Modern networking and how it can power your deal flow.

The ways in which we have grown accustomed to networking may never change. However, with digitization peeking around every corner, it is about time that we adapt.

Newly recognized technologies and tools allowed us to attend conferences and seminars from our couches. You may have your morning coffee hunched over your home office table; while simultaneously shuffling between LinkedIn, Excel, and Google Docs trying to organize your day. You think back to a time when your business card holder was busting at its seams, and you dreaded logging each and every contact into your Excel Sheets. But you pause and think, “Is this any better?”. Now you're jumping from tab to tab trying to track who does what, where, and when? It's just all too much; there has to be a better way.

The ideal circumstance would be to go to those events or even attend them digitally and then directly input those new contacts or companies you’ve just spent time with into your "database." Here you would already have all of your existing data: deal flow, contacts, meeting notes, etc.; these new entries would fit right where they need to in your world. Could this be foreshadowing? Let’s keep reading.

You like people, at least most of the time. You want to keep attending conferences and feeling the energy in the air. The fast-paced one-to-ones push you to keep perfecting your pitch. The feeling of knowing you just might have met the exact right person to take you where you need to go. Let's never change this. These feelings, the personal connection, just can't be replaced. But let's take the hassle out of what happens next.

You're back at your home office, with that lukewarm morning coffee, and you go to open your Excel Sheets and your Google Docs, and you sit there for what feels like an eternity. Your mind is now racing as the buffer keeps spinning and spinning on that green background. Oh, thank goodness it opened; your coffee tastes a little less bitter now. You scroll down hundreds of rows, and you plug away. Up in the right-hand corner of your monitor, a little rectangle appears. You have a message awaiting your response on LinkedIn. You look and see, maybe you respond, or maybe you get caught up in a new post on your timeline. Shoot, where were you, what were you doing before? Yes, right, Excel. Now, who was it that you needed to email? And what’s going on with those notes from your analyst? Where are you in the pipeline with that health tech. team? And you forgot you wanted to look up that one fund; gosh, what was that? The Excel! You still haven't put in that contact! You should email them too to get their deck. Your coffee’s cold.


Let’s take your power back.

The quality of your deal flow can be a significant indicator of your fund's performance (s). However, to secure that quality deal flow, you'll need to manage your pipeline in and out of your most basic Excel Sheets and Google Docs. Your ability to network and maintain those crucial relationships is put to the test when you feel stretched thin.


Let your deal flow management tools work for you.

Tools like Zapflow don’t replace those face-to-face interactions, which is great, because we don't want them to! Rather Zapflow is a deal flow management tool that not only organizes and betters your data; it also manages those relationships you spent your time and money developing and maintaining.

So, you’ve taken to the internet and chosen your ideal purpose-built tool. Let's say you've chosen Zapflow (you've chosen correctly). Rewind your morning. You've got your coffee; the sun is shining; you're sitting in your comfy office chair pulled right up to your monitor. You do the usual, email, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., and then you come to the dreaded Excel. But wait, Excel? Silly you, you mean Zapflow. You log in, check your pipelines. How's your team doing? Great, everything looks like it's on schedule. Now that you've done a quick run-through, you're ready to input those new contacts. You go ahead and create a new contact or add the contact to an existing entity. You link their socials, title, fill in any other information you have. With a sigh, you sit back and take a sip of your coffee. Careful now; it's still hot.


Your network is immensely powerful and your biggest asset. Look at it as data, which is exactly what it is. The quality and richness of your data are what powers better deal flow. And your deal flow management tool is only as good as what you put into it. You need that tag-team effort of conferences, events, and one-to-ones to power your data so that your management tool can take it and run. If something gets stuck in the process, maybe you haven't maintained your network, so your information is old, or you have been spreading data across multiple Excel sheets or Google docs. Those actions water down your most powerful asset! Not only do these antiquated tools take time to manage, but they can also challenge your data entry and compromise the quality.


You go through time, energy, and money to meet new people and make new connections. The last thing you would want is to lose those through clerical error. By adding these connections directly to your deal-flow management tool, in a more comprehensive way than even a Google Docs or Excel, you’re killing two birds with one stone. Bettering your deal flow data and storing and tracking your network.


Switching over to a tool that can help manage your network and track your deal flow means that those first steps of building that network aren't for naught.