detailed financial statements).

A few more things to remember

  • Include page numbers; when you’re presenting on a conference call, page numbers help keep everyone … on the same page.
  • If it sounds too good to be true? Your audience will assume that it is. Be realistic. Under-promise; over-deliver. Always leave something on the table.
  • Make sure your message and branding are aligned to your website. A consistent message is a powerful message.

Your deck is your living breathing message

Your deck is never done. It’s a living breathing entity. Tempting as it is to put the check-mark on your to-do list, you’ll meet with greater success if you continue to revise based on feedback.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post: How to Present Your IR Deck, which will be posted DATE. Click here for an email reminder.