How Fund Managers Differentiate

In today’s competitive landscape, differentiating your firm from the competition while attracting and securing the right investors (with the right terms) is key to your overall success and growth.  

To successfully cut through the noise and differentiate, more and more firms are shifting from manual processes to data-driven solutions. Through automated data solutions and software, PEs/VCs can easily aggregate information across their portfolios to assist in everything from accelerating fundraising efforts and securing the right investors to leveraging analytics to unlock endless possibilities and growth opportunities.

By accurately leveraging data to make key connections and provide value, firms can set themselves apart and differentiate from the growing competition in this new data-driven landscape.

The Shift from Process to Data

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for asset managers to differentiate themselves based on processes alone. Instead, as the industry shifts away from manual processes and focuses more on AI-driven approaches, asset management firms are looking to automate all of the operations involved in the passive investment process and lean into data as a primary source of differentiation

Through an automated data collection platform, like Altvia’s, fund managers and institutional investors can leverage smart technology and AI. Technology solutions make it possible to collect reliable data that displays the financial performance of companies and provides insights that inform performance drivers. 

For example, before implementing Altvia, Cendana Capital got by using Excel, email, and other tools to capture and maintain data. However, with filtering and tracking limitations, the small team found this process time-consuming and made it difficult to manipulate the data.

After integrating Altvia into the firm, Cendana Capital enhanced value by having easy access to quantitative data and qualitative data that creates transparency, builds trust, and enables the firm to easily identify trends in the market before the competition.

See how Altvia is helping Cendana Capital differentiate.

3 Steps Fund Managers Can Take to Differentiate 

The strategy for securing investments is a critical component of the firm’s overall success and future growth. While it’s never an easy task, differentiating yourself through networking and value-added marketing throughout the funnel can increase your chances by cutting through the noise and setting yourself apart from the competition. 

By taking a tactical approach, differentiating your firm from the competition is achievable through a combination of data-driven insights, automated processes, and a bit of patience and persistence. 

  1. Network

    As a start, PEs and VCs need to take the time to network and expose the firm to new and different types of funding options. Go to as many events and conferences as you can to put your firm in front of key stakeholders. After all, even in today’s digital landscape, nothing can replace a face-to-face element to build personal relationships and set yourself apart.

  2. Communicate

    When investors know nothing about your firm, they don’t know what makes you different from the rest – so tell them.

    Whether through face-to-face meetings or via your marketing channels throughout each stage of the funnel, take the time to communicate what sets your firm apart from the rest.

  3. Add Value Through a Data-Driven Marketing Approach

    We could argue that this step is the most important for differentiation. Set your firm apart by adding value throughout your entire marketing funnel and leverage data to help tell your story.

    Start by spending a significant amount of time researching your target audience and developing top-of-funnel content (like newsletters, webinars, and blogs) that aligns with your audience and addresses their core pain points. 

As your leads move through your marketing funnel, provide supporting information-packed content and messaging (think: white papers, sales and data sheets), including relevant statistics and decision-driving material. By showing actual insights that set you apart from the competition, you can let your data tell the story for you as you differentiate your firm from the rest while driving lead conversions through the funnel. 

Let Your Fund Management Software Do the Differentiating for You

With Altvia’s software solution designed specifically for PEs/VCs, you can easily empower your firm to communicate your edge with objective data, including detailed insights on your firm’s track record, ongoing execution of the investment thesis, and other critical points of differentiation.

To learn how fund management software can enable your firm to better differentiate from the competition, contact our team to set up a call to help.

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.