M&A pipeline management software: what it is and which one should you buy?

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    Like most areas of investment banking, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is complex and sophisticated. M&A deal teams often work on deals over the course of years, and have to manage the relationships relevant to those deals and keep tabs on every moving part of the deal over that entire period. To add to the complication, deal teams are often managing more than one deal at a time.

    This is where the right M&A pipeline management software helps teams, and the wrong software can hinder performance. From managing multiple deals simultaneously to keeping important relationships front and center, a good software solution can make a big difference in winning and closing more high-quality deals.

    In this guide, you’ll learn how the best investment banks simplify and streamline complex M&A pipeline management, and drive deals more efficiently—all while making the most of their relationship network.

    What is M&A pipeline management?

    While the terms “mergers” and “acquisitions” are often lumped together, they do differ in meaning and the deal management processes used. A merger is when two companies agree to pull together into one entity, and operate as a single, consolidated company going forward. An acquisition, on the other hand, is when one company purchases another, establishing itself as the new owner.

    From a pipeline management and deal flow standpoint, both mergers and acquisitions deal processes are complex in their own right. M&A pipeline management is the process investment banking firms use to manage deal opportunities and track them across the M&A deal lifecycle. Often this is managed with a visual layout—a dashboard, Kanban board, or even an Excel table—that allows deal team members to see every opportunity in each stage of the dealmaking process.

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    What is M&A pipeline management software?

    Pipeline management is a fundamental activity for investment banking teams, therefore pipeline management software is one of the fundamental management tools. M&A deal pipeline management software allows deal teams to track deal activity across the deal lifecycle, and get both a bird’s eye view of the opportunities they’re tracking and a detailed view of the activity (and people) involved in every deal.

    Most pipeline management software today have basic dashboards that work well for traditional sales funnels and more transactional deals in industries like retail or SaaS sales. Modern investment banking firms, however, have non-linear, long-term relationship-driven M&A processes that don’t resemble traditional sales funnels. Teams in relationship-focused industries rely on pipeline management software to help them track, organize, and win deals over the course of months or years. They also need their pipeline management solution to be flexible and customizable to work with their unique workflows and processes. M&A software platforms, then, are different from basic sales management tools.

    Benefits of M&A Pipeline software platforms for investment banking firms

    Pipeline software designed for mergers and acquisitions helps M&A dealmakers move faster, track more, communicate better, and get the best deals for their clients and stakeholders. With an intelligent deal management pipeline—one that improves your ability to find, manage, and close more deals—your team should have:

    • At-a-glance views of all deals across the entire deal lifecycle. Your deal team can instantly see recent activity on any active opportunities and how many deals are in each stage of your deal pipeline. Some M&A software solutions also allow you to customize your management process with different views—from lists to Kanban boards to reporting dashboards—which can give you a wider variety of insights into how deals are flowing. From deal sourcing to the due diligence process, and from handshake to post-merger integration, M&A transactions move more easily with the right pipeline management tools in place.
    • A single source of truth. M&A pipeline software centralizes deal data, and with everyone working on the same platform, it eliminates information silos across your organization. However, keep in mind that any pipeline management software that requires manual data entry will leave room for incomplete and incorrect data—it’s only a single source of truth when human error isn’t part of the equation. Look for a platform that automates contact and activity data entry.
    • Actionable, data-driven insights. Manual, legacy technology won’t give you the insights you need to close deals. A core part of intelligent M&A pipeline management software is having access to analytics and reporting features that give your team insight into team performance, additional details on people and organizations drawn from external data partners, and combining these details with your current and historical deal pipeline to make smarter decisions and close more deals.
    • Improved brand perception. Modern pipeline management software is a brand differentiator that gives your team the ability to tell your business’s story through intelligent CRM data to showcase your value to prospective clients.

    How M&A pipeline management software works

    With M&A pipeline management software, your deal team can track all their deals—and all their details—in one place. Contact information, notes, engagement activity, and reminders for important dates are all immediately accessible in one place. Some pipeline management software also gives you project management, task management, outreach, due diligence, and marketing capabilities as well.

    Most importantly, though, pipeline management software gives your team confidence in your data accuracy, so you can focus on complementary rather than overlapping work. By outsourcing your data management work to intelligent pipeline management technology, you don’t have to worry about valuable deal information getting lost in scattered spreadsheets during the corporate development process. 

    Benefits of using Affinity for M&A pipeline management

    M&A is relationship-driven, and it’s important that your team has pipeline management software that supports the unique needs of this business, and streamlines the processes that make up the complex, non-linear lifecycle of M&A financial transactions. 

    Affinity’s Relationship Intelligence CRM is purpose-built for M&A teams and enables your team to leverage their personal networks to find, manage, and close deals faster—all with software that every team member will find easy to use.

    Affinity is able to extract historical data from your existing pipeline management system(s) and can be up and running quickly—often in only a few days. Once onboard, the platform can automatically capture the “data exhaust”—details that are automatically captured from email communications, meetings, and contact information such as names, roles, industry, and source of introduction—of every relationship you’re managing right alongside active deal pipelines.

    When your business development is supported by Affinity, you can make your team more efficient and provide in-depth insights into every opportunity—so you can connect with confidence, show up smarter, and close your next deal faster. 

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