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Ansarada Guide to High-Performance Dealmaking for Advisors

Definition of legacy

Denoting or relating to software or hardware that has been superseded but is difficult to replace because of its wide use.

Guide to High-Performance Dealmaking for Advisors. Source: Ansarada

Guide to High-Performance Dealmaking for Advisors. Source: Ansarada

Old habits die hard

Humans are notorious for letting historical ‘muscle memory’ dictate what we do in the present. We cling to legacy processes and behaviors long after new technologies have made them irrelevant. We get so attached to the existing way of getting a job done that we overlook new possibilities – even when they could considerably improve the task at hand.

Ultimately, we’re limiting our own potential.

When you think about legacy dealmaking, what comes to mind?

  • Hours of manual work; a lot of wasted time and focus taken off important BAU (especially by junior team members and analysts)
  • A minimal accepted level of risk and guesswork, seen as inevitable
  • Limited visibility over the most critical information, including metrics, processes and documents
  • Potential issues around managing clients and maintaining reputation control in a volatile environment
  • A gamble, with little confidence in what’s going to happen – outcomes could go either way, which could result in zero payoff for your effort

For too long, risky, manual work and conjecture has been viewed as a necessary aspect of a high value transaction – but it doesn’t have to be anymore. Legacy habits and processes are holding you back, and it’s time for a change.

The good news: There is no shortage of untapped potential.

It’s time to go from legacy to legendary…

There’s a new standard in deal performance

Having run more than 30,000 transactions over the last twelve years, we’ve seen advisor frustrations firsthand and we’ve recognized the significant gaps that exist within current processes.

In this guide, we’ll show you how the top dealmakers today are radically changing how they operate for the better. And not just at any one stage, but across the entire deal lifecycle – from origination to preparation, execution and close.

Whether it’s a complex M&A deal, capital raise, IPO or just a simple audit, we’ll show you the actions and behaviors that lead to a consistently high performance at each stage of any transaction, and how real clients have experienced the switch from legacy to legendary with Ansarada’s platform.

Imagine the ability to make your clients’ lives easier, exceed every expectation, and add long-term value to their business – not only during a transaction, but on an always-on basis.

We want to show you how others are already doing it – and how you can reach levels of potential you never thought possible in 2019 and beyond.

Content Summary

Deal Execution
Always-on Readiness
Conclusion: How today’s deals are done


“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together” – James Cash Penney

The Legacy Way

Another day, another coffee meeting. You meet a client, follow up with an email, then you’re left waiting for their response. You might wait days or weeks before they engage with your firm and information is eventually provided.

You might rely on your network of contacts to uncover opportunities, but much of your dayto- day is likely to depend on repeat business with the same old set of clients. If anything happens to damage your reputation with them, you could be in serious trouble.

Introducing high-performance origination

There will always be a time and a place for coffee meetings – but as a method of origination, they simply aren’t viable or scalable.

When it comes to originating deals and nurturing potential clients, the top dealmakers are already generating exponentially more business and drastically reducing their risk of losing out to a competitor.

By automating and digitizing their lead prospecting and nurturing, they are able to scale to reach a much wider client base and hook the biggest targets.

Reach out to clients at scale

“The way to unlock deals is often to step down into the mid-market, where there are more targets, and then build scale,” says Daniel Waine, head of Oceania deal origination for Ernst & Young. “Unlocking these deals requires earlier engagement with business owners, well before they might be thinking of exit.”

If you’re an M&A banker whose role sees you actively looking for opportunities to source deals and connect with new clients, a key challenge is undoubtedly competing against larger, resource-rich firms – especially when it comes to getting the same level of exposure with major enterprise clients as those who had a dedicated origination team of five or six.

Solving the problem requires the ability to reach out to clients at scale. The best way to do that? With a proven pathway – one that gives your clients the map to guide themselves, based on the learnings of more than 30,000 before them.

With pathways, originators don’t even need to wait until there’s a deal on the horizon; they can use a scorecard to objectively assess a company’s current state in the first meeting, showing them exactly where they stand based on the state of their critical information and making recommendations for a path forward for them immediately.

Showing the value they can offer the client’s business on day one is an impressive differentiator, and something competitors simply won’t be able to compete with. Scaling origination leads to increased win rates and exponentially more business generated.

With all new clients going straight onto the platform, originators have the visibility allowing them to make confident decisions on who to prioritize based on their initial activity and engagement.

What is a pathway?

Within Ansarada’s platform, pathways are a proven method of ensuring that your client’s critical outcomes are achieved in the simplest and safest way.

Step one on the path is to use a digital scorecard to assess your client’s current state today – automatically and objectively – against definitive outcomes from tens of thousands of transactions. Their ‘score’ acts as a map to show them what is required and how far they still have to go. They get a clear picture of the documentation they need to provide, clarification of what that document is and why it’s important, and then are rewarded with a boost to their score when they upload it.

Once the business is in its best possible state, your client’s transaction room can be securely created in an instant within the pathway, so they’re ready to move forward and engage in unexpected opportunities. Documentation can be custom-fit to their needs and teams ready to go to market in moments. You can move quickly with the confidence that external parties will see your client’s potential for what it truly is, and opportunities will quickly turn into outcomes.

Make The Move To Legendary

High performance dealmakers have reconsidered the inefficiencies inherent within manual origination processes. They are using technology to automate lead nurturing and increase win rates. They differentiate their services to clients, building trust earlier and adding value on an ongoing basis. That’s how they are able to drive leads and garner interest in their advisory services at scale.


“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

The Legacy Way

Historically, preparing for a deal has almost exclusively been done within a virtual data room when the deal itself is active. Not knowing what gaps or issues might be uncovered by a third party until the deal is in full swing is incredibly risky; it could lead to the transaction being derailed – or worse.

Gathering documentation from your client takes hours of back and forth, including lengthy explanations and verification. Uploading files and folders is manual and time-consuming, and puts unnecessary pressure on junior and senior staff alike as it takes them away from executing on their deal strategy and sourcing new clients.

Preparing for a high-performance outcome

Knowing where your client’s company stands before you start the due diligence process is essential for high performance. Without a thorough understanding of the current state of the client’s business – as evidenced by their critical information – legacy advisors are flying blind.

Preparing for a deal within a live data room is problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, you have no idea what you’re going to uncover as you dive into your clients’ material information. To put this in perspective, a single missed signature on a contract has the potential to disrupt the entire process. Statistics from KPMG show that nearly half of all M&A deals fail because of surprise issues that are surfaced during due diligence.

What would a deep dive into your client’s critical documentation reveal today? As it stands, would you be willing to have a third party examine it?

Secondly, there is a lot of information and documentation involved. Collecting and maintaining it from all the various sources – software, systems, emails, you name it – is a serious drain on resources, and increases the potential for human error.

The next generation of legendary deal makers is integrating all the disparate systems they use into a single platform, for clear visibility and accountability. They are already using customized tools, like scorecards, to quickly get the information they need so they’re ready to act with confidence at a moment’s notice.

The more efficiently they can achieve this, the better; data shows that the average dealteam employee can work up to 84 hours a week, increasing the risk of human error tenfold.

“It’s taking most advisors too long to understand key business gaps. Six months for a company to get ready means six months of not knowing. And not knowing your material risks today is probably the biggest risk you have.” – Rachel Riley, CFO Ansarada

  • 46% Of deals fail because of financial issues revealed during due diligence – KPMG
  • 47% Of deals fail due to operational issues revealed during due diligence – KPMG

Due diligence is no time for unwelcome surprises

As a fast-growing logistics business with an assertive approach to acquisition, one Ansarada client’s primary challenges were the inefficiency, disorganization and expenditure that occurred in the pre-due diligence phase and before entering the data room; those resulting from the use of manual processes like spreadsheets.

According to John, their senior advisor, implementing customized scorecards and guides saved them at least 3 days a week off their deal preparation timetable. “The scorecards and topic guides speed up the process by explaining what we need vendors to have, saving back and forth,” said John. The ability to centralize communication and collaborate in one core place was a huge advantage. “Simply by having one central up-to-date place to maintain the scorecard, and not having to send updated versions over email – both internally and externally – saved us significant time.”

Implementing the platform had an immediate impact on how targets were assessed and how the team operated. “No target companies have had to ask questions on how to access, delegate and upload information – it is clear for them to use,” he said.

Having a ‘score’ to work toward was a big highlight, as it gamified the process and made clients much more engaged from the beginning. “Clients are actually bugging us to verify their documents and meet all the requirements so they can see their score reach 100%,” said John. “We went from being reactive and chasing targets, to being proactive and on the front foot.”

Now, they can assess target companies within minutes, and work at a pace to gather the information required. They have complete visibility over the quality and quantity of documentation for the deal before entering the transaction room, eliminating the risk of any unwanted surprises when it comes time to execute.

With an average of 10-12 transactions a year, the potential efficiency gains for this client are enormous and they’ve only just scratched the surface.

What is a topic guide?

Within Ansarada’s platform, the topic guides are a collection of educational guides that provide an in-depth description of each of the topics, why they are essential to the transaction, and where they can be found. Your client will be able to quickly get up to speed on which documentation is critical and be confident they’re on track with their deal preparation.

Make The Move To Legendary

High-performance dealmakers save significant time and cost when they’re able to cut their time spent on deal preparation in half, and free up resources for more high value, strategic work.

Leveraging tools like customized scorecards to deep dive into a company’s critical information enables the top advisors to get a clear picture of the real-time state of play, prior to actually running the transaction.

A full evaluation of your client’s material information – grounded in real data and based on real-time activity – gives you the insights to make smart decisions on their behalf. Discovering the risks and opportunities will leave you in a much stronger position, able to fill the gaps, leverage the strengths and get the upper hand in the deal.

When you see what’s possible, you can take the steps to get there – and that’s what will lead to a swift and seamless execution every time.

Deal Execution

“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” – Daniel Keys Moran

The Legacy Way

In the deal execution phase, you’re operating in a high stress, high stakes environment. The potential for human error increases exponentially as all your team’s hard work comes to a head – your analyst will definitely be feeling the pressure.

With the information you need scattered across multiple systems and tools, you can’t help but operate without all the information you need – and that means you aren’t making the best decisions to drive deal outcomes.

Speculating how many documents you’ll ultimately upload to the data room will only lead to disappointment – both for you and your client, who’ll be stuck with the bill for the overcharge and won’t be likely to seek out your services again.

  • By 2020 Insights-driven businesses will steal $1.2 trillion per annum from their less-informed peers – Forrester Predictions

Execute with 100% confidence

How different would your deal strategy be if you could predict the most likely outcomes with certainty?

Guesswork has played a role in critical transactions for too long. With documentation and other material evidence saved across disparate systems and software, information silos are the norm. Until now, a clear picture of how the deal is progressing in real time simply hasn’t been available; that’s a huge amount of unnecessary risk to take on.

The top performing dealmakers have realized this isn’t good enough. Advisors who use advanced technologies to automate processes, eliminate risk, and deep dive into the real data – and subsequently, the real story – are increasingly widening the gap between those leading the pack and those left behind.

Once the majority adopt these innovations, there won’t be any competition. Just a divide of those who know, and those who don’t.

Meet Nash Advisory: A small firm with big ambition

Nash is a high-performance advisory that provides specialized services for sales, acquisitions and business strategy, with the ultimate vision of increasing client company value.

Their increasing client base and ambition for agility, simplicity and scalability were leading to issues such as information loss and silos – primarily as a result of the multiple systems and communication tools they were using.

For prior transactions, Nash had used a number of disparate systems (generally 6-7 systems to manage a single workflow), so maintaining visibility of all the moving pieces and switching between streams was a massive undertaking for a single deal – and they were advising on more than ten transactions a year.

Reliance on PowerPoints and email communication took up significant time and added unnecessary complexity and risk to the due diligence process.

Automating, accelerating and illuminating with AI tools

“Consolidating all our communications, data management and document management into one system has saved each of our team at least an hour a week in management,” said Director Sean O’Neill, “in addition to the time saved through automated reporting and presentation of bidder engagement data.”

Transforming deal collaboration from email, PowerPoint, and Excel to the Ansarada platform allowed for clear and simple Q&A roles during a transaction, streamlining communication and workflow. With three members of the Nash Advisory team generally on each deal, and at least 2-3 hours of admin saved by the analyst plus 30 mins per director, that adds up to around 150 hours saved a year.

“With the Q&A process allowing us to all see and track interactions, it has allowed us to focus on value-add tasks rather than administrative things like consolidating communication for clients or internal meetings,” said O’Neill.

As well as cutting significant time off the due diligence process, the platform’s AI tools have set Nash up for success by uncovering insights into their bidders’ motivations and actions, enabling them to make decisions with confidence. They know exactly which bidders are most likely to complete the due diligence process, and are able to focus their attentions on the ones worth watching.

  • 58% Of enterprise business executives are already using predictive analytics within their organizations – Narrative Science
  • 61% Of those who have an innovation strategy say they are using AI to identify opportunities in data that would otherwise be missed – Narrative Science

The worlds first AI deal tools

Ansarada’s platform comes with a unique set of AI-powered deal tools built in, including those for task automation, predictive analytics and instant reporting on data.

  • The Bidder Engagement Score tells you the likelihood of a bidder completing the due diligence process – reaching the negotiation stage and submitting an offer – with up to 97% accuracy by day 7 of the deal. Knowing the most likely next move gives you the foresight to act with complete confidence.
  • AiDA is Ansarada’s intelligent deal assistant. The app gives you instant updates on the deal, cutting out time-consuming research and reporting work.
  • All transaction rooms are engineered with an integrated deal security engine that safeguards your deal from risk. All the complexity is built into the backend, leaving only the simplest tools at the front – and zero room for human error.

Make The Move To Legendary

High-performance dealmakers are leveraging datadriven insights to guide their strategy and back their decisions with confidence. They are automating processes and cutting out grunt work, freeing up their time to focus on the big picture.

They don’t tolerate risk. They keep everything tracked and managed in a single, secure location, keeping information organized, activity visible, and people accountable. They have completely eliminated the risks associated with guesswork, human error and legacy systems like emails and spreadsheets. They know that unlimited data is the only solution to letting the deal run its course without overages and client resentment.

The best advisors already use AI tools to analyze hundreds of thousands of data points to find patterns and predict the future with incredible accuracy. They know exactly what to do and they’ll act quickly to make it a reality.

They know that as AI technologies and predictive analytics make their way further into the mainstream, the risks associated with not knowing will only become more pronounced.

All of this means they are able to close deals faster, more securely and with a greater success rate than any of their competitors. That means getting to the next transaction sooner.

Always-on Readiness

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

The Legacy Way

You’ve done the hard work and seen your client through to the end of a successful transaction. Their business is in the best shape it has ever been, with every risk addressed and every opportunity uncovered.

But how long will it last? How many months until their next material event? Their next raise, IPO, or audit?

As soon as it’s time for their next move, you find yourself asking them to produce all the same material information again. All the manual work, all the stress and time pressure – all over again.

The data hidden within your client’s critical info is only valuable to their business if you can see all of it. You can’t use it to predict trends, evaluate behavior or drive decision making when interactions are all happening in different places; it needs to occur in a single location.

Always ready for the next transaction

Legacy dealmaking sees advisors giving their clients the same advice and requesting the same set of documentation over and over and over again.

With an always-on solution, your client will always be ready to act on opportunities as they arise – and that means more repeat business and more wins.

Staying in shape post-merger and beyond

One client – a fast-growing, tech startup – came on board Ansarada’s platform just after completing a large merger.

After seeing the scramble to get ready for the deal and the spottiness of data that was collected, co-founder Chris took it upon himself to ensure the company was much better prepared for the next event. He engaged Ansarada’s platform solution to smooth the process of post-merger integration and keep the newly unified company in its best shape for future events.

Chris made the decision to settle on a single storage mechanism that the team was already familiar with and using frequently. “We settled on Google team drive as the one place where people should be saving their documentation, a subset of which flows automatically through to the Ansarada platform,” he said.

The automated folder syncing allowed the team to work in GoogleDrive as they were accustomed to, while all their work and documentation was pulled in – out of sight, out of mind.

“Most of the team are probably not aware that their work is automatically synced to Ansarada,” said Chris. “The platform has allowed them to upload where they were already working, without needing to know what was going on in the backend.”

Setting realistic expectations for behavior

The platform’s integrations with popular tools like Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive and others remove the unrealistic expectations that every department will use all the different company tools to ensure that every single data point is synced and up-to-date.

The team didn’t need to learn any new behaviors or incorporate it into their routine; the platform automatically brings all of their tools together in a single place, opening them up to all kinds of new wins and increased potential.

The final result? A seamless and successful integration with their new partner and ultimately, the creation of a new industry-leading superpower – one that’s always ready for the next major business milestone.

“After running a tech company for 13 years, I’ve noticed that adoption of new innovations and technologies has less to do with the tech and more to do with how much change in behavior is required from people.” – Sam Riley, CEO Ansarada

Get connected with the apps you already use

Ansarada’s platform connects with the software and apps your clients already love to use. You can collaborate with them and their teams on the tools they’re already familiar with – whether it’s Google Drive, DropBox or OneDrive – and the information is pulled in from all the disparate sources automatically, giving you a visible score on their scorecard.

Information from every department, fully synced, up-to-date, and in one place – with zero change in behavior necessary to keep business in its best shape. With all the consolidation and tracking covered, you’ll get full visibility, unique insights and a complete understanding of where your client stands, so they are always ready to act.

Make The Move To Legendary

High-performance dealmakers can see the future. They can predict with accuracy where a company is headed and what its needs are, easily spotting patterns and trends that allow them to forecast and make decisions with certainty.

They stay connected to their clients and help them manage their critical information in real-time. They help clients keep business in its ideal shape – always up-to-date, always visible, and always ready to act. They are able to raise the capacity and potential of their client’s company well above those of their competitors, and that means more successful transactions closed.

Conclusion: How today’s deals are done

Legacy data rooms are on their last legs

The responsibility of advisors today is to help their clients get their foundations in order so that they can survive – even thrive in – disruption. The only way to safeguard against an uncertain future is to build certainty now, so that there’s always flexibility to adapt.

Ansarada’s platform has already made the legacy virtual data room obsolete. Unearthing critical details last minute during due diligence within a virtual data room is not safe enough, quick enough, or done far enough in advance to benefit advisors or their clients in the new world.

We’re in the midst of what many are calling ‘Industrial Revolution 4.0’, and there is plenty we can learn from the original when it comes to the adoption of innovations.

Tagging on new technologies simply to ‘upgrade’ existing processes won’t cut it; advisors need to orient themselves to the future state, where the automation and forecasting capabilities of AI will completely transform the way they operate.

Advisors can’t afford to miss the boat when it comes to using technology to differentiate their services, offer more value to their clients, and drive a high performance transaction every time.

Now is the time to ask yourself what you can do to position yourself to reap the rewards of the 4th Industrial Revolution, rather than be toppled in its wake of disruption.

Let us help you see the bigger picture and tap into your real potential.

Source: Ansarada

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