Sales is supposed to be a human-to-human activity. But, over the last decade, sales relationships have become less human, especially with the proliferation of CRMs. Fortunately, sales is on the brink of a tipping point. Artificial intelligence promises to transform the ways in which sales professionals interact with customers and forge high-quality relationships that drive sales. ... read more
3 Tips to Take the Fear out of Relationship Building
Venture capitalists spend almost every waking hour on the hunt for the next big opportunity. They constantly meet with entrepreneurs and review pitches and proposals. The average venture capital firm reviews approximately 1,200 businesses in order to make just 10 investments. To maximize exposure, venture capitalists source new opportunities from as many domains as possible - in-person meetings, events, personal network introductions, in-bound inquiries, referrals from portfolio companies, etc. It’s incredibly difficult and cumbersome to manage and keep track of so many relationships.
Here are three tips to make the process a little less scary:
1. Ensure nothing falls between the cracks
According to Crystal Huang at GGV Capital, “Every associate knows the frustration of seeing a fundraising announcement from a company that he/she jotted down on a ‘to-do’ list but never made the time to contact.” Venture capitalists live in a world where one missed opportunity can turn out to be the next Facebook. The most successful venture capitalists ensure that no connection gets lost in the weeds. They track and manage all investment opportunities and relationships. To do so, they leverage tools such as Affinity’s data capture feature, which allows users to sync Affinity with their email and calendars and easily track relationships, ensuring that no opportunity falls between the cracks.
2. Consistently nurture relationships
For venture capitalists, cultivating strong relationships with entrepreneurs is critical. Strong relationships help venture capitalists keep abreast of the latest happenings and help ensure they are informed of the next big opportunities before other investors. At Affinity, we recognize that maintaining strong relationships with startups and portfolio companies is key. That’s why we use machine learning and natural language processing to help venture capitalists determine whether any of their relationships are at risk (for example, whether they have unread emails in their inbox that warrant a response).
3. Surface intelligence quickly
In the world of venture capital, time is of the essence. Investors don’t have time to scour a CRM system for information about their network. They need this data at their fingertips. That’s why they gravitate towards AI-driven tools like Affinity’s omni search tool. The omni search tool allows venture capitalists to ask Affinity questions about their network in plain English that couldn’t be answered without hours of research. When preparing for an upcoming business trip, they can ask Affinity which companies they should meet with. Or, in preparation for a quarterly business review, they can ask Affinity which companies they’ve met with over the past quarter.
Business opportunities don’t fall out of thin air. A venture capitalist’s most important asset is his or her network. Building and maintaining a strong network can mean the difference between raising a next fund or not. Thankfully, the process need not be scary.
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