For capital markets firms, relationships are everything. Yet while building, growing, and maintaining relationships is the key to dealmaking, it comes with huge challenges. The sales cycle is long and complex, and managing relationships over years takes more than a good memory or an Excel spreadsheet. Capital markets workflows are more involved and multifaceted than in other industries as well. Finally, compliance and security are more critical for capital markets firms.
While a standard customer relationship management (CRM) system works for many industries—especially those with short, transactional sales cycles—capital markets firms need a CRM system geared toward solving their unique challenges.
What’s the difference between a capital markets CRM and a standard CRM? In this article, you’ll learn the key differences between traditional CRM platforms and capital markets CRM platforms so you can make an informed decision when purchasing one.
Let’s explore three specific differences that address common challenges for capital markets salespeople, analysts, investors, bankers, and traders.
1. Automate and streamline unique capital markets workflows
Traditional workflows—and thus traditional CRM software—simply don’t apply in the daily worklife of capital markets professionals. Data and metrics are coming in from every angle—and from multiple systems and channels—and deal teams must work together closely (and quickly) to move research reports, activity data, news, filings, and messages through the deal process if they are to realize any profitability.
If everyone is working from their own spreadsheets, scraps of paper, and email inboxes, capital markets workflows simply don’t work. Collaboration is impossible when information and activity are siloed. Traditional CRM tools just don’t meet the complex, fast-moving workflow requirements of capital markets professionals. Modern software designed for sophisticated workflows can present huge benefits for individuals and teams alike.
One of the biggest benefits of a capital markets CRM is the centralization of workflows and information. Aggregated information maximizes business and operational efficiency across the board. When the whole team is working from one platform, collaboration is more effective and deal flow accelerates.
Another major benefit of a purpose-built capital markets CRM is customization and ease of use. No matter what workflow your team follows, a customizable CRM can better meet your needs. The static workflows found in most basic CRMs are too inflexible for capital markets firms.
A modern capital markets CRM like Affinity also offers the benefit of automation. Deal teams save hundreds of hours a year when they don’t have to take the time to input contact and activity data manually. With automated contact management, CRM data is also automatically updated and enriched in real time with insights from proprietary algorithms, user-generated data, and external data partners like Clearbit and Pitchbook.
With information and workflows centralized and streamlined, capital markets teams can more quickly identify and act on opportunities. Affinity relationship intelligence technology automates some of this process, calculating relationship strength with a patented AI-driven algorithm to surface the best path for an introduction. Smart triggers and reminders also ensure no opportunity slips through the cracks. If you're choosing a new CRM solution, compare Affinity to other common CRM platforms.
2. Facilitate real-time information sharing and collaboration across teams and departments
For capital markets teams, real-time information sharing makes a difference in customer satisfaction—and may be the difference between closing a deal or losing it. Standard customer relationship management software may work fine for simple team structures, but in capital markets, multi-coverage teams are more the norm—and to drive revenue, these teams need secure access to critical data. Silos have no place in this model. Employees across teams and departments must have a complete picture of the client’s journey and be able to trust that the information is always complete and accurate.
With centralized, accurate, and complete data supported by automated data capture, your capital markets CRM can help you understand the depth and breadth of the relationships across your entire team. This enables better, faster collaboration—and it also enables your team to synchronize activities and communications, and act in a more coordinated way with clients.
Of course, real-time information sharing and collaboration are impossible without reliable, easy-to-use integrations and mobile access. Modern capital markets CRMs offer mobile apps that let your team members act with confidence even when they’re away from their desks. Some sophisticated CRMs also offer a menu of integrations with popular software in the venture capital tech stack and M&A software spaces like Microsoft Outlook, Google Workspace, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Mailchimp email marketing.
For capital markets firms, CRM solution functionality, including marketing automation, project management tools, and follow-up communications features can also go a long way to improving team performance across the entire lifecycle of a project. Your ongoing customer experience as a CRM user should also include excellent customer support, but pay close attention to what support is available in the pricing tier you’re considering.
3. Maintain compliance and security
More than most industries, capital markets are highly regulated and require tight security and compliance features. Whether your firm is in venture capital, private equity, investment banking, or commercial real estate, your CRM must actively prevent breaches of private and public information—all while providing transparency across your company. If your firm’s CRM needs to meet strict industry security requirements, you’re going to need to look closely at the security features of the CRMs you’re considering.
For most capital markets firms, enterprise-grade security with SOC 2 and GDPR compliance is a must-have—and standard CRMs can fall short. Affinity, however, meets stringent global standards and regularly works with independent experts to verify security, privacy, and compliance controls. When security, compliance, and data governance must cover contact information, investor reporting, communications with stakeholders, tracked deals, and fundraising activity, only a CRM designed for capital markets will suffice.
Focus on relationships—not managing financial services software
Basic spreadsheets like Excel, traditional customer relationship management and sales software like Salesforce, and small business CRM tools can’t support the sophisticated deal flow of capital markets firms.
Let your CRM do the work. A modern CRM platform purpose-built for the business processes of capital markets can help your firm boost performance across departments and teams—from sales to research to operations. It lets you focus on client relationships and making deals instead of manually inputting customer data and chasing down information.
Affinity empowers capital markets firms to manage sophisticated dealmaking while scaling their processes to meet the market where it’s at. By consolidating deal flow management and relationship network management in a single, centralized platform, your team can keep their attention on driving new deals.
Your firm moves quickly—but that shouldn’t prevent you from keeping your contact relationship data clean, organized, accessible, and actionable. Close deals faster with Affinity’s automated data entry, flexible workflows, and end-to-end visibility of the entire history of your team’s network relationships.