Every merger and acquisition (M&A) winds through a non-linear, complex deal process. And to smoothly facilitate those deals, deal teams need M&A tools that offer a wide range of features. The best software solutions enable teams to focus on what they are best at—building relationships—while managing the complex life cycles of relationship-driven deals.
Over the past decade, the types of available M&A software have exploded. And so, when you begin to evaluate your M&A platform options, how can you decide which tools will best meet your team’s needs?
Some legacy tools, such as Intralinks, take a traditional approach and offer mostly virtual data rooms (VDR), M&A integration, and buy-side due diligence while other tools, such as DealRoom, offer integrated due diligence and pipeline management alongside traditional options. For many M&A teams, a CRM is a foundational piece of their tech stack as it not only serves as a source of truth for up-to-date tracking of deal pipelines, it also serves as a database for every contact in the team’s collective network.
Purpose-built, M&A CRM platforms can also support new introductions to new opportunities by providing relationship intelligence—insights into a team’s network and connections that help find, manage, and close more mandates—and create a foundational platform for every relationship at a firm.
To help streamline your process, we’ve created this guide. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of some of the most popular and best-in-class technology solutions for your M&A transactions and which pieces of technology are most vital for relationship-driven M&A firms.
We’ll discuss the following aspects of M&A software:
- Pipeline and deal management with relationship intelligence
- Pipeline and deal management
- Virtual data rooms
- Due diligence management
- Project management
- Post-merger management
What is M&A software?
M&A software includes all of the software platforms that investment bankers use in order to manage their workflows and M&A processes. These platforms will typically have components necessary for each stage of the life cycle of a deal, from due diligence through to post-merger integration.
What are the best M&A software tools?
The software platforms that your firm selects will have a direct impact on your business’ workflows. Some of the tools that can help accelerate your dealmaking include features—like pipeline management—that have been used in other financial and professional services industries, including private equity.
Other features are more established for an M&A deal; for example, deals that require sharing highly sensitive and confidential information will need a secure and safe place to store this data, such as virtual data rooms and client relationship management systems with fine-tuned privacy controls. Let’s dive into some of the available options for your investment banking firm.
Pipeline and deal management with relationship intelligence
As an investment banking firm, your most important task will always be relationship building. In the digital and hybrid banking industry, teams are inundated with emails and Zoom meetings and fewer important interactions are taking place over dinner and drinks. However, your team still leans on its relationship network—and focuses on nurturing the connections within it—to both identify and win deals faster. But tedious workflows and manual data entry eat away your time.
What if instead of having to manually update everything, you were able to automate your contact data entry and make your deal management workflows easy to manage? Affinity offers investment bankers this freedom. Having the right M&A software for your pipeline and deal management can ensure you have freed your time from the dull drudgery of manually entering all of your deal data. And that…allows you to leverage the right relationships at the right moment.
Relationship intelligence and data enrichment contextualize every relationship in your business network and provide deeper insights into your mandate pipeline. With these additional insights, you can drill down into each opportunity and learn which kinds of opportunities you firm works with most frequently, which of those are most likely to close, how each member of your team is performing, and, ultimately, use all of this data to improve your pipeline management strategy.
- Sophisticated yet intuitive pipeline management
- Relationship intelligence-driven insights
- Enriched datasets and automated data entry
Integrations: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, Eventbrite, SharePoint, Box, Dropbox, Typeform, Mailchimp
Pipeline and deal management
EKNOW is a popular web-based M&A tool that offers users a variety of features, including a pipeline suite and a document room. Firms who would like more detailed real-time metrics or workflow metrics and automation will have to purchase a more expensive plan, unfortunately.
- Presentation mode
- Talent selection
Integrations: Microsoft Excel
Download the modern investment banking CRM as a competitive differentiator whitepaper today to learn how purpose-built contact and deal management is evolving.
Virtual data rooms (VDRs)
With over 25 years on the market, SS&C Intralinks pioneered virtual data rooms for investment bankers. DealCentre, their flagship product, includes access to VDRPro, a virtual data room that offers automated setup. Once you move beyond setup, however, your team will still have to upload documentation and manually enter updates.
- Integrated AI redaction
- Mobile app access
Integrations: Zoom, Kira
Merrill Corporation rebranded as Datasite in 2018. Their VDR design is based on information and insights from over 2,000 users. Authorized individuals can email files directly into the virtual data room. Additionally, teams have the ability to update document and user permissions in real time or pre-schedule them.
- Built-in data redaction feature
- 24/7/365 customer service with support in 20+ languages
- iOS and Android mobile apps
Due diligence management
Centrl is a due diligence and risk management platform for banks and investors. It offers M&A teams cybersecurity assessments, automated due diligence processes, privacy management, and more. Their due diligence management tool, ODD360, is used by investors and managers to automate due diligence workflow and capture analytics insights.
- Single document repository
- Fully automated DDQ and RFI workflow
- Collaboration at the report or document level with investors
DealRoom centralizes all relevant M&A communication into one location for team members and improves collaboration in real time. Users looking to get started quickly can rely on their 10 pre-made diligence workflow templates. Some examples of the template options include buy-side, sell-side, and private company transaction workflows. User reviews state that DealRoom’s reporting features could be more robust and that its pricing is “very steep.”
- 4 level permissions
- Full-text search
- Pre-built templates
Integrations: Salesforce, Slack, Okta, Idaptive, Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams
Wrike allows teams to visualize project management workflows, create reports easily, and customize personal dashboards for simple task management. Teams who want to integrate with tools that exceed the available integrations can make use of the platform’s API.
- Work intelligence for smart automation and predictive replies
- Kanban boards and Gantt charts for tracking project progress visually
- Custom request forms for client intake that auto-assign tasks to team members
Integrations: Tableau, Adobe Creative Cloud, Gmail, Microsoft suite, Slack, Box, OneLogin
Asana is perhaps one of the best-known project management tools. The platform allows your firm to easily track tasks across the team and collaborate from one central location to manage a projet through its full life cycle. M&A teams have numerous processes and tasks, and Asana’s flexibility and depth allow teams to build complex dashboards and reports for consolidating that work.
- Timeline view that allows for easy dependency management
- Integrated video messages that allow you to share project information with your team as you demonstrate or highlight relevant information in Asana
- Portfolios and workloads allow users to understand and see how their work connects to other work across the team
Integrations: Clockwise, Harvest, Figma, Zoom, MuleSoft, and countless others
Midaxo is a cloud-based platform that supports and enables M&A dealmakers to execute post-merger integrations quickly and easily. Teams can track synergies, progress goals, and create reports.
- Preconfigured, real-time dashboards
- Customizable and prebuilt playbooks that provide the templates, plans, and processes to guide decision-making
- Batch permissions access
The best M&A software
Choosing the right M&A software can make all the difference between finding, closing, and winning the right mandates. Eliminating manual data entry and automating or templatizing your most common workflows can save your team hundreds of hours per year. When your tools work together seamlessly, you can pay attention to what you do best—building, nurturing, and sustaining relationships.
Speak to an Affinity sales team member today and learn how a relationship-intelligence CRM can serve as the foundational technology for your M&A deals.