“Always be closing!”, I screamed. A handful of BUC 2018 attendees (who hadn’t fallen asleep yet) burst out laughing at my amateurish onstage attempt to impersonate Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).
When running Backstop with Preqin integrated, you automate and offload the bulk of data collection efforts. With the extra bandwidth, you can focus on fostering relationships and qualitative data instead.
Let’s apply the AIDA technique (Attention, Interest, Decision, Action as seen in the movie). We will create two Backstop reports, throw in some Excel magic and upload the linked records back to Backstop.
Attention – Preqin Sourcing
The first report pulls Organizations from Preqin via Backstop 3rd Party Contact Report. The screenshot below shows the essential columns. The key to building this report is to select the “best” filter. Firm Names are often used, but they tend to be imprecise and return duplicates. Website URLs are far more accurate.
- Firm Name
- Backstop Template ID (ie Preqin ID)
With a small sales funnel, you could actually opt to use the Actions Link to match one organization at a time. But you do have a large funnel of red hot leads, don’t you?
Interest – Preqin Targeting
The second report pulls from Contacts from your Backstop instance. Most columns should look familiar to anyone that whips out Backstop reports before breakfast. The exception is Backstop Template ID. As with the sourcing report above, we opt to use Website URLs which tend to be better matching criteria in the subsequent step.
- Full Name
- Backstop Party ID
- Backstop Template ID (ie Preqin ID)
A quick glance at the report indicates that Apple is already linked up, but Microsoft isn’t. The lack of Backstop Template ID on Microsoft gives that away. In reality, the sources and targets rarely match up perfectly. The next step combines the data from two reports.
Decision – Matchmaking
The objective of this step to assign the correct Backstop Template IDs to the matching organizations. Using Microsoft as an example, it needs to be assigned 35471.
The sample above is deliberately simple to better illustrate the process. Imagine if we are dealing with hundreds or thousands of organizations? We need automation!
We will complete the matchmaking process with Excel formulas to fill in the correct Backstop Template ID values. VLOOKUP has long been the go-to method. However, INDEX and MATCH are arguably faster and more flexible. For more information on INDEX and MATCH, please see the links under the Resources section.
Column D contains the INDEX and MATCH formula to
- Look up Website values in Sourcing report
- If a match is found, insert the corresponding Backstop Template ID value
Viola! Excel does the grunt work and spits out perfectly lined-up rows of Backstop Party ID and Preqin ID values. Lastly, you copy Column D and paste the text values into Column E. This is necessary because Backstop does not recognize calculated values or formulas in the upload tools.
[The Excel template is freely available on Github]
Action – Organization Upload
With the Preqin Sources and Targets matched up, we will link those up in Backstop via the Organization Upload tool. As always, map Backstop Party ID to Look up by Backstop ID and Backstop Template ID to 3rd Party Template ID.
As expected, Column D is blank. The upload tool ignores calculated values. Hope this will change in near future.
Let’s start off ambitiously with an automated Preqin integration workflow. When creating an organization, you simply key in Organization Name and Website, then Backstop would automagically suggest the correct Preqin linkage and let you finalize the selection from a picklist. The auto-suggestion engine finetunes itself based on contributions across the entire Backstop customer base. The fancy term would be a democracy-based machine learning algorithm!
While the product team works on the idea above, let’s come back down to Earth.
As of this writing, only institutional investors (eg ACME Pension Trust) data is available from Preqin to Backstop. Fund managers (eg ACME Venture Capitals) data is not. A fund of funds, for instance, can only leverage these goodies on one side of the equation. That coffee might have to wait a little longer.