Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), a crown corporation, is the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs, providing small and medium-sized businesses with financing and advisory services.
BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC and the most active venture capital investor in Canada.
“BDC Capital relies on relationships to source deals and help turn great ideas into great Canadian companies,” says Martin Philipp, BDC Capital’s Senior Manager of Operations Support.
But before Affinity, tracking information about the firm’s business network was siloed and required manual data entry by the investment teams. This created incomplete entries and inefficiencies in their deal pipeline process, and led to missed business opportunities.
“If you wanted to know if any BDC Capital colleagues had spoken to a specific contact or firm in the Canadian tech ecosystem, you had to send a company-wide email and hope for the best,” adds Philipp. “We had no visibility into the relationships our staff had fostered over the years.”
“Affinity eliminated the friction in our relationship management and deal pipelines. The platform has fundamentally changed for the better the way we operate.”
Compounding the problem was the use of multiple tools—including Excel spreadsheets—to record customer data, rendering this data that was collected unusable in a broader context.
Because BDC Capital’s work is often confidential and subject to government privacy regulations, the organization needed a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that could guarantee the security of the information residing on it and control who could see what.
From experience integrating other enterprise-wide platforms, the BDC Capital team also knew that fostering employee buy-in of a new platform would be key to a successful deployment. To encourage adoption, they needed to centralize data about the people and organizations with which they did business with an easy-to-use tool that provided clear benefits right away.
The Affinity relationship intelligence CRM gave BDC Capital a secure, automated, centralized system that democratized their teams’ business network, enabling everyone to share contact information and contextualize that information across teams. The automated ingestion of email and calendar data ensured that information that previously went unrecorded was now captured automatically and universally, minimizing errors and eliminating the manual work previously required to create and update contact and company records.
“This is a tremendous benefit that led everyone to begin using the platform on day one to manage their relationships and pipelines,” Senior Project Manager Yanick Martin adds.
Granular privacy controls manage what data and emails get ingested into the platform and who can view that information once it’s there. Access privileges can be set team by team, or even person by person, ensuring that the information remains secure and available only to those with the right permissions.
The Affinity platform’s relationship intelligence provides insights into a team’s collective network, business connections, and previous client engagements that help them find, manage, and close more deals.
“Everyone can see at any given moment who’s talking to whom. We couldn’t do that when every team was managing their own pipeline in Excel.”
BDC Capital now has a comprehensive, accurate, and automatically drawn map of their entire business network ecosystem: their contacts, the companies they interact with, and each team member’s business relationships.
With the platform’s relationship intelligence technology, teams can make smarter, data-driven decisions about deal pipeline management as well as leverage their collective business network more successfully.
In addition, platform analytics provide insights that enable BDC Capital to better understand deal flow through their deal pipelines.
The more that people utilize the platform, the more valuable it becomes, as its AI-driven algorithms draw on a broader dataset to build maps of the relationships BDC Capital team members have with portfolio companies and prospects, as well as calculate relationship scores that evaluate the depth of each relationship.
The more that people utilize the platform, the more valuable it becomes.
“If our CEO wants to know who in BDC Capital has relationships with someone she wants to meet, we can instantly find out. That just wasn’t possible before,” Philipp concludes, “Affinity were true partners when we signed up, and that remains the case today.”
In summary, Affinity has given BDC Capital:
A very satisfied user base that has adopted a platform whose benefits increase with use
Platform customizations to meet their stringent, industry-specific compliance needs
A five-fold increase in the number of organizations (32,000) and contacts (105,000) tracked
Accurate, automated record creation and deduplication, eliminating manual data entry
Augmentation of organizational and contact records using industry-leading data providers
Flexible security and privacy controls for sharing pipeline data
A user interface that provides more efficient deal pipeline management