Like in all capital markets, in private equity your relationships are the foundation of your firm’s success. Better network relationships mean more closed deals for your firm. That’s why it’s so important that whatever private equity software you choose for your firm, it helps you keep your focus on those relationships.
Private equity deal management software should streamline your deal team’s processes and automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks so your firm can maintain a competitive edge in this fast-paced industry. And many software solutions promise just that. With so many different solutions on the market to consider, how can you choose the best management software for private equity deals?
In this guide, you’ll learn how to evaluate private equity deal management software, and how to select the one that’s right for your PE firm’s needs.
Read on for a comprehensive buyer's guide for private equity deal management software.
Leading PE firms act with agility and speed. The right software can help you move complex, non-linear private equity deals faster to keep ahead of competitors—without losing precious time to clunky interfaces and confusing functionality.
At every stage of deal flow, your private equity software should be doing some heavy lifting.
Deal sourcing or deal origination means finding potential investment opportunities, and it’s the critical first step in healthy deal flow management. It’s also a very time-consuming step in the deal lifecycle.
Whether your deals come through as inbound opportunities or you’re sourcing deals with outbound processes, your team must track communications, people, companies, and activity to stay on top of things. The best software for private equity deal management will help you do this faster and more easily.
Once your team has sourced a deal, it goes through your firm’s internal assessment process, and then on to the right managing partner to build the relationships and close the deal. There are many stages in the deal pipeline between lead and won deal—and your deal team should be able to see exactly what stage a deal is in at any given time so nothing falls through the cracks.
To build your portfolio, your PE firm needs capital—but fundraising is just as complex as PE deal flow. With many people and processes involved in fundraising activity, your private equity deal management software should help you stay organized, identify potential LPs, expedite introductions, and spot new opportunities.
Once a deal is in the works, it’s time to evaluate the company with thorough due diligence. You’re looking at data around legal, IT, operational, and financial aspects of the company, and you’ll need a place to store, analyze, and report on this information. Ideally, your deal management software will also connect to third-party data services, too, to make the due diligence process go more quickly, and ensure the information is as up-to-date as possible.
Today, most PE firms are hands-on with operational value creation after acquisition. Your deal management software should help here, too, by surfacing key relationships, facilitating communication, and tracking performance data.
If it’s taking you hours in an Excel spreadsheet to generate a quarterly report for your LPs, you might not be using the right private equity deal management software. Modern solutions automate many reporting tasks, and produce more accurate, easy-to-understand reports.
Though using a popular sales software solution for your PE firm may sound like the right move, with options on the market today that are tailor-made for private equity, you don’t have to force-fit a generic product anymore.
Having your critical features in mind makes the process of choosing private equity deal management software much simpler. In this section, we’ll take a look at the key features a PE firm would likely need in its private equity tech stack.
Strong collaboration features help your PE firm with real-time information sharing across teams and departments. For PE deal teams, the speed of information sharing can make the difference between a won deal and a lost deal. Consider collaboration functionality like project management communication tools when you’re evaluating potential software solutions.
Generic sales CRM platforms may work fine for companies with simple, linear sales processes—but private equity deals are complex, long-term, and relationship-driven. Centralizing your CRM data and workflows in a deal management software solution made for PE can make collaboration much easier.
Capital markets firms are all highly regulated and require tight security and compliance—and your private equity firm is no exception. Consider the security features in each software product to prevent breaches while providing the right transparency.
For most firms, enterprise-grade security with SOC 2 and GDPR compliance is a standard—and most sales software and CRMs don’t meet that standard. When your software security features must cover contact information, investor reporting, communications with stakeholders, tracked deals, and fundraising activity, you’ll want to look for a solution that meets stringent global standards.
Manual data entry and repetitive processes take up your PE deal team’s valuable relationship-building time. Look for deal management software that includes automated data capture (not just mass data upload, but true automation) and automated workflows so your team members can keep their focus on high-value activities.
Keeping track of contacts, companies, and activity is critical to closing deals— and an Excel spreadsheet won’t cut it for most fast-moving PE firms. Leading firms are moving to CRM software with relationship intelligence to make this easier and get more insight out of the data. Look for a deal management software solution that gives you insight into your contacts’ relationships, job changes, social media updates, industry news, and investments that you can use to make more data-driven decisions.
PE deal team workflows are non-linear, and the timeline for a deal is much more complex than a traditional sales pipeline. Additionally, there is a lot more data to manage, and it’s coming in from many different sources. To manage these complications, workflow features—particularly automations—are important considerations for a PE firm.
This one challenge alone is why managing private equity deals via spreadsheets, email inboxes, and scraps of paper isn’t realistic. Not only are these tools slow and ripe for error, they also create silos of data among team members that must collaborate quickly. Many modern deal management software solutions solve this problem with flexible, automated workflow tools and a centralized, single source of truth.
If your PE deal management software isn’t easy to use, you won’t get buy-in—and if you manage to launch it firm-wide, people won’t use it. Check customer reviews to find out what users have to say about the interface, what it takes to get the software up and running, and how much training is involved in learning how to use it.
Your PE firm is likely already using a collection of software programs for daily activities. Will your new deal management software play well with those existing tools? If not, you may be adding more complications to an already complex job—and worse, you may be introducing security issues.
Private equity deals are uniquely complex—and not every deal management software solution will work well for you. The following solutions are some of the most popular among PE firms. Read on to find out why they work well for private equity dealmaking.
Affinity was purpose-built for private equity dealmakers. This relationship intelligence CRM platform extends your network beyond a simple contact database to give your firm visibility into new opportunities hidden in your network. The collaboration and pipeline management features make sophisticated deal management radically simple.
When you choose Affinity for private equity deal management, you can spend more time building relationships and closing deals—and less time manually entering data. Automated data capture instantly pulls contact and company profiles from emails and calendar data, and those profiles are automatically enriched in real time. Affinity’s proprietary algorithm gives you a 360-degree Rolodex with deep relationship intelligence for actionable insight. Your PE firm will be able to move faster in the market by leveraging your entire team’s network with speed and accuracy—from your desktop, Android or iPhone. And Affinity integrates with the tools you already use.
Founded by venture capitalists, 4Degrees offers a CRM with artificial intelligence features that can make it a powerful tool for managing relationships. Though not made for private equity specifically, this CRM is well-known and well-loved across most capital markets sectors. 4Degrees automatically identifies the contacts you should connect with to get an introduction to a company or investor. It also includes some automated data entry functionality, lead management, marketing automation, and auto-generated reports.
The biggest complaint users seem to have is about the clunky interface. Integrations are also limited.
Once a venture-focused platform called Fundstack, Attio has been rebuilt and rebranded as a lightweight deal management solution. You’ll find standard CRM features with this software, plus flexible pipeline management, collaboration tools, and customizable workflows. Attio does not offer automated data capture, but it does have Android and iOS apps so you can easily enter data on the go.
Attio integrates with only a few other software tools, and only through third-party connector Zapier.
The DealCloud platform is one of the most common SaaS solutions in private equity, venture capital, and other financial and professional services industries. It offers business development, relationship management, pipeline management, marketing, fundraising, and reporting tools designed for capital markets (including private equity and venture capital) and financial services. The product suite is highly customizable if you have time to spare—onboarding and deployment can take up to 6 months. The CRM also depends on manual data entry in order to keep it up to date.
Navatar is a longstanding, traditional CRM built on Salesforce. It was originally focused on financial services, so it has a feature set that works well for simpler private equity deals. Navatar may be best known for its deal sourcing capabilities and streamlined pipeline management workflows, but it has additional functionality that can help you with fundraising, tracking investor relations, and monitoring portfolio companies. Like most traditional CRMs, Navatar requires manual data entry to keep contact, company, and activity data current.
If your PE firm isn’t actively investing in technology that makes your job easier, you’re going to lose deals to faster-moving competitors. Today’s private equity leaders aren’t just upgrading from spreadsheets to CRMs—they’re choosing cutting-edge software solutions with AI and advanced automation because technology is a core differentiator.
Affinity offers a relationship intelligence CRM with automated data capture and profile enrichment, streamlined pipeline management, and real-time reporting and analytics for your most important metrics. With Affinity, you can focus on the relationships that drive your success, and collaborate confidently across your firm.
Show up smarter and close more deals faster with Affinity. Talk to a sales team member today to find out more.