How to present your market research findings to investors

Not all of our users are seeking investment for their product (or service) idea. But gathering real-world consumer data for a pitch deck is one of the most common reasons why people use our survey tools.

If you’re pre-launch, market research survey data is often the only way to start measuring demand, willingness-to-pay, and product-market fit for your concept. Market research survey data isn’t perfect, of course, but investors are numbers-oriented—showing that 80% of your target audience said they’d pay exactly $19.99 for your product will go a LOT farther than simply asking people to believe your intuition on this.

So here are some tips on how to present your market research survey findings to investors. I’m assuming you’re going to use some kind of slide builder—PowerPoint, Google Slides, Pitch Deck, etc. But these guidelines will be helpful no matter what kind of presentation you prepare.

Executive Summary

Like it or not, your potential investors likely want to know just a few key things about your survey:

  1. Did consumers like your concept?
  2. Why did they like it?
  3. What kinds of people liked it the most?

That said, answer these questions right away in a single slide at the beginning of your presentation. Title it Executive Summary. Tell your audience what’s in the graphs that follow, so they can get the gist without having to dig too deep into the data.

Investors are busy. Don’t make them have to figure out what you’re going to say. Just tell them right up front.

If you went out to launch a survey at the behest of potential investors, definitely answer any specific questions they might have had (like, say, “How big is the market for this product?”) quickly and succinctly in this section of your report.

Research Methodology

Next, you need to explain exactly how you went about conducting your survey.

Most investors will be familiar with market research. But few and far between are experts on exactly how market research surveys are conducted. If you’re going to present your market research findings to investors, you need to explain exactly how you did it.

So make that all clear in this section (a single slide, if possible). When was the survey conducted? On what platform was it hosted? Who did the survey target? How many people completed the survey?

These are important questions to answer. Any investors worth his or her salt is going to ask you these questions. Better to anticipate the questions than to fumble around trying to answer them later on. These are detailed, numerical answers—probably something you’ll want to have written down clearly, so you (and your audience) can reference them anytime they want.

Lots of our users at MR4S link to our Methodology page in their Methodology slide. It’s a succinct way to point super-curious investors to the fine-print details. Oh, and if you fielded your survey on MR4S and someone in your audience has some really tough questions about methodology, feel free to point them my way. I answer questions like this all the time.

Investor-optimized Graphs

Next, present the most relevant graphs, each on their own slide (or page). Simple as that. If something doesn’t seem relevant, leave it out or stick it in an appendix at the end.

Remember, different graphs work for different kinds of survey questions. Here are some rules of thumb to follow when deciding what kinds of graphs to use to present your findings to investors.

For questions with logical or chronological scales, use bar graphs. These are the types of graphs you see most often: vertical or horizontal bars associated with individual answer options to your survey questions. Make sure your bars are aligned in an order that makes sense (for example, for an age question, youngest on the left and oldest on the right).

Do not include more than four slices in pie graphs, and never use them for scale questions. Just trust me on this. Too many slices make pies hard to follow, and it’s just not intuitive to view scales in a circular format (no beginning, no end).

Condense multiple questions into single graphs, wherever possible. There’s nothing worse than having to dig through dozens of slides in order to get a general sense of how respondents answered your survey questions. And in many cases, your investors will want to see how respondents answered groups of questions together—not just one question at a time.

Brand Your Presentation

Last, but not least, make sure your presentation looks sharp. Brand it with your own logo. If you don’t have one yet, use a built-in template to make sure the slides all look similar, so formatting issues don’t distract from what’s most important.

Don’t be afraid to spend some money on a tool like Slidesmash or to ask a graphic designer friend.

Rules of thumb for your presentation:

  • White space is your friend! Don’t fill space just because there is space. Leaving white space on your slides helps keep the focus on your findings. This is the #1 stylistic problem with most reports I see—if you’re having trouble deciding how much to put on one slide, always tend toward more white space!
  • No word art. Just pick one easy-to-read font and use it throughout your presentation. I like Inter (the font used on this website)—it’s highly-readable and scales nicely.
  • Divide slides into sections and include section title slides. This makes it easy for investors to flip through your slides and quickly view the sections that most interest them. Even if your report is only a few slides long, be sure everything is clearly introduced and labeled.
  • Lastly, NO TYPOS. This is non-negotiable. Read your presentation three times over before sending it to anyone else. Better yet, have a trusted friend read it over before you show it to anyone else.

These rules might seem basic. But I’m asked these questions all the time. Hope it helps! As always, don’t hesitate to ask me for help—I’ve worked with hundreds of founders to present market research findings to investors of all types. It’s tons of fun!

Launch your own market research survey today! Every successful startup begins with feedback from real consumers. Let’s get building!