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For the Institutional Investors Not All FinTech CRMs Are Created Equal

By Backstop Author

Your Client Relationship Management (CRM) solution is the bedrock of your institutional investment or alternative investment firm. It empowers you to centralize and organize your firm’s communications and streamline the firm’s institutional knowledge so you can efficiently manage relationships and drive your organization’s overall success.

Just as your house will fall apart if you build your home on a fractured foundation, your firm needs to be founded on a solid CRM. However, it is not easy to evaluate different FinTech CRM solutions; they are dissimilar enough that you cannot make “apples-to-apples” comparisons. Here are some considerations to help guide you, whether you are evaluating your existing tech stack or just starting to build one.


As simple as setting a vision sounds, this first step is often or all-too-easily overlooked. Creating clarity regarding what success looks like to you and identifying your goals, objectives, and budget is a necessary starting point. Another aspect to consider is your time horizon: are you planning for the short-term or long-term?


If you are an asset manager, your fund’s size and maturity stage will dictate your specific needs with regard to business development, capital-raising, and investor relations management. For example, a startup alternative investment fund may find it sufficient to track investor lead opportunities on spreadsheets and conduct communications via email. A mature fund with a large number of prospective and institutional investors and multiple strategies, however, has significantly more complexity. Managing needs and objectives around stabilizing or building relationships and operations will require a robust software solution.

Usually, once a fund registers with the SEC, the drive to build out operations to enable capital-raising efforts and investor relations management grows exponentially. Without the right technology, it is hard to achieve operational efficiency and transparency while simultaneously lowering overall operating costs, achieving greater agility, and generating alpha.

If you are an asset allocator, you may employ a specialist, generalist, or hybrid investment team model for research and portfolio management. Your tech stack needs to support your current investment team model so you can successfully manage large-scale multi-asset class portfolios over long time horizons. The right technology will help your team perform due diligence, manage multi-asset class portfolios, optimize data from managers, and report to your stakeholders.

As one of our clients points out, “It’s painful to have multiple disparate systems to find different answers. Having everything all in one place ” from the CRM to the risk system to data automation to operational due diligence to all these different facets of what we need ” is very valuable.”


With your vision and needs established, it is time to consider the various types of FinTech CRMs that are available and what they can do for you.

GenerIC CRM vs industry-specific crm

To begin with, there are generic CRMs and industry-specific CRMs. Generic CRMs are, as their name implies, generic. These solutions offer basic functions and features to manage customer relationships, but they aren’t built with a certain industry in mind.  If your firm is willing to invest significantly in industry-specific customization, a generic CRM may be an option to consider. However, be aware that custom work can become problematic because, when the custom projects are over, the external experts needed for software maintenance are gone.

Many firms then find it necessary to hire in-house software developers for long-term support and knowledge management, which can get expensive. Plus, all too often, projects become relegated from the “must-have” to the “nice-to-have” category, eroding the value of the CRM over time. But where generic CRMs fall short the most is in their lack of a 360-degree view of key third-party relationships and relationship intelligence. Because for the institutional investment industry, relationship interconnectedness is at the heart of everything.

In contrast to generic CRMs, industry-specific CRMs are purpose-built for your needs by subject matter experts. You therefore do not have to waste time explaining what you need and having the CRM customized before you can use it. Industry-specific CRMs contain the full range of relationship functionalities that are critical to success in our industry.


If you want an industry-specific CRM, you have a further choice to make: namely, to go with a point solution or a suite platform. Point solutions focus on a single need “like a CRM” within an industry. The biggest downside of a point solution is that the higher the number of point solutions in your tech stack, the more data is siloed in your firm.

Taking advantage of APIs can mitigate this and eliminate data silos, at least in part. However, leveraging APIs requires hiring staff who can develop and manage the needed integrations long-term. This is a contributing factor in a new trend in sales and marketing: Forrester Research reports that, in 2023, B2B organizations will aim to shed point solutions to merge their stack, improve customer experience, and streamline operations costs.

Suite solutions, on the other hand, provide the simplicity you need within an all-in-one platform. These platforms are industry-specific, so they are purpose-built for your needs and keep your quantitative and qualitative data in one place. They typically focus on productivity, effectiveness, and cross-functional team collaboration across your firm. Suite solutions also provide flexibility to scale your operations as your needs grow.

In a suite solution, the CRM acts as the platform’s foundation. For instance, an asset manager might begin by using the capital-raising functionality of a suite solution. The CRM will, by default, provide the underpinning for those activities. They might then adopt the investor relations module, which will also include the CRM. Likewise, asset allocators might start with a research management system (RMS) with a CRM underpinning and later add a portfolio management solution. However you use and scale the platform, the CRM will remain constant, tying everything together.

API vs full-service integration

Lastly, you want to weigh whether to utilize APIs or full-service integrations for your CRM. Using APIs gives you a great deal of control but places the burden of work on you. You may need to hire software developers to create and maintain the integrations if you do not already have a development team in-house.

To truly streamline integrations, you can choose a CRM that comes with a full-service integration solution.  In this case, integration of data, systems, and applications is done by the software vendor, so you do not have to worry about API development and maintenance. End-to-end data integration puts comprehensive information at your fingertips so you can make the best investment decisions and deliver the best client service every day.



As you begin scheduling demos and comparing features and capabilities that fit your needs the best, narrow down your shortlist with considerations such as:

23-01_Blog_CRM-ease-of-use-iconEase of use: Is the interface user-friendly and intuitive? If it is, your organization’s adoption will be much smoother.
23-01_Blog_CRM-configure-iconConfigurability: Is the software tailored to every role and asset class without coding knowledge or programming? Choosing software that doesn’t require coding makes configuring it easier.
23-01_Blog_CRM-integration-iconIntegrations: Does your CRM have integrations and an open API if you want to integrate with other software?
23-01_Blog_CRM-data-visualization-iconReporting and Data Visualization: Does the suite platform have built-in data exploration, reporting, and visualization? Does it automate processes and schedule reporting? You should be able to pull reports on the fly with any data points you need, take a pulse check on key KPIs via visualized dashboards, and zoom in or zoom out to actionable insights.
23-01_Blog_CRM-info-security-iconInformation Security and Compliance: Is the platform a true cloud (not hybrid cloud) with a dedicated CISO who promotes a culture of robust information security and compliance? As part of a highly-regulated industry, you do not want to put your clients’ data at risk.

Additionally, to future-proof your operational infrastructure and maximize your ROI, be sure to ask FinTech CRM providers these questions:

  1. Do you reinvest your revenue into the product? This matters because it is the difference between benefiting from continuous innovation and dealing with a dead-end product.
  2. Are all users on the same version of your software? You do not want to be left behind if all users are not updated automatically.
  3. What does your client care model look like? Make sure the provider has a global footprint and a robust knowledge center to support you throughout the lifetime of your partnership.

Choosing the right CRM is both foundational for your organization and empowering to your staff. Once you have made your final selection, you can set yourself up for successful implementation and data migration by avoiding these 7 key implementation failures.

By Backstop Author