Sourcing deals is the key to success in Private Equity. And apparently, personal relationships are the key to sourcing deals. A recent LexisNexis survey reveled that 78% of PE professionals surveyed said they used personal relationships to source deals ‘a number of times’, ‘frequently’, or ‘very often’. The report goes on to say:
With competition rising, the influence that networking and personal relationships can have on the ability to effectively source deals is changing. Although there is a realization that these factors alone are unlikely to win a deal, there is a widespread acceptance and belief that they are valuable in a number of different ways – especially in enabling a firm to be the first to get a foot in the door and therefore have more scope to consider and drive the direction of any future bidding process.
Because relationships win deals, effective management of relationships is a must. Customer Effective: Private Equity is equipped with standard contact management functionality, as well as some extended features built specifically for private equity. Microsoft CRM gives a 360° view of the customer with standard data like address, communication preferences, personal information, and company information. We can also see activities (both past and future) related to the contacts. This includes all tasks, appointments, emails, faxes, and letters; and because most PE firms use Outlook integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, recording these activities is not a task in itself. These elements are automatically attached to the contact record when they organically come through Outlook and get ‘Tracked’ in CRM.
Understanding what company a person currently works for is fairly easy within CRM. External data services help you make sure that company and communication data is accurate and up-to-date. There are even varying degrees of LinkedIn integration that can serve a similar purpose.
The analysts and investment bankers with whom PE firms work routinely move from firm to firm. Today’s JP Morgan investment banker is tomorrow’s Bank of America investment banker. As such, being able to show where a contact has been can be an important part of understanding your contacts. As the company field on a contact record changes, a record is created for the previous company. The net effect is a chain of records that tell a history of one person's work life.
This is also the case with company records. Customer Effective: Private Equity creates a list of former employees as they are moved from the active rolls of the company record. Once again, this can be leveraged when you manually remove a contact from a list or when you sync from an external data service (like InsideView or Broadlook). One of the more practical applications with this feature is to understand how people are connected. You may remember working with the energy group at Lehman Brothers 8 years ago, but you know your former colleague has retired. With the Former Employees feature, you can simply look at the company record and know who else worked in the energy group 8 years ago.