In relationship-driven industries, such as private equity, your firm’s customer relationship management (CRM) software is critical for maintaining relationships long term. As a foundational component of your private equity tech stack, your CRM can make or break your competitive advantage when it comes to sourcing deals and winning them.
The ability to track all interactions—no matter how long ago they took place—in one single source of truth is invaluable when it’s time to connect people and companies to opportunities and potential deals. A simple spreadsheet made in Microsoft Excel might have worked decades ago, but today’s dealmakers need something more suited to our complex, connected, and fast-paced world.
Explore more Salesforce CRM alternatives for private equity.
Salesforce CRM is possibly the best-known CRM solution, and with more than 20 years on the market, it’s no surprise. The software is robust and companies across the globe rely on it enterprise-wide. But when it comes to software solutions, is Salesforce the right choice for private equity firms whose business, similar to venture capital, commercial real estate, and investment banking, relies on long-term relationships and is driven by a longer deal cycle?
In this post we’ll dive a little deeper into Salesforce’s efficacy for private equity firms. We’ll also compare it to Affinity’s relationship intelligence CRM.
What is Salesforce?
The Salesforce platform is used by businesses across the world, of all sizes, from investment banks to venture capital firms, retail to government, and more. Because of its large user base and longevity, Salesforce offers PE firms a near-endless selection of integrations as well as frequent software updates throughout the year.
Salesforce CRM provides teams with powerful features—including contact management (including contacts in your portfolio companies), lead management, dashboards, workflow customization, and reporting—if you have the resources to invest. This software solution requires a significant commitment of time, resources, and money. Among CRM solutions, Salesforce has higher pricing than most. See how it compares to other platforms like DealCloud or Pipedrive.
Teams can wait months for onboarding and training—because the software, and the integrations and add-ons that often come with it, is so complex. And then the firm may discover that team-wide adoption never occurs due to the steep learning curve required to use it effectively. For private equity firms that rely on their relationships, you need to be able to quickly uncover relationship details from an up-to-date single source of truth.
Without team-wide adoption, your customer relationship management tool might as well be an Excel spreadsheet. Private equity firms who want a solution that is user-friendly and up and running within a few days might find that a different CRM is more ideal.
As a traditional CRM, Salesforce is perfect for industries that work with short, simple deal cycles. And, like other traditional CRMs, Salesforce users have to input massive amounts of data in order to capture interactions as they occur. This can cost your team members hundreds of wasted hours per year. Unfortunately, it also opens up your data to human error and inaccuracies. If someone gets behind on data entry—or simply forgets to log an interaction in the moment and never goes back—your team won’t have the full picture in order to make informed decisions.
What Affinity offers in comparison to salesforce
Private equity firms rely on the strength of relationships. You need more than a contact database or virtual Rolodex—you need functionality that can provide insights into your relationships and your team members’ business networks and relationships, and that isn’t a hassle to manage.
Affinity is a relationship intelligence platform that automates data entry by capturing all of your team’s “data exhaust.” Instead of your team tackling the drudgery of manual data entry—and relying on their memories for the details—Affinity captures information from meetings, emails, and calendar events such as webinars.
This automation ensures that team members can focus on what they do best—nurturing and developing relationships that lead to successful fundraising, top-notch investor relations, and finding and winning deals. Not only does your team gain back time, they can review and analyze all of their deal data to gain actionable insights into how to most effectively and efficiently use that time.
Affinity’s AI-driven algorithms analyze your team’s collective network and offer detailed, AI-driven insights, leaving your firm with a comprehensive understanding of the available strengths and opportunities. These actionable insights can help identify which individual is best suited to get in touch with a lead, or who has the warmest connection to a potential stakeholder. As a purpose-built solution for sophisticated dealmakers, Affinity enables your PE firm’s team to easily and quickly leverage their existing networks.
What makes Affinity a better solution for private equity firms than Salesforce?
Salesforce is a solid customer relationship management platform for transactional businesses such as retail. PE firms, however, need a CRM that’s built specifically with capital markets in mind—and Affinity is just that.
Affinity offers private equity firms an ecosystem with pipeline management, customer relationship management, real-time metrics, and customizable reports and dashboards. These features are not the complete list of what sets Affinity apart, however. Affinity CRM’s relationship intelligence, automation, and data enrichment are what give your team the edge it needs to stay ahead of the competition.
Team members can collaborate with confidence using their unique standardized workflows that keep mandates organized and simplify managing pipelines. Data enrichment ensures that your team will always have the most recent information about companies, individuals, and industries—all without a single keystroke.
Learn how Sorenson Capital is using Affinity as the centerpiece of their daily deal and relationship management workflows.
By showing up smarter with the relationship intelligence of Affinity’s AI-driven insights, dealmakers at private equity firms can confidently connect with the people who may be involved in their next deal. Instead of only knowing who knows whom, sophisticated dealmakers are armed with relationship scores that detail the quality and the depth of the firm’s collective network. Your can move your team members beyond leveraging their individual networks, and instead start leveraging each other's.
If your firm is looking for a robust, traditional sales database, Salesforce might be the solution you want and need. However, if your team, like most other private equity firms, relies on referrals, long-term relationships, and collaborative deals, you should consider a CRM platform that examines the relationships between the data and leverages them to help you win deals.
Affinity CRM provides private equity firms with unparalleled insights, automated data capture, and enriched industry profiles—all so that your team can pay attention to finding, developing, and strengthening their relationships…which will lead to more closed (and won) deals.