For most private equity firms and investment banks, the past two decades have been a period of overall growth and strong performance. A confluence of factors including higher deal multiples and an increasingly fragmented market have made it more difficult for these market participants to boast the same numbers. In response, countless capital markets firms have turned to technology – and, more specifically, CRM solutions – to help automate tasks, organize processes, and streamline dealmaking efforts.
Investing in technology, no matter the size or strategy of a firm, can be a daunting task. Just as there’s a ton of pressure and stress involved in the final stages of closing a transaction, there’s typically a lot riding on the success (or failure) of an internal technology roll-out. With over 800 successful CRM implementations under our belt, the team at DealCloud and I have one major recommendation for all firms to follow: get the right people involved in the decision-making process.
Building Out Your CRM Team
In this article, we explore the five key personalities of team members who will play a crucial role on your “CRM Task Force,” and how involving each of them impacts both the buying process and the post-implementation outcome. Believe us when we say: it takes a village!
Let’s be honest – there’s always going to be at least one person on your team who doesn’t believe that a CRM solution can transform the way your business is run. Instead of keeping them far away from the buying process, include them on the team so that their voice and concerns can be heard.
Whether they say “Our proprietary process is complicated and I doubt it can be properly represented by technology,” “We tried this once before and it failed,” or “I like the way we do things now” – it’s critical that your CRM Task Force face all doubts head-on. By including the skeptics in the process, you create a more productive dialogue about the feasibility and use cases for the technology, as well as the best practices for encouraging user adoption.
There’s also always going to be at least one person on your team who will think that a CRM system will solve every problem your firm has. While there’s no denying the fact that CRM systems drive meaningful value for capital markets firms, there’s no “one size fits all” approach.
Implementing a CRM properly requires time and commitment to getting it right. Instead of letting the optimists in the group run away with unrealistic expectations, be sure to craft a sensible calendar of milestones for the implementation process and work as a team to establish a set of short- and long-term goals.
Many capital markets firms are flocking to CRM solutions either because they’ve used one in the past and have seen its positive effects, or they know their competition uses it and they want to stay on a level playing field. That’s why we recommend adding to the Task Force anyone who has prior knowledge or experience with CRM solutions. Their insights, anecdotes, and strategies will serve as very helpful considerations for making the right decision for your firm.
With over 200 new clients added in 2018, it’s easy for us to think that implementing a CRM solution is an absolute imperative… but we also know that some people may never feel that sense of urgency. That’s why your CRM Task Force should be prepared to answer the following question: “why now?”
While it may seem like the procrastinator of the group is just being lazy or unwilling to change, it’s critically important that everyone be prepared to carve out time and energy for the new technology. It may never be a “good time” to make such a substantial process and behavior change, but coming up with a solid answer for the “why now?” question will not only help you build consensus across the organization, but it will encourage user adoption.
It should be no surprise that high-value, high-powered, and purpose-built solutions come at a cost. That’s why we recommend that the person who controls the budget be included on the CRM Task Force in its early days.
The entire Task Force will significantly benefit from having an understanding of what it’s able to spend on the solution itself, the implementation process, and any enhancements the group needs or wants. This person is often uniquely suited to assess the return on investment for the CRM solution – and that’s something everyone will be focused on.
If you’re considering implementing a CRM solution at your firm and want help putting together a Task Force, contact our team now! We’re happy to share our blueprints and best practices.
In April 2020, we hosted a webinar with two senior leaders on the DealCloud Implementation team, who shared an overview of the implementation process that capital markets firms go through when becoming a DealCloud client. They also shared several best practices that lead to a successful implementation process. To access the full webinar recording, click here.