Master Your Investor Roadshow Presentation in 2024
January 22, 2024
If you are preparing your roadshow presentation, then you’ll want to do everything to make it a success.
We’ve been offering roadshow presentation training for 15 years and in that time we have seen the difference between a successful and unsuccessful roadshow.
What’s the one big lesson we’ve learned? When you prepare a roadshow presentation you cannot put too much effort into polishing your presentation. That means polishing how your team handles each investor meeting (not just creating prettier slides).
An Investor Roadshow Story
It was a Thursday evening. The phone rang in the office. One of the big international banks was on the line. They needed some help. The CEO and CFO of MoneySupermarket.com has just presented their roadshow pitch to the bank’s sales team, and it was not good.
When a company floats in the stock exchange in an Initial Public Offering, or IPO, the management team of the company go on a roadshow, meeting potential investors and presenting their story and the reasons to invest in the business. The bank prepares a detailed pitch deck for the roadshow. To kick off the process the bank sales team is one of the first to hear the pitch so they can call their customers and book appointments. In this case the sales team was not impressed.
The MoneySupermarket IPO was a big one. Google had IPOed a few weeks previously and the bank wanted to use the Google excitement to raise money so that MoneySupermarket could continue its fast growth.
The banker wondered if we could help. But there was a small problem: today was Thursday and the roadshow started on Monday.
At 8am the next morning we sat down with the MoneySupermarket team. We asked them to run through their pitch. After a couple of minutes, we stopped. It was terrible. So we asked them about it.
If any of you know the IPO process, you will know that it is gruelling. In this case the CFO had not had more than 4 hours sleep per night in the last six months. Both were drained and their enthusiasm had faded away. On top of that the story, as told in the roadshow pitch deck, was not their story. It was the bank’s story.
We asked them to tell us their story in their own words. What we heard was how they started the business. How they struggled. How they grew it from an idea into the largest price comparison site in the UK. They told us the vision was to save consumers money. They told us their plans to expand the business.
As they told their story, you could see their eyes shine and their enthusiasm rise. This was a business they were truly passionate about.
So we took a risk. We suggested they put aside their pitch deck and just tell their story as they were telling it to us. Occasionally they would refer to a slide or a particular graph – visual aids to enhance the story – everyone would be given the deck to read anyway – but there would be no ‘turning the pages of a presentation’.
All Friday we worked on this story: fine tuning the messages, agreeing the structure and helping them both tell the exciting story they had to tell.
By the end of Friday they were transformed. While the underlying story was the same, it now sounded personal, exciting and interesting. A listener could hear the drive in the voices of the speakers and they could see the hunger in their determination to grow and expand the business. By abandoning the traditional roadshow presentation, they enhanced rather than distracted from the story.
They then had the weekend to refine and practice so they were ready to go first thing on Monday.
A few weeks later the bank announced that the MoneySupermarket IPO was the biggest IPO since Google.
Why was it that the management struggled with the original roadshow presentation?
First, while the bank had produced a very strong document to tell the MoneySupermarket investment case, what they produced was a handout and not visual aids. It was perfect to be read at a desk, but was hard to use as a visual aid. For example, there were too many words on each page, there were too many ideas on each page and the story was too complicated to be a success as a visual aid.
Second, the story in the roadshow pitch deck was the investment story. What the management was better at was telling was their story. While the two stories – the investment story and the personal story – were clearly interlinked, management found it much easier to tell a story from their point of view rather than from an investor’s point of view. So, just by tweaking the perspective so the story came ‘more from the heart rather than the head’ it was easier to tell.
Third, this was a big stakes event. It was the largest financial transaction that anyone the team had been involved with. They were being advised by bankers, lawyers, accountants, due diligence providers, the banker’s accountants, the accountants’ lawyers…. In the end they were being so careful about what they were saying that all the heart had gone from the process. When they presented the roadshow pitch initially they were telling the story others wanted them to tell. And it was hard. What we helped them do was tell their own story, in a way that felt natural and personal. Their story still had the same information, but they now told it in a way that felt right. And when it feels right it become easier.
These three traps: Visual Aids as Handouts; The wrong story and the wrong perspective are three common problems that plague roadshow presentations.
Successful roadshows mean clear, simple & consistent investor meetings
After all, when investors judge the future of your business, they rely on the impression you make – or what others say about you. Looking across the dozens of deals we have supported, we’ve identified six key themes:
What you’ll learn with roadshow presentation coaching
- Look comfortable in your roadshow meetings
- Tell a simple and clear story
- Address investor concerns in your roadshow presentation
- Paint a picture of the future of your business
- Showcase the quality of the team
- Be consistent throughout your roadshow
Roadshow Presentation Coaching Tip 1 – You need to be really comfortable with the meetings
This is tough. During the roadshow process you have advisors. Lots of them. And they are all giving you advice. But the advice is not always consistent. How do you keep your cool and stick to what you really stand for? A few years ago we got a call from one of the big banks. The IPO they were working on – a large price-comparison site – was in trouble.
Management had just pitched to the bank’s sales team two days before the IPO roadshow and they were terrible. The next morning we started work with the CEO and CFO. It was immediately evident that management were trying to tell their story via the bank’s IPO presentation pitch deck.
While the pitch deck was good and comprehensive, it was not much use to the CEO when he was trying to tell an exciting story. So, we worked with the CEO and CFO and helped them re-think how they ran their investor meetings. Their story became more personal, more credible and more powerful. It reinforced the messages in the pitch book – but without following it slavishly.
Roadshow Presentation Training Tip 2 – Your investment story must be simple
Every business is complex. And the closer you are to the business, the more complex it looks.
But for investors, if your equity story is difficult to understand, it is less attractive.
A few years ago we were supporting a Swedish tech business with their IPO.
They had an amazing business, but it was highly technical. And the bank’s “Eight reasons to invest in this business” did not help. So we helped management describe their technology in terms of the benefits it brought to their customers.
By developing a problem-solution approach in the presentation it was easier for investors to understand the market and the value the company delivered. After that it was simple for investors to grasp the real value of that business.
Roadshow Presentation Training Tip 3 – Address investor concerns
Every investor will have concerns. Both buy-side and sell-side analysts will have concerns. If they don’t, they are not doing their job. So you need to address those concerns, ideally by getting on the front foot. The failed WeWork IPO is a good example of how not to reassure investors.
When we work with firms we examine in detail what might worry investors and then incorporate these issues into the equity story. You will sound much more credible if you acknowledge the risks up front and explain what you are doing to address them.
Roadshow Presentation Coaching Tip 4 – Paint a clear picture of the future
Equity investors buy into the future, not the past. But it’s hard – the future is opaque and you are limited in what you can say.
Your past successes will reassure investors. But the most important part of your job is to convince investors that that you know where you are going and that you can maintain that success.
A few years ago we helped a big cinema chain float. The CEO was very impressive, but the way he told his story during the IPO presentation was all about how they had got to where they were.
We helped him transform his story and add in a clear description of the future and why his company was best positioned to capture even more value in this business.
Roadshow Presentation Tip 5 – Show the quality of the team beyond CEO & CFO
Many investors may not meet anyone beyond the senior team during the float. While these individuals may be impressive, one of the key skills of a great CEO is to demonstrate they have a great team behind them. There are many ways to do this and it’s a critical part of making a successful pitch.
For example, you can use stories to show the strength and depth of the team, or you can refer specifically to individuals in the team. The whole idea is to give investors the sense that there is a broad and strong team behind the company’s success. And make sure everyone is fully prepared to answer tough investor questions.
Roadshow Presentation Coaching Tip 6 – Be consistent – everywhere
Your Roadshow story needs to resonate throughout the organisation – and beyond. The story investors hear must tie in with what staff hear, what customers hear and what they read in the press. We help management achieve this with coaching on media interviews and public speaking coaching as well as roadshow pitch coaching.
In the end, these different strands must all tie together so that investors, staff and customers hear a clear, consistent and convincing story. In this way, you build confidence with investors, analysts and the markets.
How to improve your roadshow presentations
To discuss the support you can get with your roadshow or major transaction, call us today. We are always happy to share ideas and discuss ways to make sure your roadshow is even more successful.
How to prepare for a roadshow
About Benjamin Ball Associates
At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help our clients to communicate better. You get presentation coaching for executives.
Over 15+ years the award-winning BBA team has coached thousands of senior executives globally to present powerfully. You get access to a transformational toolbox of presentation skills & 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and discuss transforming your speeches, pitches and presentations.
Contact us for a chat about how we can help you with your presenting.
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