0 comments on “Top Three Reasons Your BD Travel is Less Productive Than It Could Be”

Top Three Reasons Your BD Travel is Less Productive Than It Could Be

Business development “road warriors” know the challenges of on-the-road dealmaking all too well. From trains, to planes, to automobiles, it’s clear that copious amounts of travel will continue to be a huge part of the job for private equity and investment banking professionals.

In a recent Mergers & Acquisitions article, Mary Kathleen Flynn and Demitri Diakantonis identify 15 cities that provide fertile environments for dealmaking and highlight the key players and newsworthy and recent transactions in each. This begs the question: Does your team have solid coverage of each of these markets?

Read on to learn the top three reasons dealmakers miss out on business development opportunities when traveling, and how to improve your next trip with the help of technology.

1. Lack of transparency

Do you know what part of the country your developing deals are in? Do your teammates have the same visibility into the firm’s geographic reach as you do? Is geographic reach something that the firm analyzes on the quarter-to-quarter basis? If your answer to any of these questions is “No,” then it’s safe to say your firm lacks the transparency it needs to execute on business development travel effectively.

Regions Dashboard
DealCloud can aggregate your business development activities into a regional dashboard. Many clients look at Metro Areas but Airport codes are a popular option as well.

Modern-day investment banks and private equity firms keep track of deals at every stage in the pipeline by leveraging real-time data dashboards similar to the one seen above. Whether your firm is executing on a global roll-up strategy or a small, regional debt deal, it’s critical that every team member, at any time of day, have access to this information. Gone are the days planning business travel in Excel and Outlook.

2. Lack of data

If your firm wants to improve its geographical business development efforts, it will first need to identify which proprietary data the firm owns that can be leveraged. For example, you’ll want visibility into which contacts are located in the city you’re traveling to, how long it’s been since you last had contact, and what was discussed in that last email/call/meeting. This information is critical to picking the relationship up where it left off, and without it, your team members lose credibility.

SPS Geo Pivot.PNG
Sutton Place Strategies data, which is integrated through the DealCloud DataCortex, can aid in planning business travel, while giving you a sense of the market in a particular geography.

If your firm has insufficient proprietary data, and therefore insufficient geographic coverage, a best practice to follow is to infuse that proprietary data with third-party data sources, such as Sutton Place Strategies, Pitchbook, DataFox and more. With this data strategy, firms can sync new global company, contact, and deal information with their proprietary data, creating a single cohesive record.

Having a balanced mix of proprietary and third-party geographic data is a great way to make your team’s business trips more productive because it will shine light on the places that have gone unnoticed and illuminate the places that are ripe for opportunity.

3. Lack of speed

There’s many advantages to organizing your business development efforts and team members by geography. It helps to maintain deeper relationships, helps the team focus their time on local economies, and allows them to attend more location-specific events and conferences. Putting all organizational strategies aside, however, it’s important that business development professionals be able to seize opportunities whenever and wherever they arise.

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Integrated Google Maps functionality allows you to see who you know, and where they are.

It’s no secret that speed is a critical component of dealmaking, but too often private equity and investment banking professionals pour countless hours into planning business travel.

From mapping the locations of each office you plan to visit in a given city (see above), to compiling the phone numbers of private company owners you intend to follow up with, to double-checking whether or not there’s an investor nearby that is owed a visit… planning business travel should not be an arduous or time-intensive task. With data and the right technology, dealmakers can better fuel their business development efforts when on the road or out of the office.

To learn more about ways to improve your firm’s geographic coverage, contact us.

0 comments on “The Most Important 100 Day Plan Your Firm Will Ever Create”

The Most Important 100 Day Plan Your Firm Will Ever Create

Private equity professionals are no strangers to the 100 Day Plan. While the strategy behind 100 Day Plans has evolved in the last 20 years, they are largely used today as a way to guide companies through the mess and uncertainty of integration, post-due diligence matters, business planning, as well as stakeholder and employee communications.

Most business leaders, regardless of industry, will tell you that undergoing a technology transformation or new software implementation can have the same effects on a business as a transaction – and we tend to agree! Having performed over 500 implementations for investment banks and private equity firms over the past 10 years, we know just how important it is to outline the overall vision, define major milestones, and garner buy-in across the team.

But don’t just take our word for it! In this article, we discuss eight key takeaways from the early days of implementation – each from a client who has completed their CRM implementation. Based on their experiences and the unique needs of your firm, the list can be leveraged to create the foundation for your own 100 Day Plan.

“Get on the same page.”

Before implementation takes place, be sure to share the estimated implementation timeline and dates for training. Since teams are often more receptive to changes when the implementation is rolled out in an organized fashion, many firms choose to host a launch or kick-off party, find an internal champion, and/or formally recognize a designated super-user.

“Get top-down buy-in.”

Put simply, Principals and Partners need to say this is a firm-wide initiative. Just like in post-acquisition integrations, everyone will be looking to the leaders for excitement and for confirmation that the investment will have a big, positive impact… so there needs to be support from the executive level in order for implementation to be successful.

“Define the roles clearly amongst the team.”

When rolling out a new technology, everyone wants to know what their role will be, especially those who will have a new set of responsibilities. For some clients, a clear delineation between the person owning the implementation and the person running the platform was important. No matter which way the team is divided, make sure the roles are clearly documented and understood. If the responsibilities shift, the entire team need to be made aware.

“Assign the team a mentor or coach.”

Sometimes referred to as “power users,” there are usually early adopters of new technology that can help to change the tone across the team and can impact the outcome of the implementation. Don’t be afraid to highlight and celebrate these people, but make sure they have the bandwidth to provide meaningful support to their peers.

“Provide opportunities to build the skill.”

One client we spoke to said that a large amount of his team was struggling to effectively use the Email Outlook Add-In. As a result, the firm updated their 100 Day Plan to include weekly, informal office hours where users could ask questions and be trained by their peers.

“Integrate the technology into everyday life early.”

When implementing a new technology, it’s important to showcase its efficacy early. Let the platform powers the Monday morning meeting, for example. Some firms have even gone to the lengths of instituting a “no-paper policy” to encourage everyone to re-think and increase their usage.

“Create 30, 60, and 90 day goals.”

Be sure to share the list of goals your organization has for the new technology platform. On a regular basis (at 30, 60, 90 day or other intervals), look back at those goals and show how well or poorly the team is tracking towards them.  

“Create guides and checklists – do whatever works best for you.”

Every firm is different – and as a result, each will need different levels of support. For some firms, checklists, step-by-step guides and handbooks tend to be the catalyst that urges user adoption. For others, one-on-one training is the only solution. No matter the case, it’s important to figure out what works best for your firm. But don’t go it alone — seek guidance from DealCloud’s Implementation, Training, and Account Management teams who have blueprints for making CRM implementation faster and more meaningful for the specific needs of your firm.

Internal improvements such as CRM implementation should be treated with the same care and thoughtfulness as would be applied to a portfolio company or other investment. 100 Day Plans help organizations roll out new tools more thoughtfully and intentionally, no matter the size or complexity of the team.

 

0 comments on “Leveraging Data to Maintain Visibility on the Market and Firm-Wide Goals”

Leveraging Data to Maintain Visibility on the Market and Firm-Wide Goals

With the increased competition in the market, it’s more challenging than ever for leaders at private equity firms to think about how the market is shifting on a day-to-day basis. The fact of the matter, however, is that these micro- and macroeconomic trends have a serious impact on the firm’s ability to achieve long-term success.

So the question remains: how can private equity leadership maintain visibility on important movements in the market, and on their team, while executing on their mandates?

In this article, we explore a few ways in which technology – supported by a combination of industry-leading and proprietary data – can power business development efforts behind the scenes so investors can stay focused on closing deals.

 

Historical Comparisons

It’s easy to simply close the books at year-end and never look back, especially after a tough year marked by poor performance and unattained goals. Looking at past deal and business development metrics, however, is one easy way to keep firm leadership in tune with long-term goals. When every communication and activity firm-wide is logged in one place, it’s even easier to leverage that data.

For example: if the total count of business development activities (such as phone calls, emails and meetings) in the healthcare sector was 1,000 at this time last year, and the firm is currently at 800, firm leadership should take that cue and dedicate more resources to that coverage in order to surpass last year’s performance. Similarly, if your top tier of intermediaries are not sharing as many deals with you as years prior, that should signal deal professionals to pick up the phone.

Intermediary coverage
Intermediary coverage in DealCloud allows you to easily see deal flow from bankers in order to see which ones you need to connect with.

We encourage firms to set up these types of dashboards so that users can easily visualize activity and performance over time. While identifying past mistakes and shortcomings can be scary (and even embarrassing), historical data serves as an effective tool for benchmarking, resource planning and setting realistic expectations for what can be achieved.

 

Leverage Third-Party Sources

Within the investment community, it’s been no secret that historically, reliable data on private and public companies, investors, funds, limited partners and service providers has been hard to find. Thanks to many technological advances in the industry such as web crawlers, machine learning technology, artificial intelligence as well as specialized and expertly-trained data teams, firms of all sizes are now able to validate their proprietary data with the support of third parties.

Relying solely on your own data no longer provides full coverage of the market, so infusing your technology systems with this type of third-party data helps forces you to not have tunnel vision. Instead, you can more accurately assess the total universe of companies and deals, and how much of that universe your team has been able to access.

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Integrating market transactions from Sutton Place Strategies enables DealCloud clients to see what other deals exist in the market, and what they might have missed.

Ultimately, leveraging a host of verified data helps private equity professionals make more actionable decisions, more confidently.

 

Unique Categorization

While it’s a best practice to keep data standardized, most firms will admit that what seems on the surface like a one-time, fluke event, can actually turn into a trend. That’s why there’s a case to be made for tracking very specific market factors within your technology platforms such as losing out to a competitor, or experiencing major swings in activity in a given industry.

For example, even when your team loses a deal, a detailed reason for the failure should be accounted for within your information systems. That data is extremely valuable because it can be leveraged to inform future strategies and guide the way the team spends time and resources.

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Keeping track of why you lose a deal may lead to better process management in the future

Whether that information leads you to halt certain business development activities for a period of time, or double-down on the existing strategy, having the visibility (backed by data) helps to better steer the ship.

Your technology systems should allow you to re-categorize activities based on what really happens throughout the deal lifecycle, positive or negative. Once those categorizations are put into place, firm leadership can more easily check statuses and better navigate the complexities with their teams.

0 comments on “Top Seven Tips for Creating a Cross-Functional CRM Strategy”

Top Seven Tips for Creating a Cross-Functional CRM Strategy

Did you know: One in every three CRM projects fall short of expectations? While every organization is different, we hear many of the same factors cited as reasons for CRM systems not delivering the expected outcome, including lack of consensus, lack of clear goals, and lack of user adoption. So how can your organization ensure it’s part of the 66% of those who find success?

0 comments on “Three Marketing Basics for Investment Banks Looking to Kickstart Dealflow”

Three Marketing Basics for Investment Banks Looking to Kickstart Dealflow

It’s no secret that marketing acts as an effective inbound business development tool. Look no further than financial services giants like Goldman Sachs who embrace the latest digital trends to assert their brand, highlight their offerings, and maintain credibility.

Even if you don’t have a dedicated business development or marketing manager at your firm, simple marketing efforts are extremely effective in helping your firm stay top of mind in a crowded, competitive marketplace.

Listed below are a few simple, but important pieces of “real estate” that should have special attention from your firm if you want to ensure steady, high quality dealflow in the months and years to come.

1. Website

Business owners and buyers are savvier than ever, and are guaranteed to rely on the internet to learn about your firm. If your website is old and outdated, small tweaks such as adding a “Contact Us” form, adding photographs and biographies of your team members, clearly and concisely defining your expertise/deal criteria, and highlighting the transactions you’ve completed will help increase the likelihood of connection.

If your firm already has these features, consider looking into how your firm appears in search results for keywords and phrases. Think about if from the lens of buyer and seller: if a business owner searches for “Business broker in Nashville,” will you appear? Similarly, you’ll want to be visible if a strategic acquirer searches for “healthcare services investment bank San Jose.”

2. LinkedIn

Most industry professionals will tell you that deal origination does not happen on social media. However, most professionals (including business owners) are on LinkedIn.

Not surprisingly, people like the ability to “put a face to a name” and appreciate the opportunity to learn about an individual’s experience, education and skills before doing business together. While LinkedIn may not necessarily be viewed as a business development platform at your firm, easy updates such as ensuring everyone has headshots, has industry expertise listed, and has their personal profile connected to the firm’s company page can help buyers and sellers more quickly vet your team.

DealCloud LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great way to share news about your firm. To keep up with DealCloud news, be sure to follow us.

Many firms use LinkedIn as a business development channel, sending and receiving messages from business owners and buyers outside of their existing network. If this is a strategy your firm employs, keep it honest, and keep it organized. Take stock of the various private messages your team members send, ensure there’s no duplication, and pay special attention to the way the firm and its interests are being positioned.

3. Email

While warm introductions are obviously preferable in this relationship-driven business, email programs remain an important aspect of business development. If your firm hasn’t taken the plunge and purchased an email marketing software, it is recommended that the firm at least set standards for email practices and email signatures. Ensuring that all signatures link to the firm website and the individual’s LinkedIn, for example, can help drive significant traffic.

If your firm does use an email marketing software, or is exploring doing so, it’s critically important to consider how these communications are being tracked and leveraged. What good is sending a deal teaser if your team can’t keep track of who it was sent to, who passed on it, and who was interested? Thinking strategically about your day-to-day communications via email can help your firm connect the dots more quickly and make decisions more quickly.

Connect it all to your CRM

Don’t assume that digital marketing efforts and day-to-day communications can’t win you business – they can! If your systems are in sync, the more likely it is that your team will connect the dots and triangulate the relationships that lead to deals closing.

Not sure where to start? Our team of account managers and integration specialists understand the complexities of dealmaking, business development and marketing. We can help your team bridge the gaps through smart, custom technology solutions that fit your needs.