Diligently managing deals through email and spreadsheets is no easy task, even for the most organized commercial real estate investment teams. Tracking every deal in your pipeline means recording varying cap rates, closing dates, requirements, and countless other factors. Deal management software offers a tech-forward approach to tracking and easily executing on crucial deal deliverables.
With the right deal management software in place, your firm can gain easy deal visibility, empower team collaboration, and expedite workflows, all of which contribute to optimal risk-adjusted returns. In this blog post, we’ll explore why your team must implement a deal management solution to seamlessly invest at scale.
What Is Deal Management in Commercial Real Estate?
As your team finds new deals to consider, whether you’re acquiring, developing, financing, or selling a building, tracking this information is imperative. Due to years without industry-specific tools, many teams have defaulted to the most straightforward solution: managing information out of spreadsheets and via email. This method may work for small teams considering only a few opportunities, but can quickly become ineffective at scale. Deal management platforms are a type of real estate investment software that provides teams the infrastructure they need to collaborate as they evaluate deals, keeping a pulse on both high-level market activity and pipeline movement.
Real estate deal management is a relatively new concept, but solves the age-old problems that investment teams face: decentralized deal data, unstandardized processes, time-consuming reporting, and disorganized checklists. In other words, deal management solutions deliver a configurable framework that investors can use to transact at their desired scale.
8 Reasons to Implement a Real Estate Deal Management Platform
1. Save Time & Work Efficiently
Between inputting data, making strategic investment decisions, communicating with management and external parties, and beyond, real estate investment professionals are tasked with managing numerous deals. When configured based on your standards and processes, which is possible with some, but not all deal management platforms, your teams can save time, work more efficiently, and collaborate with ease.
Rather than requiring manual data entry, deal management software dynamically sources data. As you continue moving the deal throughout the acquisitions cycle, deal management software also intelligently automates certain activities, directing the right information to the right people at the right time. This ensures that deals move through the pipeline without direct involvement at every step, while still leaving crucial decisions to your team.
By implementing deal management software, you can give your team the time they need to work efficiently and strategically.
2. Fast, Precise and Systemized Data-Driven Deal Analysis
To remain competitive with other firms in your space, every investment decision you make should be based on data-driven analysis. Unfortunately, when your historical data is stored in siloed spreadsheets without uniform formatting, leveraging this data for its intended purpose can be difficult. To do so would require significant time spent searching through spreadsheets and building out the right model, and unless you’re fully confident in your team’s data logging procedures, the resulting insights may not be trustworthy.
Deal management software empowers your team to easily harness the power of historical data, without requiring extensive manipulation. Through filters based on location, price, and other critical factors, advanced deal management platforms give you the tools to compare new opportunities against historical data in seconds. In doing so, you can compare cap rates like you would apples to apples. This makes data-driven analysis easier, but also far more precise and reliable than the error-prone spreadsheet manipulation that was formerly the industry standard.
With methodically sound insights as the basis for your investment strategy, you can make your data your competitive advantage.
3. Standardize Deal Flow & Data
Your investment firm might have a specific process and set of procedures for how deals flow:
- Who is driving the process?
- Where is data stored?
- How are you receiving and tracking time-sensitive stakeholder approvals?
However, not all deals are straightforward–there are endless variables complicating how certain deals flow. For example, what special steps should analysts take for properties listed above $20,000,000?
The same concept applies to how your data is standardized and stored away for future use. On one hand, standardization paves the way for use in developing future investment strategies. On the other hand, though, achieving full standardization can require significant process alterations from your team, and not to mention, time.
You can accomplish both of these important tasks using deal management software. Many teams include unique procedures for properties that meet specific conditions. Critical deal milestones and steps become abundantly clear due to process standardization as part of deal lifecycle management. Additionally, automating certain tasks based on rules triggers some steps in the process to take place behind the scenes.
Developing organization-wide standards helps introduce structures and procedures that keep teams on task, while driving high returns.
4. Hold Team Members Accountable By Managing Tasks & Tracking Deadlines
Maintaining high-level visibility of the deals in your pipeline and their respective stages is essential for agile real estate investment management firms, but tracking the individual tasks required to vet and close deals is equally important. Understanding the work your team has on their plates at any given time is crucial, especially when it comes to tasks approaching deadlines. How can you hold your team accountable for their success if you can’t easily and accurately track their progress?
Using task management and deadline tracking functionality, you can find a holistic view of your team’s performance and to-do lists. This visibility gives you the power to evaluate when it’s time to step in and ensure that high-priority deals receive the attention they deserve, or assist analysts as needed. In doing so, it removes the significant burden of either emailing or pinging analysts to learn about deal progress by putting clear answers to these questions in front of everyone with software access. Deal governance also helps ensure that certain information is only visible to the eyes of certain team members.
5. Access and Update Deal Data from Anywhere
Remote work is no longer the definitive norm, but will continue to be a crucial capability for agile firms. Whether team members must access data for urgent deal tasks while on vacation, from home while sick, or from a hotel while traveling, virtual access should remain a priority.
Deal management software addresses one of the root problems imposed by network-based spreadsheets: only one person can make updates at a time, and in some cases, while on location in the office. Cloud-based deal management platforms bypass these bottlenecks, making remote collaboration a breeze. Whether an analyst is in the cubicle outside your office or halfway across the country, deal management software gives them the freedom to work flexibly. Busy analysts can also update their respective deal data simultaneously, rather than waiting for spreadsheet edits to be complete or creating a duplicative spreadsheet.
While deal management software can make this collaboration convenient, be sure not to overlook your data’s security. Your data is your biggest asset, but it becomes a liability when neglected. The best platforms on the market are SOC 2 certified, a designation that meets the highest standards when it comes to security, processing integrity, and confidentiality.
6. Simplified, Stress-Free & Automated Reporting
Whether you want to keep a pulse on pipeline activity or analyze market trends, clear and accurate reporting is like gold in the commercial real estate world. Without the right tools, though, reporting can either fall by the wayside, or suffer from inaccurate data.
One key benefit of deal management software–both for your team’s bandwidth and your investing strategy–is that it simplifies and automates reporting. Instead of undertaking the arduous, days-long task of compiling data for use in a report, your team can generate reports by clicking a few filters. Because reporting features pull data dynamically from designated fields, the report’s results aren’t subject to the same doubt that manual reports, created with error-prone data entry, may carry. The best deal management tools even allow you to schedule automated reports, providing the right level of detail at the right times.
Using this tool, you can look at a high-level overview of all the deals in your pipeline, as well as a more granular view of past deals and comps within select markets and industries. Reporting then becomes a powerful, stress-free strategy driver, rather than a chore.
7. Centralized Document Management & Deal Communication
Between first considering a property and choosing to move forward on closing, your team will need to create, track and file documents such as pro formas, letters of intent, and much more. In lieu of a standardized repository, most teams simply store these documents in email inboxes. While this approach works, it can make pipeline meetings–when your team discusses every property currently in the consideration stage–disorganized, laborious and tedious. Fortunately, there’s a better way to archive these documents for convenient access.
As a function of driving efficiency, deal management software also centralizes your documents for simplified, easy access at every stage in the deal process. Your team can easily reference the deal to find documents like environmental reports, contracts, and much more. Following the end of the acquisitions cycle, these documents will remain conveniently accessible through development, disposition and beyond.
8. Preserve Institutional Knowledge & Data
Used correctly, historical comps and deal data can provide insights that become your competitive advantage. But without the right software, this data can become a burden, rather than a roadmap to the best market insights. One crucial goal of deal management software is to preserve institutional deal data and knowledge that your team has worked tirelessly to aggregate.
Spreadsheets can meet these needs for smaller teams, but at a certain point, become unsuitable for institutional use. It’s not uncommon for teams to create duplicative spreadsheets, which raises a critical, yet difficult question to answer: where is the most up-to-date data located?
The best deal management platforms act as a single source of truth for everyone on real estate investment teams by retaining all deal data. Once new data becomes available, these data fields can be easily updated, with changes reflected in related models, reports, and dashboards. Your team can reference this data at any point to conduct market analyses, reference historical comps, and for deal-specific information, without concerns about data inaccuracies or data locations clouding your process.
Why Blackstone Uses Dealpath As a Deal Management Platform
To successfully invest at scale, you need fast, simplified access not only to your data, but helpful reports that visualize and illustrate market trends.
Watch the video below to learn more about why Blackstone Real Estate uses Dealpath as their deal management platform to leverage institutional data and knowledge.