The most important slide in your pitch deck is the one slide that is most often missing, buried or has the least amount of useful detail.
Every pitch deck I see includes a slide showing off an ulta-large Total Addressable Market. It shows a number with lots of trailing zeros in 35-point font.
This top-down view is rarely complemented with bottom-up, execution detail. A large market is important, but when deciding what to include in your pitch deck, you need to also show how you’re going to systematically acquire customers and revenue in that market.
The #1 slide to include in your pitch deck is your go-to-market plan.
TAMs, SAMs and SOMs
Go ahead and include that top-level view in your pitch deck. Venture investors are only interested in ultra-large opportunities.
It’s important to show the investor that large pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In your pitch deck, that’s most often done by quantifying:
- The combined annual sales of the leading companies in your product category in a specific geography or market segment (Total Addressable Market),
- The subset of your TAM that can be served by certain solutions (Served Addressable Market), and/or
- How much of the SAM you intend to capture over a defined period of time (Share of Market)
But, TAMs, SAMs and SOMs are meaningless without also including in your pitch deck a systematic go-to-market plan.
Your Pitch Deck Needs to Address Execution Risk
We’re living in the Age of Applied Technology, where the cost and complexity of building technology has been drastically reduced and the availability of trained and experienced product builders is plentiful.
In the Age of Applied Technology, execution risk outweighs technology risk.
For early-stage investors, execution risk is the risk of company failure based on the team’s inability to successfully put into action their pitch deck plans.
A pitch deck without a systematic go-to-market plan screams execution risk, regardless of the size of the market opportunity, novelty of the technology and dynamics of the founding team.
Learning Precedes Revenue
You should absolutely include your traction slide in your pitch deck. Customer and revenue metrics are certain to catch an investor’s attention.
But, attention-at-a-glance does not necessarily equate to investable attention.
Customer and revenue traction are shiny objects unless they are the intentional result of a systematic go-to-market plan.
At the early-stage, revenue must signify learning if that revenue is ever going to deliver profit.
This is why the most important slide in your pitch deck is your go-to-market plan. It signifies to investors that you recognize that all revenue is not created equally.
Your go-to-market slide in your pitch deck shows investors that you are focusing your limited resources (and, ultimately, their funding) on identifying and acquiring the most predictable, profitable and scalable revenue (and not just any revenue).
Your go-to-market slide in your pitch deck begins a conversation with your investors about the work you are doing to systematically identify a reliable and repeatable source of revenue signal, which you will eventually fill the top of your funnel with to scale.
That’s how you find product-market fit, and that’s investable.
By including that go-to-market slide in your pitch deck, you signal to investors that you have an intentional approach and systematic plan for acquiring the customers in your TAM.
It also makes you stand out from other founders, who are often sending pitch decks with their TAM, SAM, SOM, and traction, but lack a go-to-market plan.
If you want to be confident that your pitch deck will capture the attention of investors, I’ve created a free downloadable Pitch Deck Starter Toolkit. It includes everything you need to build a great pitch deck, including a Storyboard Template and a Workshop Video where I walk you through the entire process step-by-step. Download your copy now: