How Woodside Capital Partners streamlines building the right connections for M&A deals with Affinity
Woodside Capital Partners is a boutique investment firm that’s provided M&A and capital raising financial advisory services for more than 20 years and has completed over $10 billion in transactions. Their clients have been acquired by companies such as Microsoft, Apple, SAP, and Intel.
After trying three different CRMs with varying degrees of success, Woodside struggled finding a solution suited for the Investment Banking firm’s needs. Adoption was mixed, and with no centralized repository, reporting back to Woodside’s 20-30 clients required manual processes that took several hours each week.
Woodside needed an easy-to-adopt CRM that would centralize firmwide data and contacts. With Affinity, they were able to automatically sync emails and events, create lists that track progress across their clients’ M&A processes, and automatically report that information back to those clients.
Woodside can now leverage firmwide data at any given moment to make strategic decisions and connections with the best potential acquirers for their clients.
With Affinity, Woodside Capital Partners has:
- Saved 3-4 hours per week per client by generating automated reports
- Integrated with Microsoft Exchange to automatically sync emails, meetings, and contacts
- Created lists that track current and prospective clients in addition to potential acquirers
- Leveraged Affinity Intelligence for company introductions and identifying prospective clients
Missed opportunities and manual reports
When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, firms need a single source-of-truth to capture the process from start to finish, ensuring every interaction between clients and potential buyers is data-driven, purposeful, and documented.
“Without some centralized repository of what’s going on, we’re operating blind. We don’t know where to focus resources and it’s hard to imagine operating without it,” according to Rudy Burger, Founder and Managing Partner at Woodside Capital Partners.
Firmwide adoption of previous CRMs at Woodside had been mixed, which meant there was no centralized place that captured each client’s stage and the connections the team had to potential acquirers.
Bankers spent their days in Excel spreadsheets, scrolling through columns and rows to gather information. These spreadsheets were also used to manually create weekly status reports for their clients, with some reports taking up to half a day to put together. “The process of coordinating this across teams, when you have five people working on a project, trying to exchange all these Excel sheets, just becomes a nightmare,” Burger said.
A CRM that feels like a spreadsheet
After using Salesforce, it was clear Woodside Capital Partners needed a CRM that was suited to Investment Banking. RelateIQ and MadeMarket proved to be better CRM solutions, but the former was acquired by Salesforce and the latter lacked the resources the firm needed.
Woodside switched to Affinity because of its ease of implementation. It seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Exchange, automatically capturing employees’ emails, contacts, and meetings. Additionally, Affinity’s Customer Success team partnered closely with Woodside to ensure the team onboarded efficiently and successfully. Affinity’s interface also provided a table view the team could easily adopt because it looks and operates like the spreadsheets they were accustomed to using.
When Woodside brings on a new client, they assemble a team to work on determining the best potential company to acquire them. With Affinity, the firm now has one place that shows the strongest relationships within that company, along with recent deals they’ve discussed, previous opportunities, the right point of contact, and the person best suited to make that introduction.
Woodside also leverages Affinity’s Lists feature across the firm, with three main lists they use to capture the following:
- Active Engagements - Woodside’s current 20-30 clients
- Deal Pipeline - 14,000 companies Woodside monitors that could be potential clients
- Outreach List - Interactions with prospective acquirers on behalf of Woodside’s clients
These lists, coupled with Affinity’s data enrichment, provide the team additional information that is used to make decisions and predictions, including identifying companies that might be looking for an exit. “Our top-of-funnel initiative has benefited greatly from being able to put everyone on this platform,” Burger shared.
Reports that inspire
One major improvement Affinity enabled is around Woodside’s weekly client reports. Clients go through these status reports with a fine tooth comb, asking questions about every item and interaction to better understand who’s interested in acquiring them or why a company may have passed.
Before Affinity, these reports lacked any sort of visualization and took an analyst at least 2-3 hours to manually put together because this information lived in spreadsheets.
Now, with the click of a button, analysts can automate these reports, collectively saving the firm somewhere between 40-60 hours of manual work a week. Additionally, Affinity’s reports provide data visualization, a feature the previous reports lacked altogether.
Building the right connections for M&A deals with ease
Since moving to Affinity, Woodside Capital Partners now has a CRM that has been adopted firmwide, automatically capturing all emails, calendar events, and contacts.
Additionally, the team no longer has to tab through dozens of spreadsheets to create weekly status reports to all clients, ultimately saving 40-60 hours a week.
Great M&A deals are built on the right introductions between clients and companies, and it often starts by knowing the right person. With Affinity, Woodside can feel assured they can connect with the right contacts and companies.
As Burger puts it: “One of the perennial challenges any Investment Bank has is actually getting a hold of the right person at the company… a great start on that is sending them an email from somebody they already know and have a relationship with, and identifying who that person is just falls out naturally from Affinity.”