How To Create Winning Investor Presentations

Do you have a winning investor presentation?  Do you know how to write one?  Could you improve your current presentation?

Successful investor presentations come in all shapes and sizes.  But underpinning all of them are a few basic truths.

We’ve been creating winning investor presentations for 15 years and over that time have learned what makes the difference between the just good enough and the great.  And while shareholders are becoming more selective, it is more important than ever to create winning investor presentations.

This advice combines what our coaches say and what we have heard from investors on panels we have chaired at SuperReturn conferences.

Check your own investor presentations against our essential tests.

Ten ways to create a winning investor presentation

1. A winning investor presentation gets a clear story across

2. Great investor presentations showcase the quality of your team

3. A winning investor presentation feels open and transparent

4. A better investor presentation builds confidence

5. A successful investor presentation answers tough questions

6. Improve your investor presentations by using stories

7. Winning investor presentations develop the relationship

8. Great investor presentations explain what makes you special

9. Better investor presentations feel important

10. Improve your investor presentations:  practise properly

1. A winning investor presentation gets a clear story across

Your business is complicated and your market is ever changing.  You could probably spend hours just describing the impact of Brexit.  But for an outsider – an investor – complexity is a problem.  If an investment sounds complicated, it is off-putting.  We all know the old investor adage:  “only invest in businesses you understand”.

So, it’s your job to make your investment story easy.   We’ve seen great results for our clients just by simplifying your equity stories.

For example, after a recent Capital Markets Day coaching session we saw 7% added to the share price of a £1bn chemicals business.  This was after we stripped back their CMD messages and simplified the investor story.  The result was a series of analyst notes that all reinforced what the company wanted to say.

Improve your investor presentation

2. Winning investor presentations showcase your team

Investors may be used to seeing the CEO, CFO and Head of IR, but shouldn’t they also get to hear from a wider team?  When investors see the strength and depth of the management team, they feel more confident.

One way to make the whole team look particularly impressive is to create a consistent Red Thread Message and run it through all the presentations during an investor day.

And of course, you should give those who don’t regularly speak to investors the training and coaching they need to give a great performance.

Get investor meeting coaching

3. A great investor presentation feels open and transparent

In a winning investor presentation you share the challenges facing your business and have an honest discussion about the industry.  In this way, the investor sees a business that understands its weaknesses as well as its strengths.

That helps build confidence and credibility.

It can sometimes feel counter-intuitive to be completely honest and open, but you’ll find that investors will respond well to someone who shows they understand the weaknesses in their business as well as its strong points.

4. A better investor presentation builds confidence

Confidence is built slowly and lost quickly.  The efforts you make towards building confidence will help you through tougher times. Your first investor meeting is key.

For example, work on the important things, like never over-promising; listening to investors and showing that you want more from them then just their money.

The relationship between an investor and investee is complex and you want to continually build confidence in you and your business.

Get support with pitch deck writing

5. A winning investor presentation answers tough questions

Some investors love to ask tough questions.  And they may be asking those questions for different reasons.

For example, they may want to see how you react to an unanswerable question. They may want to show off to their colleagues. They may want to test how you behave under pressure.  Or they may just want a simple answer.

And, if you learn the techniques for answering questions well, you will not be put off, even by the most aggressive, unanswerable question.

If you want help handling tough questions, get in touch.

Investor pitch coaching starts here

6. Improve your investor presentations by using stories

Stories are the secret weapon of winning investor presentations.  The best meetings use stories extensively. How do you do that?

Spencer Miller told us, “I want to understand who they are; what the strategy is. Private equity fund teams can bring this to life by using case studies about investments. “Case studies answer questions around competition, market positioning, strategy and value.” When you learn how to tell great business stories you can make a better impact in your investor meetings.

Learn how to create a great equity story.

Improve My Investor Presentation Today

7. Winning investor presentations develop the relationship

“What I really like to see is consistency, persistence and understanding,” said Anna Dayn. “We’re building long-term relationships, so I want to see recognition that this is a long game. “In terms of understanding, it’s about finding the right balance with investors, staying on top of that and, after that meeting with us, following up, and not getting ahead of the process.”

Improve My Investor Presentations Today

8. Better investor presentations explain what makes you special

“For us it has to be very clear what exactly you do to create value,” said Marc der Kinderen. “What’s the return driver? What is your ‘trick’ that you can do repeatedly? We’re looking for groups that can explain to us what they are very good at, and go into case studies. Then our team can sit together and compare notes in a systematic way.”

9. Winning investor presentations feel important

“The final thing for me,” said Spencer Miller, “Is that private equity fund teams have got to have all the energy, enthusiasm for the meeting as if this is the first meeting of the day – even if it’s the last.”  How you behave in your investor pitch is important.  Hence our tenth tip.

10. Improve your investor presentations:  practise properly

How do you pitch to an investor to win?

When tennis champion Roger Federer walks on to Centre Court, he doesn’t know the speed, angle or direction his opponent will serve, volley or return.

He can research who he’s playing and watch footage of that person in previous matches. But he cannot predict what they will do. This is the opposite of a professional wrestling match, where every move and outcome is pre-determined. The two sports require dramatically different preparation processes.

Professional wrestlers plan, rehearse and fine-tune each move. Tennis players, however, need to prepare for the unpredictable.

Pitching your business or fund to investors is like tennis.

How to pitch investors to win? Prepare for the unpredictable

Investors will slam tough questions over the net that you need to return with a poised volley. It can be intimidating. Many of our clients have told us that answering investor questions is the part they dread most. It is, however, essential to the process. After all, any pitch suffers from information asymmetry – one party knows a lot more about the deal than the other.

It’s the investor’s job to ask tough questions.

Imagine you are involved in an M&A Management Presentation. Investors have a duty to peel back the curtain and look behind-the-scenes before reaching a decision, like financial detectives conducting a forensic exam. That’s because the stakes are high. If investors hear a defensive or aggressive response they will get wary. They worry that you’re hiding something, and that the deal could backfire. So how do you prepare for questions you can’t predict? Like Roger Federer, you practice, preferably with an expert coach.

Winning investor pitches – How do you prepare?

At BBA, your coach will pose a tough question and you respond. Your coach asks a second question and you respond, and then your coach gives feedback on your first few answers. You discuss potential stumbling blocks and your coach shares practical advice and insight that helps you shape a clear and coherent path through your thoughts. Your coach puts the first question to you again in a slightly different form, and you give a slightly more concise, confident and persuasive response.

Some of the questions from the session will throw you

You take time to think them through, try out some answers and practise delivering them out loud on your own. You identify  gaps in your knowledge and pick up a few additional facts and figures to use in your answers next time round. Then, you meet with your coach again, and he or she starts pounding the balls over the net. But this time, you’re ready to return them more swiftly and gracefully.

Instead of wincing when you hear a particularly aggressive question, you relax and smile, responding honestly but positively. Within a few sessions, you’ll feel ready for whatever happens on Centre Court.

If you fail to prepare…..

After all, Roger Federer doesn’t start a tennis match hoping for a series of easy and predictable shots.

Likewise, invest in preparation and you’ll be able to embrace the tough questions as a challenging – but perhaps even enjoyable – part of the pitching process.

Find out how to improve your investor pitch

What do investors really want? Six tips

We wrote this piece with our Private Equity clients in mind.

But there are good lessons here for anyone pitching to investors or delivering new business pitches. During the past few months we’ve been quizzing investors about how to pitch investors. We’ve identified six main themes from their feedback that you can apply to your next pitch.

These six pitch tips are essential reading for anyone speaking to investors or delivering new business pitches:

How to Pitch Investors to Win Tip #1. Think conversation, rather than broadcast

Investors tell us that those who pitch often ask what the investor wants to cover in a pitch meeting… but then default to their standard spiel anyway. Or investors ask a question, and are told that it will be answered later on in the presentation. More often than not, the question never gets addressed. The best pitches are conversations. In fact, the more interaction the better, as this helps the investors feel engaged and interested.

Takeaway: Think of your pitches as conversations or discussions, rather than formal, one-way broadcasts. Ask questions, act on the answers and respond to questions from investors as and when they arise.

Find out how to improve your investor pitch

Winning Investor Presentations Tip #2. Test your team dynamics

Investors say one of their key tests is how well the pitching team interacts. Does the team present a united front, or do the individuals contradict, interrupt or ignore each other? When one person is talking, do the others remain attentive and engaged? Or do they thumb their phone screen or look impatient until it’s their turn to speak? Another warning sign for investors is when only the most senior person speaks. They want to hear from everyone in the room. Otherwise, why are you all there?

Takeaway: Check if you are presenting as a team or a group of individuals. One way to do this is by role-playing different meetings and filming your pitch rehearsals. Analyse your team dynamics and polish your imperfections before investors see you.

Find out how to improve your investor pitch

How to Improve Your Investor Presentation Tip #3. Tell the truth

Some people are consistently successful – based on what they say in their pitches. Bad deals are excised from track records, performance is adjusted in infinitely creative ways (explained in a footnote in tiny text) and simple questions receive vague, elusive answers. Several investors told us they’ve terminated pitches immediately after encountering the above tactics. Your investor pitch is the start of what will hopefully become a long-term relationship. That requires mutual trust, which can only come from transparency and honesty.

Takeaway: Investors know that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Acknowledge what you haven’t done so well. Talk through what you’ve learned from it or how you’ve changed your strategy as a result.

Then, when you speak about your successes, you’ll have far greater credibility.

Find out how to improve your investor pitch

Pitching to Investors to Win Tip #4. Keep it brief

Investors tell us they crave brevity. They don’t want to be taken though your 150-slide deck. They’re looking for a 20-minute high level overview followed by discussion. Saying less, but in a memorable, engaging and succinct way, is better than blasting investors with too much detail. Get across the heart of your strategy in three points, each backed up with evidence. Show your strategy in action, through stories about the impact you have had on portfolio companies. Finally, don’t build up to a big reveal on slide 48. You may never get to it.

Takeaway: Write out everything that you want to say, then hack it right back. Edit ruthlessly until you are left with a compelling investment narrative, backed by evidence.

The rules of brevity apply to your pitch book, too. Score your pitch book for investor-readiness against our six questions here.

Find out how to improve your investor pitch

Improved Investor Pitching Tip #5. Communicate your unique difference

Investors tell us that many propositions look the same. Naturally, they all forecast promising returns. But as past performance is no guarantee of future returns, even business with strong histories of market-beating growth need to demonstrate more than a good track record.

  • What does your team do differently?
  • What is your repeatable ‘trick’?
  • How will you consistently drive above-average performance?

Takeaway: Your pitch needs to convince investors that your team and business or fund are more attractive and transactable than the alternatives. What is your unique difference and how does it fit with what the investors are trying to achieve?

Find out how to improve your investor pitch

Pitching to Investors Tip #6. Keep in touch outside of fundraising periods

Too many fund managers and businesses are like politicians – they only campaign when they want something. Yet investors tell us that calls from funds or businesses who aren’t trying to raise immediate capital are rare but welcomed. They enable both parties to check for fit without the pressure of a deadline.

Investors’ decision-making process can stretch from as little as several months to as long as whole fundraising cycles. So you’ll regret your inertia if you wait until you’re actively in need of investment.

Takeaway: Don’t hold back your fundraising fuel for once every five years; keep the fire burning continuously and you’ll be rewarded with warmer investor interest when your hand is outstretched.

Improve Your Investor Pitch

Pitch confidently, memorably and effectively

We can work with you to ensure your investor pitch is ripe and ready to impress investors. Our team will strengthen every element of your pitch, including your:

  • Investor proposition.
  • Pitch book.
  • Meeting performance.
  • Presentation materials and visual aids.

Talk to us about your current situation and we’ll recommend the best way to get you and your pitch in shape before your next investor meeting.

Find out how to improve your investor pitch

Visit our website, call Louise on 020 7018 0922 or email her via You may also be interested in our Little Green Book for Private Equity Fund Managers. This short guide details what we do at each stage of the process and how we can help you overcome your challenges with investors.

How to improve your investor presentations

If you want your next investor presentation to be a real success, speak to us.

We can help you create powerful persuasive investor messages, design great materials and coach / rehearse your team so your shareholders go away with exactly the impression you want.

Call our Client Services Director Louise Angus today on +44 20 7018 0922 or email her now to discuss how we can help you. 

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About Benjamin Ball Associates

Benjamin Ball Associates Team

At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help clients to communicate better with investors.

Over the years the BBA team has coached thousands of senior executives globally to present themselves powerfully to investors. You get access to a transformational toolbox of techniques to help you become a clear, confident communicator.

We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately, and we’ll transform you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.

Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email to find out more and discuss your upcoming investor presentation.

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