How can rainmakers (Investment Bankers) ‘make it rain’ like never before?
August 12, 2015
During my prior 5 years of working as an investment banker, I have heard many highly talented Managing Directors lament about the difficulty of winning business ‘these days’.
While the heightened regulatory scrutiny, ubiquitous cheap capital and the rise of boutique/relationship based investment banks are adverse external factors; the deal making and capital raising volumes are nonetheless back to the levels seen in the pre-crisis days and the opportunity for investment bankers to add value to their clients appears as robust as ever.
In my view, part of the difficulty in winning business ‘these days’ lies in wall street relying on the same decades old tools of prospecting clients and building relationships. The decision makers at corporations and sponsors (Private Equity Firms and Venture Capitalists) have upgraded the forums from where they get information and find business relationships, but their talented corporate finance advisors (investment bankers) have not.
Here are a few suggestions that can be used by seasoned and rising client-calling officers to become more effective at engaging with their clients and create immediate positive impact to their franchise:
Cast a net where there are most fishes
A large section of corporate and sponsor decision makers are spending a substantial amount of time on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter to stay connected with the talent pool, potential customers and other stake holders. For example, a quick search on LinkedIn shows up >3,000 CxOs from large US based IT/Internet companies (with greater than 10,000 employees), and these CxOs (such as Meg Whitman, Jeff Immelt, Mark Hurd and Michael Moritz) are regularly writing and sharing long-form posts about topics which are at the top of their minds. Connecting with these executives through warm introductions and leveraging their shared insights would help investment bankers to setup more meetings, build better rapport with the decision makers and customize their discussion materials (pitchbooks).
Advertise your industry/product knowledge and deal experience
Every investment banker worth his salt knows that past deal experience and robust knowledge of one’s industry/product are the most critical elements to get qualified for new business. And as a result, every investment bank sends out periodic, non-confidential ‘deal announcement’ emails and industry thought pieces to its entire client base to keep them posted on their deal achievements.
But isn’t this practice so old school? Especially, when one can publish his/her WSJ deal press releases / league table rankings / non-confidential industry reports or articles on their LinkedIn profile and make that news go viral amongst their firm’s collective social network, which will be much larger than most email distribution lists. Additionally, there are apps such as LinkedIn ‘Elevate’ which allows employees at an organization to track all news related to their employer and share the most relevant news pieces across their social networks. So now, the entire firm (and not just the Investment Banking employees) can be the cheerleader of their participation in that marquee M&A or IPO deal and generate inbound interests from companies/sponsors considering a similar transaction.
Leverage your firm’s network to connect with decision makers
Most top notch investment banks have few rain makers who have been in the business for many decades and enjoy vacations and sun valley barbeques with the ‘A’ listers of the corporate world. Access to these relationships either sit in the siloed rolodexes of these rainmakers or the defunct firm wide ‘who-knows-who’ databases which are rarely updated or used. Colleagues of this rainmaker get to know about his relationships only after the firm has lost the bake-off.
Now, one can use technology to access this already formidable, existing network. LinkedIn Sales Navigator’s TeamLink offering allows the entire firm’s employee base to automatically look into each other’s LinkedIn connections and get a warm introduction to the partner of that elusive VC firm who will eventually pick the left IPO bookrunner or add that critical page in the sell-side pitchbook which graphs out your firm’s network at the most likely buyer/s (an incredibly important factor in winning sellside deals these days)
Additionally, for prospecting purposes, one can also use LinkedIn Sales Navigator’s Lead Builder to filter down corporate professionals by various criterion (Location, Industry, Company Size etc.) to identify that CFO of a tech company in Detroit who is now ready to access public markets and is not getting any wall street attention. (Side note: I personally know 2-3 bankers who have won large mandates by reaching out to potential clients through LinkedIn)
The above mentioned pointers are highly effective tools for Investment bankers to tip the scale in their favor in this intensely competitive business. Many investment banks, corporations and sponsors are already using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to identify key decision makers and leverage their firm’s existing network to win that all-important mandate. So, why not call us and learn more about the relevant use cases and case studies for you. Heck, your clients and competition are using these tools, so why shouldn’t you?
Download our eBook, The Art of Social Selling with Sales Navigator, to learn more social selling tips.