Traditionally, fund managers have had two options when it comes to choosing a CRM: use a general purpose CRM product, or purchase an all-in-one hedge fund management platform that includes CRM functionality. More recently, a third option has emerged: a hedge fund-focused CRM.
Here’s a framework to help you to weigh the options and determine which type of CRM is the best fit for your firm.
Option 1: General purpose CRM
General purpose CRM platforms are the most obvious option. There are many to choose from, and some are available at a very low cost (although their price range can vary greatly). They are naturally quite suitable for basic CRM tasks, such as tracking your contacts and automating sales functions like tracking sales opportunities.
The most popular CRM in this category is Salesforce, but there are literally hundreds to choose from.
However, they aren’t designed with hedge funds in mind and often aren’t easily customizable. Additionally, the customer support reps and help documents for these products won’t be able to help you configure the CRM for your needs, as they don’t have experience with alternative investments. So, you end up modifying your own processes and terminology to fit the tool or spend a considerable amount of money and effort customizing them for your own use. That’s not a good investment, as there are other better options if you have the budget.
Option 2: All-in-one hedge fund platform
There are several software platforms that offer a combination of CRM and other tools for hedge fund management. They may cover everything from marketing automation, to accounting, to portfolio management. An all-in-one platform could be attractive if you’re a fund of funds, you’re self-administered, or you need to generate your own investor statements.
If that sounds like your firm, you might consider a provider like Backstop, which has become the de facto standard (fun fact: members of the Synap team helped launch and grow Backstop back in the day). Other options include competitors like Imagineer and Dynamo.
The downside to all of this capability is that you pay a lot for it, and customers often feel they aren’t getting the best solution for any of their specific needs since these platforms haven’t picked one thing at which to excel. Furthermore, it takes a long time to get all of your investor data implemented, and frankly, most of the all-in-one platforms are getting a bit gray at the temples. They were largely built more than a decade ago, and their user experience and cloud integration capabilities often fall short of more modern software.
Option 3: Focused CRM for hedge funds
If you’re like a lot of funds, you’re looking for something custom-tailored to hedge funds, but don’t want to pay for functionality you don’t need. You now have another option: a hedge fund-focused CRM called Synap.
Synap includes the CRM tools you need manage your investors, automate your fundraising, and collaborate across client service functions like sales, marketing, and investor relations. It’s built by a team that has produced hedge fund software for years, and that’s evident in both the product and customer support.
Synap is focused on relationship management, not accounting or portfolio management. However, it’s API and integrations make it easy to connect Synap to other systems, giving you the flexibility to choose the best option for your firm in each category. This will become even more important in the near future, as hedge funds are rapidly shifting to cloud platforms for everything from email, to file storage and analysis tools.
If you're still working out how CRM fits into your firm, you can start by looking at how to leverage CRM for strategic advantage. If option 3 sounds like a good fit for your team, get in touch and we would be happy to answer your questions show you the software.