5 Apps That’ll Help You Get the Most Out of Your VC CRM

Data management can seem like a waterfall of information that is impossible to keep up with. There are millions, if not billions, of data points pouring out every day—how can your firm make sense of it all? We’re not going to sugarcoat it—if you aren’t using technology to sort through the data, it is impossible to keep up with. 

Thankfully there has been a revolution in the Private Equity (PE) and Venture Capital (VC) space with data and analytics. The secret sauce to success is technology. 

It’s no longer tenable to manage all of your data in an excel spreadsheet. Savvy VCs are investing in artificial intelligence and data enhancement technologies to streamline analytics for fundraising, deal management, and investor relations. There are plenty of options out there— the tricky part is selecting the right software for your firm.

It’s critical that firms choose a system that supports a holistic data approach while focusing on platforms built for their specific industry. Altvia is a cloud-based CRM built on Salesforce with purpose-built modules specific to PE and VCs. Altvia integrates with any application in the Salesforce ecosystem, allowing firms to build an ideal stack of technology.

The Salesforce AppExchange offers thousands of integrations. To help you choose the right solution, we’ve identified 5 apps that integrate with Altvia that we recommend to simplify data collection and streamline access to information on leads, deals, investors, and fundraises.

Preqin 

Preqin is the home of indispensable data, analytics, and insights for alternative assets. With it, firms can access some of the industry’s most comprehensive private market data and tools, or get publications, surveys, and events that provide insider access to the largest global network of alternative asset experts.

Get everything you need to stay up-to-date on market movements with comprehensive data on institutional investors, fund managers, and service providers for each fund and transaction across all major asset classes. Isolate your targets, build connections, collaborate, and understand the past, present, and future of the industry with Preqin.

Pitchbook  

PitchBook is the ideal research partner if you’re looking for impartial, premium industry data, news, and analysis for private equity, venture capital, and M&A. As an information resource specifically dedicated to these industries, PitchBook’s core strength is its ability to carefully collect, organize, and analyze difficult-to-find deal data.

By using a Pitchbook Plugin for Salesforce and a CRM, users can view, link, and import customized data on people, companies, investors, funds, service providers, and limited partners. The tool delivers unparalleled intelligence to easily network in the investment space with automated integration of custom intelligence like AUM, investment types, and preferences as well as detailed contact information.

SourceScrub 

SourceScrub helps firms get the most out of their CRM investment by automatically syncing millions of private company data points directly within Salesforce. They are tech-driven and human-supervised for optimized intelligence. 

There are millions of bootstrapped companies out there and SourceScrub takes the difficult-to-analyze data and offers a more complete and accurate view so you can quickly map, prioritize, and engage with them. With their data, firms can optimize and automate M&A workflows—set and forget a complete record synchronization schedule with AI-augmented, human-audited company data.

S&P Capital IQ 

S&P Capital IQ gives firms transparency into private capital flows at each stage of the lifecycle to help them identify the next opportunity with data. Get a better understanding of performance and trends by viewing and comparing similar fund performance and dive deeper into LP investors and their preferences. 

With S&P Capital IQ and a CRM, firms can identify opportunities, facilitate outreach, and understand customers better with company and decision-maker data.

Data Fox  

With Data Fox, firms can find and prioritize target accounts to grow their pipeline. Data Fox uses a team of 100+ human analysts to verify AI-sourced insights on millions of businesses, adding 40,000 new businesses per week. 

Stack your pipeline and grow by improving sales, account-based marketing, and supplier intelligence along with standardized data between the CRM and back-office systems. Make quick and smart business decisions with information that is aligned across departmental databases. Their company data, growth signals, and account scoring help firms to personalize their marketing campaigns and sell more.

Join the VC Technology Revolution

Each day that firms ignore the advantages that modern technology offers they fall further behind. There’s no longer any question that firms that leverage technology for data management have a clear advantage. Now it’s just the question of finding the right technology.

Don’t drown in a sea of data, use it to your competitive advantage. Firms will find success if they focus on capturing the true value of their data and automate as much as possible with a CRM and today’s leading applications.

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 Salesforce.com 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 Salesforce.com 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 Salesforce.com — 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.