What Answers You MUST Have When Investors Ask About Your Customers

How Well do you Know Your Customers?

Before an Investor hands you a few million dollars, they’re most likely going to want to talk to a few customers of yours, that is, if you have them already. Paul Judge, Founder and CTO at Purewire Inc. and today, an investor says that:

“It’s become so sexy to pitch to investors nowadays that people forget to first go talk to customers. I have people pitch me, and when I ask what customers think about this, they tell me they don’t know. So why are you talking to investors right now?”

He claims that he needs proof that the startup is solving a “Valuable Problem” — meaning that customers are willing to pay for the solution.

So before you talk to Investors — it’s time to talk to some key customers and get the story from them so that you can tell your “User Stories” to the Investors in an accurate way. I’m not talking about market size, numbers and demographics here — rather the intimate knowledge of your customers’ stories — where they were when they “found you” and what has changed in their lives since engaging with you?

Here are some important points to research and present:

  1. Focus on Target Market Users — Choose clients that are part of the target audience that you are “selling” to VC’s — because these are the ones they’ll seek out to talk to first.
  2. Align with Your Clients — Find out what they like/dislike about your product, if they haven’t converted to paying customers yet — why? What would they need to happen in order to convert?
  3. Learn the Churn — If you have clients that are no longer clients — find out why, get candid answers and see where they migrated to and what their getting that they were missing with you.
  4. Competitive Edge — If a customer moved to you from a competitor, find out why they left and why they chose you. This can strengthen your competitive edge.
  5. Verify Testimonials — If you have testimonials on your website or deck, make sure to verify that they still stand behind their testimonials.
  6. It’s All in the Details — Know your users’ habits, how they use your product and be ready to show real time usage analytics. Investors MUST check this box off so they know your metrics are true.
  7. Choose What to Use — Focus on 1 strong usage metric that you want to emphasize — i.e. number of return visits a day, engagement time per session, etc. Know the numbers inside and out for at least that specific metric.
  8. Firsthand Experience — This is a hard one but the payoff is big — find someone the VC knows that is either a user, tell them so they can ask them first hand about their experience. If the VC’s child, spouse, another Entrepreneur they’ve invested in, etc. is a good potential user — offer them a free trial to get their opinion. Or if the VC is in your target market — ask them to become a user and see first hand!
  9. What’s the Cost to You? — Know either your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) or have a short term plan to find it out.
  10. Let Them Choose — Be prepared to provide a VC with contact info for clients that gave testimonials and a few that didn’t. Talk to them, vet them, make sure there are no unpleasant surprises.

The more you know before the better — you’ll look more professional and not be stuck when they ask you a questions about the customer. The more comfortable you feel answering questions and the more familiar you are with your customers — the better your pitch ( and not to mention your product) will be.

Clients Say

  •  

     

    Read More
    Eva GagnonEva GagnonNudge
  • I worked with Donna last year. She is, simply put, one of the best at corporate storytelling out there. I recommend her regularly to those looking to raise capital, especially when they have a more challenging story to tell. If you want to take your corporate storytelling to the next level, don't hesitate. Work with her. You won't regret it.

    Read More
    Leo TrottierLeo TrottierFounder at CleverPet
  • Donna is absolutely fantastic! We have been working with Donna within week programs in Silicon Valley for Executive MBA of Moscow school of management SKOLKOVO. She is great in transforming 180 degrees your skills and approach to pitching. The students leave the workshop with pure brilliant feeling what and how they should do. Donna is unique, energetic, engaging and super professional. She knows exactly what you need to succeed. And I strongly recommend her workshops for big and small businesses, corporate people, start-uppers and serial entrepreneurs.

    Read More
  • Donna is the pitching Jedi, Yoda of messaging and story telling! She helped turn our deck into an incredible story with a touch of “wow”. She has the rare combination of messaging expertise combined with fund raising experience. She is easy to work with and get things done. We highly recommend her.

    Read More
    Joe CastonJoe CastonRainmaker - Revenue and Growth Acceleration. Fractional CRO / VP of Sales, and CMO. Founder at PlayMakersX
  • Donna is an absolute pleasure to work with.
    Her knowledge of pitch decks and storytelling combines for an utmost distillation in information for investors.
    The outline of what she presents is second to none and just from a simple phone call with Donna and some follow up we were able to refine our deck to a point that many investors and other entrepreneurs immediately offered to pass our deck along to their contacts.As someone who raised capital before and has constructed a few pitch decks, I can attest to the fact that she brings a different perspective, edge, & insight to the table that the entrepreneur generally doesn't see.

    I HIGHLY recommend Donna's methodology for pitch/sales decks and believe that whether first-time or experienced entrepreneurs, her services will prove to be invaluable!

    Read More
  • My startup was struggling to capture investors. I decided to contact Donna. After a few hours work on my deck the startup presentation became clearer, the selling arguments were evident, the problem/solution was well enhanced. Result: we have now a VC investing in Adshir.com
    Thanks Donna, great job!
    Olivier

    Read More
  • For Donna, finding the story in a pitch is like a logic puzzle. The approach is brilliant. She listens to you tell your story, then guides you through the logical connections. Finally she helps you knit them into a natural story. You retain the authenticity, yet your story delivers your message with a wallop. She shows you the concrete metaphors and guides you around the slippery slopes. At the end of the journey, you've found a story that's your own yet tells the tale you want to tell. She's a remarkable professional. That she's a delightful human being just makes it all magical. I can't recommend her more highly as a corporate storyteller.

    Read More
  • I had the pleasure of working with Donna a couple of months ago, and I was blown away by her art, dedication, and her ability to communicate. She took the words I had on paper and created a story in my voice. She knew exactly what I was trying to say. She is a great listener and the stories she creates from talking with you really resonate with the audience. She is the first person I will call when I need to build my story. Thank you, Donna, my success would have not been possible without you

    Read More
  • Its been a great pleasure working with Donna. Her insight, experience, and advice were instrumental in shaping Flyzen's deck and pitch. Donna shared her perspective on our processes which was eye-opening.
    I highly recommend her to anyone who is looking to improve and shape his/her storytelling abilities, anyone who wants to work on his/her messages, either one-on-one, for a conference or for an investor presentation.

    Read More
  • Donna is an expert, guru, professional — all of the above — when it comes to learning the methodology and science behind pitching your business. We've had many high-profile experts host a pitching workshop in our Seed Fund Program (where learning how to perfect your pitch is 99% of the program), and she's been the best by far. Five stars and two thumbs up for you, Donna!  All the best, Keenan

    Read More
  • Donna is a Wizard, a magician that can turn any idea into a story, into something that resonates, inspires with a touch of "wow" in the few right places that will catch attention. She brings processes into the way any company needs to build and articulate a message. All done in a fun, creative environment. But there is more... While building the messages, Donna adds so much value in the words she is using, in the questions she is asking that not only she can help build a presentation for any audience, but the outcome and discussion brings so much more, so many new ideas and angles to think about. Very glad I worked with Donna and cannot recommend her enough.

    Read More
  • Donna was a big help in defining our sales pitch. She is very professional and she is able to write everything in simple words and she did it in the time she promises. Thank you Donna!

    Read More
  • Donna helped me hone my story when I went on TV for Planet of the Apps. She truly transformed the way I thought about my business and explained it to others. I can't recommend her enough

    Read More
  • Donna helps crystalize the important messages and get them out succinctly for exec presentations. Exactly what many of us need! And she is so fast and efficient!

    Read More
  • Magic Donna. The only one we can trust to perfectly express our vision and ideas in words that anyone can understand.
    Thanks for the great work!

    Read More
  • We are a young startup in the IoT and Big Data arena. We worked with Donna as part of building our strategy, storytelling etc. Donna has a very unique ability to sharpen the message, crystalize the exact value proposition and build the right pitch for the company. Donna is super efficient, smart and well experienced.
    Don't miss this opportunity !!!

    Read More
  • Even though Donna doesn't have a background in our field, she "got" our messages very fast. She knew how to refine them into clear, powerful texts that improved our presentation immeasurably! This was all done in a very pleasant and efficient way. I would work with her again in a heartbeat.

    Read More
    Ran HirschRan HirschCo-Founder of A1C Foods
  • Donna is a magician! In just two hours she was able to convert our deck from a presentation full of facts to an engaging story! We even used it at a pitch competition which we won! She also helped us with our website and a few other projects, I recommend her to all CEOs who want to save themselves tons of time, money and disappointments, and want to learn how to pitch their startup better. Thank you Donna!

    Read More
  • I had the pleasure working with Donna for the past several years. She helped my company to create and polish our technological branding and messaging. Our products target big clients in the enterprise cloud solutions space and rely on complex and sophisticated technologies. Donna was able to simplify our technological message and bring it from concept and into writing. Donna was very professional throughout the entire process and I highly recommend working with her.

    Read More
  • Donna had helped to shape the investor deck for one of the startups I'm working with. She added great value by transforming the deck from a collection of facts to a coherent storyline. Following a single focused work session with Donna, the deck was presented to the investors of the company. The deck fully achieved its goals and helped to secure the needed budget.

    Read More