How Well Are Your Annual Meetings Building Investor Confidence?

An effective annual meeting is about more than just sharing information with stakeholders. It’s about creating investor confidence. And an event that is planned carefully, executed smoothly, and provides the information attendees need goes a long way toward increasing investor confidence.

Unfortunately, many firms find it challenging to plan and host a good annual meeting. A recent survey about these events produced some interesting results. Specifically:

  • 59% of respondents struggle with distributing and tracking meeting invitations
  • 41% find it hard to create good annual meeting presentations
  • 35% find ensuring accuracy in reporting to be difficult

3 Tips for Executing Annual Meetings That Build Investor Confidence

The good news about the challenges above is that with the right tools and processes, you can turn them into opportunities. Below are three tips to help you strengthen investor confidence and better position your firm to raise capital in the future.

  1. Use fund management software to help you manage relationships. Creating a list of potential attendees and coordinating the timing of your outreach so that you connect effectively with the right people can be difficult. That’s why so many survey respondents (nearly 60%) indicated this was a pain point. The solution? Implement advanced fund management software. It can simplify the planning and execution of annual meetings in many ways, starting with serving as a centralized repository for attendee information. Imagine the time you can save by having all the information you need in one place rather than scattered throughout the firm in various spreadsheets, databases, etc.

  1. Leverage an advanced fund management solution to create accurate presentations efficiently. In simplest terms, analysts want an answer to this question: “What have you been up to for the past year?” Trying to piece together a clear and comprehensive answer to that all-important question using spreadsheets, your calendar, and other random tools and data sources can be a nightmare. Not only does this approach make the task more difficult, it greatly increases the risk of errors in your presentation. With the right system in place, you can get clear, concise, accurate information in seconds rather than the hours it used to take you to gather and organize this data. That way, you don’t have to be among the 41% of survey respondents who struggle with creating annual meeting presentations.

  1. Gather detailed performance data with ease. To prepare for an annual meeting, you’ve got to pull together lots of information about your portfolio companies—who they are, what their operational metrics are, and much more. You must show investors that you’re “on top of your game,” and that requires being able to generate detailed reports that provide this information. Using the right system for this purpose helps keep you out of the 35% of survey respondents who indicate that accurate reporting is a major headache. 

Don’t Leave Investor Confidence to Chance

Too often, firms go into annual meetings hoping that attendees get what they need from the session and that the session will have a positive impact on investor confidence. A much better approach is to have the right tools in place to ensure that your meeting goals are achieved.

You worked hard all year to get the kind of results your stakeholders expect. It would be a shame to have them leave your annual meeting feeling like your efforts fell short, when, in fact, your only failing was being unable to clearly demonstrate your successes.

Learn how Altvia solutions help firms enhance investor confidence.

investor confidence

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.

private capital markets