Private Equity CRM: 3 Key Features for Future Growth

In today’s fast-paced, digital world, a Private Equity CRM is essential for any firm, regardless of size.

As organizations come to grips with changing work dynamics brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, more firms are realizing they will need to transition from spreadsheets or an off-the-shelf CRM to an industry-specific platform.

What technology buyers find as they get serious about implementing a CRM are the many options out there. They’re also discovering that there are key PE-focused features that a solution must have in order to deliver the most value to users.

Essential Elements of a Private Equity CRM System

As you assess private equity CRM systems, be sure to look for these features:

1. Cross-team capabilities
Your private equity CRM must support your deal team, fundraising team, and investor relations team. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you require multiple separate systems to give everyone at your organization the tools they need.

Even if your firm is currently small, you want a system that provides the functions you’ll need as you grow. Your system should give all your internal stakeholders a holistic view of where deals are in the pipeline or what stage of fundraising you are in. Altvia’s AIM CRM provides that capability and won the 2020 Best Buy-Side Technology CRM award from WatersTechnology.

2. Investor or portfolio company reports
Success as a PE firm is largely from the consensus of investors. Limited Partners want to know how efficiently you manage and distribute information. Consequently, you need a CRM that empowers users to answer important questions quickly and clearly.

What stage of due diligence are we in? How many deals are in our pipeline? How many investors opened our fundraising email announcement? When was the last time we contacted business owners in a specific region? A well-informed team is best positioned to make next-step decisions and move confidently into areas of opportunity.

3. Easy integration
A private equity CRM is most valuable when it serves as the hub of your firm’s activities, integrating with other mission-critical systems. For example, your CRM solution should seamlessly sync with an email communication tool like Correspond Market Edition or MailChimp to streamline the creation and execution of email campaigns for fundraising, firm announcements, or other purposes.

Integration with a portal or data room like ShareSecure gives stakeholders real-time access to documents and media files from anywhere. And being able to pull in data from providers like DataFox, SourceScrub, Crunchbase, and Preqin can make life easier for your teams and accelerate their efforts.

Awareness of Often-Overlooked Private Equity CRM Features

Good CRM systems are robust, feature-rich platforms, so it’s easy to get distracted by all the bells and whistles and overlook the key features above. But now that you’re aware of their importance, you can ensure that they are on your firm’s “shopping list” as you do your research.

If you’re interested in seeing what an award-winning private equity CRM platform can do for your firm, we encourage you to request a demo below.

A traditional crm was built for general ‘customer’ scenarios

Software platforms have made the world a better place by making work a better place. Indeed the world is better off when people enjoy their jobs even marginally more, and workplace applications on big CRM platforms like have done that and much more.

But the potential that platforms like these offer presents diminishing returns: once the platform provider has engineered too many industry specific components into its platform, its usefulness for other industries begins to be threatened, and with that so do the usefulness of the component tools built into the platform.

So it is with the CRM category that has defined: it is generic enough to work for many industries, and yet still offers the potential for others to round off the edges and nail more vertically-oriented and extremely tailored software solutions.

Private capital markets are actually a great demonstration of this dynamic. Where generic CRM platforms simplify — appropriately so — to assume there’s a business, a customer, a sale, and service of that customer, there are a few industry-specific pieces that are missing.

Take for example, that investors become customers by investing through legal entities the GP raises. It’s a subtle but important nuance that just doesn’t make sense at a platform-as-a-service level (because it’s overly complicated for a simple one-time sale that many industries require), but which can easily be added without 10 years or software engineering. Once provided, the rest of the platform’s components become tremendously powerful again and you’re set to take over the world.

As a traditional CRM in our pillars methodology, these nuances must be present to properly account for investors in these legal entities, potential target companies and which are owned by these entities, the context of all interactions with these parties (as well as the appropriate overlap, ie co-investments), and how you’re arriving at finding these opportunities on both sides of the equation, such that you’re able to piece together what’s effective and what’s not. Not just because we say so, but because these are the very relationships and data that are key to the motivation behind a CRM in any industry.

It’s critical, too, that the valuable publicly-available information that helps to enrich CRM systems and save users painful steps of entering it themselves is fully-integrated at the platform level.

Again, look no further than the 3,000+ pre-built integrations that — the creator of the CRM platform concept — has at a platform level to do so, and which only exists by way of holding just short of overly-specifying certain industry workflows that would present challenges to properly integrate.

Stakeholder reporting and communication (investor relations) draws on a range of datasets

The traditional “customer service” model of CRM systems once again makes overly-simplified assumptions about the customer relationship when applied to private capital markets.

In fifteen years I personally have yet to hear the terms “warranty” or “service call” in this market because it’s just not the same. But make no mistake, as uncomfortable as it may be to say aloud, customer service is more important now than ever and it’s constantly happening; the industry is, after all, considered to be a financial “service”.

As it turns out, that service is primarily information-based — it’s driven by data and takes the form of reports and analysis that drive decisions, and then end up again in investor-facing reports and analysis.

The foundational elements of a private capital markets CRM must be built such that they accommodate this data (like we discussed above), but so too that it can accommodate additional supporting data that investors (customers!) need in the context of service.

Oftentimes this supporting data — financial metrics and time-based values, for example — is believed not to meet the traditional definition of CRM and the natural thought is “well, better do this in Excel!”.

While I happen to believe Excel is still the greatest software application ever built, its introduction to this value chain we’ve discussed herein actually creates the problem many firms suffer from: key data needed to provide customer service (again: effectively the entirety of a firm’s reports and analysis) is now in disparate systems and detached.

Both of those dynamics are important and distinct: not only is this supplemental data disparate, but when brought together there is no logical association that can be made between the two data sets.

Allow me, then, to make the point very simply: not only can this financial and time-based value data (you may be thinking about is as “portfolio monitoring” or “accounting”) be a part of a CRM, it is arguably the most important part of a CRM because it’s at the core of what providing service to the customer entails — information that comes out of data!

Firms need a digital method to engage stakeholders (ie investor portals)

Investor portals are not new; in fact, for many of us — including myself — they conjure up horrifying nightmares in which we’re aimlessly guessing at folders to find the newest document we need.

So in lies the opportunity: not only have the portals we’ve come to hate not simplified the process of acquiring information, they’ve failed to create an entirely new experience that is “customer service” driven.

To be fair, this is not a B2C market where you’d be long out of business for not having focused on customer service and thus the customer’s technology-driven experience. But don’t expect to be around too much longer if you aren’t thinking about this shift.

Today’s institutional investors increasingly expect this same consumer-like experience, and a massive opportunity is being missed by not providing it. It’s not about providing them the experience they desire; it’s more about the ability to measure engagement that is had in return.

Put simply: what’s keeping the market from providing this experience is the availability of the information that’s required to create the service that provides the experience.

If you’ve hung in this long, you know that by focusing on your CRM, you have the data that’s required to manage the customer relationship and the technology-driven experience through which that information is shared to create a differentiated and opportunistic customer experience.

investor experience