Winning CRM Strategies for Corporate Finance Teams

The dealmaking industry watches with a keen eye for the recovery of the M&A and financing volumes in 2024. Corporate financiers are as busy as ever signing up new mandates and pushing deals in a complicated environment. The next cycle, which will likely see a new deal value and volume records determined, will belong to those bankers who have embraced collaboration and productivity maximisation. To consistently deliver, corporate finance teams need new powerful tools, but it all starts with the right CRM solution.
No Room for Dinosaurs in Corporate Finance
Many boutique investment banks and corporate finance teams in larger organisations are still sourcing and executing their projects, relying on a combination of spreadsheets as well as their advisors’ emails and written notes. The teams that are yet to update their processes in the digital age remain high. Surprising? Not entirely: investment banking has been slow at transitioning from the “eat what you kill” model, where senior deal makers are paid a percentage of the fees they generate on a deal-by-deal basis. Therefore, sharing contacts, and collaborating on mandate sourcing and execution still gives heartburn to many bankers who still believe this is synonymous with earnings dilution. Those who live in the stone age of investment banking and believe they can do business without a collaborative platform will soon be extinct. More teams than ever are now embracing collaboration to win and close deals in what has become a competitive industry.
CRM in Deal-Making: A Must-Have
In today’s fast-moving, complex, and increasingly decentralised environment, a vital factor for success in a corporate finance team is the ability to coordinate and collaborate in real-time across marketing, relationship building, sourcing and execution. The use of a CRM platform at the core of a team’s operations delivers fundamental benefits:
– Traffic Management: A CRM ensures that approaches to any contact are coordinated and that no reach-outs happen in the dark, without a history of recent interactions with the individual or the company.
– Coordinated Network Development: Deal sourcing is about networking and relationship building. A CRM massively enhances a team’s ability to leverage each other’s contacts, plan and track coverage of individuals or firms (notably coverage of private equity firms and repeat strategic investors) and ensure no stone is left unturned.
 Execution Efficiency: Using a CRM makes transaction execution more efficient across the entire cycle. From creating a buyers’ list, automating reach-outs, reporting interactions, tracking the achievement of milestones, communicating with clients, and lastly making sure processes are managed in real-time across multi-geography execution teams.
Ultimately, relationships shape the unique DNA of a team as individuals come and go. Keeping track of dialogs with prospects, clients, counterparties, and the ecosystem is fundamental, both for short-term wins and long-term success. This is not possible without a CRM that makes relationship building and project management scalable.
What CRM’s Work in Corporate Finance?
Identifying the right CRM for a corporate finance firm is not a simple task. However, there are only a few key parameters that need consideration when deciding which CRM to use or develop.
Collaboration Centricity: At the outset, the most common mistake made by deal-making teams is using the CRM as a control tower and not a collaborative tool. Users who are only asked to enter information into a CRM without being able to leverage intelligence entered by their colleagues are fundamentally frustrated, and their use of the system will remain marginal forever. Implementing a CRM with the correct levels of data visibility and permissions for each type of user is essential so information can be shared within the boundaries of compliance and confidentiality.
Simple to Use: Intuitive user interfaces and user journeys, including powerful search tools and 360-degree navigation, are essential for high adoption. Too many CRMs, especially many of those dedicated to deal-making, offer cluttered user interfaces and features that cause users to stop using the CRM even before they have a proper look.
All Workflows in One Place: Whilst generic sales CRMs can be used for opportunity management, they are not designed to manage transaction processes. Many corporate finance boutiques use them to track their pipeline of new mandates but go back to Excel to execute their mandates. Ideally, the right CRM must cover both sourcing and execution interactions to keep track of all conversations in one place.
Simple to Configure: Beyond the most straightforward use cases, most CRMs require programming to support simple M&A workflows and the parallel processing of multiple transactions of different types. Adapting generic CRMs is possible but comes at a significant upfront and ongoing cost. Corporate finance boutiques need simplicity and speed when rolling out a CRM, not a large-scale implementation project over many months, which is bound to include hits and misses.
Integrated Connectivity: Transitioning from spreadsheets to CRM is a big step, but not integrating user emails, calendars, and tasks within the system as well, is a missed step. The real productivity gain comes with CRMs that allow for intelligent automation based on emails and events. The ability to send out NDAs, teasers, and information memorandums to multiple counterparts in one should be standard, as well as synchronisation between the CRM and the calendar application.
Enabled for Mobile: Accessing your firm’s CRM on the go is a key feature. It increases the likelihood that users enter basic information whilst on a call or in a meeting. It is equally important for users to get instant access to crucial contextual information about a contact before walking into a meeting.
Ultimately, a CRM can become that much-needed single source of truth. For that to happen, organisations must live by the now increasingly famous slogan “If it’s not in the CRM, it doesn’t exist.” To achieve this, teams must use a system that is designed for their workflows and not vice-versa.
Dialllog: A New Generation CRM for Deal Makers
Dialllog is a CRM developed by dealmakers for dealmakers. Launched in 2020, the secure SaaS platform empowers corporate finance teams to manage relationships, their prospect pipeline as well as all client mandates in one place. Dialllog’s core value is ease of implementation and use. The platform also offers the most advanced level of email and calendar integration in the market, delivering unprecedented levels of insights and efficiency.

The use of CRMs in deal-making is a must. Finding the CRM that dealmakers will feel compelled to use as an integral part of their daily work is essential.