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Last updated: Aug 24, 2022

Investment banking CRM takes off

Author: Jack Foraker
Last updated: Aug 24, 2022
What's inside

Long gone are the days when “investment banking” called to mind stiff suits, mountains of paper, lower Manhattan, and squash — thankfully, that’s now just the stuff of 80’s TV. Market dynamics today are more complex than they once were thanks to evolving regulations and consumer expectations, and deal-making is now done at lightning speed, from anywhere. Add in big data and you have a cocktail that cries out for solutions that help investment firms stay agile. That’s where CRMs, especially those designed just for investment banking, come in.

CRM — Customer Relationship Management — is hardly new tech. What is new is the rise of vertical-specific CRMs for particular industries and sectors. Financial firms can now make use of software tailored to the specific nuances of their sector, offering tools that eliminate silos, automate repetitive tasks, and make financial operations more nimble in Wall Street offices — and beyond them. With features that streamline operations and strengthen customer relationships, purpose-built CRMs for investment banking are much more than another brick in the wall.

Consider this before implementing investment banking CRM

Implementing any new technology is a significant undertaking for even the leanest, most agile firms — and it can be an exponentially more arduous endeavor for large, global operations.

The specifics of your financial org will certainly be unique, but the ideal outcome of an investment-banking CRM adoption isn’t much different from that of any other company: a seamless migration that leads to 100 percent user adoption.

To get there, you should consider questions beyond which platform is the right fit for your business, if only to ensure the ultimate uptake of the new system is as successful as possible.

Build vs. buy

If you’re having trouble finding a purpose-built CRM that fits the bill, it might be time to consider a customized solution. Which means it’s time for you to confront the eternal eternal question of CRMs: Build or buy?

Building a customized CRM guarantees a best-fit platform — one that can conquer your financial organization’s specific pain points head-on. Custom-built CRM will likely cost more than an option out of the box, while an off-the-shelf CRM may be cost-effective but not meet all your institutional needs.

Need an investment banking CRM tailor-made for your business?

We can help with developing a custom CRM.

We recommend looking at your systems and budget to determine which path to take; a custom CRM can be a gamechanger, but with many high-functioning options now ready for use out of the box, it might not be as necessary as you’d think to have something made from scratch.

How to estimate ROI

We’ll go out on a limb and venture that your investment banking firm has some experience with figuring out whether an investment will make more than it takes. Estimating the ROI of CRM adoption, though, isn’t like tallying up the value of a stock offering. It depends on a number of factors: the amount of customization needed on your CRM, the number of people who will be using it, and your short- and long-term plans for growth. Also consider that most CRMs have been shown to increase conversion rates by up to 300 percent. When talking about increases in revenue, a 29% increase is the go-to figure in the industry.

Choosing a CRM for investment banking

When choosing a CRM, consider the size and primary focus of your business. What works for a bulge bracket bank is not necessarily the right choice for a boutique M&A-focused firm.

CRM is a fast-growing sector and there's no shortage of options tailored to the investment banking industry. Here are some CRM standouts — a mix of established and newer names powering the sector today.


The big names

With 19.5 percent of the total CRM software market share in 2020, Salesforce is significantly ahead of its nearest rivals. The flexibility and power of the platform is hard to beat and meets the demands of almost any industry — including, as of 2021, investment banking. With the release of Corporate and Investment Banking for Financial Services Cloud, Salesforce offers a solution that financial firms of all stripes can adopt, with built-in compliance for securing and sharing sensitive information as well as analytics to optimize deal pipelines and engagement — and that’s on top of the 360-degree view and client insights that Salesforce is known for.

Navatar may be built on Salesforce, but it warrants separate mention due to its focus on CRM tailored to investment banking and M&A firms. With almost twenty years of experience providing SaaS to financial institutions, Navatar’s products have evolved from a specialized focus on small- and mid-sized businesses to offering solutions that cater to lean operations and global organizations alike. The platform provides an out-of-the-box experience that fully integrates with day-to-day apps and third-party providers while streamlining deal management and pipeline workflows.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is part of Microsoft’s enterprise cloud software ecosystem. Like Salesforce, it’s adaptable across industries. Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Financial Services provides investment banking firms with the automation tools and 360-degree views to deepen client relationships, track the entire deal lifecycle, and build data-rich sales reports.

We're biased: As an Vention client, Dealcloud holds a special place in our hearts. (We helped modernize its software into the scalable, state-of-the-art fintech it is today, doubling its client roster.) But even if Dealcloud weren’t our client, we’d still have no choice but to hype it. As a CRM solution, Dealcloud is a highly customizable platform built specifically for capital markets. Dealcloud’s interface is intuitive, visual, and easy to tailor to the workflows and needs of your firm. The platform also combines all pieces of deal information in a central location, making it a strong purpose-built choice for agile investment banking.

Founded in 2014, Affinity has been drawing more attention recently — and more funding. The north star of this CRM? Helping companies forge client-dealmaker relationships and cultivate those relationships long-term. Affinity’s strength lies in its ability to automate data input. By applying machine learning analytics to the daily communications between brokers and clients, the platform makes smart recommendations that help close deals more efficiently.

4Degrees is a cloud CRM with an emphasis on deal flow; it touts an AI-driven feature that runs analytics on a company’s business relationships as a way of turning up opportunities. It also offers an automated business intelligence research function that tracks industry news and events to help companies make the right first impression when reaching out to new prospects and existing clients. While it functions as a CRM in its own right, 4Degrees also integrates with other popular CRMs so companies can get the best of multiple systems.

A CRM platform is always an investment, but as your business knows firsthand, today’s investment can become tomorrow’s payoff. Our own take is that investment banks ignore the game-changing functionality of CRM platforms at their own peril (especially since the competition might be making CRM plans of their own). And with purpose- and custom-built options available, CRM for investment banking can quickly enable not just a new way for your company to do business, but a new way of working with your staff, strengthening relationships, and even moving the entire investment banking industry forward.

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