How to create an investor CRM
Our controversial take: A great fundraising process is only 20% about pitching.
The other 80% is all about organization.
Yep, you heard that right.
Your pitch, the thing you’ve spent weeks refining and rehearsing, is only a small part of successful fundraising.
“What the heck do y’all mean by organization?” - you, probably
While fundraising for his startups and his fund, Eric Bahn spoke to thousands of investors. And he’s found it impossible to remember all of them, let alone details of when they last spoke, what they talked about, etc.
But the secret to Eric’s success is having a strong CRM system in place to organize everything.
For those who have lives outside of making spreadsheets, CRM stands for customer relationship management.
You might have heard of companies like Salesforce, HubSpot, or Pipedrive. But a CRM can be as simple as a Google Sheet.
It’s basically a tool that keeps all your important contacts in one place with detailed notes about each relationship. This allows Eric (and his team) to tailor his communication, build stronger relationships, and ultimately close more deals.
In the latest episode of Uncapped Notes, Eric and Janel walk us through a sample template to show what makes an effective CRM and how to get started today.
Prefer to watch this episode? You can see it here.
Walking through an investor CRM
This spreadsheet may look like a lot at first. But a CRM is way simpler than you might think.
Basic contact info
To kick things off, add the names and email addresses of the investors that you already know.
Then add the names and email addresses of prospective investors that you would like to build stronger relationships with.
Type of Investor
In the next column, label what type of investor they are (angel investor, venture fund, etc). This will help you tailor your messaging accordingly.
The referrer is the person who introduced you to the investor listed in your CRM.
So if James Hippoton sent an email to introduce me to investor Eric Torres, James is the referrer in this example.
This is crucial because your team can see where your leads are coming from. Plus if the introduction is a mutually beneficial one, we get a chance to reach out to the referrer again to say thanks.
Add their names in the next column and let’s keep moving.
What stage are they at in terms of considering an investment in your company?
These stages can be customized to your situation… but for simplicity, let’s define the stages that Hustle Fund used during our fundraising process.
- Lead – When someone offers to refer somebody new to you but you haven’t made contact yet.
- First Contact – This stage is the first time you both have been able to officially engage. Someone might have sent an email introduction and they may have reciprocated back saying, “Yes, let’s meet!”
- First Pitch – This is the first meeting you have with them to pitch your company. Usually done over Zoom without a deck.
- Due Diligence – This comes after the pitch when they’re considering investing. It’s normal for investors to ask to see more materials to help them make a decision.
- Soft Commit – This is when they are interested in investing and have actually given you a dollar amount they want to put towards your company. This is purely a verbal commitment, nothing official, but a positive sign to move them into the next stage.
- Signed – This is when the confetti drops from the ceiling because you have received a full commitment from this investor. Whooot!!! 🎊
- Rejected and Ghosted – These are the stages where they reject your pitch or never return your messages. But remember, it’s not over yet. There’s still an opportunity to maintain the relationship or even invite them to your investor newsletter. They may convert into investors down the road.
If they have given you a verbal commitment of a certain amount they want to invest, include this number in the Committed column.
Above, you can see three investors committing a combined total of $300,000 as an example.
The Notes section is the most critical part of the CRM.
It summarizes what you talked about during your calls or emails. Add as many notes as you can along with the dates of each interaction.
These notes are crucial because fundraising is a team sport.
Tracking everything helps your team understand all the context of the relationship. So when they interact with this person, they know where each investor is in the process, and can pick up right where their teammate left off.
Closed and Next Contact
Next we have a Closed column to show how much money you have actually closed.
This is your time to celebrate your hard work being paid off. Launch the confetti. Take out a bottle of champagne. You deserve it.
Ok, time to get back to work. The last part of the CRM is a Next Contact column. This is a reminder for yourself on when you should reach out to this person again.
So if you're still in the due diligence or soft commit phases, set a clear date here on when you should follow up.
If people have committed, we recommend getting aggressive and following up every two or three days. This shows that you’re committed to making this work and are certain you have given them all the materials they need to feel unblocked on making a decision.
For the people who have rejected or ghosted you, you should keep reaching out.
One time Eric reached out to an investor 13 times with no response. Then, on the 14th attempt, that investor committed half a million dollars into Hustle Fund. So a rejection is never truly a rejection until you get a hard “no”.
What’s the key takeaway?
Your investor CRM is a critical tool for successful fundraising.
- All your contacts are in one place with detailed information
- All the interactions your team has had with each person are tracked so everyone is on the same page
- It tracks where everyone is in the fundraising process and gives reminders on when to follow up.
Start your investor CRM as soon as possible. Like, now.
There are paid CRM tools out there to track opens and clicks on emails. But to keep things simple, we recommend starting with a basic spreadsheet.
Here’s a free template you can use as inspiration.