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DealCloud Spring 2019 Events

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

We look forward to seeing you there!

DealCloud and Maestro Roundtable Discussion

Thursday, March 22nd
San Francisco, CA

SIFMA C&L Annual Seminar

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

Private Equity US Forum

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

InterGrowth International 2019

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

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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.

Data for this article brought to you by:

The Five Must-Have People on Your CRM Task Force

For most private equity firms and investment banks, the past two decades have been a period of overall growth and strong performance. A confluence of factors including higher deal multiples and an increasingly fragmented market have made it more difficult for these market participants to boast the same numbers. In response, countless capital markets firms have turned to technology – and, more specifically, CRM solutions – to help automate tasks, organize processes, and streamline dealmaking efforts.

Investing in technology, no matter the size or strategy of a firm, can be a daunting task. Just as there’s a ton of pressure and stress involved in the final stages of closing a transaction, there’s typically a lot riding on the success (or failure) of an internal technology roll-out. With over 600 successful CRM implementations under our belt, the team at DealCloud and I have one major recommendation for all firms to follow: get the right people involved in the decision-making process.

In this article, we explore the five key personalities who will play a crucial role on your “CRM Task Force,” and how involving each of them impacts both the buying process and the post-implementation outcome. Believe us when we say: it takes a village!

The Skeptic

Let’s be honest – there’s always going to be at least one person on your team who doesn’t believe that a CRM can transform the way your business is run. Instead of keeping them far away from the buying process, their voice and concerns should be heard.

Whether they say “Our proprietary process is complicated and I doubt it can be properly represented by technology,” “We tried this once before and it failed,” or “I like the way we do things now” – it’s critical that your CRM Task Force face all doubts head-on. By including the skeptics in the process, you create a more productive dialogue about the feasibility and use cases for the technology, as well as the best practices for encouraging user adoption.

The Optimist

There’s also always going to be at least one person on your team who will think that a CRM system will solve every problem your firm has. While there’s no denying the fact that CRM systems drive meaningful value for capital markets firms, there’s no “one size fits all” approach.

Implementing a CRM properly requires time and commitment to getting it right. Instead of letting the optimists in the group run away with unrealistic expectations, be sure to craft a sensible calendar of milestones for the implementation process and work together to establish a set of short- and long-term goals.

The Strategist

Many capital markets firms are flocking to CRM solutions either because they’ve used one in the past and have seen its positive effects, or they know their competition uses it and they want to stay on a level playing field. That’s why we recommend adding to the Task Force anyone who has prior knowledge or experience with CRM solutions. Their insights, anecdotes, and strategies will serve as very helpful considerations for making the right decision for your firm.

The Procrastinator

With over 200 new clients added in 2018, it’s easy for us to think that implementing a CRM solution is an absolute imperative… but we also know that some people may never feel that sense of urgency. That’s why your CRM Task Force should be prepared to answer the following question: “why now?”

While it may seem like the procrastinator of the group is just being lazy or unwilling to change, it’s critically important that everyone be prepared to carve out time and energy for the new technology. It may never be a “good time” to make such a substantial process and behavior change, but coming up with a solid answer for the “why now?” question will not only help you build consensus across the organization, but it will encourage user adoption.

The Controller

It should be no surprise that high-value, high-powered, and purpose-built solutions come at a cost. That’s why we recommend that the person who controls the budget be included on the CRM Task Force in its early days. 

The entire Task Force will significantly benefit from having an understanding of what its able to spend on the solution itself, the implementation process, and any enhancements the group needs or wants. This person is often uniquely suited to assess the return on investment for the solution – and that’s something everyone will be focused on.

Conclusion

If you’re considering implementing a CRM solution at your firm and want help putting together a Task Force, contact out team now! We’re happy to share our blueprints and best practices.

3 Key Principles to Follow When Rolling Out New Capital Markets Technologies Firm-Wide

It’s completely natural for capital markets leaders and managers to have some worries about the way a new technology solution will impact individuals, teams, and internal processes post-implementation. That’s why some organizations try to “soften the blow” by only rolling out the technology to a smaller, controlled group of users (such as by industry specialization or geographic coverage) instead of broadly across the organization.

Private equity and investment banking leaders usually come to ponder a “phased” or “team-by-team” approach because they’ve never completed a sizable internal technology implementation before; because they want to identify and triage challenges with a smaller group of people rather than expose the masses to a potential issue; or because of other trepidations. But when it comes time to make a decision, the only question that members of the leadership team and the buying committee are really trying to answer is: how painful is this going to be?

In this article, we examine the three fundamental principles to consider when rolling out a new technology. With hundreds of investors, advisors, and lenders faced with the need to make major internal technological shifts each day, these truths can help capital markets professionals decide what approach makes the most sense for their unique organization.

Principle #1: Don’t let what makes your firm unique slow you down

The capital markets are complex. That’s why Principle #1 emphasizes why any new technology being implemented internally should be purpose-built to handle the complex relationships, responsibilities and structures of the industry. In other words, if you have the opportunity to configure your new technology to match the intricate inner-workings of your firm and the strategies you execute on, we recommend leaning into these intricacies rather than shying away from them.

In the state of modern dealmaking, new fundraising, advisory, investment, and other opportunities come from all angles, all the time. If your teams use disparate technology platforms, communication and visibility will decrease, and your firm will miss out on new deals and engagements. To curb this, best-in-class firms are building and designing their technology solutions to meet the needs of the entire firm, however complex or unique each group or individual may be.

A common best practice is to align the technology platform to the existing team orientation, whether that be by product/service offering, coverage designations, function, etc. More often than not, capital markets professionals wear many hats and have overlapping responsibilities, so it’s best to allow all of those instances to be illuminated by the technology. Doing so will drive better outcomes in deals and fundraising processes. It will promote a more interconnected workplace.

Principle #2: This is an investment… with a high return

Buying a new technology requires money… but implementing one requires time. That’s why Principle #2 of rolling out a new technology emphasizes the time your team will need to commit in order to make the solution valuable.

Going into the implementation and roll-out stages of a technology investment, it’s important that all teams discuss how much time and energy each person can expect to invest. If the purchase is viewed as “just a test,” or a “trial,” it won’t garner the support it needs to spur user adoption and meaningful organizational change. If some people or teams are left out of this mutually agreed upon commitment, or are only included on Phase 3, for example, they are more likely to be disengaged when it’s their turn to participate and feel as though the solution “wasn’t built for them.”

Just as investors would never buy a company, let it sit idle, and only “test” out new ways to generate revenue, investment banking and private equity firms should never buy new technologies without devoting meaningful resources and human capital to the implementation and roll-out. You simply cannot disconnect the financial investment from the investment of time from all parties, and if you do, you’re setting the technology up to fail or fall short of expectations.

Principle #3: You get what you give

Nobody wants to spend weeks (or even months) going through the sales, legal and compliance processes associated with buying a new internal technology solution just to have it fail or be poorly adopted. That’s why Principle #3 of rolling out a new technology emphasizes why buy-in across leadership teams, key stakeholders, and end users is critical to success.

Whether switching systems, or purchasing a technology platform for the first time, it’s extremely important that members of your team see that the technology is being purchased in response to the pain experienced by the firm day-to-day. In other words, teams should be well-oriented with the problems that the technology will address, and how solving those problems will make the firm more efficient and more successful. 

It’s also important that the technology is described as vetted, secure, and impactful by key stakeholders such as Chief Information Officers, Chief Technology Officers, and other team members that have experience in rolling out new technologies firm-wide. Similarly, if Partners and Managing Directors position the technology as the new normal, it will be more quickly adopted. These types of endorsements will inevitably trickle down to the end users, and the end users will be better-positioned to succeed.

Conclusion

If the implementation of your CRM system feels overwhelming and complex, rest assured that following these three simple principles will get your team off to a great start.

And remember – you don’t have to go it alone. Over 600 firms have migrated to DealCloud’s platform because of the way it adapts to meet the complexities of modern deal making and of business development teams of all shapes and sizes. Our dedicated teams are available to provide guidance, and we’re proud to share our best practices and blueprints for making implementation faster and more meaningful.

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Ride the Strong Performance Wave Well Into 2019 with These 2 Dashboards

According to a report released by Golub Capital last week, “U.S. middle-market private companies enjoyed the strongest earnings growth in years, propelled by high demand for products and services.” Those positive numbers have piqued the interest of private capital markets participants struggling to maintain consistency and order amidst geopolitical tumult.

With almost half of U.S. chief financial officers suspecting that a recession will hit the U.S. economy by the end of 2019, however, its best not to let the strong Q4 earnings mislead you in your investment decisions.

Whether you’re a private equity professional focused on improving operations, or a corporate executive (CEO, CFO, etc.) looking to ride the successes of Q4 as far into 2019 as possible, see below for two dashboards that will help you stay organized and on target:

The Executive Network Dashboard

Creating meaningful gains requires expert systems and highly talented people, especially given the emphasis being place on operational value creation (versus simple financial engineering). Some firms even start with the executive because of their unique skill set or expertise, and build or buy a company based on him/her. That’s why private equity firms and management teams alike need to keep their executive network connections close.

While larger firms may have a dedicated person on staff to track and maintain relationships with top operating talent, the majority of firms we speak to view “executive network maintenance” as a shared responsibility. Given that, most firms leverage “Executive Network” dashboards like the one below to monitor the availability of various operators for advisory, hands-on, Board-level supervision, expert opinion, or other work.

These dashboards become particularly useful as deals progress. For add-on and platform deals alike, it’s incredibly valuable for private equity firms and management teams to have visibility on which operating professionals will be available to assist with key due diligence concerns, industry-specific competitor analysis, or integration once the deal has closed.


Many firms, when tapping into their executive network, value the ability to zero-in on industry specialists, such as healthcare tech experts.

Maintaining strong visibility on your firm’s talent network will not only help you mitigate risk, but it will help your firm think of new ways to respond to the increased demand for products and services, and ultimately propel strong earnings further into the year.

The Risk Analysis Dashboard

Nothing de-rails a quarter like an internal issue that takes your eyes off the ball. While risk mitigation is often not the main focus of senior leadership or even of operating partners, it’s incredibly important that visibility on ongoing issues be maintained.

Creating a “risk” or “issues” dashboard will help your organization’s leaders monitor the progress made on any given problem, and what deals or business opportunities that problem could affect. We recommend leveraging certain unique tags for risks and issues such as priority level (low, medium, high) and details (which turn into searchable, free-form notes).

If you’re keen to keep your corporate growth story strong, this type of reporting should be central to your organizational structure. Users can receive notifications when an issue is logged for a deal that they own, and management can receive notifications every time the status changes (for example, from “work in progress” to “resolved”). No matter the status, all risk and issues will still be stored in your CRM, and can be pulled into reports or turned into institutional knowledge.


While the executive team may not be in the weeds of every issue, it’s important that they stay abreast of anything that will put performance at risk.

When performance is strong (like it was in Q4 2018), it’s important that private equity firms and management teams think critically about what’s needed to sustain that growth. Luckily, there are internal tools that can help. These two dashboards are just a few simple ways to help increase visibility into the “make or break” factors that keep companies growing: talent and risk.

Interested in learning more about leveraging DealCloud for internal organization and monitoring? Talk to our team today!

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New Year, New Strategy: Why You’ll Need a Deal Management Platform for Sourcing Add-ons in 2019

2018 was a monster year for deals. According to Pitchbook’s 2018 US PE Breakdown report, deal activity surpassed $800 billion for the second-highest annual figure ever. An interesting trend that the report uncovered is that, in 2018, “the proportion of deals sourced from other financial sponsors fell steadily for nearly a decade.” Even more specifically, it found that add-ons are more likely to not have private equity-backing prior to acquisition.

With the buy-and-build trend continuing to show its validity, many dealmakers are preparing to execute a more sophisticated and purpose-driven add-on strategy in 2019. With any new strategy, though, comes challenges. In this article, we explore three ways for private equity professionals and corporate buyers to more strategically source add-ons in 2019, given the trends we observed in 2018.

Know the relationship history

While the inability to identify private companies in the U.S. is not a new challenge, many private equity firms and corporate development professionals still seem to struggle with their private company relationship management. More often than not, details of the relationship and past conversations are housed in several disparate locations across the firm, or not tracked at all.

A best practice, however, is that all of the details about your firm’s correspondences with a private company be held in one central platform and be easily accessible to everyone at your firm. That way, it is clear where the relationship stands, what the next steps are, and which team member is running point.


DealCloud’s platform makes it easy for all correspondences with a private company to be tracked and accessible in one place

Analyze the industry

“The growth in add-on size may cause problems with the buy-and-build strategy because these higher-priced add-ons likely make blending down the purchase-price multiple more difficult,” says Pitchbook in its report. In order to avoid over-paying for add-on deals, private equity firms and corporate development teams should keep a keen eye on the market forces at play in any given industry.

With a mix of both proprietary and third-party data, these teams can closely watch the number of deals received in a given industry, the EBITDA range for each, and which intermediaries are bringing deals to market.


Best-in-class firms leverage industry analytics to keep purchase pricing fair

Establish a healthy blend of proprietary and third-party data

No matter if you’re a search fund just getting started, a corporate development team establishing a new growth strategy, or a private equity fund with a tried-and-true process, it’s critical that you gather a full understanding of a private company before picking up the phone or hosting a management meeting. These days, private company data is plentiful and can be fully integrated into your deal and relationship management platforms.

While proprietary data (such as logged conversations with private company owners and CFOs) is ideal, firms need to be prepared to start the relationship at ground zero. Leveraging third-party data sets like DataFox and SourceScrub will help arm sourcing and origination teams with the data it needs to have a productive conversation directly with business owners.

Interested in learning more about DealCloud’s deal management platform? Talk to our team today!