Mar. 2015

How to Fall Back in Love with your Pitchbook

Investment managers (and this is true for all industries) spend way too much time perfecting their pitchbooks. Every meeting brings a tweak, accompanied with the feeling that each change may take more than a moment to update and add to the books production complexity. But it’s not just about having everything pushed into one book. Throwing all of your firm’s information at a prospect is the norm, but that doesn’t mean it’s effective.

Each meeting, the book can be too short or too long. Some prospects don’t care about pages, and others find the information lacking an adequate amount of precision or depth. No one is happy about rethinking the charts, the analysis, the numbers, the graphics, etc.

The way to fall in love with your pitchbook again may not lie solely in its pages. Perhaps it’s time for a new perspective. Because behind every great pitchbook is a litany of process thinking from your prospect’s perspective. This begins with your brand, your positioning, your points of differentiation and truly, the benefits of what your firm, its strategy, philosophy, and process bring to the table.

Rather than making a one-size-fits-all pitchbook, firms should invest their time developing pitchbooks into digestible parts, to correspond with where the prospect is in the sales process.

What if you could gain control of every prospect touch-point and guide their journey, as they understand your firm more deeply? A prospect in a first meeting knows little to nothing about your firm. What is the goal of the first meeting? Then why is all that additional material in there? So much that Einstein couldn’t absorb it all in one meeting?

There are some pitchbook factories. They churn out nice looking books, a one-size-fits-all for every customer or fund. The issue is that the purpose of your pitchbook is to help facilitate a relationship, to convert your prospects to clients over time, through a process. Armed with a one-size-fits-all pitchbook, it can add challenges, not eliminate them.

Break your messages down by what you want prospects to remember. Then tell them those messages, elaborate on them, and then tell them again. And never forget to ask for the next step.

The opportunity set per meeting is limited. Your goal is to achieve the next step or even leapfrog one. But if you are selling institutional asset management or enterprise software solutions, skipping a step can backfire. Each nuance is crucial. The proof of this lies in the fact that there are over ten thousand hedge funds and similar competitors within other asset classes and around the ecosystem, yet the assets remain concentrated among the best marketers, though they are not necessarily the best managers. This is not a shot at the Due Diligence process. In fact, it is an endorsement. No one will allocate millions of dollars to strategies that are not well explained with every detail, nuance and question anticipated.

At the Due Diligence meeting of your firm, the prospect is expecting a precision, orchestrated presentation and discussion. They are potentially entrusting you with a serious allocation, so you had better be a serious firm. Guess what? The due diligence presentation should not resemble in length or depth of the first meeting pitchbook. They have different purposes and therefore have different sets of communications (yes, with the same brand and positioning).

So if you are an emerging manager, stop presenting like one. If you are midsized and want to grow, think long and hard about each step of your messaging. If you are a top brand, solidify your position.

We live in a competitive world. Winning is the measure that puts fees in the bank.

Performance is a given. Understanding the allocation process; and having partners who have been allocated, can communicate, and are in tune with buying behavior should be your criteria for choosing a marketing, advertising and design partner.

It seems odd how managers complain about herd mentality when talking about other managers and allocators, yet they all go to the same factories for their communications. After all, for many of these managers, their perspective is that marketing is secondary to managing the money.

That is an accurate strategy, unless you want to manage a lot of money and win a lot of clients.


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