Tech VC Pitch Tips

Most reps I know don’t get über-geeks.  Whether it be the billionaires that strike gold ten minutes after founding internet giants like Google, Myspace and Youtube, and the similarly vulgar-rich from pre-web software land-grabbers like Gates, Jobs or Ellison, or right through to the ‘kid’ that sits in a darkened room back at HQ that always seems to put you in your place without ever trying to, these people are just a different breed.

Our regular challenge is to harness the power of their knowledge, and use it (or them in person, if we dare!) to nudge a prospect closer to signing.  We ignore them at our peril.  In my very first sales role, I took to dragging along a techie as a closing routine, even leaving the room whilst a chat developed.  It was high risk, but when I thought the only differentiator was ‘people’, it got my close rates to a peer-whincing 1 in 1.7.

One of my projects right now involves so-called web 2.0 thinking.  As such I’ve surfed for pointers on how to best ‘pitch’, so that I can practice with everyone I know.  And I stumbled on a TechCrunch post aiming to pass on their 10 tips for presenting a start-up to hopeful investors.  It’s fascinating reading considering they state to have gleaned this analysis from hearing 200 pitches themselves and has stirred much debate.

I myself have for most of my selling life needed to ‘demo’ a piece of software.  So for me, all but one of their points stand out (re: the phone, as my such demos are always in person) from this as being of equal relevance to me in this field.

I would though advise caution with one.  That being the first regarding show the product within 60 seconds.  Clearly, a prospective customer demo is different to a potential funder in that the former requires you to show a solution to a situation they wish to resolve, whereas the latter seek to attribute what you offer to their financial return.  The difference may seem subtle, yet presenting a solution without first uncovering an explicitly agreed ‘need’ will get you nowhere, especially if you’re talking about a ‘problem’ that they didn’t even know they had.

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