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Sterling Team
16-Dec-2020 11:46:43

Anyone who has been involved in running a deal process knows how intense the time pressure can be and how complicated it can get to stay on top of conversations with multiple counterparties. Just transferring documents to the data room and ensuring everyone has the right level of access eats up time and adds to the admin burden on the deal team.

When the heat is on, it can seem easier just to put your head down and forge ahead. But investing a little time at the beginning to discover the smart functions built into your data room can save you a lot of time and pay big dividends into the bargain. Most people use only a fraction of the features available to them and go through the entire process unaware of clever shortcuts that could save hours of precious time.

To help you avoid that trap, here are nine tips to help you make the most of your virtual data room.

Time-saving tricks:

  • Most people are comfortable dragging and dropping document uploads. But did you know you can save your entire folder structure in a zip file and upload the whole thing in one go? The system will unzip it, preserving your structure, make the text searchable and index it too.
  • Every data room has its own email account. This is neat because it means if you receive documents on email that need to be uploaded, you simply forward them to the data room’s email account. Then you just drag and drop them where you want them.
  • Let your counterparties take the strain. Instead of each external party emailing to ask you to add people to their teams, you can delegate the responsibility to a senior user at their end. They just invite their colleagues to access to the data room, the system notifies you each time and you approve them (or not).
  • Redaction does not have to be a time-consuming bore. Instead of sending documents backwards and forwards to the lawyers for redaction, just upload them to the data room and redact them directly within the document index. There is no faster way to get this critical but tedious job done.
  • Data room users ask a lot of questions. If they call or send you emails at all hours of day and night, you will never stop chasing your tail. Instead, the Q&A system lets you control the process. Accept questions only through this channel and you can define how many each team gets to ask per day, according to how much information you want to share with each of them.

Getting the inside track:

  • If users read data room documents online, the system can give you a lot of information about what they are doing. You can check which pages they are looking at and how long they are spending on each page. This can help you work out the questions you are likely to be asked, and in the case of direct competitors it can reveal which information is most valuable to them.
  • But if your users are downloading documents, you will get less information of this sort. Thankfully, there are still ways to see what’s going on. For example, you can check which search terms people are using and which documents they have added to their favourites.

Transparent information trails:

  • Another benefit of your data room having its own email account is that you can email everyone involved in the process from the deal room’s account. This keeps all messages in one secure environment and gives a full electronic record of every communication
  • Similarly, if you decide to use the Q&A function, you can set up workflows that route each question to the best person in your organisation to answer it – anything that’s tagged finance will go to the CFO, HR questions to the HR director, and so on. The system also allows you to create an approval process before answers are sent out. This gives you a complete electronic audit trail of all Q&A communications in one place that is easily searchable.

These features could save you a lot of time and the Sterling Technology customer support team can help you to set all of them up. But the platform has been designed to be as intuitive as possible, and most users will find it straightforward to start using these functions for themselves.

Whichever route you choose, using more of the platform’s built-in features will make your life easier, less stressful and better organised just when you are at your busiest. That’s pretty much the definition of a smart move.