The Best Proactive PE/VC Pipeline Management

Proper sales pipeline management is imperative for any firm’s growth. Your sales pipeline serves as a key indicator of the success of everything from your deal sourcing strategies and negotiations through to due diligence, closing, and overall portfolio performance.

However, proactively managing your firm’s pipeline management can be easier said than done. And, without the proper reporting in place, it can be a challenge to understand exactly what it is you’re even measuring – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Read on for our tips and common pitfalls to overcome to gain a proactive approach to your firm’s pipeline management once and for all. 

Proactively Measure the Strength of Your Pipeline

To measure the strength of your pipeline, begin by setting the right goals and KPIs that your firm deems successful. This includes measuring the time to close a deal, the number of touchpoints throughout your funnel, and the overall number of qualified prospects. While tracking these KPIs, maintain regular (at least weekly) data cleanup and monitoring to ensure you and your team stay on track.  

As Landon Eckles, CEO and Cofounder of Clean Juice recommends, “treat your pipeline like a supply chain.” Think of every touchpoint as interconnected, with its unique strategy to drive conversions. By focusing on the prospects most likely to convert in each stage of your funnel, you’ll be able to close deals faster and maintain a higher SLA.

To effectively track and measure a prospect’s journey through your firm’s funnel, leverage a CRM designed specifically for VCs/PEs (like Altvia’s) to efficiently nurture a prospect through your qualification process. By tracking every stage of their journey throughout the funnel, you’ll not only be able to better nurture your leads, but also gain a stronger understanding of a qualified prospect’s lifetime value and overall satisfaction. 

Common Pipeline Pitfalls (and how to overcome them)

Effective pipeline management doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time to refine and perfect to align to your firm’s unique processes. However, you can lean on the shoulders of the firms that have tried (and failed) before you to avoid common pipeline pitfalls – or at least overcome them. 

Pitfall #1: Not having a defined acquisition strategy 

If you don’t know where your new prospects or best-performing deals are coming from, every opportunity can seem like the perfect opportunity – and we all know that’s not always the case. 

To weed through the noise and hone in on value-driven prospects, set up specific criteria for your sales team to leverage and measure against in your deal-sourcing phase. This includes specific considerations to steer opportunities toward close and weeding out those that may not be the best fit for your firm.

Pitfall #2: Relying on Outdated Processes 

If you don’t have an effective, centralized platform in place to manage each phase of your pipeline, you could be leaving opportunities – and funds – on the table. By relying on outdated processes, such as stringing together different spreadsheets and sets of data to inform your pipeline management strategies (or lack thereof), you end up fueling your firm on inconsistent knowledge that’s prone to error. 

To overcome this all-too-common pitfall, adopt a PE/VC-designed CRM to centralize all of your opportunities across the firm into a single platform. This will help you track progress in real-time and enable stakeholders to gain instant visibility into the information they want while arming you with full insight into the state and stage of every opportunity in your pipeline.

Pitfall #3: Inconsistent Reporting

As discussed above in pitfall #2, relying on outdated processes and spreadsheets can quickly lead to an inefficient pipeline. And, by relying on the reports you piece together from said outdated processes, you’re setting yourself up for failure. 

Put simply, without automation, your reporting can have holes in it. A single spreadsheet strung together through manual data entry is not only error-prone but also reduces the ability to integrate data from other sources, making it very difficult to make strategic decisions from a one-dimensional report.

By graduating to an automated platform solution, pipeline owners can leverage visually enhanced, robust reporting at the click of a button, while only worrying about managing data in a single platform that will serve as the firm’s source of truth for all pipeline reports. 

Software to Supercharge Your Firm’s Pipeline Management

Pipeline management software is no longer just a “nice to have.” For PEs/VCs looking to maintain firm-wide transparency in today’s hybrid and remote workforce – while gaining real-time insight into every stage of the deal pipeline – relying on software like Altvia’s is critical.

From customizing alerts for deal follow-ups and check-ins to honing in on the top quality prospects most likely to convert, it’s time to leverage a centralized hub to level up your firm. 

To learn how to get started, start a conversation with someone from our team.

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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.