How to Adopt a Data-Driven Approach for Investor Relations Success

Investor Relations (IR) teams are critical for firms. These people are the essential relationship drivers, and their work is a representation of the firm. 

To develop an effective IR strategy, teams must understand how to best interact with investors, be visible, and adapt to market changes to ensure effective communications.

To do their job well, IR teams need to juggle a variety of activities: 

  • Common Workflows

IRs are the overseers of the firm’s common workflows. They must regularly share information like PPMs, Cap Calls, and Distribution Notices with investors and stakeholders. 

  • Communication Coverage

Investors and stakeholders require regular reviews with in-depth analysis of their portfolios. IRs are responsible for presenting performance data clearly and correctly.

  • Identifying Interests and Concerns

A good IR team needs to read into investor and stakeholder engagement to identify proper follow-up and relevant topics to focus on. 

  • Provide Additional Information

IR’s responsibility is to triage the many requests received from investors, analysts, and others. To streamline communications and empower investors to get information when they want it, IRs can establish a self-serve system where investors can look up the information they need without always asking for it. 

To be effective, IRs need to be proactive and reduce the amount of time it takes to do administrative tasks while increasing the quality of their communication with investors.

How can they do this? With the help of technology. 

What does technology mean for Investor Relations?

Post-pandemic, the organizations that will thrive will put humans at the center and deploy technology to increase the speed and quality at which companies can innovate and communicate. This is where the IR team fits in. With a human-centric approach and technology adoption, firms can support their IR teams with data-driven insights, automation, and tools that empower investors—creating longer-lasting relationships.

Deploying technology faster is critical in an environment where accelerated technology adoption is reinventing everything from education to Saturday morning cartoons. Those who accept this innovation are better off today and more adept at pivoting when the unexpected occurs. The firms that invested in technology fared much better than those that were technology-adverse during the 2020 pandemic. 

Technology can arm a firm with knowledge instantly instead of requiring hours of manual research. With a tool like Altvia, IRs can sift through mountains of data in seconds to gain better insight into their investors, what they need, and where their interests lie.

It’s also advantageous to empower investors with access to the information they’re looking for instead of continuously relying on the IR team. Through Altvia’s secure portal, investors can review information and analytics at any time. There’s no need to wait for an IR team to return their calls or emails—all the information they seek is right at their fingertips. 

This process reduces time spent on one-off requests and takes advantage of firms’ data, interactions, and industry knowledge to build stronger investor relations. 

Through this portal, IRs can also gauge what type of information their investors are most interested in. Altvia’s portal access helps firms identify talking points and events that their investors want to know about.

Automating communication can also reduce the manual labor IR teams spend on common workflows and regular communications. Technology allows these types of outreach to be customized, automated, accessible, and distributed at the right time.  

How do IR teams implement a data-driven approach?

IR teams can’t expect to succeed at a data-driven approach with static processes and heaps of data stored in excel spreadsheets. They need to partner with a team like Altvia. 

Since 2006 Altvia has helped IR teams implement new technology. Our pre-built dashboards and reports set firms up for success on day one and evolve with our clients. Get the most out of your investment with Altvia. See how we support top firms.

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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