What’s a day in the life look like in BD in PE / Growth Equity?

Interested to learn a little more of what a day or week in the life looks like in a BD sourcing role.

I know some shops are more methodically and don’t do any outbound but I’d be really curious to hear from those who are at shops operating large outbound motions (I.e Summit, TA, etc)

 

Based on the most helpful WSO content, a day in the life of someone in BD (Business Development) or a sourcing role in PE (Private Equity) / Growth Equity can vary significantly depending on the firm's approach to sourcing deals. However, there are common elements across most experiences, especially in firms that engage in large outbound motions, such as Summit or TA Associates. Here's a breakdown to give you a clearer picture:

  • Morning Routine (Start of the Day):

    • Begin the day by reviewing industry news, updates on potential targets, and any overnight developments that might impact ongoing deals or sourcing efforts.
    • Check emails for any responses from outreach efforts, updates from the team, or news alerts on potential companies of interest.
  • Mid-Morning to Early Afternoon (Outbound Efforts & Meetings):

    • Engage in outbound efforts, which could include cold emailing or calling potential targets. This is a significant part of the day for those in roles with a heavy emphasis on outbound sourcing.
    • Attend internal meetings to discuss the status of ongoing deals, potential targets, and strategies for approaching new sectors or companies.
    • For those at shops like Summit or TA Associates, where outbound motions are substantial, this time might also involve strategizing new outreach campaigns or refining the messaging for different industries.
  • Late Afternoon (Research & Networking):

    • Conduct research on potential companies, including financial analysis, market positioning, and growth potential. This might involve deep dives into specific sectors or companies that have responded positively to initial outreach.
    • Network with industry contacts, including attending webinars, virtual conferences, or in-person events (depending on the situation). Building relationships is key in BD and sourcing roles, as it can lead to warm introductions and insights into potential deals.
  • End of the Day (Review & Planning):

    • Review the day's progress, including any new leads generated, responses received, and updates on ongoing discussions with potential targets.
    • Plan for the next day, including setting up meetings, prioritizing outreach efforts, and allocating time for research on new sectors or companies.
  • Weekly or Bi-weekly Activities:

    • Participate in team meetings to discuss broader strategies, share insights across different sectors, and review the pipeline of potential deals.
    • Engage in continuous learning, such as attending training sessions on negotiation, financial modeling, or sector-specific trends, to enhance skills relevant to BD and sourcing roles.

It's important to note that while outbound efforts are a significant part of the role, especially in firms operating large outbound motions, the job also involves a mix of research, internal strategy discussions, and networking. The balance between these activities can vary based on the firm's strategy, the individual's role within the BD team, and the current focus areas for sourcing new deals.

Sources: Why the hate towards growth PE / sourcing (e.g. KKR Tech)?, The rise of business development roles in the industry, Advice Please! Growth Equity Interview Questions?, Why The Hate on Sourcing?, Lead Edge Capital - Growth Equity Info

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Happy to provide some color, though I will say it highly varies day-to-day, week-to-week, etc. I spend the vast majority of my time sourcing but also am spearheading execution and PortCo work when applicable.

At a high level, (to use this week as an example) my week thus far has consisted of roughly 60% prospect calls, 15% designing and launching a niche marketing campaign, 15% banker calls, and 10% reviewing CIMs. As I alluded to above, this highly varies depending on what stage I am in with prospects. There are some weeks I am neck deep in diligence performing customer/churn analyses, competition maps, etc. (usually takes 1-3 calls to reach this step) but I probably only spend 15-20% of my time max all year in these workstreams. My firm is very specific about what we look for so I can typically diagnose what comprises a realistic target for us quite quickly (saves me from burning a lot of time on an obvious non-fit, which is great). We run a proprietary sourcing engine, so when we request financials, etc. it typically requires a bit more fine tuning given a banker has not organized/beautified them.

 

Very helpful - I really appreciate that!

Do you mind shedding a little bit more light on what your can regarding the prop sourcing?

That seems to be all the rage these days and some firms are even building out data science teams here to help but would love to hear more from your perspective from the research to the gathering of target companies to how you think about outreach. 

 

For your insight, I work at a shop that resembles one of the larger, aforementioned funds you mentioned in your initial post. There are a number of ways we’ll iterate upon our strategy but generally speaking I take a top-down, verticalized approach. For example, if I am building out a thesis in the healthcare sector I will typically start out by building a market map to better understand the market and get the big picture view. Think of all the areas that comprise healthcare (which is MASSIVE) - Dentistry, OB/GYN, Cardiology, Physical Therapy, etc. I’ll leverage various resources such as industry reports, ChatGPT (take this with a grain of salt, but it’s very helpful for a starting point), and my personal favorite, triangulating several different market maps via market update decks provided by bankers.

With your fully built market map, you now have a broad, all-encompassing view of the landscape and you can push aside any sub-categories don’t align with your fund’s investment strategy on the surface. From here it is now just a matter of diving into those different pockets and searching for relevant companies using keyword searches, industry reports, business/product reviews, forums, etc.

Once you have your list of target companies, you’ll add them to your CRM, appropriately categorize them, and ultimately push them through to the outreach phase which could consist of cold calls, LinkedIn notes, emails, etc.

The “how” and cadence of your outreach will be highly firm-dependent. This of course is influenced by your seniority/role as well but some shops will be more focused on managing your targets while others will be focused on sourcing new targets (think the software sales equivalent to an Account Manager vs Account Executive).

Hope this help provides some of the clarity you were looking for. Happy to answer any follow up questions.

 

I’m in BD for a MM/UMM buyout fund. Every day is different but my role is all banker coverage (I.e., not direct sourcing / calling on companies). Basically I spend all my time meeting/on calls with bankers, reading CIMs, and figuring out what deals make sense to dig in on. Personally love it and think I have the coolest fucking job in the world despite being massively hungover flying home at the moment. That’s the other fun part of it: getting to travel and see every significant city in the county is cool as fuck.

 

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