Transform Your Investor Communications With the Right Tools

The competition to win—and retain— investor communications are becoming increasingly fierce, and market predictions point to continued escalations in difficulty.

Combine that with a noticeable decline in the number of investors planning to invest more dollars in the marketplace and we’re finding that many Private Equity firms and asset managers are actively looking for innovative and effective ways to win over new investors and maintain the interest of existing ones.

Private Equity Communication Tools: Turning Challenges Into Opportunities

While it is more difficult than ever to secure capital and close deals in Private Equity, this challenge actually provides a unique opportunity and powerful motivation. Forced to adapt or be left behind, firms are exploring new technology that they may not have otherwise considered.

What they are finding is that these tools can be used to improve workflows and streamline operations. When successfully implemented, Private Equity communications solutions, in particular, can positively impact both resource utilization and revenue.

With communication and transparency increasingly at the core of GP-LP relationships, focusing on improving and redefining the ways that firms interact and communicate with their investors can produce a significant competitive advantage.

Setting Your Sights on a Purpose-Built Private Equity Investor Communications Tool

Many communication tools promise the ability to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of interactions with stakeholders. However, few are purpose-built for the Private Equity industry.

As an asset manager or other stakeholder searching for the right solution for your company, it’s important to prioritize your specific needs and goals rather than settling for a system that’s “good enough.” Before you start shopping for a solution, you should create a detailed list of your requirements so that everyone involved in researching and reviewing your options is, literally, on the same page.

Insisting on a Proven Solution

Altvia’s Private Equity communications solution, Altvia Correspond, is built around specific industry needs like investor relations, communications, marketing, and fundraising. Altvia Correspond Market Edition provides the core features of a mass email application with the benefit of integration with AIM, our Private Equity CRM solution on the Salesforce platform.

It’s an end-to-end system that addresses all of a firm’s data and Private Equity communications needs. It allows users to easily, creatively, and effectively manage communications for prospecting, fundraising, deal announcements, and roadshows without the labor-intensive, manual “swivel chair” approach that requires exporting data from a CRM and then importing it into a separate email application.

Some of Altvia Correspond Market Edition’s advanced capabilities include:

  • INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS. Use one system to manage your data, mass communications, contact lists, and reporting.
  • SMART LISTS. Create dynamic email contact lists from your AIM data to ensure data integrity and send targeted communications.
  • ENHANCED ANALYTICS. Leverage data from your communications to drive more informed decision making for fundraising and deal sourcing.
  • FLEXIBLE MASS EMAILS AND TEMPLATES. Grow relationships with personalized communications for broad audiences and leverage contact lists and mailing templates for more frequent engagement.

Investor Communications Tool Provider That Stays on the Leading Edge

Private Equity communications tools, and investor relations solutions in general, continue to evolve as business practices change and available technology improves. As more Private Equity firms adopt scalable and efficient communications solutions, the need to differentiate in order to stay ahead of the competition will increase.

Simply implementing an adequate system and then turning your attention to other initiatives isn’t a good long-term strategy. Becoming complacent about your private equity communications solution can cause you to fall behind your competitors. You’ve got to regularly assess your options and be prepared to move to a better system if one is developed.

At Altvia, not only do we offer a full line of integrated solutions to meet your needs today, but we also provide comprehensive consulting and support through Altvia Care to ensure that your needs are addressed and you’re always taking full advantage of our suite of products as they evolve in sync with our changing industry.

As Keith Janosky, CFO, Head of Investor Relations at Khosla Ventures notes in a webinar on The Art of Virtual Fundraising, “We use Altvia to track our LPs and our regular communication with regards to fundraising so we can record their interactions and emails.”

Get more of his perspective and insights from other experts when you watch the information-packed session.

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