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Sales Pitch Decks vs. Investor Pitch Decks - What's The Difference?

What is the difference between a sales pitch deck and an investment (or investor) pitch deck? Find out in this article.

Many entrepreneurs are unclear on what distinguishes these two types of decks, but there are some key distinctions.

The most crucial difference to keep in mind when trying to differentiate one from another is that an investor or investment-oriented pitching involves selling the entire company.

At the same time, a traditional sales-oriented presentation would only promote individual products and services.

Another central point for differentiation lies with who you’re addressing your presentation to.

Investors typically want more detail about how your business will use their money, whereas customers might not care so much as long as they see positive results from it!

Let’s take a deeper look at the differences and similarities between these two popular pitch decks.

What is an Investor Pitch Deck?

What is an investor pitch deck | man pitches ideas to a room of people

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An investment pitch deck is intended to convince an investor that your business idea will be a good thing for them.

Investors typically look at long-term relationships, knowing that there won't be returns on their initial investments.

If a company's concept is well-thought-out and executed, investors are banking on the likelihood of significant gains in the future.

What is a Sales Pitch Deck?

On the flip side, a sales deck is much more short-term because you use a sales deck to convince a potential customer to purchase your product or service. However, your product or service can be something that will work in the long term.

This is particularly true for Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses, where once the customer buys into the product or the service, they’ll be setting that service up and using it on a long-term basis.

Imagine that you’re buying a product or service, and the sales process will be short. You're going to decide whether or not it's right for you. You’d also expect that there should be instant gratification because your decision is based on wanting immediate access to what was purchased.

The demands of an investor and the needs of a customer are vastly different. Therefore, when creating your pitch deck, you need to be aware that what makes for an excellent sales presentation is not always appropriate when pitching an investment opportunity.

So make sure that you’re only including relevant information for whichever type of pitch you’re preparing for.

What Should You Include in a Sales Pitch Deck?

What should you include in a sales deck? | Man presents to a boardroom

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A sales pitch deck would typically be more focused on your product or service. It should include the following elements.

Ideal Customer

You want to make it as easy as possible for potential customers so they can easily understand.

You're explaining the intricacies of your product, service, or business in a way that's understandable and straightforward.

Key Customer Problems / Challenges

You started your business because you saw a need that wasn't being met in the market. You realized there was something missing. Specify some of the problems that your target market is experiencing that led you to start the business.

Your Solution

Proceed to reveal the solution. It can be a product/ service, how it works, the benefits your target market will derive, and how you can apply them to your personal or business circumstances.

Competitive Advantage

Afterward, you’re probably going to explain why your product or services are the best. This is different from an investment deck, where you will most likely have a competitor comparison.

When you're doing a sales deck, it's best to avoid talking about the competition. Instead, focus on what makes your product or service stand out and why customers should work with you.

Value Proposition and Pricing

If it's a higher value product, it's going to cost customers more to buy it. Or perhaps if it is a long-term system that they're putting in place, then they're probably going to be talking to your competitors as well. Remember, even startups are a competition.

This is very different from when you're in an investment situation where what investors want is not typically choosing between you and your competitor. Instead, they’re choosing between you and all the other startup opportunities that are out there.

In the sales scenario, you are pitching against your other competitors more directly.

Next Step /Call to Action

How will the next step be taken with you? What process is required to purchase products and services from me? When can buyers expect the results or benefits they are looking for?

A sales deck typically addresses these questions.

Additional Information For a Sales Deck

Suppose you are a software or technology business. In that case, the information that you want to include in your sales deck will cover security and data privacy, as well as ongoing tech support and training.

If you're presenting to a company, provide details of who they need to call when selling them on your product to guide their next step forward with what they may like best for their company's needs.

If you're going to present in an online meeting, there must be a next step for the investor after your talk. Of course, include contact information and ask them what their next steps are, and answer any questions right away, so they have all of the information required to make their decision. You might want to discuss pricing options or models suitable for them as well- this is your sales deck!

What is Included in an Investor Pitch Deck?

What's included in an investor deck? | man presents product and pitch presentation to audience

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An investment pitch deck typically contains information such as the problem, the solution, competition, traction, business model, key metrics, average financial projections, etc.

Here’s a breakdown of the critical elements that we recommend that you include in an investment pitch deck.

Market Opportunity

Whereas we start the sales deck by leaping straight into the problem with the investment pitch deck, it's a much more macro experience.

The goal here is to set up for investors:

  • What the market opportunity is

  • What market we are talking about

  • What industry we are in

  • How big that market is

  • Where's the growth opportunity, and

  • The gap within your target market.

Problems That Your Business Solves

Like the sales deck, you have to touch on the problems that typically happen, but these can vary between an investment deck and a sales deck because you're talking to a different type of target audience.

The problems in an investment pitch deck might be overall a bit more macro.

Your Solution

At this stage, present your solution and then typically align it with the problems you've just talked about. For instance, this is how our solution solves those problems for the world. So again, it's typically a bit more macro than it would be in a sales deck.

In the sales deck, you might do a demo. With an investment pitch, there's a level of assumption by investors that you know what you’re doing if:

  • You have experience in the market or industry that you're going to be operating in

  • You have the right people on your team. Such as a CTO for a tech startup.

So, it isn’t necessary to go into the specific details of the features of the products because investors are looking for a bigger picture.

Intellectual Property, Patents, or Trademarks

You might then go into more details around things like patents or trademarks if those are relevant. A patent is always a good indicator for a potential investor to understand that what you've got is genuinely unique and can’t be copied.

Development Roadmap

You also want to demonstrate to potential investors where you are with the product development and the next stage you will be developing.

Whereas in a sales deck, you may talk about having plans for additional functionality, features, or benefits to the product in the future. But you probably wouldn't go into them in a lot of detail.

In an investment pitch deck, you want to go into a bit more detail on those so that investors can see a roadmap of what will happen over the next few years in terms of your product and product development roadmap.

Business Model
A business model should be included in an investor deck | business model on whiteboard

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You would also want to show the business model. So, this is a bit different than just displaying the pricing like you would in a sales deck.

In the investment pitch deck, you're telling investors how you intend to make money with your product or service.

And that's important for investors because they want to understand the type of value the product or service has per customer. They want to see the customer lifecycle and what the profit margins are in your business model.

Financial Projections

You're also going to dive deeper into the financial model of your business. You want to demonstrate that you've done some serious work on understanding your budget and your expenses.

When it comes to costs, the expenses you currently incur won't be the same next year because you'll have added more people to your team, as well as additional costs required to grow the business. Therefore, it’s essential to show that you have a budget scoped out.

You don’t need to present a detailed budget breakdown. Instead, you can list projected costs or a summary.

It doesn't need to be detailed, but just enough to demonstrate that you've actually done some maths, estimated the costs, and worked out logically what money you need to input into the business to make it work.

As you develop your business model, you've worked out your pricing and the structure to make money according to how your business will run on a financial basis. If you're not good at maths, accounting, or financial management, hire an expert to help you out.

You should also have a detailed financial model backing up the whole business plan.

In the actual investment deck, you're just going to show a summary of projected costs, revenue, and profits for three to five years.

You might also want to show a conservative projection, a blue-sky projection, and a mid-point projection. That gives investors a sense of the worst-case and best-case scenarios. Additionally, investors will have an impression of you being realistic and somewhat grounded.

It's essential to put some maths behind the numbers on your presentation slide. You don't want any glaring errors when presenting them, so ensure that all of these calculations are done beforehand!

For instance, the numbers on a projection graph or a table within the slide should contain actual numbers and not just rounded estimates. That's a good indicator of the work and dedication you've put into it.

Key Milestones and Investment Timeline

Next, you’ll want to help investors to understand:

  • How many months you have left on the money you currently have, i.e., your runway.

  • How long you can keep the business going based on your projections, and

  • Your plans for spending the investment money that you're asking for. This is also known as “use of funds”.

Always be mindful of how quickly you'll burn through your investment cash (your burn rate). You may want to set up a plan for when and what the funds will go towards, or else risk suddenly using it all up before you’ve made real progress.

When introducing a timeline slide, keep the following in mind:

  • Where did you start?

  • What stage of funding are you at now?

  • What was raised, and how much money has been invested thus far into this project?

  • How many customers or users will you have acquired at each milestone?

  • Lastly and most importantly: when can investors anticipate a return on investment (ROI)?

Investors should always know the whole investment picture before putting in their own money, including other investors who could have already invested. Investors from previous rounds are usually a good sign to show you've made it this far and help give your company credibility when securing new investments.

Investors need transparency on both what is happening with each stage and looking at where others might invest.

Showing clear estimates on the number of customers/users at each point on the timeline helps investors to see the 'result' from the expense. Timelines are about showing what can be expected to be achieved at each stage - it's sort of the 'ROI' point, but just expanded.

It's essential to build that whole picture to show investors once they put their money in, where it will go, what it will be used for, how quickly it will be used up, and where we will be at the end of that.

What You Want From Investors (in Addition to Funding)

The other key area you will include in an investment pitch deck is what you want from investors. It’s a given that you want money, but you are also seeking other things, right?

Do they have contacts, industry experience, or can they be mentors to you? What are you looking for, how involved do you want them? What are they going to get in return for their money? Typically, that's going to be a percentage of shares of the business. This negotiation is part of what you're doing when you are pitching for investment.

Other Things to Include in an Investment Pitch

Other areas to include in an investment pitch deck would be your competitive advantage, unique points of difference, or proposition.

Why would your customers buy from you instead of your competitors? You have to be more overt with this in the investment pitch deck because you're making a competitor comparison.

Market Positioning

Marketing Positioning demonstrates the gap in the market that you will fill versus competitors.

You may have an excellent product, but if you have no plan to stand out from the competition and get the word out to customers, you’ll be in trouble!

Customer Acquisition Plan

What is the customer acquisition strategy, i.e., what is the marketing plan to bring people on board?

What's important is that we include all of those aspects in an investment pitch deck because we want to demonstrate that this is an excellent viable commercial business to buy.

Additional Investor Pitch Tips

When you're first pitching, remember that you're painting the bigger picture of the business. You’re not necessarily pitching the product. So, you don't need to show every feature and benefit of your tech platform.

During the pitch, focus instead on the overall concept of the product or service and the top-line benefits as they align with the problems you’ve outlined in earlier slides.

Pitch Deck Examples and Pitch Success Framework

One of the many reasons why you should be checking out pitch decks from successful startups is because these presentations can give great insight into what it takes to get funded.

Many people have had success in getting a startup off the ground by creating an impressive presentation, so if this interests you, then take some time to check out the investment pitch deck examples from 3 funded startups here.

Additionally, you can download our free pitch success framework to get a head start in your presentation.

Parting thoughts

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to raise funds for your business, the chances are that the person you want to pitch is a high-net-worth individual or institutional investor. This presentation type will be different from the one you would give if you were only selling products and services.

The difference between these two types of pitches lies in who they’re addressed to and the type of information each pitch needs to contain.

In this blog post, we talked about some key points that can help differentiate these presentations, so don't forget them when preparing yours!

Are you preparing for an investor pitch? Download our free Pitch Success Framework today to make sure things go smoothly next time around!


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