Leverage the Power of Analytics to Help Your Firm Stand Out

What do investors want from your firm? The answer to that question has two parts. First, they want detailed information on your track record. Without it, they can’t make an informed assessment of your firm or an informed decision about whether to invest.

However, they want more than just data—they want fast, easy, and secure access to current information.

A spreadsheet contains data. Unfortunately, the time it takes for a busy investor to locate the specific details they’re after in a large spreadsheet may be more than they’re willing to commit, and that’s a risk you don’t want to take. Needless to say, the last thing you want to do is frustrate and irritate the very people you’re looking to engage with.

The solution? Give investors access to an intuitive track record dashboard. A secure, easily accessible interface makes their research fast and efficient.

Collect and store accurate data

In order to provide investors with helpful data, you must first collect and store accurate and current information. Technology like AIM, Altvia’s CRM solution, provides the power and flexibility you need to manage all the data investors require for decision making. The ease with which you can add data to, or extract data from, AIM makes it the perfect information source for critical firm analytics.

Give investors the answers they need

With AIM streamlining and simplifying your data management processes, the next step is to empower investors to get the insights they’re looking for. Altvia Answers does exactly that. A purpose-built private equity business intelligence solution, Answers empowers investors to look at your track record and data analytics in whatever way makes sense to them.

By transforming, normalizing, and displaying all of your data across systems, Answers makes it easy to perform complex analyses whenever and wherever an investor wants to. And because some of the best questions come to mind after a meeting or call has ended, the system’s anytime, anywhere accessibility helps ensure that investors are never left wondering about an aspect of your track record that they forgot to discuss with you.

Plus, Answers leverages real-time data integrations that can pull from virtually any data source including everything from simple flat files to large databases, and the system’s cloud-based architecture means it runs efficiently and doesn’t keep investors waiting for results.

There’s also a productivity benefit to your firm when you give investors a self-service data dashboard. Your team will still have to answer questions, but the number of queries is greatly reduced, allowing them to focus on other tasks.

Set your firm apart with analytics

Providing a better experience for LPs when it comes to reviewing your track record does two things.

First, it gives investors confidence that they are getting a full and clear picture of your firm’s performance. That trust can go a long way in cementing a mutually beneficial relationship.

Second, and just as importantly, giving investors access to an advanced data dashboard makes a strong statement about your firm. It says that you value their time and want to make it easy for them to get the information they need.

It also shows that you are strategic about how you manage your business. You could communicate your track record using a set of spreadsheets, charts, and graphs like most firms do, but you’re more forward-thinking in your approach to data management and sharing. You understand that the volume of information available to GPs and their investors is only going to increase over time, and you want to ensure that you have the technology in place to turn raw data into structured and actionable business intelligence that supports better decision making.

Not every firm is so proactive and transparent in their data management and reporting practices. The fact that your firm is at the forefront in those areas places you in a select group. And as competition for investment dollars continues to intensify, that’s right where you want to be.

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LP Experience

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.

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