How Tech Can Help You Provide a Personal Touch in Investor Relations

For public companies—or those about to go public— Investor Relations plays a critical role in providing investors with the information they need to make informed decisions. The IR role is all about communication, with teams sharing both quantitative and qualitative data compiled into everything from quarterly reports and earning announcements to market presentations and financial statements. The department has to strike a delicate balance of painting a positive picture of the company while remaining compliant with strict reporting laws.

With fierce competition over funding the next big startup, maintaining a solid reputation with potential investors has never been more important. One way for IR teams to stand out is to offer a personal touch. Any firm can send generic emails, but to get an important investor’s attention, you have to show you know and understand their needs. Enter Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology.

While many private equity firms invest in technology to optimize their workflows, get more accurate data, and ultimately make better, faster business decisions, far fewer are leveraging CRM to solidify their reputation in the marketplace. As the field of Investor Relations continues to expand and grow in importance, we thought it was time to break down the specific benefits of this kind of technology.

How CRM works with investor relations

While the C in CRM may stand for Customers, the technology works just as easily with investors. CRM is a tool that tracks and manages your growing list of contacts and related fundraising or deal interactions with them in an easy-to-use solution. So you can spend more time focusing on building relationships with stakeholders, investors, and prospects.

With a CRM tool, your IR team can:

  • Stay easily connected to investors—and potential investors
  • Streamline cumbersome administrative processes
  • Increase profitability by giving investors more personal attention
  • Discover opportunities with new investors
  • Provide investors with outstanding support and services

With all of the relevant data stored in a CRM tool, your IR team can offer a more personal touch when communicating with investors. You can increase the value of a simple phone call by easily finding and mentioning the details you know your investors find relevant.

“To survive—and thrive—in the digital era, our industry must embrace technology and its ability to help us provide an exceptional customer experience,” explains Altvia’s Vice President of Customer Success Jill Montera, who spoke at the PEI IR & Communication Forum last June.

At the forum, Montera also heard from LPs who said they rely on technology to help them stay informed on key points of interest during the fundraising process. Naturally, like investors, Limited Partners (LPs) appreciate this higher level of customers service and now even expect personalized relationship management.

When Altvia created its contact and data management solution integrated with the Salesforce platform, their team made sure to design it to meet the specific needs of Private Equity firms. The resulting solution, called AIM, harnesses the institutional knowledge of Private Equity communications, LP portal, and back-end systems, and enables users to:

  • Track information about the people and organizations with whom you communicate as well as records and document engagements for compliance
  • Consolidate data into one central system for operational efficiency and optimize workflows to scale for growth
  • Track fundraising progress in detail, easily generate reports on fundraising progress, and proactively manage investor relationships

With these kinds of industry-specific features, AIM can simplify how your IR team remains compliant while delivers a transparent—and more trusted—experience to investors and other stakeholders. And your firm can remain focused on raising and deploying capital for the next big company on the horizon.

Learn more about how Altvia’s solutions can provide a personal touch for your investor relations by clicking the button below.

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.

investor relations