According to Affinity’s Investment Predictions Report, 64% of dealmakers believe that data will be used more extensively to qualify deal opportunities in 2023 and beyond.
CRM data is at the heart of qualification, prospecting, and relationship management activities. It helps inform deal sourcing, facilitates warm outreach, supports nurturing strategies, and centralizes key company data about existing and potential customers.
But CRMs are only as good as the data that’s housed within them. And that’s only as good as the adoption rate for the platform across the organization.
Today, many CRMs are siloed from core dealmaking data sources like emails, video calls, in-person conversations, and online meetings. This is where the bulk of conversations about clients and prospects happen, and this data is invaluable to fully understanding the client or prospect. To capture this data, firms need a complete solution that automates the capturing of this data, and the enrichment of CRM files.
What stops CRM adoption?
CRM adoption is low. This is driven by three key issues:
- Constant context switching between the tools used to source and drive deals forward and the CRM;
- CRM interfaces not meeting their needs;
- The time it takes to manually add data to CRM records.
Reflecting on his firm’s previous processes, Michael Lamm, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at CAS, explained: "We were spending so much time, effort, and money on manual data entry. We were spending money to put this information into our system without leveraging it for a real return on investment.” He continued, “Figuring out a way to make that workflow process easier and more functional was something I cared a lot about."
This concern is well-founded. The stakes for poor CRM adoption in financial services firms are high.
When a team doesn’t use a CRM to inform its dealmaking processes, strategic relationship insights aren’t captured and shared. As a result, individual knowledge and networks are siloed, which impacts dealmakers’ ability to close deals.
A primary goal for financial services companies, therefore, should be to remove as many barriers to CRM adoption as possible. This means eliminating as much manual data entry as possible and ensuring that the CRM integrates fluidly with the dealmaker’s daily workflow.
Improve CRM adoption by improving technologies and systems
Getting a complete picture of an opportunity quickly requires dealmakers to tap into their extended network and large volumes of data as they source. But that knowledge and data doesn’t always come easily. It’s often spread across emails, phone calls, chats, offline communications, and other disparate data sources or subscriptions.
“One of the perennial challenges any investment bank has is actually getting a hold of the right person at a company,” explains Dr. Rudy Burger, Founder and Managing Partner at Woodside Capital Partners. “A great start is sending an email from somebody they already know and have a relationship with.”
For many firms, that depth of network data requires extensive data entry, validation, and upkeep from dealmakers. But with a CRM powered by relationship intelligence, this data is automatically logged for you.
Relationship intelligence supports more efficient dealmaking workflows by:
- Capturing information from calendar invites, emails, and historical interactions across the entire firm.
- Enriching customer and prospect files with interaction data.
- Integrating with both public and private data vendors to present and share enriched databases about existing contacts and industries.
- Acting as the most trusted source of truth for dealmakers and decision makers.
These automations dramatically speed up the dealmaking process, and facilitate more informed decisions. Dealmakers no longer have to manually input data into a CRM, freeing their time to expand their network, connect with investors or companies, and work on closing more deals.
“Automating our data entry has helped us reduce the time we spend working on and closing deals with investors by nearly 70%, and with early-stage companies by almost 30%,” says Chuck Guy, Managing Director at Dara Lane Capital.
Drive better CRM adoption and better deal flow with Affinity
A major question with all CRMs is how to efficiently enrich customer and prospect records, without overburdening team members.
Affinity for Salesforce addresses this by providing contact, relationship, and deal insights directly in the tools dealmakers use every day: their email, calendar, browser, and in meetings. This creates a comprehensive data ecosystem that enriches CRM records as dealmakers research, screen, and qualify prospects opportunities. Engagement activities are automatically added to the Salesforce record, ensuring they stay up-to-date and accessible across all team members.
Because this data enrichment happens where a dealmaker already works, they don’t need to jump between browser windows or applications to populate the CRM or retrieve relevant information. Data is easier to maintain and use, which increases CRM adoption.
With Affinity for Salesforce, financial services deal teams can drive more deals using up-to-date and enriched relationship intelligence data within their CRM records and in the tools they use everyday. And, they can do this all without the burden of manual data entry.
Affinity for Salesforce frees deal teams from data drudgery by automatically adding valuable data points to their CRM:
- Relationship data to maximize the chance of a warm introduction and squeeze more ROI from your firm’s total network
- Relationship scores calculated using inbox, calendar, and Salesforce activities
- Biographic, education, and experience data on executives to understand at a glance their track record and professional history
- Firmographic, growth, and funding data on companies to qualify and assess fit without needing to stitch together various data sources
The depth of integration between Salesforce and Affinity encourages dealmakers to fully adopt the CRM, which drives tangible benefits for the firm as a whole.
“A lot of CRMs provide structured data management, but in the end we had to do the data entry ourselves, and that was a no go for us,” explained Sven Rossmann, Chief Investment Officer, Abacon Capital. “Affinity’s automation and data enrichment meant we could focus on the thing that really matters to us: building relationships, gaining insights, and supporting the portfolio companies.”