Best Private Equity CRM Software: Our Ultimate Picks

August 25, 2022
9 min

As stakeholders’ demands grow and investment cycles get more sophisticated, your investment management system should account for the new challenges. For better or worse, Excel spreadsheets will serve you no help in this battle. However, private equity CRM software will.

The question is – which CRM can be rightfully called the best CRM for private equity?

With 26 years of experience in the CRM market, we took time to get smart about the unique technology needs of capital markets and can share our expertise on the best private equity CRM software that meets those needs. We will compare 5 different CRMs and shed light on what features investors should look for.

What is Private Equity CRM Software and Why Every Investor Needs it?

Private equity CRM software, or PE CRM, is a centralized system that allows private equity investors to manage investor relations, monitor and analyze portfolio performance, integrate fund accounting, automate workflows, and share this information across teams, all within one consolidated platform.

You might not have needed sophisticated private equity CRM tools a decade ago when investor relations seemed rather like a cozy chat between a CEO and an investment analyst, but you definitely do now.

Here are 3 reasons investors need centralized private equity CRM solutions today:

  • The necessity of granular reporting, like weekly investment meetings and lists of deal sources, for stakeholders, which are far more aggressively involved in the investment lifecycle than a decade ago, reports World Economic Forum survey. Reporting on the other hand requires flawless data hygiene – mission impossible with amateur tools like Excel, which in fact takes away your deals.
  • The need to anticipate change and get ahead of it in the upcoming period of inflation, says Bain & Company. To obtain long-term predictions, simply having data is not enough. It needs to be actionable and interactive. Private equity CRM software delivers this at scale with intelligent AI technology powering up advanced dashboards and giving you accurate insights on the next steps you should take.
  • Long deal cycles, which are somewhere between 7 and 10 years, involving multiple stakeholders. This translates into an immense database of relationships, which you can’t afford to lose. With private equity CRM tools though, you don’t have to worry about this, as the system will capture your client details, link them with the relevant opportunities, and identify important communication touchpoints.

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What the Best Private Equity CRM Systems Should be Like

The best CRM for private equity is the one tailored to the needs of private equity investors, accounting for long deal cycles, investment contact types (company / intermediary / limited partner etc.), and unique workflows in the front, middle, and back-office investment process.

As such, ideal private equity CRM solutions should have the following functionality:

 

Features of Best Private Equity CRM

Features of Best Private Equity CRM

 

End-to-end deal management

Deals are your bread and butter, and they need to be taken care of. While generic CRM software like HubSpot or Sugar CRM can help you get a 360-degree view of your deals by pulling them together into a single deal pipeline, the best private equity CRMs (which are those tailored to your business needs) allow you to filter your deals by investment history, asset type, deal size, and other investment criteria. From early-stage deal sourcing to post-investment activities, private equity deal management software helps you stay top-of-mind with your deals.

 

Robust visualization and dashboards

Data is the lifeblood of any CRM, just as it is for private equity investors. The best private equity CRM systems make it easy to capture, analyze, and visualize relevant client and investment data. You may not think the latter is a must have, but once you have your data pulled from different directions into interactive charts and graphs, you’re never going to return to spreadsheets.

 

Collaboration tools for consistency of messaging

It’s a major sin to give conflicting information to different parties, whether it be an intermediary, a limited partner, or a general partner. With well-organized PE CRM, you can interconnect your efforts across teams and give everyone access to past communications with clients and partners, so no repeat information is ever sent and no data is left behind.

 

3rd-party data & app integration

Financial professionals all have their own way of doing things. Effective CRM for private equity firms should account for the old habits and give investors flexibility to integrate systems they like (Outlook or Gmail) and data sources they need (Preqin, Pitchbook, and other data providers).

 

Scalability

No business is static. The best private equity CRM solutions are those that can change right along with any changes to the firm. A PE CRM platform that is customizable and flexible enough to scale along with the business will give private equity investors the freedom to grow their returns, without having to worry about outgrowing their private equity deal management software.

 

Room for customization and system enhancements

Even the best software for private equity might not always cater to the unique needs of private capital investors. So, it’s best to choose a system that would allow for flexibility in terms of dashboards, client profiles, and reporting tools to make your system aligned with your investment processes.

Right off the bat, the prize for being the most customizable system goes to Salesforce – the world’s most favored CRM platform and the foundation of most purpose-built CRMs that we will discuss further.

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The Best Private Equity CRM Software: Our Ultimate Picks

To help you make the right decision, we’ll take a look at five of the top private equity CRMs. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of what features for private equity you should look for and how to leverage them for growing your business.

 

Salesforce

Used by 150,000 businesses across the world, of all sizes, from investment banks to private equity firms, retail to government, Salesforce is the first name coming to mind when one thinks of CRM. Founded back in 1999, Salesforce has designed unique CRM products (called Clouds) to cater to the challenges of various business verticals, including finance (Financial Cloud).

Salesforce does not, of course, claim to have extensive expertise in private equity fundraising software. However, it does offer essential features like contact management (LP, GP, portfolio companies, etc.), lead management, dashboards, workflow automation, reporting AND infinite opportunities for customizations and third-party integrations.

Paired with the revolutionary, easy-to-use interface, these Salesforce perks make it the obvious choice for companies developing their own CRM solutions, some of which we list below.

So, Salesforce as private equity CRM software has the following advantages:

  • #1 Trusted cloud.
  • Unlimited opportunities for customization of workflows and interfaces.
  • Extremely scalable, proven as a platform for building out other applications.
  • Open ecosystem that provides room for numerous third-party applications that you can plug in.
  • Easy to use interface: you can move Salesforce components around however it works for you. This is one of the top reasons why our clients choose to migrate to Salesforce.
  • Experience Cloud where your investors can log in and see all the docs you’re working on.
  • Interactive dashboards powered by AI that discover the most unpredictable data patterns giving you accurate insights on your next steps.

 

However, Salesforce is not a purpose-built CRM for private equity, meaning that you might need to develop additional fields or account types (LP / GP / intermediary) depending on how you run your business. This is not a problem with multiple Salesforce partners like Ascendix (we’re Salesforce Ridge Partner) who are more than happy to add this functionality for you.

The beauty of the Salesforce ecosystem is that it is like a blank page with unlimited tools for developing a PE CRM tailored to your needs from scratch. But be aware of additional costs.

 

Xpedition Private CRM Accelerator

This private equity CRM software is built on Microsoft Dynamics 365, Power Platform and the Azure Data Platform. It works towards managing fundraising and investor relations, workflow automation, and data analytics (Power BI). This functionality is split between 4 core solutions:

  • Fundraising app to track, nurture and progress fundraising tasks and effectively control, monitor and advance deals.
  • Dealflow app to pull together all client information and effectively advance your investments through the pipeline.
  • Power BI to relate different data sets, analyze them, and help investors make data-driven decisions.
  • Briefing app to allow stakeholders to communicate, sign contracts, and negotiate within secure deal rooms.

 

However, what we have learned over 8 years of partnership with Dynamics (we even have built our own CRM solution AscendixRE on it) is that Dynamics-based products 1) have a sophisticated interface that is NOT easy to use, 2) often have glitches and inefficiencies meaning that you will need to have an in-house tech team to properly maintain the system.

These were the main reasons why we migrated to Salesforce, and we never regretted it.

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4Degrees

4Degrees is private equity CRM software developed by ex-investors for investors. The platform claims to be the best private equity CRM for its lead management, customizable deal flow, LP and portfolio management, and Email / calendar sync.

The system can also automatically score relationship strength based on prior interactions, giving investors more insight into the probability of deal success. Here is the whole list of features that set 4Degrees apart as one of best CRM for private equity:

  • Built by investment experts who are familiar with the crowded private equity sector.
  • Customizable workflows that reflect the unique investment workflows.
  • Comprehensive LP and portfolio management.
  • Automated relationship strength scoring.
  • Email / calendar sync: captures new communications in email / calendar tools and offers you to create a whole new contact or link them with the existing records.

 

These and other features tailored to the private investment needs set 4Degrees apart from generic CRM systems like Salesforce.

However, the customizability and integration opportunities of 4Degrees leave much to be desired. If in your private equity tool stack you have apps other than simple calendar or email, the system won’t offer you native ways to plug them in. You’ll need to use third-party integration tools like Zapier or outsource this to a third-party developer. This, however, places your data in a precarious position.

 

Dynamo

Dynamo is an investment technology company offering cloud-based solutions for the alternative investments space, including end-to-end private equity fundraising software, venture capital tools, real estate platforms, and more.

Dynamo has done a great job catering to the unique needs of private equity with its technology solutions for deal management, manager tracking and due diligence, investor relationship management, and workflow automation. And the beauty of this PE CRM is that you can mix these modules the way you want to get the best CRM for your private equity business.

The pros of Dynamo CRM for private equity are:

  • Trusted by alternative investment professionals.
  • Configurable workflows tailored to private equity processes.
  • Modular structure that allows investors to choose only the functionality they want.
  • integrated investor portal where investors can view performance data.
  • Third-party integrations with data providers including Preqin, Factset, Pitchbook.

 

However, the limited API capabilities of the Dynamo platform make it impossible to natively integrate nontraditional third-party systems which you might be using within your business, so don’t forget to ask this question during the demo. On top of that, some users report that the user interface and tool board are not straightforward and could be hard to learn.

 

Altvia

Developed on top of Salesforce, Altvia is another example of effective private equity CRM software. The CRM tool is packed with various features designed to help investors improve their productivity and close more deals. Altvia PE CRM caters to all investors’ needs with its modular structure consisting of 3 elements: CRM platform for key workflows, contact management, and relationship mapping; AI-powered analytics to drive insights; secure deal rooms.

Key Features:

  • A secure LP platform for communication and data sharing.
  • Rich visual analytics powered by Salesforce AI.
  • Room for customization and configuration.
  • Open ecosystem for third-party integrations.
  • Built-in investor report generation tool.
  • Extensive workflow automation and collaboration opportunities.

 

This PE CRM is capable of some custom reporting which is great for those who often send quarterly reports and portfolio companies lists to stakeholders. However, the functionality is not always intuitive, and the designs are simple, so you might want to invest in a third-party reporting product.

 

Achieve Your Private Equity Success with Ascendix

Even such a proven CRM system as Salesforce might not always be the best CRM for private equity. This is where CRM consultants like Ascendix step in: we leverage the knowledge we have gained over the course of 26 years in the CRM space to help private equity investors tune their technology solutions to reflect their business nature.

Here is how we can help:

  1. Tweak your existing platform with custom fields, account types, dashboards, and third-party apps.
  2. Integrate disparate solutions into one core CRM system.
  3. Develop a unique CRM optimization plan for your financial business.
  4. Automate tedious tasks like sending email notifications, assigning follow-up tasks, data updates, and scheduling calls.
  5. Develop a whole new CRM system tailored to your business on top of Salesforce or Dynamics.

 

Should you need enhancement to your current CRM strategy, our private equity experts are here to help. Tell us more about your technology challenges and we’ll start looking into solutions today.

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