by Kalle Kilpi
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M&A has historically been run using a set of disparate tools and applications. Customer relationship management software is often part of that toolset. With the introduction of purpose-built M&A software, the process from pipeline management to due diligence and post-merger integration can now be managed within a single comprehensive platform.
1. No M&A-Specific Permissions Settings
There are many different stakeholders that can contribute to an M&A transaction. Each internal or external stakeholder requires a unique permissions setting depending on the scope of her or his responsibilities within a transaction. An effective M&A software solution allows you to restrict each user’s access to only what they are required to see, whereas CRMs tend to have preset user-permissions that cannot be changed for each deal.
2. Lack of Project Management Functionality and Best-Practice Templates
Complex M&A transactions require both robust and intuitive project management functionality. The project management functionality should also include the ability to track cross-functional dependencies.
With purpose-built platforms like Midaxo you can create and store M&A best practice templates that can be used for any type of deal or transaction. End-users should have a restricted view of the project depending on their role within the company. For example, HR team members should only see HR-related tasks.
3. Pre-Configured for Sales, not M&A
CRMs can be used to manage contacts across any industry, however the application itself is typically pre-configured for tracking sales-related contacts. If you need to configure the CRM to track a contact with M&A-related contact information then it can require the need for a 3rd party vendor or an internal IT team-member to make the appropriate configurations.
M&A-specific platforms should come pre-configured to track the information and processes that are most important for a deal, such as post-merger integration steps. The most advanced M&A-specific tools allow configurations to be made by the customer administrators at any time so that organizations can incorporate best practices into their configurations the moment that they are realized.
4. Lack of Collaboration Areas
M&A is a collaborative effort that requires all parties and stakeholders to work closely together during a set period of time. During the due diligence process, for example, the buyer and seller need to keep an open line of communication so that they can quickly exchange information and documents with one-another as needed. Ideally, the exchange of documents, questions, and diligence findings would be stored in one application. CRM doesn’t allow for collaboration with any external parties.
5. Contact Management is just a Small Part of the Overall M&A Process
A CRM is very good for managing contacts, but not good for managing an actual M&A process. Deal management software should have CRM functionality built into the tool so that teams can track activity with both internal and external stakeholders. CRMs, like virtual data rooms and generic project management software, are being replaced by purpose-built solutions that include all of the functionality needed to run a transaction from start to finish.
Ultimately, while CRM systems are good for storing past communications and creating task reminders, they don’t ensure standardization of the M&A process. CRM systems don’t tell you which item on the due diligence checklist should be done next and what should have been done previously. They are primarily designed to log past activities and create reminders; as any good deal team can tell you, there's a whole lot more required to execute M&A effectively, especially in this day and age.