The Power of Business Intelligent Thinking at Capital Markets Firms

Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are buzzwords you likely hear every day from service providers, competitors, and colleagues. But without a computer science degree, how can you use these principles to generate more value for your business and stakeholders?

At DealCloud, we believe the answers lie with the concept of “Business Intelligent Thinking.” Business Intelligent Thinking (BIT) is a model that leverages modern technology and data to allow capital markets professionals to optimize their day-to-day work through more deliberate and direct actions. In this article, we outline the key tenets of BIT and how the most effective dealmakers can leverage the strategy to increase operational efficiency and success.

Business Intelligent Thinking Defined

Business intelligent thinking is the process of utilizing technology and data to process and prioritize your projects, activities, progress, and overall workload. Whether that is on the origination team of a private equity firm or the marketing team of an investment bank, everyone can leverage data and technology to enhance your day-to-day working life. Adoption of these forward-thinking principles can help you achieve more successful outcomes more often, and without creating more work.

Impact

As W. Edwards Deming quoted “In God we trust. All others must bring data.” Data is becoming more and more critical to remaining competitive in the fast-paced world we live in. As we continue to build and integrate technologies that seamlessly store and analyze this data, why not increase your competitive advantage and generate real-world, actionable information that you might not even know you have?

There’s a clear thesis amongst the leadership teams at every capital markets firm that data needs to be better leveraged: fee data needs to be captured by our deal teams; email campaign data needs to be captured by marketing/IR teams; and sourcing data needs to be captured by deal/origination teams. All of these efforts collectively empower teams to better keep track of key intermediary relationships and transactions.

Similarly, firms need to take advantage of revenue data that is captured by finance teams, and referral data captured by deal teams. This helps firms better understand their law firm landscape and other non-traditional deal sources and can inform where to direct coverage efforts.

As exemplified by the charts above, this jigsaw-like assortment of data points gathered from various departments at your firm can be conjugated to form coherent, direct, and deliverable information that drives value. DealCloud currently has over 650 clients who are actively enacting these ideas, creating new opportunities, and new possibilities for their firms and their futures. And the collective knowledge base we have from working with these firms continues to drive our business forward.

Implementation and Execution

In subsequent articles, we will discuss specific ways you can utilize technology and data (both proprietary and externally available) to allow you to integrate BIT into your day-to-day work life. From allowing you to use historical fundraise data sets to more intelligently target investors for your next fundraise, to more intelligently creating sell-side prospect lists as an investment banking professional, we will aim to offer readers a framework for how to use technology and data to think more intelligently and execute more efficiently. BIT aims to save time, money, and effort.

The DealCloud technology and team can also help you in this journey and propel your career by enacting BIT within your organization. We believe that once this mindset is adopted, it will spread quickly throughout the industry, thus adding value across each and every organization who adopts this mentality.

For more information on implementing BIT at your firm, get in touch with our team today.

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A Day in the Life at DealCloud’s Charlotte Office

It’s been nearly one month since we opened our new DealCloud Intapp offices in Charlotte, NC and the experience has been super! From a bright, airy setup with lots of open spaces, ample snacks to satisfy any craving, and gorgeous city views, our team is loving their new workspace, which is helping them up the ante on productivity. Here, we offer you a behind-the-scenes look (and some personal commentary) of our new digs by way of our Implementation Associate, Kripa Shah.

Interviewer: What is your role at DealCloud and how long have you been with us?

Kripa Shah: I’ve been with DealCloud for about two years now. I’m an Implementation Associate and our private equity lead.

Interviewer : Can you tell us about DealCloud’s new office in Charlotte?

KS: The new office is great for multiple reasons. One being that it’s a newer building in the city. It is a much larger space for us, which was necessary since we’re growing quickly. The new office is lighter, has more windows, more accessibility to things that we didn’t have before – including our co-workers.

We have our implementation team here, client success, and managed services. It’s really easy for us to communicate with each other because we’re all on one floor instead of in different rooms.

Interviewer : Tell us about your new workspace. What does it look like?

KS: My new workspace is quite an upgrade. We have standing desks that we can adjust, which is great. I’m also able to really make the space my own. I have LED lights set up around my desk, as well as a speaker for when I stay late and need a pick-me-up. 

I also like the open seating. I can see my neighbor easily as well as the person across from me. Overall, the new space is much more modern and has reignited motivation here (especially in summer).

Interviewer : What’s your favorite spot in the new office?

KS: It’s a little weird to say but my desk is my new favorite spot – probably because of the way I’ve personalized it.  Holistically, I would say the kitchen is the best spot. Obviously because of the snacks but also because we brought our ping pong table back out from the old office. Fun fact – I was interviewed on that ping pong table back in 2017 so it has extra significance for me. 

Members from different teams will play one another. So, it creates that camaraderie. One of our four core values is to win together. And I think that having a space to have fun for a little break in the day really helps us live that. 

Interviewer : What do you do after you leave the office? What are some fun go-to spots around the office that you like?

KS: I like to call DealCloud my family. And as a family we go to this little place called Tilt. Ironically, it’s not the go-to place in Charlotte but it’s next door to our old office, so it’s special. You’re able to play beer pong and nitrous. They also have good throwback music. We’ve had so many bonding experiences there that oftentimes we all gather there on a Friday evening.

Interviewer : In one word, how would you describe DealCloud’s new office?

KS: Refreshing

Get a closer look at DealCloud’s new offices as well as our open positions.

Three Alerts Every Private Equity Professional Needs in Their Inbox

You’d be hard-pressed to find a capital markets professional that hasn’t had a strategic off-site or other meeting where the investment thesis is aligned and agreed upon, just to have it forgotten weeks later. The reason this phenomenon is so common amongst private equity and other investment professionals is that very few firms implement technology in a way that helps them clearly execute on their strategies and goals. Even fewer implement technology in a way that enables day-to-day success.

According to KMPG’s recent report, The digital transformation imperative, “a growing number of private equity firms are utilizing and/or looking to digital transformation and the effective use of [data and analytics] to give them an edge in terms of making portfolio acquisition decisions, driving revenue growth, and also streamlining and enhancing internal operations, record keeping, and regulatory reporting.” In this article, we will explore three email notification configurations we recommend for private equity firms looking to better leverage data, analytics, and technology.

Deals closing in the “strike zone”

One of the most commonly seen alerts that our clients leverage is an email notification triggered by data that shows the deals that close in their “strike zone” during the week prior. By receiving this notification, the manager can glean whether or not the deal was seen by the key relationship manager as well as who intermediated the deal. This alert keeps teams action-oriented because it provides an easy reason to get in touch with a banker, establish a relationship, and increase the likelihood of closing a deal together in the future.

New intermediaries entering the market

Another great way for private equity professionals to stay active throughout the day is to set up alerts for when a new intermediary enters the already crowded marketplace. In the U.S. and Canada, a new intermediary is the lead on a transaction every second business day – meaning, in a given year, your firm could be adding as many as 180 new bankers to its rolodex. After receiving the notification, private equity professionals should hop on the phone, get to know the bankers’ industry specializations, as well as get an understanding for their experience and deal management style. 

Lost deals that never closed

The third alert that we recommend private equity firms set up takes “broken” or otherwise “dead” deals into account. Let’s say a certain amount of time has passed on a transaction in which you weren’t the winning bidder on. If your firm really liked the deal, and it still hasn’t closed, it’s important that certain people be in-the-know. By equipping yourself with the right data sets, you can configure alerts and notifications that align with your firm’s strategies. Once these are enabled, your team will be better equipped to circle back and re-enter the conversation if what was once broken can be fixed.

Conclusion

Dealmakers are always on-the-go, and it’s important that they have the details they need in order to execute at any time. While there are and there are many ways to achieve that goal with technology and data. We recommend arming yourself with a deal and relationship management platform that comes equipped with a mobile application that allows you to access deal and relationship information right from the palm of your hand or straight from your email Inbox. By equipping yourself with DealCloud’s powerful technology, Sutton Place Strategies’ data, all combined with your proprietary processes and data, your firm can take action on deals and relationships more regularly.

The Modern Dealmaker’s Secret Weapon

If you were taking a crash course in M&A or private equity, or if you spoke with a professional in the industry, you’d likely hear all about “the importance of business development.” In fact, the term “business development” has become so commonly used in the market that it’s almost taken on a life of its own. In the capital markets industry, business development is comprised of any effort used to drum up dealflow, or new investment opportunities. The exact methods used to achieve those ends, however, vary greatly firm to firm.

One method that was overlooked for years is marketing. Many professionals in the industry saw it as irrelevant, ineffective, or simply a distraction from the relationship development activities dealmakers are so accustomed to. But the tides are changing, with an increasing number of firms investing formally in a dedicated marketing, communications, and/or investor relations professional to support the business development function with smart, tactical marketing campaigns.

The potential return on investment for marketing at a capital markets firm is high, but we know the initial investment and time and resources can be daunting for some. In this article, we outline several commonly-held goals that deal teams have for a marketing program, and what they should consider while developing and implementing it using the DealCloud Dispatch solution.

Goal: To broadly market an investment theme or market segmentation campaign

Once an industry coverage/analysis thought leadership piece has been written and published by a senior investment professional (example: “The use of 5G Technology in Wearable Devices”), it’s time to share it with key relationships. Your team has likely spent hours on the piece, and it’s a valuable channel for showcasing your firm’s expertise.

Goal: To set up meetings in advance of attending a conference

Goal: To prepare for investor meetings and roadshows

For investor relations and marketing professionals at capital markets firms, managing annual and/or quarterly investor meetings is a huge undertaking. It’s also a responsibility that must be executed in a sophisticated and thoughtful fashion. With a marketing solution that’s integrated with your CRM, you can share event details with key contacts, collect RSVPs, and set up meetings.

If you’re looking to boost your firm’s digital presence and execute on smart and strategic marketing campaigns, be sure to check out DealCloud Dispatch: the integrated marketing solution built for the capital markets.

DealCloud Differentiator – Dispatch

Many firms in the private capital markets don’t “get” the value of marketing, and it’s understandable why. Most groups send occasional newsletters and deal announcements but are stuck trying to understand marketing’s ROI using tools built to optimize e-commerce sales. More progressive firms, meanwhile, hire marketing teams and buy them third-party tools, only to see data get trapped in a silo and the value generated by their teams go unrealized.

As firms in the capital markets work to grow profits per partner, an integrated marketing strategy can help scale money-making relationships effectively. At DealCloud, we believe the best way to empower a marketing team to make that contribution is to leverage the data and insight it generates alongside that of the rest of the firm. That’s why we built Dispatch.

First and foremost, Dispatch lets a firm email the contacts in its CRM, eliminating the need for multiple sources of record. In other marketing solutions, contact data quickly becomes out of date and list-building filters are limited. When a Dispatch user goes to build a list of recipients, they have all CRM fields available for filtering, meaning they can use any proprietary property or metric tracked by the firm.

Recipient lists contribute greatly to campaign performance, but emails that render poorly will perform poorly, no matter to whom they are sent. That’s why Dispatch’s email template builder offers flexibility, including the ability to code the HTML of emails directly. After clients achieve the template look and feel they seek, they can take the template and apply it across campaigns, updating copy, images, and links to suit each campaign. Before sending, clients can send themselves test emails and use Dispatch’s Inbox Analysis tool to preview the appearance of the message in different email clients on different devices.

Within minutes of sending a campaign through Dispatch, clients begin to see the power of incorporating marketing data alongside the other information they track in DealCloud. Compliance-required data, like bounces and unsubscribes, flows through to dashboards easily surfaced to the proper teams.

Meanwhile, clients begin to see not only which contacts are opening and clicking campaigns, but how many times. When sliced and diced by proprietary values like Contact Type, Contact Owner, Industry, Company, Job Title and more, marketing analytics produce deeper, more actionable insights. The best part? This can all be surfaced on the pages and dashboards your team has already been taught to visit, like Intermediary Coverage dashboards and Company detail pages.

Since all marketing data lives in DealCloud alongside deals, fundraising, and similar data points, its easy to show which contacts who engaged with a campaign went on to generate revenue for the firm. As a result, Dispatch helps firms get more out of their marketing efforts by incorporating marketing data into their existing day-to-day workflows while quantifying the impact that marketing provides on revenue. If your firm still doesn’t “get” the value of marketing, consider using Dispatch to make it clear.

To learn more about DealCloud Dispatch, click here.

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.