5 Tips for Kick-Starting CRM User Adoption

Successfully implementing a new CRM or fund management platform is no small feat – it requires planning, foresight and strategy. Once the implementation is complete and users begin to access the platform, the real work begins: adopting the technology and integrating it into your day-to-day work.

In fact, the majority of capital markets firms we’ve worked with agree that a “successful” roll-out is entirely contingent upon user adoption of the platform. After all, the data is only valuable if it can be leveraged to make more confident decisions and can be used to derive meaningful insights.

In order to derive this value and get users into the platform regularly, a behavioral shift among the team is required. With over 600 successful CRM implementations under our belt, the team at DealCloud have compiled the following list of quick tips for driving high user adoption at your firm that, if followed, will pay dividends for years to come:

“Emphasize the value of clean data.”

An honest data cleanliness assessment is a critical first step of implementation. Once implementation is complete, however, it will take buy-in from all levels of the organization to keep that data clean.

Since your firm’s efforts to cleanse data can easily be undone with a few short weeks of careless use, the value of clean data and good data governance needs to be stressed from the very beginning. If the team values clean data from the get-go, user adoption will be higher.

More specifically, it’s important to communicate the long-term ROI of diligent data entry to the average user. Power users and leaders should paint a picture of the future, where the team will be able to quickly and easily see the full picture of a transaction, a relationship, or a fundraising process.

“Set up de-duplication rules right away.”

All entries like contacts, companies, and deals can have their own de-duplication preferences. De-duplication preferences are rules that you can set to identify duplicates.

For example, a person named “Joseph” or “Joe” will not be universally searchable using traditional tools. But DealCloud’s solution allows you to set preference such as: if 80% of a persons’ name is the same, and they have the same phone number, this will be flagged as a possible duplicate.

By establishing these rules and fields that are important to you, the system lets you flag, and potentially merge, duplicate records without preventing people from adding data to the system which could have a negative impact on user adoption.

De-duplication preferences in DealCloud.

DealCloud allows you to establish rules that flag duplicates for your review. It can even handle differences in names like “Joseph” vs “Joe.”

“Get into the habit of tracking user and team adoption of the technology.”

To face low user adoption head-on, the DealCloud team encourages our clients to get into the habit of talking about the importance of user adoption during team meetings.

Surfacing user feedback and a general sense of how often users are logging in can also be used to give the firm’s leadership team the ability to know who is struggling with adoption to the platform, as well as if users are using it incorrectly.

“Get to know the value of real-time data through notifications and workflows.”

Your CRM should not be thought of as a place where data is simply stored and accessed on an as-needed basis. Instead, it should be used as the living, active, and centralized hub for all decision-making and insights.

One way to make the platform feel more like a solution, and less like a repository, is to set up notifications and workflow criteria. For example, you may want to set up notifications based on active deals (these can be configured when a deal moves into the next stage or when a status changes). You can also leverage workflow criteria to automatically assign tasks and trigger notifications for team members based on your specific deal stages and criteria.

“Get top-down buy-in.”

Perhaps most importantly, the Principals and Partners at your firm need to make it clear to everyone that integrating the CRM and leveraging its power 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 and adoption to be high.

Inputs & Outputs: What Sponsor Coverage Data Should Investment Banks Be Tracking?

Gone are the days of the simple “buyer, seller, advisor” deal. The beauty pageants seem never-ending: after competing with potentially dozens of other intermediaries (including CPAs, Main Street brokers, lawyers, etc.) to win an engagement, bankers are tasked with navigating the vast investor/buyer pool. To make matters even more complicated, new sponsors enter the market each and every day.

An investment bankers’ day-to-day tasks tend to be manual and time-intensive (e.g. emails, phone calls, meetings, road shows, conferences, etc.). This makes investment bankers the target of constant investor phone calls and “check-ins,” and a priority meeting for buyers while at conferences.

So how can investment bankers and M&A advisors make sense of the chaos? We’ve teamed up with Sutton Place Strategies to analyze the meaning of “true market coverage” in 2019 and beyond, as well as how firms can better track market coverage in their CRM. Read on to learn more about our recommendations based on your firm’s unique coverage model.o

For those with a tried-and-true sponsor coverage model:

Today’s top firms, when compiling the initial list of acquirers, are looking at both proprietary and third-party data to not only structure their day-to-day dealmaking activity but to bring meaning to their conversations with sponsors. Below are a couple tips for how to elevate your sponsor coverage even further from where it is now: Track how many and which private equity firms were active on the buy- or sell-side over the last year. Not only will this help you see patterns that can help you better understand their investment thesis, but you’ll be better prepared with the data you need for touch-base phone calls and meetings. Below are the most active sponsors in Q1 2019 as per the SPS data.

  • Track how many and which private equity firms were active on the buy- or sell-side over the last year. Not only will this help you see patterns that can help you better understand their investment thesis, but you’ll be better prepared with the data you need for touch-base phone calls and meetings. Below are the most active sponsors in Q1 2019 as per the SPS data.
  • Set up alerts and notifications that power your business development engine. Are you receiving alerts when a private equity portfolio company has been held for 3+ plus years? This, for example, signals that the company may be coming for exit in the years ahead – and your firm will want to be ready to support the exit diligence and negotiations.

For those without a defined sponsor coverage model:

Holistic sponsor coverage is the pursuit of complete understanding of the universe of buyers that exist not only for a particular deal, but for every deal that your firm could potentially intermediate. If your firm is just getting started with defining a sponsor coverage model, we recommend the following:

  • Start to catalog and keep record of each buyer’s preferences and past behavior (i.e. closed deals, size and industry preferences, deals they passed on, etc.). This information, when entered into your CRM, will become a home-grown database that you can use to speed up buy list creation in the future. It can also help win new client engagements and establish credibility amongst CEOs.
  • Start to track “warm” leads through referral sources such as attorneys, lenders, etc. The better data you have around your “at bat” opportunities, the more strategically you’ll be able to apply your business development budget towards each firm. With Sutton Place Strategies’ data integrated into DealCoud, you have the entire M&A and private equity ecosystem of potential referral sources right at your fingertips, all organized based on your preferences and filters such as size, sector, geography, etc.

If you’re working in sponsor coverage at an investment bank and are lacking the data and analytics tools you need to drive efficient business development, reach out to our team. We help hundreds of firms streamline their processes and close more deals.

DealCloud Differentiator: “Work on Behalf of”

Constant traveling and days filled with meetings have long plagued the private equity, investment banking, corporate development, and lending industries. When face time is high, screen time tends to be low… and the first thing that falls by the way-side is updating and maintaining records in your CRM. Luckily, that intellectual capital can now be captured in your CRM platform – even if you didn’t submit it yourself.

In our continued pursuit of providing the most easily configurable CRM platform on the market, we’ve developed new a functionality called “Work on Behalf of.” This makes it possible for users to execute on work within the DealCloud platform on behalf of someone else. This is especially useful for users who have team members – such as interns or administrative assistants – assist with work.

Now, not just anyone can do work on behalf on another person. The first step in enabling this functionality is to specify which proxy users are eligible to switch to another user’s profile and do work on their behalf in DealCloud.

Switch to another user’s profile in order to work on behalf of them.

When logged into DealCloud under another user’s profile, the proxy will have the same capabilities, read/write access, dashboards, views, document access, etc. as the user they are working on behalf of. So, when selecting a proxy user, be sure to consider all matters of confidentiality and sensitivity.

While working on behalf of another user, the blue bar seen above will be displayed in the top-right corner of the DealCloud platform screen.

Additionally, any changes (creations, edits, deletions) made by the proxy will be attributed to the user they are working on behalf of (the ‘Modified By’ / ‘Created By’ fields will show the user’s name, instead of the proxy’s name). This is particularly useful to teams because they won’t see any difference between information entered by the proxy or information entered by the user him/herself.

If a log of every change / entry submitted by a proxy is desired, that can be easily accessible from the the Data Audit and Revert Changes grid. Users will now see a column called ‘Proxy.’ This column will display the proxy’s name beside any and all changes that the proxy made while working on behalf of another user. Proxy users can leverage this log as a quick summary and confirmation of the work that was completed, and can be reviewed/approved by the user they are working on behalf of.

Logging work on behalf of another user is also easy to do through the Outlook add in.

Having “Work on Behalf of” functionality enables members of your team to work together and lean on each other for support with more ease. This level of flexibility is unseen in many CRM platforms, but is now available to all DealCloud clients.

Want to see more or learn about other DealCloud Differentiators? Get in touch with the DealCloud team and we’ll be happy to help.

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2 Buy-and-Build Trends to Watch, and How to Track Each in Your CRM

For the 10th year in a row, Bain & Company has released its Private Equity Report, which serves as a “state of the state” for many capital markets participants of all shapes and sizes. While many would argue that the private equity landscape has remained largely the same (competitive, fragmented, etc.) over the past decade, this particular report leverages Preqin data to analyze the minutiae of the industry, down to the tiniest strategies firms are deploying in an effort to get ahead.

This year, instead of just reading the report, we’re working with our clients to find ways to make these insights more actionable. In this article, we review two of the most poignant market trends discussed in the report, and provide best practices for tracking those trends and data points in your CRM.

“Sectors with Room to Run”

It’s no surprise that “buy-and-build” strategies remained popular amongst private equity players in 2018. But that doesn’t mean that it’s gotten any easier to derive value from these transactions. According to the Bain & Company report, “Sector dynamics can have a huge impact on the success or failure of a given buy-and-build strategy. Value creation depends on a steady cadence of acquisitions, which means a sector has to provide an ample supply of targets and a stable environment in which to pursue them.”

In light of this observed trend, sponsors should create dashboards that enable monitoring of each sector in which a roll-up strategy could be successful, as well as all of the companies that could be included as acquisition targets. Firms can build these dashboards in a few ways: by configuring your proprietary data in a way that tags and categorizes private companies consistently with your add-on interests in mind; by leveraging third-party data providers such as PrivCo which allow you to identify and target U.S. private companies that meet your add-on criteria; or by fusing both of the aforementioned tactics together (this is our best recommendation).

The Bain report cites the number of veterinary businesses in the U.S. as an example of an industry to watch because there’s “plenty of runway for future consolidators.” Using that same niche industry as an example, we also recommend indexing closed deals (as seen to the right), which will help your firm track industry-specific consolidation trends and competitors.

“Merger integration: stepping up to the challenge”

Bain’s research also found that “broken deals tend to fail because firms stumble over merger integration,” and that “successful merger integration begins with strong due diligence.” In light of this observed trend, we recommend that firms create staffing dashboards. By tracking each team member’s ongoing workload (i.e., the deals that they are working on, and what stage each is in, as seen below), the firm’s leadership team will be better positioned to assess which individuals have the bandwidth to participate in the diligence process, and which do not. In doing this, due diligence processes will get the attention and care they so desperately require, and the merger integration will be set up to succeed.

The firm can set rules for over- and under-staffing (e.g., managing 10 or more deals is too much, and three or fewer deals is too little). From there, we recommend setting notifications for when those thresholds are crossed. These systems are easy to set up, and can help to ensure that team members who are leading due diligence processes aren’t being distracted by too many other responsibilities. More broadly, these measures can help facilitate better resource allocation.  

From cost estimates and revenue synergies, to crafting an integration thesis, the Bain report provides excellent tips on key questions to ask during diligence. But if your team isn’t prepared to dedicate meaningful time and resources to those questions, they’ll surely never get answered, and the investment will suffer as a result.


Gone are the days of not tracking these capital market trends in your CRM. It’s time for firms to turn these insights into institutional knowledge, and it seems like the folks at Bain & Company agree: “At a time when PE firms face soaring asset prices and heavy competition for deals, advanced analytics can help them derive the kinds of proprietary insights that give them an essential edge against rivals.”

If you’d like to learn more about configuring your instance of DealCloud to better track these trends, let us know, and we would be happy to share our tips and best practices.

0 comments on “DealCloud Spring 2019 Events”

DealCloud Spring 2019 Events

DealCloud will be hosting, sponsoring, exhibiting and participating in incredible events this spring.

We look forward to seeing you there!

SIFMA C&L Annual Seminar

Sunday, March 24th – Wednesday, March 27th
Phoenix, AZ

DealCloud and Maestro Roundtable Discussion

Thursday, April 18th
San Francisco, CA

Private Equity US Forum

Monday, May 6th – Tuesday, May 7th
New York, NY

InterGrowth International 2019

Monday, May 6th – Wednesday, May 8th
Orlando, FL

0 comments on “The Top 3 Metrics Sponsors Aren’t Discussing in Monday Morning Meetings, but Should”

The Top 3 Metrics Sponsors Aren’t Discussing in Monday Morning Meetings, but Should

2019 is off to a strong start for many capital markets firms, and U.S. GDP growth predictions show no signs of slowing. In an effort to take advantage of the strong economic climate, many private equity firms, credit firms, and corporate development departments are thinking more critically about their data and reporting capabilities.

Each day, hundreds of firms consult with DealCloud on how to be more competitive in this crowded market, and most proceed with configuring their deal and relationship management capabilities to better suit the growing needs of their firm. Most firms we speak with are trying to make better use of third-party data alongside their proprietary intelligence. In this article, we explore three key areas that, when supported by best-in-class third-party data, can transform ordinary gatherings such as Monday morning meetings into high-powered, insightful strategic sessions that can help move the needle for your firm. 

1. Intermediary movement

With thousands of investment banks and M&A advisors in the U.S. and even more worldwide, it’s easy to understand why most buyers and lenders have a hard time keeping track of who’s who. But just because there’s a lot of bankers doesn’t mean maintaining those relationships is any less important. By using LinkedIn, email marketing, and the third-party data found in your CRM, it’s easy to keep track of when investment bankers, brokers, and advisors switch from one firm to another.

If you learn that a banker has moved to a new firm, or that the firm has dissolved altogether (see below) it’s important that you capture his/her new contact information and focus (based on industry, deal size or type, geography, etc.). Private equity professionals, lenders, and corporate development teams should regularly review these banker movements at Monday morning meetings, as well as keep that data up-to-date in weekly reports. In doing so, teams can better identify potential weaknesses, observe hiring trends, and build new coverage models.

2. Spin-off firms

Similar to tracking the departures of bankers from one firm and their arrival somewhere new, sponsors and lenders should keep a keen eye on the new firms being created and the deals they’re bringing to the market. The trend is clear: most intermediaries are doing just a few deals a year. In fact, according to a recent report from Sutton Place Strategies, over 70% of intermediaries closed three or fewer deals in 2018, making it even harder for sponsors to track and maintain relationships with these firms.

The value of tracking when new firms are formed is that sponsors and lenders can use the move as conversation starter, and it can be used to re-orient the relationship/re-establish mutual interest. Perhaps most importantly, it keeps your firm top-of-mind. And since many of these spin-off firms include professionals from the top, most active financial advisory firms, it’s important that a new coverage model be built so that your firm isn’t passed over for deals.

3. Your share of relevant deals

It’s always a smart and strategic idea to review the deals that are coming into the pipeline, and assess their relevancy to your investment thesis. But what many firms are forgetting to do is review the deals that are relevant, but they didn’t see. We encourage your teams to take a critical eye and ask yourselves: “What are our top intermediary relationships closing?”

By looking at the total universe of deals that your key intermediaries are closing, your firm can better assess where it missed out. Additionally, by looking at the deals it didn’t see based on geography, your firm can make an action plan to improve coverage and relationships in those markets.

We recognize that many firms have a tried-and-true format for their Monday morning meetings, but we also know that keeping a pulse on market movements and trends can be the difference between seeing quality deals and losing out on being part of the deal process. That’s why DealCloud has teamed up with Sutton Place Strategies (SPS), an award-winning provider of actionable data for PE and M&A professionals, to make this type of data not only more readily available in one, unified system, but more actionable.

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