How Private Equity Real Estate Teams Can Leverage a CRM

Private equity real estate fund managers tend to be juggling many tasks at any given moment. Building and maintaining strong relationships is critical, of course. Then there are the properties to keep track of. And the result of these activities is a large amount of data being received, sent, and generated continuously.

Handling those touchpoints carefully yet efficiently is essential. Lose one critical piece of information at the wrong time, and it can be anything from mildly embarrassing to an absolute deal-breaker. Plus, with investment structures getting increasingly complex and regulatory bodies requiring more detailed reporting, fund managers have even more pressure to ensure that their data is always current, complete, and organized. And they also need a solution that streamlines workflows and simplifies team collaboration.

In short, what’s required is what we refer to at Altvia as a “single source of truth.” And notice we use “truth” rather than “data” or “information,” because at the end of the day, that’s what discerning investors expect—a clear picture of the reality of an investment.

Conduct Rapid Due Diligence With a Real Estate CRM

Key to any due diligence process is the ability to monitor information sources, collect vital data, and use it effectively to perform a thorough analysis. In private equity real estate, a CRM like AIM provides fund managers with that capability through features that:

  • Empower teams to create associations between and among contacts, property types, brokers, and more in individual assets or portfolio vehicles
  • Help organizations track and report on key performance metrics using visual dashboards accessible to both internal and external stakeholders
  • Ensure that team members always have clarity on next steps and assigned action items through task tracking and checklists

Enable Transparency and Promote Trust

Investors today have access to more information on investment opportunities than ever before. Consequently, you have to be able to earn their trust or risk losing them to a different fund where they have a higher comfort level.

Part of achieving that goal is having excellent “people skills,” which you surely do, or you wouldn’t be a fund manager. Just as importantly, your organization has to have the right technology stack. Trusting relationships are built around the effective and open exchange of information and ideas. The tools you use can either extend or limit your organization’s transparency and, as a result, demonstrate or call into question your trustworthiness.

Timely, valuable, and consistent communications are an essential part of being seen as transparent. The right private equity real estate CRM can help you maintain accuracy and compliance. You connect with potential investors using features like user-level permissions and document watermarking in a secure data room. It can also make it simple to gather investor contact information, record and manage communication preferences, and ensure that your data is always “clean” and up-to-date.

The availability of a leading-edge, branded investor portal like ShareSecure is essential as well. This type of advanced engagement platform serves as a secure, easily accessible hub where investors “feel at home.” Fund managers can provide investors with resources like documents (from drafts to approved versions), photos, recorded webinars, and audio and video recordings that they need to make decisions.

Ultimately, a CRM solution and the systems with which it’s integrated allow a potential investor to “take their blinders off” and get an unobstructed view and in-depth awareness of your firm’s track record. This type of visibility will have investors much more likely to enter into a relationship with you.

See a Private Equity Real Estate CRM in Action

Marketing materials and blog posts are helpful background information. The best way to truly understand how a purpose-built private equity real estate CRM could be a gamechanger in your firm is to see it in action and ask specific questions about your processes, needs and goals.

Through a customized demo, you’ll be able to experience how a CRM solution that leverages the Salesforce platform can improve your processes and provide you and your investors with a single source of truth. Contact us to schedule a session today or see how private equity real estate firms use Altvia.

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.

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