Redefining the Investor Experience in 2020 and Beyond

No one wants to spend their days doing mundane, repetitive, or standard functions and executives are no exception. The desire to move from the routine to the strategic is never more obvious than when looking at a private equity CFO’s priorities for the future.

In the 2020 E&Y Global Private Equity survey, this shift was dissected and the three areas where a CFO wants to be more strategic are:

  • portfolio analytics
  • technology
  • investor relations.

Altvia sees this desire for innovation and to increase time spent on value-add activities daily in conversations with our client partners and prospects around how best to use our products and tools.

That is why in order to support teams across the top firms in the Private Capital Markets, we have pre-built dashboards, data-rich integrations, and products that help Deal Team and Investor Relations professionals manage their relationships with portfolio companies and investors. It’s increasingly imperative to be strategic and differentiate your firm to command the capital with each subsequent fundraise.

In that end, 2020 will see the investments of our time and effort to redefine the relationship between GPs and LPs come to fruition with a completely redesigned investor experience. Since the early days of the AIM product, Altvia has purposefully built the features teams need to manage their relationships, contacts, and data to win more deals. We see that tools focused solely on internal efficiencies ignore the forward-looking, next-generation desires of those strategic CFOs and demanding LPs.

Leveraging data to drive differentiation, satisfying investor demands for transparency and trust, and reducing the time to raise funds are three of the many ways we are focused specifically on that space between firms and investors — products built specifically for the Private Capital Markets that unleash the power of your relationships and data.

The New Correspond- Investor Edition

Over the upcoming weeks and months, you’ll see this come first in a brand new Correspond — Investor Edition. Built with your investors in mind, document sharing and investor communication with Correspond reduces the time to reconcile systems, is easier to use, and faster to manage than ever before. Bridge the gap between back office, front office, and investors with a redesigned, single solution for managing the entire investor lifecycle from fundraising to investor reporting.

ShareSecure Refresh

Next, our industry-leading fundraising and LP portal solution, ShareSecure, will see a facelift in 2020. Documents sent via Correspond have a natural home in this GP-LP engagement portal and with investors demanding more and more performance information, it’s essential for top-tier firms to have a secure, enterprise solution to support fundraising and management efforts. Cut through the noise of ineffective and incomplete experiences from your competitors with a comprehensive, branded, and sleek -investor portal.

These two relaunches come alongside the biweekly advancements we make on the Altvia product suite — updating the CRM platform, connecting to next-generation BI tools, and evolving our integrations.

We are excited about these developments and look forward to driving more innovation in the investor experience in 2020 and beyond.

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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