I’ve spent almost 20 years working in the trenches of investment banks, producing and presenting thousands of pages of pitchbook content. By forming Pellucid, I’ve also talked to hundreds of other bankers, from analysts to group heads, to learn about how they create pitchbooks and the tools they need.
Outside of the acknowledgments that legacy tools are inefficient and that far too many different plugins, spreadsheets, and other platforms are needed to create content, two other things usually bubble up as missing from the process of pitchbook creation:
- The ability to generate and test ideas
- Creating and sharing knowledge; not just storing it
So what does this mean?
1. Idea generation and testing
Tackling a new client problem armed only with a whiteboard and marker can be intimidating. Perhaps there is an uncertainty of what to address first, or perhaps it’s difficult to map out thoughts when they are still not quite fully formed. Explaining nascent insights to others is difficult to do and sometimes a little nudge is called for.
You would think that in this information age you should be able to type “reverse stock split” into a search engine somewhere and get early inspiration to help you set you in the right direction. After, all, you can find answers for nearly everything else on the internet, why isn’t this the case for pitchbook ideas?
Because it’s not just an idea that’s needed. Getting the initial idea is useful to help shape your thoughts but doesn’t help with applying information or creating knowledge. What you actually need to know is not if an idea is interesting, but how it will play with your client. These will be the building blocks on which strategic advice can be built.
As I’ve written before, if all of your time and energy is spent on scrubbing data and producing content, you don’t have a lot of time left to consider the best way to piece together a story, which visualizations are the most illustrative and, most importantly, enough time for a spark of inspiration to hit.
2. Knowledge creation, not knowledge storage
About 20 years ago, knowledge workers spent a significant portion of their day on repetitive tasks, paving the way for the development of “knowledge management”, something many firms try to solve by creating document repositories.
The success of this approach is dependent on the flexibility and modularity of the search capability. If you can’t find something, it’s not valuable. After spending two decades on Wall Street, I can tell you that no firm is enamored with their document repository system. I got used to learning a new system every few years as the previous one would be swapped out in search of a better solution.
For instance, say a client asks you a question. It sounds somewhat familiar, perhaps similar to a problem you worked on six months ago. After a ten minute search through your current knowledge management system, you find the previous presentation. Fantastic. But now the real work begins. To leverage this knowledge numbers need to be collected, crunched, analyzed, visualized...and only then will you know if this approach will work for your current client. It’s a long process that could take you nowhere.
What’s really needed is a tool that enables bankers to find the materials they need with the ability to update them for the realities of a new client. So by just changing the subject company, the comps, and the time period, an entire new pitchbook is ready in a matter of minutes. Meaning now the value can be added—figuring out the best ideas and presentation for your client. This is something Pellucid was designed to do, if you’d like to do more, just email me at email@example.com.
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