Affinity is full of features and shortcuts to help VC firms better understand and manage their core workflows. From classic CRM functionality to advanced analytics, relationship intelligence, and workflow automation, the platform offers a range of options to help firms maximize their prospect and portfolio companies, and relationship management.
Actionable advice from fellow VC firms
We recently joined Kristen Ostro, founder of Let’s Talk Ops as well as a number of Affinity superusers to learn how they are using Affinity to optimize their pipelines, relationships, and deal flow processes. These were the top takeaways:
1. Tagging CRM records
Tag, tag, and tag some more. That’s a key takeaway from dealmakers getting the most out of Affinity. Many fields for individuals and organizations in your network will be automatically enriched with deal-relevant data like biographic, firmographic, funding, experience, and growth data. Supplementing this data by adding tags like priority, deal stage, deal status, and interests will help to ensure that relevant contacts and information surface as often as possible in searches.
Bonus tip: You can now trigger a search from anywhere in Affinity by hitting CMD⌘+k on Mac and Alt+k on Windows.
2. Using automated reports
Generating automated reports through Affinity Analytics means that pertinent information about deals is passed up the chain of command in a timely manner. Key metrics like deal value over time, deal movement, deal source, and team performance (to name a few) can all be pulled and reported automatically to senior leadership, ensuring transparency and faster decision making.
3. Setting a standard reporting cadence
Affinity can accommodate virtually any timeframe for reporting, with varying depths of information as needed. Weekly reports, for example, can provide a snapshot of deal activity and relationship engagement to key personnel—including for the Monday meeting. Quarterly reports can provide more detailed accounting results to inform strategic direction, while annual reporting can facilitate deep dive strategic planning sessions for the year ahead. Reports can be tailored to specific audiences, for example LPs or portfolio companies.
4. Setting triggers to automate and standardize
Triggers in Affinity can be used to kickstart automated workflows, or to make deal flow tracking and maintenance more efficient. For example, administrators can set a requirement that every time a deal is added to Affinity it has to have a deal source attached to it. This ensures that all critical data points are captured for all deal records, helping to streamline and standardize data capture across the organization.
5. Using relationship and role fields to identify VIPs
The relationships and roles fields in Affinity are a great way for firms to quickly highlight the most important personnel within a prospect or portfolio company. One way to act on this is for executive assistants to send out a weekly report to partners with all the new prospects the firm netted that week. Populated with relationships and roles, partners can quickly make decisions about how they’d like to engage those individuals—whether it’s an event invitation, meeting request, or coffee chat.
6. Measuring support given to portfolio companies
Tags and triggers can also help with tracking how much, and what kind, of support is given to portfolio companies—and if that support is commensurate with their value to the firm. For example, firms can tag company records with all of the different types of support they’ve received.
This gives VCs a rolling view into what’s been offered to each portco, and where they may need to invest more time. Colored tags can also be used to prioritize which companies need the most support, helping to measure desired versus actual investment in each company. Based on those tags, Affinity users can also trigger automated prompts and follow-ups to offer support at defined intervals.
7. Pulling deal scoring into reporting
Dealmaker intuition is undoubtedly a critical part of gauging the value of prospective deals. But decisions are stronger with data, and they can be validated with automated deal scoring through Affinity. Various data sources can be pulled into the platform via Affinity’s API and native integrations—such as growth metrics or customer reviews—to help inform an objective, data-driven deal score. Affinity Analytics can also help to validate these deal scores by looking at the relationship between deal outcome and grading over time.
8. Automating the creation of people lists
With Affinity, it’s possible to automatically and regularly push all contact records for portfolio companies into a dedicated people list. As new portcos are won, those new contacts are also automatically added to the people list. This is a fantastic way to ensure the firm’s central contact list remains up-to-date while growing the collective network, identifying new opportunities, and unlocking warm introduction paths.
9. Using permissions to ensure user and data privacy
Affinity offers a range of privacy and security settings to protect sensitive material. Admins can specify what to show and hide based on the internal team or individual, and based on the prospect or portfolio company. There is the ability to silo communication and file access amongst teams, disable private meeting syncs, and block entire domains for particularly sensitive target companies.
10. Identifying a super user to ensure data integrity
Many firms find that having one super user—or a team of them—is an effective way to drive best practices around data hygiene and maintenance. This can include tag taxonomy and management, setting required fields, and generally being the go-to person for support about Affinity.
11. Setting processes to onboard new employees
Many VCs include Affinity training as part of their onboarding process. This could include a short introductory session on the platform, followed by role-specific training and hands-on exposure to key elements like the Affinity Pathfinder extension. The goal is for all users to reach their “a-ha” moment as quickly as possible, helping them understand the potential impact of the tool and empowering them to use it in their daily workflows.
12. Starting small, and growing with the platform
For firms just starting out with Affinity, getting buy-in from across the organization is key. The team needs to understand the advantage of Affinity as their system of record, and the driver of their deal pipeline.
Walking first, and running later, is a good mantra to follow. Deploy Affinity in as little as 72 hours and then start by building a single contact or company list, and adding contacts, tags, and simple automations. As the team begins to understand how Affinity works—and its potential uses across all venture stages—this will snowball into bigger and more complex lists and workflows. And remember that your Customer Success Manager will be there to provide training and ongoing support along the way.
13. Growing fast with out of the box features or custom builds
Many of the features and possibilities listed above come out of the box in Affinity. The platform is built to support VC deal flow. Its intuitive UI, as well as extensions, make it easy to adopt without the need for teams to make disruptive workflow changes. We work with you to identify your unique needs and key users so you can quickly start to see value in the platform and, depending on your firm's goals, Affinity’s customer success team can also advise on creating custom features.
If you’re unsure about whether a specific feature or workflow is available out of the box in Affinity, contact your Customer Success Manager or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.