The pros and cons of virtual pitching: Client engagement vs. the bottom line

November 12, 2021

The shift to virtual meetings during the pandemic forced a change in the dynamics of dealmaking among bankers and their clients. As traveling ground to a halt, pitches and networking activities had to be conducted virtually. Despite this paradigm shift, 2020 was a banner year for M&A deals and 2021 is set to be even stronger. Although many dealmakers yearn for the return to in-person collaboration, virtual dealmaking revealed many benefits that will likely last beyond the pandemic.

The pros: Cost, carbon footprint and tech adoption have risen up the agenda

Information security, compliance and collaboration play a big part in pitchbook creation, and although the industry was quick to adapt to virtual pitching, there were significant data security challenges, with The Deal survey revealing that 73% of dealmakers citing cyber security as their biggest concern in virtual pitching. Most financial institutions have strict infosec policies which require sensitive information to remain in their offices, behind their firewalls. The lockdown forced businesses to make rapid adjustments to their networks to allow dealmakers and their support teams to work remotely. Along with connectivity and compatibility issues (i.e. some companies firewalling Zoom), many dealmakers found themselves frustrated when trying to virtually collaborate with clients, colleagues and support staff.

The other hurdle of virtual dealmaking is the ability to build new relationships. In the M&A and transactional world, where relationships are king, 70% of bankers surveyed by The Deal said that the lack of in-person networking events hindered their ability to secure new clients and 58% said the inability to build personal relationships further complicated the process of getting deals done.

The pros will stay and the cons can be overcome

Despite the challenges, the most successful banks have been quick to acquire technologies focusing on cyber security and collaboration. Additionally, more business leaders are turning to outsourcing partners to help meet rising support demands; providers with expert presentations and design teams that build creative pitches that communicate to clients with impact. It’s imperative that these outsourcing providers have strong infosec protocols and can rapidly and securely deploy workflow technology that helps dealmakers track end-to-end pitchbook creation. The combination of expertise and workflow management gives dealmakers access to greater design expertise while having complete chain of custody of client facing collateral from start to finish.

In-person networking events are slowly coming back as dealmakers and their clients mostly take a hybrid approach to office returns and face-to-face meetings. There will always be a place for in-person interactions, but with client pressure to keep business transactions fluid, ESG rising to the fore, and the cost benefits of traveling only when needed, virtual pitching is here to stay.

To find out more on the future of virtual pitches, processes and transactions in the dealmaking system, download the future of virtual dealmaking,done in partnership with The Deal.

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