How To Market a Fund to New LPs

Once you’ve thoughtfully designed and structured a fund, it’s time to bring it to market. And, to effectively attract your ideal investor, you’ll need a solid marketing strategy in place. To craft that strategy, it’s good to get a concrete understanding of how fund marketing operates, along with the key activities that occur in each stage. 

So when is the exact right time to market your fund to new LPs, and how can you best do it to secure funding from your target investors? The right answer depends on exactly where they are in the funnel. 

The Fundraising Marketing Funnel

When bringing your fund to market, you can think of it as broken down into a few core stages – design concept (and aligning content), go to market/first launch, fundraising, first and second close (i.e., securing investments), and engagement, each with their own substeps to best align to your target investor.

Stage One: Design Concept and Content

Before you bring your fund to market, you’ll need to spend a considerable amount of time designing your concept and learning as much as you can about your target audience. 

Investor targeting is an essential step in the fundraising process. By developing a concrete understanding of your ideal investor prior to launch, you can best cater your messaging and content to their needs and preferences and reach them through their preferred channels.

Begin by thoroughly researching the investor types you’re targeting, and learn their preferred needs, interests, and where they spend their time (i.e., email, social media, news outlets) so you can meet them where they are. Once you have an idea of the types of channels and tactics you’ll leverage to reach your target investor, it’s time to prepare your content pillars. 

Content pillars are used in marketing to help align your content to each stage of your fundraising funnel. For example, in the launch stage, your top-of-funnel content should aim to provide a general overview of your fund through social media posts, email blasts, or blogs that layout basic information for investors just learning about the fund. This content should include why you’re launching the fund, what differentiates it from the competition, and provide answers to basic frequently asked questions. 

By having your content ready for every stage of the funnel in advance, you can easily automate the fundraising process throughout each stage of your outreach. Whatsmore, by leveraging LP management software (like Altvia’s CRM), you can run your content pillars on autopilot. Arm your team with the exact messaging and content they’ll need to automatically enable, and convert, investors at any stage in your funnel.

Stage Two: Go to Market / Launch

Your go-to-market stage, aka your launch, is critical to the overall success of your fundraise. Before you do so, however, be sure to educate your internal teams on all launch material and content, so they’re ready to tackle any conversation that comes their way. 

You’ll also want to ensure you’re not relying on a single, standard pitch angle. Work with your PR team to prepare diversified pitch angles that align to each investor demographic, so they’re more likely to relate to your pitch and engage with your firm. Then, when it’s time for launch, effective PR positioning is crucial. There is far more value in reputable journalists and writers saying nice things about your fund than just having you talking about it. In turn, be sure your PR team is armed with the resources they need to make a big splash on launch day. Helpful material for the PR team includes announcement material, social media posts, videos, emails – anything that helps you get the message out effectively to your industry.  

And finally, be sure to keep your campaign going well after launch day. As part of your marketing strategy, you’ll want to have at least six months of promotions planned out that focus on converting those simply aware of your fund into qualified leads. Think: lead generation material, like trade shows, webinars, downloadables, and value-adding content. 

A consistent and persistent approach to drive and convert leads will fuel your pipeline with sales-qualified investors on an ongoing basis, making your fundraising that much more successful.

Stage Three: First and Second Close

Now that you’ve done the hard work of setting up your content for each stage of the fundraising funnel, it’s time to partner with sales to best enable them to take those leads through to close. 

This supporting content and messaging should align and provide value to LPs that have already met with your sales team and are ready to invest. Think: information-packed white papers and sales sheets that contain relevant statistics and decision-driving material. 

By having your bottom-of-the-funnel content locked and loaded in your LP management software, your firm’s sales team will be able to easily access material to best answer questions and support potential investors through to close.

Stage Four: Engagement

After helping an LP cross the finish line and close, your marketing doesn’t end. In fact, we could argue that this is the most critical stage and opportunity to provide additional value.

By leveraging your LP management software and CRM, you can set up custom marketing flows that deliver content on an ongoing basis, including tips and resources from your blog, sales check-in emails, and general resources to add value and keep an open line of communication. 

Keep Different Demographics in Mind

Regardless of the funnel stage, it’s important to keep in mind that your marketing approach and messaging may differ depending on your target demographic. The US vs. Asia-based managers have different rules and regulations regarding marketing and knowing them before you launch your fund can be key to closing the deal.

For example, while social media and web pages may be an essential part of your strategy in the US, for non-U.S. managers, ensuring there is no “general solicitation” (i.e. broad marketing of fund interests, including via social media or publicly available web pages) is critical. 

Level Up Your Marketing with LP Management Software

Marketing a fund to LPs has a lot of moving pieces. It’s easy for content and messaging to get lost in the shuffle between different funnel stages and different approaches depending on demographics.

To centralize and automate your approach at each stage of the funnel, a solution like Altvia’s can help. By providing detailed investor-level insights and information, your entire team can gain access to conversations with each investor and powerful data as to how each lead engages with your firm and content – including emails they’ve opened or clicked and web pages they’ve visited. 

To learn how you can better execute your marketing and optimize your campaigns at each stage of the funnel, get in touch with our team to see how Altvia can help fuel your firm’s marketing strategy.

LP management software

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.