Raising capital for your biotech company requires more than a great product and a fancy slide deck. You need a combination of substantial scientific evidence, a great story, and a solid pitch. The road to funding is a long and winding journey, from extensive costs to regulatory requirements to navigate. What is often lost during this presentation brainstorm process is a rigorous practice schedule to hone and perfect your investor pitch. This article outlines the four imperative practice strategies biotech companies need to succeed.
For some biotech executives, practice means memorization. While being very comfortable with your presentation material is a crucial factor, there is so much more to be done than rote memorization. The quality of your practice has a direct impact on the success of your presentation. Don’t worry about memorization; what is most important is HOW you say it.
Once your investor pitch and the slide deck are created, your goal is to increase your market valuation by crystallizing your message using storytelling, evidence, and in-depth financial analysis. The four practice tools below will captivate investors and emphasize your value proposition.
1. Structural Practice
The structural practice covers the logistics of a group presentation. Questions to discuss with the presentation team include:
- How will we talk into the room, and in what order?
- Where will we stand?
- Will the projector/ screen be blocked if we stand in a specific spot?
- Who speaks first, second, third? How is the speaker role passed along, e.g., “Now Frank will talk about…”?
- Will the PowerPoint clicker be passed along, and when?
- Do we all need microphones, or will one microphone be passed from person to person?
- If we had to present the same pitch in 10 minutes instead of 30 minutes, how will we achieve this? Who will speak? What will we share? What slides would we use?
- If the PowerPoint fails, do we know the order of the presentation?
- How will be exit the room?
2. Content Practice
To effectively practice the core content of your presentation, the practice sessions must involve everyone on the team in attendance. The information you will be sharing must be said out loud. For a detailed white paper on preparing for an investor presentation, access our free white paper here. At The Speech Improvement Company, we work with biotech teams to identify the theme that will be emphasized and help craft the message.
3. Thematic Practice
An excellent presentation has a theme and all of the presentation content ties back to the theme for continuity and high impact. Biotech presenters should be able to summarize the entire presentation in a few simple, declarative sentences. The investor will give little time and even less attention if you cannot quickly state your case. Are you using simple language? What is the most critical concept you want the investors to remember? This core idea is called the theme of the presentation, and it helps investors follow the pitch logically.
4. Questions and Objections practice
It’s not unusual for Biotech teams to fail and flounder during the question and answer portion of an investor presentation. You can’t assign only one person to handle all the tough questions or push backs. Everyone needs to be effective at answering questions. Otherwise, the presentation will only be as strong as the weakest link. Here are a few tangible tips for how to handle investor questions or objections:
- Time yourself answering mock questions and objections during practice sessions. Don’t go on and on, hoping that eventually you will say something insightful and answer the question adequately.
- Even if you are nervous, aim to look calm and confident. Relax your shoulders, hands, and face.
- Make comfortable and stable eye contact.
- Structure your answers just as you would a mini-presentation; have a beginning, middle, and end.
- Look happy and confident to be under pressure. Remember, you are the expert.
With any biotech presentation, investors are looking to your team to show a high level of confidence, passion, and expertise. Utilizing these four practice strategies, you will ensure the time you have leading up to the presentation is spent wisely.
As you can see, practicing a presentation is much more than memorization. You can ensure the biotech leadership team demonstrates the confidence necessary to satisfy investors during an a critical pitch.
Yes, practice makes perfect, but make sure it’s the right kind of practice.