You’ve reviewed your financials.
Examined and re-examined your corporate strategy.
You’ve made some tough personnel decisions.
All of this to prep your company for its sale. You think you’re ready.
But how can you be sure?
Investors looking to buy or inject capital into companies are like most B2B buyers. They’re very particular about where they spend. They have a lot of questions that need answering before they make decisions. They want a solid return over the long term.
They also need to be carefully convinced. Even the smallest misalignment or missing piece can be a deal breaker.
When investors look at your company, what do they see?
That depends on the image you and your executive team are projecting.
What Investors Want to See
In the eyes of investors, past performance is the greatest indicator of future success. A solid track record speaks to the strength of your people and processes. It builds comfort and trust.
Ideally, your company history should suggest:
- Your goals are realistic. They’re based on real market conditions and account for changing conditions. They’re accurate and fair.
- Your process is sound—and repeatable. In planning for growth, you look at all the right dimensions. Example: weighing new leads vs. conversion rates (marketing) and head count vs. effectiveness (sales).
- Your execution is solid. Your people are capable; if there’s a weak link, you upgrade. You do the right things on a daily basis. As the plan changes, you move with it.
Investors also want to see CEOs with big plans. You’re not complacent to scale what you’re already doing to increase sales revenue. You want to use additional capital to change the trajectory of the organization.
The 5 Danger Signs…
To investors, these are huge red flags. The good news is, you can easily overcome them.
- #1: Recycled sales and marketing plans. Markets change. Buyers change. Simply dusting off last year’s plan will cast serious doubt on your leadership team.
- #2: A muddled forecast. Maybe it includes old deals or weights big deals too heavily. Something won’t smell right to investors. They’ll question whether the pipeline is real.
- #3: No coherent strategy. Your marketing and sales leaders toss out random tactics. They aren’t focused on the big picture. Investors worry about missed market opportunities going forward.
- #4: Leaders who don’t agree. You say, “We need to farm our sell base more.” Sales leader says, “No, it’s all about acquiring new customers.” CMO says, “Actually, we need to increase brand awareness.” Investors say, “These people are all over the place. Can they really execute, deliver, and work well together?”
- #5: Poor grasp of KPIs. Maybe you haven’t identified the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that best measure your success. Or you don’t track them regularly. Or you don’t know how they’ve trended over time. With these blind spots, you can’t cast your vision very far. And investors know it.
How You Can Seal the Deal
Think of this as a traditional sales campaign. Your investors are your buyers. Your company is your product. Use your internal resources to help you market and sell it.
Here’s how you can apply your existing sales process to this new problem.
- Know your buyers. Develop a private-equity buyer persona. What do these investors care about? How do they talk? What terms are important to them? What are some of their objectives and obstacles?
- Develop stories/messages that will resonate. Your value proposition should articulate how your company can solve a problem your investor has. Your brand position (“Why our company and not our competitors?”) should be clarified. Your marketing leader can help develop both.
- Build relationships. Consider how investors make buying decisions. How many steps will they go through on their buyer journey? What questions will they ask along the way? Have thoughtful, meaningful responses that address their concerns.
Most importantly, don’t oversell. B2B buyers are sensitive to overselling; investors are even more sensitive to it. Focus on solving the investor’s problems and delivering a clear picture of your company’s health.