Using CRM to Build A Data-Driven, Transparent Fundraising Campaign

6 Aug

By Lucy Parkinson, Senior Research Manager, LSN

lucy 10*10How is your financing campaign organized? Whether you’re deploying an in-house BD team to raise your round, or working with an investment bank or third-party marketer, the staff who execute your campaign need to have an efficient and reliable means of organizing the campaign and storing all the relevant data points that result from their actions. At LSN, we believe that using a cloud-based contact relationship management (CRM) system to organize your campaign is essential.

In this article, we’ll explore why we use CRM as the backbone of our campaign cloud infrastructure, and we’ll provide tips on how CRM can be used to improve the process and the results of your outreach.  There are many CRM systems available at a low cost (typically $5-20 per user per month); LSN uses Salesforce.com, which will therefore be used as an example in this article. (While we recommend Salesforce.com to LSN clients, LSN has no affiliation with Salesforce).

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Tracking Campaign Information

We’ve talked previously about the importance of creating a global target list of investors, and of tiering those leads to increase your campaign efficiency. By using a CRM system, your fundraising team can make full use of the investor information that you’ve gathered.

You can import your investor information into the CRM system, which will create an account page for each investor. You can create customized fields to track all your data points related to that investor. In a recent installment of the LSN Summer Reading Series, we provided a template that covers the most essential fields for a fundraising campaign:

  • Date of Last Email (Date Field): This should be filled in every time you send an email to a prospect. This will enable you to know the last time you reached out to a prospect.
  • Follow-up Date (Date Field): This field will tell you the next time you need to follow up with a prospect. By sorting your prospects based on this field, you can track who you should follow up with on any given date.
  • Date of Last Voice Mail (Date Field): This should be filled in every time you leave a voice mail with a prospect.
  • Status of Lead (Pick List Field): By qualifying accounts based on the criteria above, you will be able to prioritize your to-do list.
  • Notes: This is where you can track any significant details from previous conversations. Keeping these notes logged in a central location helps in juggling multiple investor dialogues.

These data points will allow the campaign team to easily organize their efforts – and indeed, Salesforce.com allows users to automatically track their emails to potential investors using the Email to Salesforce settings. One powerful benefit of the CRM system is that it can be used as the ‘source of truth’; rather than team members spreading information across emails, ExCel spreadsheets and meeting notes, all information is centralized in the CRM system. This allows the team to easily collate and share their information, and track the progress of the campaign.

Keeping On Track

CRM systems also include task and list management features that allow you to organize the work of your campaign. The fundraising team can create different account views to bring up certain targets that require action; the team may wish to view a list of all their Tier 1 targets that have yet to respond to outreach, or to view a list of all the investors that expressed interest in reviewing the company’s pitch deck but have yet to return to you with feedback. The task management features of the CRM system can be used to create a to-do list that manages all your required follow-up activities. By using these features, you can easily see what work needs to be completed by the end of the day, and also prevent necessary tasks from slipping through the cracks.

The Transparency Factor

One great benefit of using a CRM system is that it allows the fundraising company’s executive team to access the campaign team’s work at any time. By logging into the CRM system, you can create reports that will tell you how many emails and phone calls the team has been sending, and which investors have been responsive. The CRM system could also be used to track other useful data points, such as the general reasons provided by investors who have declined to participate in your round.

This information could be useful for managing an in-house fundraising team. But if you’re contracting a third party marketer, it’s essential that you have access to this information. LSN has often spoken to life science executives who are paying a retainer to an investment bank or a broker, but who have little insight on what this third party is doing. Which investors are they contacting, and how frequently? What message is the broker sending to these investors? CEOs typically only hear from their fundraising partner when an investor meeting has been booked – and that’s only the tip of the iceburg as regards fundraising activities.

To avoid this problem, LSN’s advisory arm always provides the fundraising company’s CEO with a login to access to the campaign CRM system. This allows the CEO to overview all the activities carried about by the fundraising team, and also to add their own meeting notes to the system in order to keep all campaign information centralized.

Taking the Next Step

It’s too easy to let a productive investor contact founder because of a failure to establish the next step in the process. However, a CRM system provides a structure to track the outcome of every interaction with your potential investors. After every meeting, a follow-up process should be carried out, including scheduling a second meeting if the investor is interested; you can use your task list to make sure that the next steps are planned out and then taken accordingly. In some cases, the investor may be currently unable to pursue the opportunity, but requests that you circle back at a later time. Perhaps the investor requests that you notify them once a certain trial has been completed, or a revenue milestone has been reached. You can set a follow-up task to remind you to contact the investor again in the future.

CRM is a flexible tool that can greatly increase your campaign outreach efficiency, serving both as a collective memory of the steps you’ve taken so far, and as a map of the path ahead. We strongly advise you to make use of this resource.

One Response to “Using CRM to Build A Data-Driven, Transparent Fundraising Campaign”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 5 Basics to Begin Donor Segmentation - September 1, 2015

    […] a starting point for better donor relationships. As your organization grows and budget permits, a CRM (Contact Relationship Management) system will track a broader range of information, allowing […]

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