The M&A Market Has Specialized By Industry. Why Your Business Development Strategy Should Too.


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Nicholas Donato: Hello and welcome to our virtual roundtable here where we are going to be talking about how to use your sector expertise for business development purposes, and we want to explore that topic because as you all know, the M&A market is becoming increasingly sliced by industry vertical. And I suppose now you can even argue by industry sub vertical. We’re seeing both buyers and sellers become really good at getting to know their few key target industries as opposed to the general strategy, which doesn’t necessarily offer the same level of depth. But what we’re not seeing is M&A advisors and private equity firms always use that industry knowledge in how they’re reaching prospects, whether that be a new client on the sales side or a new LP if you’re in private equity. But before we begin, allow me to quickly introduce myself. I’m Nick Donato. I’m an industry specialist here at Navatar, which provides cloud software to manage your deals, investors and clients.

And I’m joined here today by three deal specialists who are finding new ways to use that industry knowledge of specific sectors to enhance relationships with both again, prospects and current clients. In fact, one of her speakers told me already just recently that his bank is becoming something more of an information broker in his target industry as opposed to just your traditional investment bank.

All three of our speakers will introduce themselves shortly. Before that, I want to quickly get through some housekeeping. If you have any questions, in fact I encourage you to submit questions. We’ll be happy to field them at the end of our discussion, which as your moderator, I’m going to try to keep to around 30 minutes or so. Just use the GoToWebinar widget tool that should be on your screen there, and also only because this comes up a lot. Yes, a recording of today’s broadcast will be emailed out to everybody so just look for that in your inbox in the coming days, I’m going to say. I should mention too that all three of our speakers are Navatar clients.

So if we move onto the next slide here, I can give you some background on us. Navatar is the leading cloud software provider that is solely focused on the private capital market. But what we have done is built out a platform that can manage your investors, clients, deals, and portfolio. We are the leaders in our space with over 600 customers across 35 countries. And in the context of today’s webinar, I should mention too that we have developed a number of business development tools and work flows that make it easier for you to segment your prospects by industry and really just tailor your messaging. I believe our speakers will touch on some of those points so I may bring in our COO Ketan Khandkar who is with us here today to show what some of those points look like from a visual perspective. Before all that, let’s meet our round table. I’m joined here today by Clint Bundy of Bundy Group, an M&A advisor, Alex Koles of Evolve Capital, also an M&A advisor and Brian Weisenberger who’s going to be our private equity rep. Clint let’s start with you.

Clint Bundy: Hi I’m Clint Bundy, and we are a nearly 30-year-old boutique investment bank, family investment bank based in Charlotte, North Carolina and Roanoke, Virginia. And I’m looking forward to participating in the webinar today.

Nicholas Donato: Thanks Clint, and then if we could move onto Alex.

Alex Koles: Yes, thank you. Hi, I’m Alex Koles, the CEO and managing director and founder of Evolve Capital Partners. We’re a New York-based specialized investment bank. We focus exclusively on companies at the intersection of finance and technology, more Fintech than anything. Typically our clients have enterprise values of about $30 million and above, and we have a global reach across the broader Fintech space across the world.

Nicholas Donato: And Brian?

Brian Weisenberger: Thanks, Nick. I am the executive director at Ascendant Capital focused on product development and due diligence. Ascendant is actually the exclusive capital markets and client services group for GPB Capital. GPB is a $1.4 billion alternative asset management firm that’s focused on acquiring profitable cash flowing businesses in mature industries and then providing income generating solutions to investors. GPB focuses primarily in a few select industries including automotive retail, waste management, managed IT services, and healthcare.

Nicholas Donato: Thanks to all of you, and I’ve been thinking about this. The best way to set the table here and what I would think makes sense to kick off our conversation would be to first, to define what it means to be a specialist today. We know that this is an ongoing trend. It has been increasing over the years, but if you could all provide some perspective on what exactly constitutes a specialist in today’s deal market, I think it would help provide some perspective. Clint, let’s start with you.

Clint Bundy: Yeah, thanks Nick. I think in terms of what I’ve seen in market is that over the past, call it five to 10 years, you’ve seen this corporate investment banking mentality of industry specialization permeate down in the middle or the lower middle markets, and I think the way I would characterize it today is to be a specialist you have to have some niches or industries that your firm knows well and where your name carries or else you’re really just a commodity. For our firm, we’ve got certain parts of healthcare services, controls on automation, transportation and logistics that we have spent a great deal of time investing our energy into and building our name in. And to your point of are there firms out there that mischaracterize themselves as specialists? My answer to that would be, “Yes, there are, but I think business owners are much more keen and smarter today.

Alex Koles: I guess in defense in some aspects of generalists. A lot of qualified CEO’s or it’s management teams are going to see right through to your understanding of the ecosystem. For example, we focus on essentially Fintech types of companies. And a lot of our clients, they sell into financial institutions. And just understanding that ecosystem hold, as an example who they sell to, how they price, contract terms, etcetera, that gives us a really strong advantage when it comes to selling or financing the company because we understand the ecosystem, and I think boards, CEOs, owners are very attuned to that in today’s market.

Brian Weisenberger: This is Brian. The only other thing I would add to that, and we’re a little different because we’re obviously on the private equity and asset management side, is that we focus and specialize really in two different directions. On the investment side, we’ve identified very specific industries and then identified a thesis around how we expect to and intend to invest in those industries, usually through an aggregation strategy across those industries. But we’ve also specialized on the other end of the spectrum, which is, we provide very specific and specialized investment solutions for our limited partners entering our funds. We structure investments that take advantage of the unique qualities of the industries we’re investing in, and namely we provide an income solution through our private equity investing to investors. We’re really specializing in each direction.

Nicholas Donato: If I could ask the roundtable too, because with this increasing specialization trends, something that I mentioned during the intro, was that we are now seeing more M&A advisors in private equity firms go down into sub-vertical. You may no longer be a healthcare specialist you may be a pharmaceutical specialist, that things are becoming even more refined. Your feedback or your advice on just how refined things should go?

Brian Weisenberger: Yeah, this is Brian. I can speak to that. It depends on the industry for us. automotive retail where we acquire car dealerships is not one where there’s a sub-specialization, you actually want to have the diversification across all the different manufacturers. Whereas we do have a vertical investing and managed IT services companies, and we’ve drove in very specifically to a niche of the managed IT services industry in which we focus on healthcare-related companies that have certain types of protection and requirements around electronic healthcare records, HIPAA requirements, so that has been to our advantage from an acquisition perspective. It makes it easier for us to identify very specific attributes of companies we want to acquire and manage.

Alex Koles: As an investment banker being very, very, very specialized is a double edge sword. So as an example, within one of our areas of coverage, payments, that’s a very large area, but you can drill down very deep into payments. It’s massive. There’s international remittance, you have networks stuff like that. We like to keep it a little bit higher at the more broad level where we can specialize or jump into different areas within payments and pivot across that broader payment space. At least you know from the banking perspective for our purposes.

Nicholas Donato: Clint, could you give us some insight of what it means to leverage those opportunities as a specialist…

Clint Bundy: It’s providing newsletters to M&A and capital activity. It’s developing the relationships with executive directors of state and national conferences who recognize us as being the go-to resource and willing to stand in front of those executive directors and what have you to get on the speaking circuit. But we’ve certainly seen a huge jump in our credibility.

Nicholas Donato: And in general strategy, because I know that many of you will have seen it from both sides. What it means to reach your prospect working at a generalist’s firm or bank as well as this newer specialist route. Alex, if we were to start with you, let’s talk about what it means to market as a generalist, to define the old school way of doing things.

Alex Koles: That’s a good question. I really haven’t been a generalist in my life, but I’ll go to a time in my professional career when I was a generalist, but I had a very specialized product. That’s when I did restructurings for large companies from about ’08 till about ’11 or ’12. We were generalists in nature, but again like I said, very specialized product, so we would chase a whole host of industries and a whole host of private equity funds, a whole host of debt investors, and what I found challenging and hard about that is, you always had a 75,000 foot view of the industry. You could always reference some transactions that your firm had worked on. Thankfully, we had a large bench and a large set of transactions at BDO. But really coming in and being able to speak about specific deals, the rational, the actors in those deals, evaluations, it was very, very challenging. And I found it more difficult to market to our clients as a generalist in that case.

And oftentimes, we would go pitch against a specialist who also had restructuring experience, the same product as we had and oftentimes if it was a… let’s say, it’s a retailer. It was a specialist in the retail space who had a specialization in restructuring that would more often than not go to them, so I found that we had a great product, big bench, a lot of experience, but all over the place. I found that to be a little bit harder to educate our potential clients and really have, as Clinton had mentioned initially, that open exchange of information and having this two-way street. It was more like we would show up and hope we could get something, but not give as much back to them during the exchange, and that was very frustrating. That really opened my eye, personally.

Clint Bundy: This is Clint. I’ll just add that, many moons ago, when Bundy Group would define ourselves as a generalist, I think what I would is say that our trend of going from a generalist to more of a specialist, it follows this same arc of this growth in the information age and the aggregation age, and frankly, the growth of the sophistication of the business owners. And back when my father started this firm in 1989, and frankly though most of the ’90s and early 2000’s, most owners didn’t even know what EBITDA was, much less who the best buyers were and then all of the sudden you have the inflection point of the internet and information sharing, and just a higher sophistication degree among the owners, which in turn the owners pushed the investment bankers to be smarter, to know more. The pitch that we all as investment bankers had to change and the specialization we’ve had to accumulate is just a result of just the increasing awareness and intelligence of the owners out there, and CEOs, and industry consultants, etcetera.

Brian Weisenberger: This is Brian, from my perspective, and I think obviously as a private equity firm, I’ve got a little different perspective than Clint and Alex, because when I’m talking about marketing, it’s really in attracting LPs to our offerings. And we target investors from a very wide range of areas. All the way from high net worth individuals to the largest institutions. But in terms of generalist versus specialist, for us in communicating with those prospects, the difference from my perspective is that I’m not going into a meeting talking about the merits of private equity investing. Generally, it allows me to go a layer deeper and really talk about the specific industries that we’re investing in, and again, the thesis that we have as it relates to how we intend to approach that industry. I think it’s a more meaningful conversation only because truthfully, unless you’re Carlyle, KKR or Blackstone and you can lean on a very long track record, speaking about private equity generally is not enough today without having something more specific to talk about in the industries that we expect to invest in.

Nicholas Donato: Right, if we could expand on that point too. Now that we’ve identified the old school way of doing things, we can jump more into how you are reaching prospects with this specialist mentality, creating a more reciprocal exchange with your prospects. Can you provide any more detail on how you do that? The initial stages of the relationship?

Brian Weisenberger: Yeah I sure can, and it evolved for us. We’re a relatively young firm that’s grown quite a bit over the last several years, so as we were starting, we were really pointing towards a thesis and towards case studies of how people have executed within our target industries previously. It has now quite shifted to having a track record of having done it. We’ve acquired over 100 companies as a firm over the last several years and so we can now again, take that conversation even deeper in a meeting and talk about how we are executing on a strategy as opposed to how we intend on executing it. Our meetings tend to be very granular. We point to the actual companies that we are operating and how they’re performing, and what our outlook is on the industry and the companies in particular, so it’s very hand-to-hand from that standpoint. We think the best way to approach it from a marketing perspective is to get as detailed as possible.

Nicholas Donato: And then Clint or Alex, same question to you. As specialists, how you’re creating that initial reciprocal exchange of information with your prospects?

Clint Bundy: Well, this is Clint. From what I’d said from our standpoint is and I don’t think at the end if the day there’s any secret sauce here, whether you’re a private equity group or an investment bank. You’ve got to pick the right industry or industries for you based on your research, and you just have to invest in the time to build up your Rolodex and build up your knowledge base and then figure out how you’re going to do the outreach to them. That’s to put the plug in for Navatar here, that’s where getting organized using a common CRM system that can also help you track deals allows you to build from the ground up and be organized from day one, and you’ve got to do a lot of the just research that relates to understanding the industry and going to the trade shows, and really just a boot on the ground mentality. I think it’s just an investment of time and energy and full disclosure. While we’ve got a lot of successes to our credit, we’ve had one or two failures on the industry investment side and that happens, and it’s trial and error and sometimes it’s a lot of error before you figure out what fits from an industry perspective.

Alex Koles: This is Alex. I would agree with Clint 100 percent. I’ve come to find over the last five or six years that our Fintech expertise, it’s highly beneficial because our channels, which I define as investors, conferences, personal relationships, most are through direct marketing. It’s a two-way street of sharing information and again, I have to say Clint describes it very, very well. Hits the head on the nail. To give an example, since mid-May through today because I track this using the Navatar system, I have personally held about 350 separate meetings all across the globe and here in New York as well too. All over. And a lot of these prospects or existing relationships, they’re looking for a flow of information. 249 out of the 250 probably won’t result in an immediate transaction, but it’s relationship building and you have to do the basic blocking and tackling, exchanging information, being at conferences, and being that industry participant really to drive that forward.

Nicholas Donato: It’s interesting that you say that. Would you guys say that there’s any value left in the cold call approach? Is that still even useful, or has the specialist strategy really recommending that that initial relationship is either built through that trade show or something else that creates it? More of a warm lead?

Alex Koles: This is Alex. Can I jump in real quick? Cold calling is very, very, very, very difficult. We had one instance where we had a cold call in to a prior client, LeaseDimensions who was ultimately sold to Genpact, but it wasn’t cold in a way, because LeaseDimensions actually was a client of our client, so we kind of knew of each other. Really had never interacted. I had a referral opportunity that was business development related, but LeaseDimensions as they had a great reputation, made a cold call in, passed the business development opportunity off to the management team. That became a piece of business with them, and then we developed a relationship, so that’s kind of a one off. But I think cold calling where you’re separated by the second-degree is okay in certain instances where you have some common friends or common business relationships, but otherwise, it’s very, very, very, very, very difficult.

Brian Weisenberger: This is Brian. If I change directions a little bit from what I’ve been talking about in the past and talk about cold calling on the acquisition target side of things from a private equity perspective. I totally agree. We focus in industries in which we’re generally acquiring companies where there are publicly traded competitors in this space and so our biggest initiative on that side is to be at trade organizations, conferences to make our presence known in this space as a firm that specializes in those industries because very often we’re competing against very well-known entities and publicly traded companies that are seeking to acquire similar-type companies. The cold call from that perspective does not work unless it comes with some recognition on the front end, but it’s much more helpful for us to have either a referral from an existing acquired company or some recognition through a trade publication or conference.

Clint Bundy: I agree with both comments made, especially Alex’s comment about the second degree call where maybe you don’t know each other directly or imminent direct referral, but you’ve got some common connection to the industry or relationships. I think that to me is not a cold call, so I agree with both comments by Alex and Brian.

Nicholas Donato: And Clint, keeping with you, if we could get your thoughts on just how the market is responding to those initiatives. We have evolved to a large extent past the cold call. How are prospects responding to these things?

Clint Bundy: Well, from Bundy Groups perspective, but I think what I would caution anyone who’s beginning to analyze and attack what markets, niches to attack, is don’t expect overnight success. It’s about consistency of information, followed by of course what really counts, which is successful execution on client engagements. And if you think one email or one phone call’s going to get you across the goal line with 10 potential clients and get you new engagements, that would be a false sense in most cases. And so I think it’s all about the consistency followed with the information provided and especially the execution of client engagements. And our reception’s been really good even in the past, call it month, within a couple of our sectors. We’ve seen our pipeline pickup pretty substantially based on information that we’ve been sending out through some e-news blasts as well as some follow up conversations that we’ve had and referrals.

Nicholas Donato: Now to Alex in terms of how prospects are responding to these new evolved approaches?

Alex Koles: I would say real quick, potential clients, funds others are responding very well. Now one thing I have found over the years is that if you are reaching out to the market or to a particular person, company, fund, having some form of rationale especially if you don’t know that person. I’m reaching out because you invested in XYZ company, and we know another company that could be a good add on if you’re a private equity fund, or if it’s a company reference, a transaction or reference a transaction that you’ve worked on. Having some rationale as it ties to your space, as it ties to that person you’re engaging with, that carries so much weight in my experience and shows that you’re a sector expert whereas if you just send out a blast email saying, “Hey, I’m in town and I’d like to discuss market trends with you,” more the generalist approach, your success rate’s going to be a little bit lower. I’d say these initiatives from a wholistic perspective, they’re paying off fantastic.

Brian Weisenberger: Yeah, not totally unrelated from my perspective is that I’d say that the best success that we have as a private equity firm is word of mouth from the companies that we’ve acquired. We position ourselves and our industries as partner capital and expansion capital, and so what we tend to see the most success and where we’ve seen the most success in approaching new acquisition targets is when they have some type of knowledge or relationship with someone that we have already engaged with and we’ve already provided private capital to. And then that experience with that prior acquisition goes head and shoulders above any other information that I can provide than outside of the relationship that they may have with an existing partner of ours.

Nicholas Donato: We’ve been talking about how to reach prospects and it’s good to hear that they are responding well. What I would like to do now is talk the actual execution of those strategies. What are the actual tools, practices, or technology that you are using to execute on these new best practices, and let’s start with you, Alex.

Alex Koles: Yeah, we use a whole host of technology. Well, actually we just use Navatar exclusively for our CRM and business development tracking. Also for deal tracking. It’s a great platform. But also from an information or data prospective. We subscribe to a whole host of newsletters and databases and publications and a lot of this gets integrated again into the Navatar platform and this allows us to be very targeted if members of our team are traveling to a certain area or help manage campaigns with conferences or against certain areas that we’re tackling, and it keeps us very organized. But again, we supplement it with external data sources such as PitchBook, or FactSet, or Capital IQ and having a robust platform here has allowed us to stay on top of the current market trends, data, new prospects, and existing prospects. It’s a holistic approach because if you’re managing all this stuff in an Excel sheet or your Outlook, you’re really not allowing yourself to fully disseminate information that you have with the broader marketplace, so it’s really a holistic approach. At least in our experience.

Clint Bundy: This is Clint. At the risk of us making it sound like a Navatar sales commercial, I’m going to second pretty much everything Alex said. For us our Navatar system is our central nervous system. We’re an investment bank so we don’t have equipment, or inventory, our inventory are our relationships, which is where we house them in the Navatar system, so our associates are probably in there in the system many times in an hour, setting up deal rooms, taking notes from meetings that we’ve had, or phone conversations we’ve had. And I think my best piece of advice whether it be a private equity group or an investment bank is get organized early using a system like Navatar. I felt like we were out of the curve when we set up our Navatar system and started using it appropriately, but the truth is in hindsight I probably would have started using it two or three years even earlier. And I think it would’ve made a huge difference so that’s from the execution standpoint, it’s the Navatar system coupled with of course external resources, like trade publications and industry relationships and what have you.

Brian Weisenberger: I guess we might as well make it a three-for-three on the Navatar plug. At GPB we’re relatively new to the Navatar system and we’re using it for a number of different purposes, but I think from our perspective, the most important is to manage our deal flow and pipeline. We’re a little atypical as a private equity firm in that we acquire, unlike most firms that acquire, call it four or five companies a year, we acquire two or three companies a month. And so we also deploy that capital and acquire those companies in real time. We raise capital on a monthly basis, and we deploy it at the time that we raise it, so we have to keep a very large pipeline of deals across our sectors as you might imagine. It can range in 10 to 20 of different companies across each industry at any given time, and so we came to Navatar to really organize that process and it has been extremely effective for us in maintaining the pipeline, but also then in management reporting and several other factors as it relates to the portfolio companies that we now run.

Alex Koles: I was going to say Brian, that’s interesting and it sounds like you have a lot going on. And on the flip side to the benefit of the funds, or the clients, or the investors, or the people we’re meeting on the other side of the table, especially who you’ve met with in multiple times over many years, it’s really helpful to have one spot where you can pull up past meeting logs. Whether if it’s input by myself, or my analyst, or my coworker and then see what we’ve communicated with them in the past, so when I walk in the door I can jog my memory and really pick up that conversation and just having a decentralized spot is not effective for that. Especially if you have multiple people working at your organization. I’ve found that to be so beneficial over the last several years using this system.

Clint Bundy: I agree with the use of tracking meeting notes and also have the deal room is key because I can have a potential client call me any point and say, “Can you give me a quick debrief on potential buyers or investors for my firm?” And if I’ve had a deal room up and going and been populating it with private equity groups and strategic buyers, I can turn that information around pretty quickly on a client-specific basis.

Nicholas Donato: And we do appreciate those mentions because what we are doing is we speak to M&A advisors and private equity firms on an everyday basis, and the entire goal is to develop new business development workflows to make your own day job easier. In fact, this also creates a very easy segue-way for me. What we can do is show you those exact workflows so we can give you some of the tools that people are using to reach their prospects. I have Ketan who is here with me. Ketan if you could in five minutes or less give us a demonstration of exactly what some of these workflows that we’ve been talking about here look like visually.

[Live Demo]

Nicholas Donato: Thanks Ketan. I do think it’s important to always give a visual representation of what exactly we’re talking about, so that’s appreciated. We do have a few questions that are coming in for our panel here. I’m going to keep your names anonymous and paraphrase a bit here, but someone is asking how do you know when, as a specialist, that you’ve chosen the wrong sector? How do you know when to call it quits, in other words?

Clint Bundy: Well, this is Clint Bundy. Since I’m the one who mentioned that we had had a stubbed toe or two in the past, I’ll take first crack at it. I think a lot of it is just instinct. For us, it was back in more like seven, eight years ago, we focused on a subset of, let’s call it infrastructure and construction, and we did the trade shows circuit a little bit. We certainly had a number of potential client engagements. But for us, we frankly didn’t enjoy the owners that we were working with, we didn’t really feel like our efforts were highly valued by that subset of owners. Our market timing probably wasn’t great, and ultimately it was just an opportunity cost for us. I think if we’d have just hung in there, we would of, I know actually we would have seen probably at least a decent uptick in pipeline, but at some point, I think you just have to… The opportunity and cost measurement and say, “Our time and effort is probably better spent elsewhere.” And I think it’s a month-by-month, or maybe a quarter-by-quarter judgment, but it’s not a week-by-week judgment. You got to give yourself more time than that.

Nicholas Donato: Brian or Alex, I know it’s not the easiest question, but when do you know when you’ve chosen the wrong sector?

Alex Koles: This is Alex. To put it bluntly, or nicely, or directly, it’s when you see a lot of unprofitable companies with a lot of bankruptcies and distress situations. We’d looked at a very specialized area within the specialty finance sector around infrastructure four, five, six years ago, and was very very challenged. And one thing I noticed as well was there was less competition from investment bankers for these situations. I think a sector that has a healthy amount of competition is an indication of a sector that has a lot of transactions and that might be successful or is being successful, but this particular area that we were focused on, oftentimes we were just the only person or the only group that was looking at the opportunity. I think a little bit of competition is a sign that the sector is viewed favorably. If you’re the only one there, maybe you found a gold diamond, but otherwise might be a red flag.

Nicholas Donato: Yes, yes. That’s a good point. We have another question coming in. Someone is asking about the type of information or the type of sector analysis that you’re including in your deliverables like newsletters. I guess where you’re getting that information and what type of exact information are you sending?

Alex Koles: Sure, this is Alex here. In terms of the information that we do send out, it takes a lot of work to assemble this. And the information sources come from a variety of databases, conferences, proprietary information. But maybe a little bit more important than all of those is we understand the investment themes and the trends within the industry and through transaction experience and being sector experts in the Fintech space, we’re able to convey that into our newsletters or monthly round ups and stuff like that. Also one thing to keep in mind when you do send out materials is if you’re in the transaction business like we are, probably the same for our private equity friend here, just discussing comps and valuations or performances. Also something you should always convey as well too because that’s what we’re all the experts at.

Clint Bundy: Yeah, this is Clint. I’ll just add. I agree with everything Alex said. I think ultimately that it’s a boot on the ground effort and the benefit of being a specialist is it’s not just that you get that close deal announcement in this space where you get the industry publication that announces trends. But it’s most importantly, it’s the fact that as a specialist you should be talking to either strategic buyers, private equity groups, business owners on a weekly basis who are feeding you what their observations are on the industry, which you then in turn can recycle and put it more of a macro level and feed it back to an audience. And I think that’s the benefit of being a specialist is you can do that and provide those summaries and information.

Brian Weisenberger: Yeah, this is Brian. I agree 100 percent. In addition to all those different resources in terms of industry, industry papers, and other resources. We work with a number of different investment banks to get more transactional information and understanding of where the industries that we’re operating in go to. We’ve also in a couple of industries that we operate in hit a critical mass in which we’ve got a number of different companies in which, from an investor reporting perspective, we’re able to transition from not just providing industry data from generalist sources, but also provide a lot more detailed information about the actual portfolio companies that we own and operate. And so we can compare and contrast as to what our portfolio companies are doing compared to what the overall trends in the marketplace are, which I think has provided a lot of value at.

Nicholas Donato: We have another question that’s come in here. Someone’s asking for tips or best practices for increasing the response rate for when you’re reaching out to a privately held business in the mid market. I’m guessing that this is slightly related to the cold call approach or how you first begin that relationship, if anyone wants to field that one.

Clint Bundy: I think this goes back to again not a secret sauce. It’s just the consistency of following up, but following up with information, setting up meetings, common events like industry trade shows, and just keep feeding them information either by email, letter, scheduled phone call, and the consistency more times than not on these warm calls, let’s call them. That consistency will usually yield a decent success rate. I’m not saying you’re going to bat 1000, but I think that’s the best approach I’ve been known to take. Alex, feel free to agree or disagree.

Alex Koles: I agree, and again having that second-degree connection or relationship always helps in referencing common relationships and transactions and being persistent. I would add that, but I think Clint has hit it right on the head.

Nicholas Donato: Yeah, and just wrapping things up here, I think that has been the main takeaway that the more that you immerse yourself in your own target sectors and the more that you are providing meaningful information to the prospects that you’re reaching, so sending out newsletters or commentaries, broken down by that sector, the better response rate that you’re going to get. So that’s it folks. I want to thank Clint Bundy of Bundy Group, Alex Koles of Evolve Capital Partners, and Brian Weisenberger of Ascendant Capital for joining us here today and for providing us with a great conversation. If you have questions for any of us including myself, you can see our contact information on that last slide there.

I should mention again too that these slides as well as the recording of today’s conversation will be e-mailed out, so just look for that in your inbox. And I should mention too that Navatar regularly produces these types of thought leadership webinars. In fact on September 28th, we are doing another M&A focused webinar with out friends at ACG, which is a trade body I’m sure that many of you are familiar with, and we’re going to be talking about some of the known, unknown cross border risks when you are involved in an M&A transaction. You can go to to sign up for that. Again on behalf of our panel I wish you all a fine Tuesday. Take care.