It’s not easy to know exactly what investors want to see in your pitch deck. Some investors advise beginning with the problem you’re solving and how you’re solving it; others advise beginning your deck with a team page. Some investors encourage emphasizing your product in your pitch deck, while some warn of over-focusing on it. While we’ve given some data-backed tips on how to improve your pitch deck (and you can see how your deck stacks up Pitch Deck Analyzer tool, or see how famous pitch decks would have scored with our analyzer if they raised today), there is an important way to understand how your pitch deck is performing: tracking investor engagement.
Tracking investor engagement with your pitch deck
Getting a vague response or no response to your pitch deck is as commonplace as it is frustrating. A quick “no” is far better than a slow “no,” and a slow “yes” is good, but only if you’re on the right track.
How do you know if you’re on track? That’s where actively tracking investor engagement with your pitch deck becomes essential. Don’t rely solely on an investor’s word that your startup will or is likely to get funded. If you do, you’ll spend much of your fundraising period in an abyss of uncertainty. There is a way to know exactly how investors are interacting with your pitch deck. By sending your pitch deck with DocSend, you’ll know who sees each page, when, how many times, and whether it’s forwarded to anyone else. Actively tracking investor engagement lets you apply what you learn to optimize your pitch deck to give investors exactly the information they want and help increase your chances of getting funded. In this guide, we’ll show you how to use DocSend to do it.
Step one: Upload your pitch deck
Whatever draft of your pitch deck you’re on, start off by uploading it to DocSend.
Once you’ve uploaded your deck, you can adjust the name and other document attributes as necessary until it’s presentation-ready.
Step two: Send your pitch deck as a DocSend link
You’ll probably send your deck to a few dozen investors, and in order to properly track investor engagement, it’s best to use unique DocSend links for each one. To make this easier, you can install the DocSend plugin for either Gmail or Outlook to send out your pitch deck. Unique links will ensure that you can monitor activity and toggle access on an investor-by-investor basis.
When creating a link to your pitch deck in DocSend, specify the appropriate Account Name (in this case, the name of the firm to which you’ll be sending this deck). You can select from an array of security parameters as needed. The security parameters you select will be applied to the pitch deck on a link-by-link basis. For example, you can gate, password protect, or set a link expiration date for each link. You can even require viewer verification for some investors while enabling downloading and un-gating for others.
If you’re set on tracking investor engagement with your pitch deck, disabling the download option when creating a link to your pitch deck is a good idea. If an investor asks you to enable the downloading option, you can always just switch on the ability to allow downloading within their link.
Remember, to get the most useful engagement data from sharing your pitch deck with investors, it’s best to create just one link per account.
Step three: Invite other users as admin guests
By clicking the User Settings tab and selecting “Add Users,” you can invite other users, such as advisors, as admin guests. These users will automatically have access to the stats and materials they need, and you won’t need to consistently share access or send update summary emails.
If the time comes to remove a user, you can click here to learn how to remove (and, if necessary, reactivate!) an admin guest.
Step four: Optimize your pitch deck from your insights
Once you send out your pitch decks with the links you’ve created, you’ll be able to see which investors/VC firms have been engaging with your pitch deck and where they have spent the most time.
There are many helpful ways to use the data you get from tracking investor engagement with your pitch deck. For one, you can use engagement data to prioritize investor outreach during your fundraising process. If an investor is repeatedly accessing your pitch deck and sharing it with his or her colleagues, that investor is almost definitely more interested than another investor who never opened your deck.
You can also use investor engagement data to optimize your pitch deck for future engagement. Look at where in your deck viewers are bouncing, as well as where they spend more or less time. With our guide “What We Learned from 200 Startups Who Raised $360M,” you can cross-check these areas with quantitatively-backed best practices in fundraising.
Step five: Version control with DocSend
If you do ultimately decide to make changes, it’s easy to update your deck in DocSend. Every link you’ve sent will be automatically updated—no need to send an apologetic email with an updated version of your pitch deck.
You’ll then have access to real-time quantifiable indications of whether a new version of your deck is outperforming the current version of your deck.
Then you can identify which investors viewed the original version of the deck to guide your follow-up process. You can use this data to prioritize investor outreach with pitch deck engagement as a gauge of each investor’s interest.
Step six: Turn off access for investors who say no
Any startup founder will tell you that hearing “no” from investors is more common than hearing “yes.” So when you hear a “no” from a venture capitalist, you can simply disable the link you sent them. All other links will stay fully functional—only investors with disabled links will lose access to your pitch deck.
To disable a link, click the toggle located near the link settings—this will immediately remove viewing access to all recipients. You can also delete a link by accessing the link settings, which will delete all associated visitor data. Since deleted links remove viewing data and are unretrievable, we recommend disabling content instead of deleting whenever possible.
Step seven: Respond to investor interest with DocSend Spaces
If you have a meeting with an investor and he or she asks for additional info, create a Space and upload all the relevant assets to it. Relevant assets can include Excel spreadsheets, web links, additional decks, and any other files you have to share. You can customize the Space for that specific investor with a personalized viewing experience.
If interest wanes, just turn off access to a Space like you would turn off access to a DocSend link. But if interest results in a successful round of fundraising, you can (and should) celebrate!
If you get multiple indications of interest from different VCs, you can duplicate the Space you’ve created. Creating a unique Space for each interested VC firm lets you restrict access for any investors that don’t pan out. Plus, you can personalize the content you provide to each VC firm. This is helpful if a firm requests a specific document or piece of information.
Hopefully this guide helps you ace the fundraising process. For now, your free trial of DocSend awaits!