Let’s face it: The M&A industry is mired in the dark ages of presentation — whether we examine the standard of pitch books firms produce or confidential information memoranda (CIMs) that are shown to prospective buyers. This isn’t merely an issue of poor aesthetics; the consequence is lost opportunity to source new deals during your prospect pitch, and the ability to leave a lasting impression when marketing your sell-side client’s company.
I had a conversation the other day with a respected mid-market M&A advisor who remarked, “Our firm is mulling the idea of transitioning our CIM format from Word to PowerPoint format. Do you see a trend that points toward such a shift?” While I’m personally fond of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final line of the Great Gatsby, “…So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”, I don’t want to see this as reality continuum for today’s M&A professional.Let’s meditate on the said M&A advisor’s question. While our industry has fortunately evolved from cave paintings to Microsoft Office Suite for CIMs and pitch books, the practices of today underutilize modern technology and fail to address the changing tide in how humans interact with information.
What is the future? The next generation of CIMs and pitch books will be interactive, device responsive presentations, which live at a securely encrypted, HTTPS URL address. In other words, the presentation should appear differently depending on what type of device you are using, and anything marketed to target companies needs to have security controls in place. To that end, increased security and user administration functionality are imperative items to address amidst a growing climate of cyber-theft and unexpected variables.
It’s been discovered that we process images 60,000 times faster than we do text. Thus, addressing visual aspects, the modern CIM or pitch book will begin with a full-screen HD video, which should aim to engender an emotional reaction between the viewer and subject matter. Photos, infographics, and illustrations should be judiciously chosen, utilizing only HD vector files. All maps, charts, graphs, etc. should no longer remain static, they can be animated and interactive, allowing for increased audience engagement. A couple examples of the former — suppose while hovering over shaded countries on a map referencing a company’s global footprint, a dialogue box would appear displaying pertinent macroeconomic data? Or, if graphs allowed the user to select or unselect items across the x-coordinates for different real-time looks?
At Valtari, we’ve been on a mission to revolutionize CIM and pitch book presentations. Beginning last year, Valtari assembled a cross-functional team of engineers, designers, and analysts to develop the future of presentations.
Thus, Valtari is a first-mover in the industry to engineer visually responsive, interactive, and secure web-based presentations. The application of such a product is adopted by Valtari clients to: make a lasting prospective client pitch; impact potential buyers with a novel, modern designed and securely-built CIM; and for general presentation usages.
Our CIMs and pitch books are developed with the following features:
- Device responsive — viewable and adaptable to desktop, tablet, and mobile devices
- Navigable table of contents via sidebar
- Interactive & animated maps, graphs, and charts
- Client will receive analytics reporting of the CIM, i.e., who has viewed it, how many times, location, etc.
- Recipient prospective buyers/investors will only be able to access the CIM via an encrypted SSL, password protected website.
- Recipients will have the ability to forward access to the CIM website to a colleague with an identical company email domain.
- Recipient prospective buyers will receive an email containing the following: link and password to access the presentation, accompanied by a PDF version of the presentation for offline viewing.
- Client can disseminate CIM or pitch book via eblast, or Valtari can manage eblast with custom, company specific designed template.
- Discount on Valtari's On-Demand M&A analyst service
Authored by Scott Stepanik, CM&AA
Founder & CEO,