How to prepare for a successful VC CRM launch

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Implementing and deploying a CRM can be a daunting prospect. When up to 70% of implementations fail, everyone knows someone who tried to launch a CRM that ended up abandoned, unused, and eventually replaced. As a time-strapped venture capitalist, here are three key steps to simplify the process of choosing the right CRM for your team and set your implementation up for success. 

Align on your CRM strategy and objectives

A critical step at the onset of your CRM journey is to link your CRM strategy to desired business outcomes. Trying to implement a CRM without first evaluating the overall objectives you hope to meet with it, will lead to suboptimal results and unnecessary complexity down the road. 

James Gilbert, a Forbes Council Member, believes that when it comes to customer relationship management, less is almost always more. Don't overcomplicate the process by guessing at what your team actually needs, take the time to think holistically about your CRM's role within your organization. Doing so allows you to flag risks that occur and recognize when stakeholders aren't aligned on its use which can lead to siloed data sets and a messy system of record. Here are three suggestions for getting your team aligned before you implement your CRM:

  • Review the various ways you can create new value by leveraging the data captured in a CRM. 
  • Do not assume everyone understands the extent to which CRM can support your firm. Clarify use cases for the platform through education and training to illustrate the benefits of using the platform can clarify which teams and partners will benefit from the new platform.
  • Clearly define your business process as a team and outline a prospective investment’s journey from start to finish. Clearly identify how each stage of that customer journey connects to different team members or departments. 


Prepare your infrastructure

Once you’ve identified the objectives and goals you have for your CRM, and you know you need one for your team, you can start to prepare some of the infrastructure. A CRM will support many of your investment teams key objectives, and you can set your team up for success by:

  • Taking time to understand what data you need to power your CRM to accomplish your goals. Venture capital CRM platforms like Affinity will automatically capture your data exhaust (emails, meetings, calls, etc.) as well as surface historical data from your inbox when you deploy the system. You’ll still need to choose which of your old records to import from your current CRM solution–whether it’s scattered spreadsheets or a larger enterprise database. 
  • Build a plan to execute the strategy you’ve already outlined. At this stage, you should have a clear understanding of what your CRM will be capable of and how you can utilize it. Creating and sharing a clear roadmap of your implementation plan and execution with your team can smooth the process changes. 
  • Launching a CRM built for venture capital will improve your existing workflows—including streamlining your deal flow, increasing adoption, and even improving external communications—but even small change management can feel overwhelming to teams that have only ever known one solution. Take the time to walk through best practices with your CRM vendor and have resources available to share with your team before you deploy the software. 

Choose the right CRM vendor

Not all CRM platforms are created equal. Take the time to thoroughly evaluate potential providers and compare the merits of each based on their ability to help you meet the objectives you have defined. The deployment process should feel collaborative, so work with them to make sure their solution frees your team from data drudgery, provides insights that close deals, and gives you the confidence to collaborate.

  • Your deal data and your relationships are ultimately your key value drivers. As such, it is critical that you choose a CRM that is supported by relationship intelligence technology rather than manual, traditional CRM solutions like Dealcloud
  • Affinity’s relationship intelligence algorithms provide critical insight into your interactions with every connection in your network. It also provides you with a roadmap for how those activities can be optimized to improve deal flow and portfolio management
  • If you’re ready to choose your new CRM solution, check out Ultimate Buyers Guide to Venture Capital and choose the right vendor for your new CRM.

A successful CRM implementation requires much more than choosing a product and launching it. By aligning your team, setting goals, and choosing the right CRM vendor, you can decrease your time to value and ensure your implementation is successful.

Every dollar spent on CRM implementation returns up to nearly $9 in revenue, and our research has found that Affinity can save teams 188 hours per year per person on data entry alone. Set your team up for success, and start closing deals faster with a CRM built for venture capital. 


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