The attempt by a firm to convince another firm to buy or sell something.

Author: Elliot Meade
Elliot Meade
Elliot Meade
Private Equity | Investment Banking

Elliot currently works as a Private Equity Associate at Greenridge Investment Partners, a middle market fund based in Austin, TX. He was previously an Analyst in Piper Jaffray's Leveraged Finance group, working across all industry verticals on LBOs, acquisition financings, refinancings, and recapitalizations. Prior to Piper Jaffray, he spent 2 years at Citi in the Leveraged Finance Credit Portfolio group focused on origination and ongoing credit monitoring of outstanding loans and was also a member of the Columbia recruiting committee for the Investment Banking Division for incoming summer and full-time analysts.

Elliot has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Columbia University.

Reviewed By: Kevin Henderson
Kevin Henderson
Kevin Henderson
Private Equity | Corporate Finance

Kevin is currently the Head of Execution and a Vice President at Ion Pacific, a merchant bank and asset manager based Hong Kong that invests in the technology sector globally. Prior to joining Ion Pacific, Kevin was a Vice President at Accordion Partners, a consulting firm that works with management teams at portfolio companies of leading private equity firms.

Previously, he was an Associate in the Power, Energy, and Infrastructure Investment Banking group at Lazard in New York where he completed numerous M&A transactions and advised corporate clients on a range of financial and strategic issues. Kevin began his career in corporate finance roles at Enbridge Inc. in Canada. During his time at Enbridge Kevin worked across the finance function gaining experience in treasury, corporate planning, and investor relations.

Kevin holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Queen's University and is a CFA Charterholder.

Last Updated:January 22, 2024

What Is A Pitch?

Pitch is a term that refers to the attempt by a firm to convince another firm to buy or sell something. A contextual example is “Goldman Sachs pitched several mid-cap tech companies to a private equity company”.

Pitches are often speculative, with the target buyer having no or little prior knowledge of the companies being presented, and as a result, many proposals end in nothing at all. Analysts and Associates at investment banks will often spend the majority of their time creating models and compiling information for proposals.

Investment Banking Pitch Process

Here’s the breakdown of the pitch process in an investment bank:

  • A deal starts with a pitch
  • MD tells the VP, who tells the Associate, who tells the Analyst what should be in the pitchbook
  • For a sell-side presentation of a company, an analyst will build a pitchbook that generally includes:
    • Firm and deal team credentials
    • Positioning section (a largely qualitative analysis of the company to be sold and why you believe your team can sell it for a high value)
    • Valuation section:
    • Analysis of potential buyers and why they might be a good fit for the company to be sold
  • The Analyst, with the guidance of the Associate, basically does all the work for the pitchbook, including the modeling, positioning of the company, and profiling of the buyers
  • After several "turns" (senior people recommending changes), the books get printed, and the meeting happens
    • Whether or not an analyst is invited to a meeting varies by group culture

Read more of the pitch breakdown in this discussion.

Skills Required to Work on a Pitch

While the skills required to work on a pitch do overlap with the skills necessary to work in investment banking, here are a few notable skills that help during the proposal process.

People Skills

As you will have to present to potential buyers, you will need to have the social skills to interact with them and convince them to accept your offer. This can include reading their feelings towards the direction the presentation is going and the ability to make genuine connections with them in a short amount of time.

Attention To Detail

You will also have to look over many small details of a company or product you’re proposing, making it almost necessary to have strong attention to detail. This is especially true as an Analyst when you’re often pouring over the nuances of a product to sell and making sure that each detail is accounted for in your presentation.

Tips for a Successful Pitch

Combining the skills listed above and the extensive due diligence performed on your potential buyer, here are some extra tips for a successful pitch:

  1. Have a clear message: Show your potential buyers what an amazing opportunity they could have buying the company or product you’re selling.
  2. Present your case early in the presentation: Lead your presentation with a short summary and overview of the purpose behind your pitch.
  3. Implement financial analysis: As mentioned earlier, while it's important to demonstrate what an amazing opportunity you have to the buyer, use strong financial analysis as a tool to help achieve this. However, be mindful to not get lost in presenting an endless sea of numbers.
  4. Show how your presentation connects to the macro view: Keep in mind that your potential buyer has probably heard a similar proposal from another investment bank. Instead, try to add some more by connecting your opportunity with the macro goals of your potential buyer.
    • If done successfully, they will not only see what a great opportunity is in front of them but also see how it aligns with the macro goals of their firm.

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