Are investors telling you that you’re too early and you need more customer traction? Isn’t that frustrating? Does it seem like you’re already doing everything possible, but you just need more resources (a.k.a. money) in order to GET more customer traction? Are you sometimes exhausted because you have too much on your plate and you desperately need cash and resources to get more done
You’re in good company. I’ve been there many times, and so have many of the “successful” entrepreneurs out there. After 25 years of having these discussions with investors, I can help you solve this puzzle and get investors excited about your deal.
The most successful entrepreneurs that I know have developed a very important skill, and that is building and presenting an impressive sales pipeline report. Investors often get bored in pitch meetings and board meetings, but I can tell you that there is ONE TOPIC that they ALL perk up and pay attention to. And that is the Sales Pipeline Report.
Why is the Sales Pipeline Report so important? Because ACTUAL SALES GROWTH is the primary driver of your company’s valuation. From the time that you have the initial idea for a better mousetrap, until the day you sell your company or take it public, this is the ONE REPORT that investors really care about. Investors care about the other stuff, but in the words of Mark Cuban and Lee Colan: “Revenue growth forgives many sins”.
What they mean is that if you don’t achieve revenue growth, nearly all of the other things that you spend time on don’t really matter that much because the company isn’t sustainable. If you drive rapid revenue growth, investors will be more than happy to give you more money and more resources to take care of everything else.
Even if you are an early stage company just getting started with early revenue, there are many ways to demonstrate to investors that you’re making progress in developing customer relationships and revenue opportunities. We have developed quite a few templates that make it easy for you to answer investors when they say you need more customer traction.
Our Sales Pipeline Report templates vary from one industry to the next, but the idea is to visually represent, one one page, progress that you have made from first meetings with customers on the way to signed contracts and cash revenues. Here is one example for a B2B product company:
If your company is an online B2C business, a sales pipeline report might look more like this:
Maybe you don’t have impressive customer numbers yet, or maybe you don’t have any customers yet. We can still help you advance the ball with investors because we can show you how to present your product launch PLANS to investors. If they still say you’re too early, don’t be frustrated, simply ask them which angel investors they have worked with in the past that were successful. In fact, you might even generate a list of early stage investors that the person has done business with before, and ask them to make an introduction.
The way you present your progress with customers is just as important as the numbers.
Your ability to articulate the WAY that you plan to capture customers and rapidly grow the customer base is one of the key signals that most investors are looking for. The problem is generally NOT that they don’t like your product. The REAL problem is that they’ve got 50 more pitchdecks sitting on their desk, and they ALL have good products. So the only way to separate the pile is based on objective revenue or customer traction metrics.
Most of you HAVE had interactions with customers, but you just haven’t presented the information in a compelling enough way to gain investors confidence that you will be successful in capturing large numbers of customers and dollars of revenue in the short term. That’s where we can help you.