Tools to Power your Investor Communications Strategy

Investor communications aren’t often considered a profit-driver. However, the most successful firms know that investor relations, when done well, can drive tremendous value.

When investor communications are running smoothly, clients feel engaged and confident. This has many benefits like referrals and willingness to further their level of investment.

Effective investor communications are thoughtful, relationship-focused, and responsive. When this is done well, investors can count on clients for the long term.

Clear and proactive communication doesn’t always come naturally. Instead, investors assume it’s enough to execute well and deliver when the results are in, but that’s a mistake.

Prioritizing investor communications leads to measurable results for the entire company.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to improving communication, the good news is, there is a simple framework to follow.

In this guide, we share our strategy and top tools for relationship-building with your investors through communications.

Create a communication strategy

Establish Communications Objectives

Investor relations teams are often on the defense, as requests from investors, analysts, and other stakeholders flow in daily. It’s important for IR teams to create sound communications plans and objectives.

When your IR team is fielding requests, these plans and objectives will help in the triage process. Team members will know whether a request should be high priority or low.

Define Audience Segments

Audience segmentation is essential to maintaining and growing relationships in the digital age of financial services. It’s bad practice to send impersonal messages to every investor on your list – and they’ll know they’re part of a mass email campaign.

Take the time and use the tools necessary to segment your audience and create personalized messages.

Send Helpful Messages

Your message should be focused on answering investors’ questions before they ask them. Anticipate what your investors want to know the most and provide succinct updates on those topics.

Be consistent in your messaging as well which will help to solidify your trustworthiness. With reliable communication, investors will grow a strong sense of trust in your company.

Create a Powerful Outreach plan

The cornerstone of IR communications is the annual report. Many companies just use this as a regulatory requirement and check it off the list.

The companies that think creatively and consider the annual report as an opportunity, find that their investors are incredibly engaged.

An annual report that goes above and beyond the requirements should include:

  • A letter to shareholders
  • Financial wins and strategic efforts
  • Management’s Discussion and Analysis
  • Financial statements
  • Auditor’s report
  • Corporate governance

We highly suggest that you leverage your internal marketing and creative resources to develop this annual report. Work with a writer to ensure the letter to shareholders is compelling and enlist a designer to create a presentation that is vibrant and tells a story.

Implement a World-Class Investor Communications Strategy

Once you have an established communication strategy, use the following tools to improve outreach.

Targeting

Use your CRM to determine the right investors for fundraising

A CRM will allow you to lean into relationships through segmentation. Using CRM filters, you can define specific groups of investors. Then, you can speak to those investors with personalized messaging, making the outreach more likely to land.

Automation

Use the right email marketing tools

To elevate your communication strategy, you need an email marketing tool that will streamline your email marketing plus give you valuable information about who is opening and engaging with your messages.

Make sure the system you’re using provides performance metrics and integrates with your CRM so you can see all activity associated with your investor outreach.

Data

Invest in FinTech applications

Every year more financial data tools emerge to make investors’ lives easier. Some of our favorite tools are:

  • Preqin – provides market-leading reports, data, and analytics tools.
  • PitchBook – according to their website, PitchBook provides access to more private market data than anyone else.
  • Datafox –  is an account intelligence tool that integrates firmographic data into workflows to enrich investor account records.

Leverage business intelligence tools to show trends and fund performance

The best communication includes impactful imagery. Providing data and visualizations proactively helps answer clients’ important questions.

Security

Consider a virtual data room

Awkward handoffs can impact investor confidence and degrade trust. Use a virtual data room to help with GP-LP engagement. Keep files both secure and accessible.

Start with the Objective and Results will Follow

The goal is not to implement every strategy mentioned above.

Instead, start with your objective. Once your IR team has solidified an investor communications mission statement, the processes, tools, and messaging you develop will follow.

When your team spends the time to build strong relationships with investors, securing funds is a natural result.

To learn more on our approach to investor relations, click below to download the Investor Experience Guide now.

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.

investor communications