Hey guys, thanks for having me here. Super excited to give this talk. I’ve seen 100’s of startups grow (and fail) and there’s no question that your sales messaging is a fundamental piece to whether or not your startup makes it. I’ll be talking for about 40 minutes, and we’ll save some time for Q/A. I’ll also be available to talk 1:1 this week. Alright… Let’s get started.
Think back over this past week at EIA. Was every opening pitch you heard amazing? I would guess… probably not. In fact, I would guess most of them were not amazing. Turns out, this is always the case. the reality. people aren't always great at presenting their sales messaging for their startups. And this makes it challenging to get customers, press, users and yes, even investment. People make decsions about whether or not they like your idea in the first two to three sentences. Today this talk we are going to walk through the fundamentals on how to nail your sales messaging.
To give you a bit of context: after graduating Stanford I spent some time in VC, one of them was with a VC called founder.org. Founder.org was an early stage fund that invested in ONLY, literally ONLY student founders and recent grads. We invested in ~100 companies. The Managing Partner of the fund, Michael Baum, sold 7 companies and IPO’d his last one for $8 Billion, so he’s considered a bit of an expert on the early stages. The one thing he made EVERY SINGLE company that pitched us and every company we invested in get right was their sales messaging, or your “alternate future” as he called it. It was the most critical component of starting up, and if you didn't nail your sales messaging, we wouldn’t invest… Now, it’s not just for investmnet, sales messaging is fundamental to your startup, and you’ll see why. Last thing on the intro before we jump in, since VC, I’ve been working with startups
Like these ones. These days, through my company, I serve as a consultant. And sometimes as an external CMO, for a number of startups. Almost all of my clients are based in Silicon Valley, and the vast majority have raised between $1m and $100m in funding. And I can honestly say that one of the big differences between the winners and the losers, is their sales messaging. Some of my clients are rather well known, Jawbone, Coach, Visa, and others have recently launched. But the thing that ties them together is the successful ones almost always have a clear vision and introduction
Marketing is always evolving. But more importantly, your company is always evolving. Your sales messaging isnt just at the early stages, At Mr.Progress, my firm, we work very closely with founders and CEOs on this sort of stuff. In fact, I spent last week in the office working with the CEO of a company that has raised $100M –and we were working on this exact thing. My job working with these startups is literally 10x easier when a company has their sales messaging right. If they don’t have it, this is the first thing we work on together and its one thing we frequently come back to. So without further ado, let’s jump in.
Alright guys lets take a very simple example of sales messaging. Everyone’s Private Driver. Do you guys know what slogan this is? Shout out it you’ve heard it before
Yes you’re right it’s Uber. Let’s take a look at why this message is effective and why it’s so powerful
Every good sales message identifies the target audience. You must be able to identify who you’re selling to or who uses your product in 2-3 words. For uber is obviously a very well known one, and they declare everyone
EIA2017Portugal - Shannon Wu - Win Customers, Get Press & Close Investors with These Expert Sales Messaging Tactics
Win Customers, Get
Press & Close Investors
What is Sales
Your sales message is your pitch,
where you make your case to
stakeholders to convince them of
use your product.
Why It’s Important
Acquire Customers Get Press Close Investors
How to Build a Powerful Sales
Without us, [customer segment] will continue
to struggle with [unmet need].
users will continue to struggle to find
travelers will continue to struggle to book
affordable flights through travel agents.
people will continue to struggle to store their files
when their hard drive is out of space.
humans will continue to struggle to connect
with friends, family, and colleagues.
With us [customer segment] will
be able to [unmet need] and
benefit by [unexpected benefits]
because [our product or service]
can [attribute A and attribute B].
UNMET NEEDS UNEXPECTED
Without us, [customer segment] will
continue to struggle with [unmet need].
. . .
With us [customer segment] will be able
to [unmet need] and benefit by
[unexpected benefits] because [our
product or service] can [attribute A and
Examples of Startup Messaging
& Their Takeaways
Don’t know where to start?
Do a breakdown of each customer segment that touches your
product or service.
Label each customer segment + Write out what problems your
company is solving for each of these segments.
For example: Maybe your company services job applicants and
companies, but partners with universities and governments.
Messaging for Various
Express the long term
vision of the
company. Where will
the company be in 10
In the earliest days,
you’re selling the
team. Why is your
team the right group
to get the job done?
Show investors why the
time to invest is now. Be
it market forces,
or leveraging FOMO,
your goal is to drive
*Taken From EARLY LINKEDIN
INVESTOR PITCH DECK
Messaging for Press
Lead with data. Give
journalists access to
fresh data and new
context on your
Understand how you
fit into the bigger
Show Them Your
What is interesting about
your company and your
team? Why is your story
worth covering? Prepare
several pitches for
Sell Your Shared
Why does this
company exist? Why
is the company
Recruitment is a two-
Provide a Glimpse into
Align on company values
Take advantage of
limited space and ask
yourself, “What is the
purpose of this copy?”
Include Clear CTAs
for your website (Ex:
sign up, learn more,
get started today)
Be Informative and
Educate your visitors on
what you do.
Get access to messaging
Email me at