In the pursuit of “full market coverage,” private equity and investment banking firms now spend a sizable of their annual budget on sending their strongest dealmakers to manufacturing floors, conferences, and board rooms across the globe.
Given the countless hours that these these professionals spend on planes, aboard trains, and in automobiles, how do they keep their finger on the pulse of the fast-moving, often tumultuous, dealmaking landscape? In this article, we explore the top four best practices of business development road warriors.
1. Arm yourself with apps
It’s time to accept that the modern day smartphone is a small, yet mighty hand-held laptop. While there are obviously advantages to full-size computers, constant travel becomes much easier when all the information you need is in the palm of your hand.
The effective use of applications is a game-changer for most road warriors. On every trip, make sure you’re armed with apps including Concur (or other business expense tracking systems); LinkedIn and other professional networks; DocuSign, for on-the-go NDA execution; and the mobile app for the CRM of your choosing, like DealCloud. Having quick access to these tools will help you spend less time on admin work and more time on closing deals.
2. Log notes right away
While having a full day of meetings is a powerful way to increase dealflow, not properly logging discussion points makes the meetings much less meaningful for the future. It’s completely natural to say “I’ll log it later,” or “there’s no time between now and my next meeting,” but you can always find the time if you have the right tools at your disposal. Accessing your CRM from your mobile phone is easy to do whether you’re in the cab going from meeting to meeting, or making the most of down-time at lunch.
The most effective business development professionals use CRM apps to constantly log notes and activities with several parties (both individuals and organizations), tag the related industries involved and set up follow-up tasks. Logging these business development activities right away makes it easier to gather insights from data inputs, and helps you stay organized on-the-go.
3. Work smart even while offline
When traveling, there’s always a few pesky hours where you’re required to turn your data off, or shut down your computer. When those situations arise, it’s important to have the capability to be productive and in communication with your teams. Use this down time to log into your CRM, update any tasks that you completed on the trip, and take stock of the advancements your firm has made while you’ve been gone.
The most productive road warriors will do things like check the status on an LOI that was submitted earlier in the day, view the latest interaction with a given investment banker, or run a quick search on the firm’s activity in a certain industry. If your CRM can’t help you do those things while there’s no WiFi, it may be time to reconsider which systems to use.
4. Add new contacts from wherever you are
One of the perks of business travel in the private equity and investment banking industry is the amount of people you get to meet. From industry conferences to trade shows, there’s no shortage of hands to shake. What you do with that new contact, however, is more important that the volume of people you meet.
Seasoned business development professionals leverage technology such as business card scanners so they can quickly upload the information found on any given business card to the firm’s CRM system. In addition to email addresses and phone numbers, these scanners also allow you to enter notes about the person’s deal strike zone, mutual connections, and even personal interests. This type of detail is important for you to remember, and it’s also important that everyone at the firm have access to it, making this tool extremely powerful
Given the competitive, fast-moving nature of the private equity industry, it’s more important than ever that business development professionals be plugged-in and in-the-know even while on the road. By using powerful tools such as CRM applications and business card scanners while traveling, road warriors can work smart and maintain full coverage of the market.
Lokesh Seth discusses the importance of integration in deal management technology.