Top Tips for Pitch Writing

How to sell others on your startup vision — according to leading venture capitalists and pitch competition winners

Dreamforce 2017 promises a long list of exciting events, and one of the most highly anticipated is the return of Dreampitch, a pitch competition where three hopeful startups will take the main stage to share their vision with thousands of Dreamforce attendees and a panel of celebrity judges — each finalist hoping to take home $250k in funding from Salesforce Ventures.

Whether or not you’re hoping to take the stage on November 7th, being able to craft and deliver a show-stopping pitch is a critical skill for any aspiring entrepreneur. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of tips and helpful resources from previous pitch competition finalists, winners, and judges to guide you — regardless of what stage you’re at in developing your pitch.

Phase 1: Writing your pitch.

One of the most common things we hear from participants in Salesforce pitch competitions is that the most difficult part of the whole process is condensing their vision for their business into a brief, five-minute pitch. However, as AppExchange EVP Leyla Seka points out, “This is one of the most important exercises you can do as a startup. When you narrow down your pitch to the bare essentials, you get to the heart of why you do what you do, and the crux of what matters to your listener.”

Take some time before you sit down to write your pitch to revisit the why of what you do. Talk to your customers or prospective customers about what aspects of your product most excite them and /or impact their day-to-day schedule — keeping in mind that your pitch will be most compelling when you focus on this story will help you to eliminate extraneous details and develop a concise and memorable pitch. Check out more tips on pitch writing from Leyla here.

Phase 2: Practice, practice, practice.

Once you have your pitch written out, the real fun begins: getting feedback and tailoring your pitch to a specific audience. Make sure that you’re practicing your pitch on the right people — those who will ask you hard-hitting questions and allow you to practice handling objections—to get the right validation. Keep in mind who you’re talking to (the end user? the C-suite? a potential investor?) and don’t be afraid to customize your deck and pitch for a specific audience.

Looking to secure funding for your startup? See what the four judges of our TrailheaDX Dreampitch competition (all well-known faces in the world of venture capital) told us they look for when hearing pitch for the first time.

Phase 3: Delivering a show-stopping pitch.

As many of our pitch competition judges and participants agree, the key to holding attention and delivering a memorable pitch relies heavily on conveying the passion you have for your idea. Make sure that you’re not sacrificing the inspirational aspects of your pitch for an endless list of facts and projections.

Drive home the mission of your business, the unique problem that you solve for customers, and why you have right team and solution in place to get the job done. Steve Jacobson, CEO of Appinium and Dreampitch finalist at Dreamforce 2016, put it perfectly: “A perfect pitch inspires hope in what’s possible and a belief in what’s achievable. And it doesn’t matter if the objective is massive or minuscule — it just has to be important.” Learn more about Steve’s story here.

10 quotes to help keep you on track.

Check out the top 10 tips from experts and pitch competitions for guidance and inspiration — and don’t forget to apply for Dreampitch by October 1st for an opportunity to share your startup vision onstage at Dreamforce 2017. Read all Dreampitch terms and Official Rules here.