You should approach fundraising the same way a salesperson would approach challenger selling. Your job is not to find a VC that understands the problems your company is facing, but to educate them on a better way to do something that they hadn’t considered before. Founders that are good at fundraising know something compelling about where the future is going and teach that to investors so they can come along the journey with you.

What is “Challenger Selling?” It’s an approach to sales where you take on the role of teacher, educating your customers through the sales process. You generally have a strong worldview, and you go through a process of helping them validate that your worldview is correct based on their lived experience.

Consultative sales is more about getting a prospective customer to define their problems and elucidate their needs, so you can show them how you help them. You adapt to their language, their definition of problems, their stated needs. That can be a great way to sell and is far easier to do well – but it’s a terrible way to raise venture capital.

Most pitch deck templates ignore this completely. When you’re putting together a deck, you’re way better off adapting a great challenger sales deck and learning how to pitch VCs with a narrative approach.

To summarize:

  • Recognize that you have to have a strong point of view on what the market's missing and then convince them you're right.
  • Then build a simple and compelling story about that (see the narrative approach linked above).
  • Then run your fundraise with a very tight sales process (target the right people, approach them with credibility, focus on moving the ball forward in every interaction, and qualify* the people you're talking to so that you don't waste time in bad conversations).

*Note: one thing to qualify with a potential lead investor is check size, but this matters less early on or with angels. One good tactic to use during your fundraise (especially in your first round) is to build momentum with angels, even if they are investing relatively small amounts of money.