Data-Enhancing Applications to Simplify Your Private Equity CRM

Like shoveling your driveway during a blizzard, data management can seem like a never-ending battle. According to Bloomberg, analysts now spend 70 percent of their time “managing raw data, cleaning it and preparing it for analysis.” That leaves far too little time for the critical part of any General Partner’s job: making fundraising decisions based on crucial insights from relevant data. Not to mention causing significant delays delivering investor reports to Limited Partners. A private equity CRM can help. 

It’s not surprising to see Private Equity firms investing in artificial intelligence and data enhancement technology to streamline data analytics for fundraising, deal management, and investor relations. 

To take full advantage of these powerful technologies, however, firms first need the right systems—systems that support a holistic data approach. Thankfully, today’s fund management software is designed to work with other solutions to help firms operate more efficiently.

Here’s some guidance on what to look for in a Private Equity CRM, plus which data-enhancing applications can help fund managers spend less time managing data and more time acting on data insights. 

Simplify with a Private Equity CRM

Evaluating potential investments, managing the capital raising process, sharing reports with stakeholders—these day-to-day tasks are much easier with fund management software that provides a single source of truth, a central repository for data and deals, and connects to the back-end systems firms already rely on.

Altvia’s AIM—a cloud-based CRM built on the Salesforce® platform with purpose-built modules specific to Private Equity—offers all that and more. In addition to eliminating a firm’s need to build a custom solution, AIM integrates with any application on the Salesforce AppExchange. 

Below, are the top data applications that integrate with AIM and help your firm streamline your data management tasks for operational efficiency. 

M&A Data Integration Applications

Capture intelligence from private equity, venture capital and M&A industries all in one place.

PitchBook

Access the independent, impartial PitchBook platform and import customized data directly, seamlessly gathering customized intelligence on people, companies, investors and service providers.

 SourceScrub

Optimize and automate your M&A workflow with the most accurate data—set and forget a complete record synchronization schedule with AI-augmented, human-audited company data.

AI-Driven Data-Enhancing Applications

Outsource gathering the latest company data to apps driven by artificial intelligence but verified by human beings with industry expertise. 

S&P Capital IQ

Identify opportunities, facilitate outreach, and understand your customers better with company and decision-maker data from S&P Global.

DataFox Company Intelligence

Grow your sales pipeline with access to this human-verified database of millions of companies, growing by 40,000 new companies per week.

Market Information Applications

Analyze trusted data sources from the global alternative assets industry, including private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, private debt, real estate, infrastructure, natural resources, and secondaries.

Preqin

Access some of the industry’s most comprehensive private market data and tools with Preqin Pro, or get publications, surveys, and events that provide insider access to the largest global network of alternative assets experts with Preqin Insights.

Private Equity CRM: Data Cleansing Applications

Automate the grunt work for managing your growing CRM database and focus on closing deals.

DupeCatcher

Identify, block and dedupe accounts, and contacts in real-time at the point-of-entry, while retaining control of the identification and merging process for peace of mind.

Field Trip

Learn which database fields your firm uses consistently and which ones you don’t, so you can delete the fields no longer providing value.

Is Your Firm Positioned to Have a Data Advantage?

There’s no question that firms are at a turning point, technologically speaking. Every year, Limited Partners are demanding faster, easier access to information. The firms that deliver will have a competitive advantage.

General Partners who are struggling with how best to use technology to support these critical investor relationships should focus on capturing the true value of the data they acquire—and automate what they can with today’s leading data applications designed for fund managers. 

Investing in solutions designed to seamlessly organize, clean, and enhance your data will position your firm to compete more efficiently in 2020—and beyond.

Click here to learn how Altvia’s AIM can integrate with the top applications for fund managers.

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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