Engineers used to wonder what the point of sales and marketing people was. If a product was good, wouldn’t customers make the correct decision to buy it?
Nobody I know seems that naive anymore, but I did just get a similar question, which may be paraphrased as:
Why do investors judge a startup on the CEO’s pitching ability? Shouldn’t they focus instead on the actual merits of the company?
Most of my answer boiled down to:
Investors’ top concern is management’s ability to execute, and pitching is — or simulates — a large part of execution.
In particular (and now I’m quoting my own email directly):
- A CEO is a company’s chief salesman in one-on-one (or one-on-few) selling situations.
- A CEO is a company’s chief promoter in public forums, or in one-on-one influencer marketing situations.
- A CEO is a company’s chief recruiter.
- A CEO needs to align a company behind a shared vision, and specifically a shared understanding of the vision.
- A CEO needs to persuade employees to do things they don’t feel like doing.
I finished with one other point that didn’t fit the template, namely:
If you can’t articulate a good pitch, why should we believe there’s a good story in there at all?
I think the entrepreneur who asked me the question was convinced.
- I’ve posted a lot about how to pitch.