How to Choose the Right Family Office Database
As I have discussed in other articles there are many different Family Office list resources to choose from. Many are quite worthless, some are very good, and a few are outstanding. I trust the following will provide you with some guidance on how to tell which family office database resources are worth your investment, if you are looking to use them to compliment your efforts to raise capital, or perhaps enhance your marketing activities, within your company.
Here are some basic criteria to watch out for when choosing a Family Office database resource:
Reject web-only resources. If you cannot export to a common spreadsheet format such as Excel or even basic CSV it will cause you a load of additional grief to be able to exploit the data. With web-only resources you lose the ability to upload the data to your customer relationship management (CRM) system. For this you will commonly need XLS(X) or CSV. Also, depending upon how solid the company is that you purchase the service from, if it is web-only you risk losing access to the data altogether in the event the vendor goes belly up without warning, or if you miss a subscription payment you will most likely find your account suspended and your access to the data is denied. For my money, why even risk it? Go with a company that provides the data for download in a common format.
Avoid companies that insist on sending you a CD or a DVD with a code that locks the use of it to one computer. Seriously, where do we find these people? This is so archaic that it should not rate a mention but I have come across a few dinosaurs like this. Information must flow freely, and frequently. CD’s & DVD’s are neither and typically anything that wants to lock use to one system can be a costly technical nightmare when you realise that this is impractical.
Always work with an organisation that displays their team publicly on their website with biographies of all of the team members; or at least the key team members. Also expect to see phone numbers, possibly email addresses, and most certainly a professional looking website. Bottom line, ask yourself whether they look like they are a real business; more specifically do they look like they are a real business that has the skills and ability to develop, maintain and update a Family Office database resource seriously?
Always consider the refund policy of each company you are evaluating. You might not expect it but the terms and conditions of refund can differ dramatically from one vendor to another.
Be quite particular and consider carefully the future update process. How will you ensure the Family Office directory you purchase today is kept up-to-date into the future? Obviously you and your team could update the list internally, but if you have chosen the right vendor, it will be much more cost effective to subscribe semi-annually, annually or bi-annually for automatic updates. Check whether your Family Office resource provider offers this service and subscribe. In reality, it isn’t that you are not able to maintain and update the Family Office list yourself. It is simply that the vendor is probably better positioned to do it and if, as said, you have chosen wisely they will be expert at updating and maintaining Family Office lists. A subscription could save you and your team hundreds of hours.
I trust that you will ultimately connect with a vendor of a higher quality for your Family Office database, and when you do, and start to use it, I wish you the very best of luck in your fundraising activities.