Pitch in Three Rooms

Posted June 20, 2015
By Niko Skievaski


I was listening to the recent Bowery Capital Sales podcast (recommended) in which Tien Tzuo described the metaphor of walking customers through “three rooms” as startups share their offerings. I thought I’d quickly recap then share how Redox is transforming our message based on these learnings.

The Three Rooms

  • First, in room one, describe the market trend or economic forces that are causing the problem. Why is this happening at this particular time in the industry you represent?
  • In room two, describe the specific pains in the industry and the core value propositions of your product/service. What benefits do you bring and what urgent pains do you eliminate?
  • And finally, in the third room, dive into what you actually do. How do you attack these problems? What features do you offer? How does it work?

I talk to 3-5 health tech software companies a day and hear all sorts of versions of this pitch. We all do it to some extent. Most visionaries hang out in room one, sales people in room two, and tech people in three. Great pitches string the rooms together in a passionate journey motivating goosebumps along the way.

Want an example? Here’s my first draft at this after absorbing the podcast.

  • Over the past decade we’ve spent billions adopting EHRs in an attempt to digitize healthcare. There are endless ways to use discrete patient data to improve quality and efficiency in healthcare delivery. However, the data are kept in hundreds of custom silos in health systems around the country.
  • The best-in-class software designed to meet the needs of digitized healthcare are not able to reach effective adoption because interoperating with EHRs is too difficult and costly. Additionally, providers and hospitals have difficulty sharing patient data making its collection seem moot. All of this is exacerbated by the fact that the user interfaces designed to capture these data are often cumbersome and impede physician and nursing workflows causing extra work.
  • Redox helps healthcare share the data. We convert a health system’s customized data structure to centralized data models that serve as a standard upon which to communicate through. Application developers can easily interact with it and Redox will manage the translation to the health systems they work with. Health systems don’t need to adopt a new standard or technology; Redox works with their existing EHR infrastructure making it easy for them.

What do you think? Did it make sense? It could use some refinement over a couple drafts, but it’s a start. (Send me feedback!) According to Tzou, this should take 30 iterations.

What I find most useful about this metaphor is the rigor it brings into the construction and subsequent delivery. This is particularly important in an industry like healthcare where we frequently need to spend a lot of time giving a lay-of-the-land before anyone can understand why our products exist. By constructing your story with the three rooms in mind, you can make sure to hit all the points in the right order. Stringing together a tweet-sized line for each room can be basis for your elevator story that each person in your organization could practice and make their own.

Additionally, you can quickly choose which rooms to skip depending on your audience’s industry knowledge or your existing relationship. This will allow you to begin to institutionalize the “art” of relationship building as you start building a sales team beyond your founders. If I was talking to a hospital CIO, I’d probably hang out in room two then three. With an application developer, room three will be be basis the conversation. And investors love rooms one and two.

As you construct your rooms, I’d love to check them out and learn from how you apply it. And I’d be happy to give feedback so you can incorporate it into one of your 30 drafts 🙂 Send me your stuff: