This is part nine of "The Ultimate Pitch Deck Guide for Startups," a fundraising guide made in partnership with DECKO, a leading pitch deck development company that’s helped ~180 startups raise over $100M from investors.
Your Go-To-Market Strategy gives investors insight into how your company executes on its vision. Contrary to popular belief, your Go-To-Market strategy is so much more than just your marketing strategy - it is a holistic company strategy to reach customers that incorporates various parts of your company including your product, sales cycle, partnerships, and more.
As a founder, you’ll spend most of your time between fundraises connecting with customers. As a result, investors will leave the details of your Go-To-Market strategy to you and expect you to constantly experiment with new ways to reach customers.
Investors mostly care that your Go-To-Market Strategy:
- Compounds on itself to lower your Customer Acquisition Cost over time
- Scales your customer base faster than potential competitors and keeps them retained
If you do not already have an established Go-To-Market strategy, do not make one up for the purpose of including slides in your pitch deck - investors will see through it and question your ability to prioritize based on your stage. Go-To-Market slides are best suited for companies that have begun experimenting with different ways to reach customers and are raising money to drive growth.
If you are not currently focused on attracting customers (this is particularly relevant for companies that are building advanced technology or are raising money purely to build their product/ offering), information on your market characteristics and customers will be enough for investors at this stage.
In this chapter of “The Ultimate Pitch Deck Guide for Startups,” we’ll delve into the most effective ways to lay out your Go-To-Market Strategy for investors. We’ll focus on how to:
- Identify Your Growth Drivers
- Double Down on What’s Worked
- Highlight How Your Product/ Offering Naturally Lends Itself to Growth
Now, let’s dive in:
Identify Your Growth Drivers
Begin by analyzing your existing customer base to identify where your customers have come from.
- Are channel partnerships giving you access to large pools of customers you didn’t previously have access to?
- Does your product have natural network effects built into it that drive each user to bring on new users?
- Have you identified creative and unique digital marketing tactics that have allowed you to consistently reach virality among your target customers?
- Is something else that is completely unique to your business driving growth?
Your Go-To-Market strategy can be driven by any number of these tactics. Highlight what has worked thus far and showcase it in your pitch deck. In the next section, we’ll show you how.
Double Down on What’s Worked
Now that you know where you are efficiently attracting new customers, use your company’s metrics to show investors how effective these tactics have been so they can understand why you are prioritizing them.
Begin with a breakdown of where your existing customers are coming from. A pie chart outlining percentages of revenue, new customers, users, etc. (choose one that is most relevant to your business based on your current priorities) can be a helpful visual in this instance.
From there, include metrics on how these tactics have driven your success. Common metrics include your:
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
- Month-Over-Month (MoM) or Year-Over-Year (YoY) Growth Rate
For definitions and examples, check out the “Startup Metrics/ Important Metrics” section of Chapter 3: VC Vernacular. Remember to identify which of these are relevant to your business and focus on those/ eclude others.
Highlight How Your Product/ Offering Naturally Lends Itself to Growth
Users on apps like Partiful or Facebook invite friends to RSVP for events on their platforms. Friends of these users then learn about Partiful or Facebook’s platform for events and remember them when they’re hosting their next event.
Computers using Intel chips are required to share the iconic “Intel Inside” which educates consumers on Intel’s chip quality and reinforces their position as market leaders.
HR platforms like Gusto work through employers to access their employees by offering solutions to common HR challenges like payroll and compliance as their core competencies. From there, Gusto offers employees additional products/services like debit cards, savings accounts, budgeting tools, and more which provide new revenue opportunities for Gusto.
Each of these tactics require little to no additional effort on the part of these companies but allow them to reach significantly more customers than traditional marketing tactics alone.
If there is something about your product/ offering that naturally attracts other customers, be sure to include it in your pitch deck as it makes the best case for how your company continues to grow efficiently.
NOTE: Avoid the Obvious
Investors expect you to leverage social media marketing, build email lists, reach out to customers directly, attend trade shows, etc. Nearly every business leverages these tactics to reach customers so investors don’t need to see it in your pitch deck. Including them without explaining how your approach to these common tactics is unique will give investors the impression that you do not have a clear Go-To-Market Strategy.
However, if you have unique approaches to these common tactics (i.e. engaging social content that consistently goes viral with high conversion, hosted trade shows, branded industry reports that go to target customers, etc), feel free to include them in your pitch deck but remember to use your company’s metrics to show how these tactics have yielded atypical positive results for your company.
As with all slides in your pitch deck - your Go-To-Market slides should give investors a clear window into what you are prioritizing and why. Focus on the parts of your strategy that are unique and exclude parts of your strategy that are not. Remember to use your company’s metrics wherever you can to underscore the points you are making and prove you are executing effectively.
That’s all for this chapter. In chapter nine we discuss your revenue model and how to convey it to investors.