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Leveraging Collaboration and Technology: The Winning Strategy for Corporate Finance Teams

dialllog laptop 1 1 - Global Banking | Finance

Leveraging Collaboration and Technology: The Winning Strategy for Corporate Finance Teams

In 2024, the global investment banking advisory industry is busy yet again, hoping to forget an incredibly challenging two years which saw the number of IPOs and M&A transactions reduce significantly. Strategics flush with cash, and private equity funds in need of liquidity should be driving a heightened level of activity, helped by a more stable macro environment and a strong US economy. Or so one hopes. In what has become a hyper-competitive advisory market, it has never been more vital for investment banks and corporate finance teams of all sizes to optimise and modernise their business processes and technology stacks.

In the current market, corporate financiers are hunting relentlessly for new deals and competing hard to become the advisor of choice. When engagement is achieved, the fee-earning task begins, putting a process in place in which fundraising, or M&A transactions are successfully closed and executed with high precision and velocity. But to complete this, investment banking teams, especially among small and medium-sized advisory firms, still rely on archaic processes and basic technology. Very little has happened since the advent of the spreadsheet and the mobile phone. Collaboration is still a word rarely used in the industry. “M&A advisors are highly competitive. Their default routines and incentives are generally geared toward maximising individual performance, not collaboration” says Harvard Business Review.

The Importance of Collaboration

Collaboration in M&A and corporate finance advisory is fundamental to sourcing more mandates and increasing the probability of a deal closing, thus shortening the time it takes for completion. Sourcing of deals begins with creating sustainable relationships. Through this, you gain an edge against competing firms, as you can articulate multiple dialogues and touchpoints for each potential transaction counterparty. Whether an investor or a buyer, this is a significant way of building trust. Broadcasting information across the team about individual contacts among investors and board members delivers much higher win rates. During the execution of a deal, collaboration facilitates coordination, ensuring that the same counterparty is not approached simultaneously by different team members regarding unconnected deals. Openly sharing the dialogue history with a given counterparty, will help your team leverage crucial intelligence to advance a discussion with a private equity fund or a corporation on a particular deal more swiftly.

Productivity: The Inescapable Need for Technology

Effectiveness is about creating a highly optimised tech environment, enabling team alignment and coordination. This means quality over quantity, one CRM, and one source truth so you can get a 360-degree view of your contacts, clients, and professional relationships. Thus, various scattered spreadsheets get replaced by a platform accessible to your team at any point.

First Steps: The Right CRM Platform

The most appropriate CRM platform for a corporate finance firm must meet a few simple criteria: –

Sourcing for Execution: In principle, generic CRMs are practical for a certain level of sourcing support, keeping all your contacts in one place, and tracking who spoke to which contact and when. However, generic CRMs cannot manage complex strategic selling suitably. Neither are they suitable to help manage the execution of multiple financing or sell-side mandates running in parallel.

Flexible and Configurable: Highly specialised, heavy CRMs for M&A typically have too many bells and whistles that make them overly complicated to configure, forcing you to adapt your way of managing workflows. It should be the other way around. The CRM you choose must be configurable at no or low cost.

Simple to Use: The issue with industry-specific CRMs is that users get frustrated with their complexity and unfriendly interfaces. Inevitably, CRM usage is asymmetrical from the get-go, with juniors being the users and senior advisors rarely opening the application.

Integrated Software: Having a CRM with embedded calendars and emails is more of a recent evolution, but it is a logical one. While email plug-ins allow you to move emails to a CRM, they provide little or no data in the email to contextualise. If your inbox is in your CRM, you have instant access to contextual information for every email and event in your calendar.

Automation and Third-Party App Integrations: if the above criteria are met, the ability to automate certain functions or integrate with other software and databases is a plus. With the integration of AI, automation and co-piloting in CRMs are appearing in the market, but the reliability of these tools remains questionable.

Highest impact: Moving to a CRM that Works for You

To date, there are very few specialised CRMs catering to deal makers which address their sourcing and execution needs. However, one platform stands out among its peers: Dialllog. The UK-based company was launched a few years ago by an experienced founder duo, Peter Globokar, a successful tech M&A banker and Karina Collis, a former Bloomberg and Moody’s business development executive. “Not much has changed in the investment banking industry in the last 25 years, and those few investment banking teams that moved on from spreadsheets are for the most part frustrated by the complexity and rigidity of the CRMs they use”. Dialllog was developed for the deal-making industry, by deal makers, and is focused on delivering an efficient tailored platform without compromising on simplicity.

Implementing or changing to the most impactful CRM for your team powers collaboration and is the most dynamic change an investment banking firm can apply to win more deals and execute them more efficiently.

Global Banking & Finance Review


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