The Ultimate Guide to Investor Targeting
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What Is Investor Targeting?

Investor relations departments are crucial in fostering relationships with existing and potential investors. To attract new investors, investor relations professionals employ a strategy known as investor targeting. Investor targeting involves identifying and reaching out to individuals or institutions who are likely to be interested in investing in a particular company. It can be pivotal to a public company's growth and success.

This guide will explore the importance of investor targeting, the different types of investors, the tools and tactics needed to target investors, and strategies for effective outreach.

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Why Is Investor Targeting Important?

It is essential to understand the crucial role that investor targeting plays in shaping the bottom line of a public company. Strategically identifying and engaging with compatible investors enables companies to attract investors who align with their industry, growth objectives, and long-term vision. 

This alignment increases investor confidence, leading to higher stock prices, improved liquidity, and reduced volatility. Furthermore, targeting investors who understand and appreciate the company's value proposition enhances the likelihood of long-term shareholder support. This stability enables management to focus on executing the company's strategic initiatives without being swayed by short-term market fluctuations. 

Ultimately, the right investor targeting strategy can positively impact a public company's financial performance, shareholder value, and overall bottom line.

Learn more about How To Target Better Investors For Your Company

How Does Investor Targeting Improve Share Price Volatility?

Public companies can establish a solid foundation for their stock price by attracting and retaining compatible investors. The consistent support and long-term perspective of well-aligned investors reduce volatility associated with market fluctuations and short-term investment strategies. Furthermore, well-targeted investors present a lower liquidity risk and a higher willingness to increase their positions in your stock. This stability benefits the company and its shareholders, fostering investor confidence, supporting strategic decision-making, and promoting a favorable market perception.

See Also: The Market Is Volatile — Consider These Tactics To Manage Your Share Price

Why Is Investor Targeting Important In A Bull Market / Strong Economy?

Even in favorable economic conditions, investor targeting is a key pillar of any investor relations strategy. Investor targeting is valuable in a bull market as it enables companies to align strategically with their investors, diversify their shareholder base, capitalize on favorable market sentiment, and build an effective investor relations strategy for the long term. These efforts contribute to the company's long-term growth and sustainability. Here's why:

Strategic Alignment:

Investor targeting ensures that a company attracts investors who align with its long-term growth objectives, business model, and industry focus. Even in a favorable market environment, finding investors who understand and appreciate the company's value proposition is essential. 

Diversification of Shareholder Base:

Targeting investors during a bull market allows companies to diversify their shareholder base. By attracting a broader range of investors, companies can reduce vulnerabilities to corporate activism and foster a positive reputation on the Street.

Learn more about investor activism.

Capitalizing on Momentum:

Investor targeting in a bull market enables companies to capitalize on favorable market sentiment and investor optimism. Identifying and engaging with investors seeking growth opportunities or bullish on the industry can lead to increased investor interest and potentially higher valuations. This can support the company's ability to raise capital and take advantage of favorable market conditions.

Effective Investor Relations:

Investor targeting fosters effective investor relations and is valuable under any economic conditions. Maintaining open lines of communication and engagement with potential investors is crucial for conveying the company's strategic narrative and fostering positive relationships in the investment community. Proactive investor relations efforts help companies build and maintain strong relationships, which can contribute to long-term shareholder support and create a stable foundation to weather potential market shifts.

Strengthen Your RI Department

Why Is Investor Targeting Important In A Bear Market / Recession?

For several reasons, investor targeting becomes particularly important during a bear market or recession. Investor targeting benefits companies by increasing access to capital, reducing volatility, taking control of the narrative, and enabling the long-term growth opportunities essential for weathering poor economic conditions.

Access to Capital:

In bear markets, accessing new capital may become more challenging. Investor targeting allows companies to identify potential investors more willing to invest in uncertain market conditions. These investors may have specific investment mandates that align with the company's recovery potential, which can help to secure capital to support ongoing operational needs and fund growth initiatives. 

Reduced Volatility:

During challenging economic conditions, investor targeting helps to attract stable and committed investors who are more likely to maintain their positions even when faced with market downturns. For example, if your share ownership is hedge-fund heavy, you might consider using investor targeting to find investors with a longer trade horizon. These investors can stabilize the shareholder base and reduce the pressure to sell stock. 

Controlling The Narrative:

In a recession, companies may need to adjust their strategies to focus on resilience and expense reduction. It is critical at this juncture to ensure that analysts and investors understand and embrace your strategic direction. Proactive investor relations strategies, including investor targeting and outreach, create opportunities to ensure the investment community is confident in your approach. 

See Also: Experts Share Their Tips on Storytelling for Investor Relations

Long-Term Growth Opportunities:

Economic downturns can create unique investment opportunities as valuations may be favorable to investors. Investor targeting enables companies to identify investors with the financial capability and willingness to take advantage of these opportunities. 

How Do IROs Target Investors?

Investor targeting is a proactive approach to investor relations that can build relationships and attract new investors through investor profiling, market research, networking, and strategic communication. Here are some of the tactics used within an investor targeting strategy. 

Investor Profiling: 

You can profile potential investors based on various criteria, including:

  • Organization type,
  • Title/Role,
  • Sector and sub-sector focus, 
  • Geographic location, 
  • Assets under management (AUM),
  • Investor style,
  • Investment in peers 

This helps in creating a target list of investors who are a good fit for the company and eliminating those who are incompatible. Irwin's advanced investor targeting system allows IROs to browse our vast and differentiated database and filter relevant profiles into target lists. This article will go into more detail about targeting criteria later on.

See Also: How to Determine Your Ideal Investor Type

Market Research: 

Investor relations professionals should conduct thorough market research to identify potential investors. Studying industry trends, market dynamics, and peer analysis can offer valuable insight into the investor landscape for your sector. This research helps identify investors who have shown interest in similar companies or sectors.

Networking and Outreach: 

Investor relations departments and executives should actively pursue networking activities such as industry conferences, roadshows, and investor events. These platforms provide opportunities to connect with potential investors and build relationships. Additionally, they leverage existing networks and connections to reach out to potential investors through personalized introductions.

Kenneth Levy, VP of Investor Relations at Iridium Satellite Communications, shares how he uses Irwin's targeting to tailor his investor outreach and communications:

"We have a monthly newsletter that we blast to investors, and we use Irwin's targeting application to identify investors who invest in our space. Pre-screening for this level of sector interest allows us to include information in our outreach that is relevant, as well as tailor our emails along with our monthly newsletter to generate interest". 

Read the Iridium Satellite Communications Case Study

Investor Communications and Marketing: 

Did you know maintaining transparent and regular communication with existing and prospective investors can help you in your investor targeting? By showcasing compelling news such as press releases, articles, and blog posts highlighting the company's achievements, you are signaling your company's attractiveness to the investment community and creating a positive reputation that will benefit your investor outreach efforts.

Corporate Access 

Corporate Access teams can help ensure your executives are getting in front of the right people. One of the main objectives of corporate access is to prioritize connections at sector events and non-deal roadshows that get your leadership in front of investors. One way IROs can make corporate access more effective is by being up-front with your sell-side liaison about what you’d like to get out of investor meetings so they can help introduce you to investors that suit your goals.

Listen to our interview with Mary Turnbull, Managing Director, Corporate Access, Institutional Equity Sales at Raymond James, to learn more about Successful Corporate Access as an IRO.

Listen to Mary Turnbull's Winning IR Podcast Episode

Leveraging Sell-Side Relationships

Don’t forget to leverage key analyst relationships when looking for investors outside of holdings data. Because of the on-the-ground nature of their role, analysts have access to qualitative and quantitative information that is difficult to obtain otherwise. Not only do sell-side analysts know who is buying/selling your stock before 13F data becomes available to you, they have a very good view into the performance of your sector and can indicate broader trends that may not be apparent otherwise. Sell-side analysts hold the answers to many key questions, such as:

  • Who is asking questions? What do buyers want to know about your stock?
  • What conferences or events are key players attending this year? 

Learn more about Creating and Optimizing Relationships on the Sell-Side

What Tools Are Required To Target Investors?

Targeting investors requires a combination of tools and resources to identify and engage with potential investors effectively. Here are some essential tools commonly used for investor targeting:

  • Investor Databases
  • Market Research Platforms
  • Investor Relationship Management Software
  • Digital Marketing and Analytics Tools

By leveraging these tools, investor relations teams can efficiently identify potential investors, understand their reputation on Wall Street, track communications, and engage with investors intelligently and effectively. 

For best results, we recommend using Irwin's all-in-one investor relations platform that allows you to filter through our comprehensive investor database, track and facilitate communication with your investor base, identify investors interacting with your IR website, and more.

See Irwin in Action

Types of Investors

Types Of Institutional Investors

Institutional investors are organizations that pool together large sums of money from various sources to invest in financial markets. These investors have a significant influence and impact on the global financial markets. Here are some of the different types of institutional investors:

Alternative: A non-conventional investment type typically held by institutional investors and/or high net-worth individuals (HNWI). Alternative investments generally include private equity, venture capital, real estate, and commodities.

Bank: A financial institution licensed to receive deposits, make loans, and service institutional and corporate clients. These services include sales and trading, mergers & acquisitions, underwriting, and research.

Family Office: Private wealth management firms established by wealthy families to manage their wealth.

Foundation: A non-profit entity funded by gifts and investment assets from an individual or business. Foundations often have philanthropic goals and may have specific guidelines or restrictions on their investment activities. 

Hedge Fund: Limited partnerships that use sophisticated investment techniques, such as derivatives, leverage, and long/short strategies, in an attempt to generate high returns.

Insurance: An institutional investor focusing on long-term asset and liability matching. The insurer's investment approach varies depending on the particular line of business, i.e., life, non-life, and reinsurance.

Investment Manager: Institutions that make investment decisions on behalf of clients. Investment managers typically employ a discretionary approach to managing client investments while factoring in underlying client objectives and risk parameters.

Pension Fund: A pooled fund or scheme, typically large, that invests on behalf of an organization's employees to provide them with retirement benefits.

Private Bank: Entities that provide personalized financial advisory services to high net-worth individuals. Services typically include various wealth management activities, including portfolio management, estate planning, and tax services.

Sovereign: A state-owned investment fund typically made up of government money looking to achieve national objectives.

Each type of institutional investor has unique investment objectives, risk profiles, and regulatory frameworks that guide their investment strategies and decision-making processes. Irwin's investor targeting software allows you to narrow your search to specific types of investors, allowing you to find investors well aligned with your business' needs. 

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Institutional Investors

Institutional investors can bring several advantages to public companies, but they also come with certain disadvantages. Let's explore both sides:

Advantages of Institutional Investors For Public Companies:

Access to Capital:

Institutional investors often have significant financial resources, allowing them to invest substantial capital. These resources are vital in supporting a company's growth initiatives. 

Expertise and Network:

Institutional investors often possess deep industry knowledge, extensive research capabilities, and professional networks. They can provide valuable insights, guidance, and introductions to potential business partners, customers, and industry experts. 

Corporate Governance and Accountability:

Institutional investors play an important role in corporate governance. Institutional investors are 3x more likely than their retail counterparts to vote on important matters such as board appointments and executive compensation.


A diverse shareholder base full of institutional investors usually means that your stock has more active buyers and sellers. This increased trade activity contributes to investor confidence and makes it more attractive for investors to want to trade your stock.

Disadvantages of Institutional Investors for Public Corporations:

Influence and Control:

Institutional investors with significant ownership stakes may influence company decisions and strategies. While this can bring expertise and guidance, it can increase your risk of investor activism

Volatility and Trading Activity:

Institutional investors, considerable investment funds, may engage in active trading, which can contribute to stock price volatility. This volatility can affect a company's ability to attract long-term investors and create challenges in managing investor relations and market expectations.

Regulatory and Compliance Requirements:

Public companies with institutional investors may face increased regulatory and compliance requirements. Institutional investors may have specific reporting and disclosure expectations, and their involvement can result in additional administrative burdens and costs for the company.

Potential Activism:

In some cases, institutional investors may become activist shareholders seeking to influence corporate strategy, governance, or management decisions. While activism can lead to positive changes, it can also create disruptions, conflicts, and distractions for the company's management team.

It's important to note that the advantages and disadvantages of institutional investors can vary depending on the specific institutional investor, their investment approach, and the company's circumstances. Investor relations professionals must carefully consider these factors and assess the potential impact of institutional investors on their long-term goals and shareholder value.

What Do Institutional Investors Look For

Institutional investors employ various methods and considerations when deciding where to invest. It is important to note that investment criteria can vary across different institutions and even within a firm based on a fund manager's investment strategies and objectives. Here are some key factors that institutional investors typically consider when making investment decisions:

Fundamental Analysis:

Institutional investors conduct a thorough fundamental analysis of public companies. This involves evaluating financial statements to assess a company's financial health, profitability, and growth prospects. They also analyze industry trends, competitive dynamics, market positioning, and the company's business model to gauge its potential for success.


Institutional investors assess the valuation of a company relative to its financial performance and industry peers. They consider metrics such as price-to-earnings ratio, price-to-sales ratio, and discounted cash flow analysis to determine if a company's stock is overvalued, undervalued, or reasonably priced. Valuation analysis helps them assess the investment potential and the likelihood of generating attractive returns.

Growth Potential:

Institutional investors evaluate a company's growth prospects. They consider factors such as market size, addressable market opportunity, product or service innovation, competitive advantage, and the company's ability to expand its market share. Companies with strong growth potential are often more attractive to institutional investors seeking capital appreciation.

Management Team:

Institutional investors closely assess the management team's experience, expertise, track record, and alignment with shareholders' interests. They consider the team's ability to execute the company's strategy, make effective decisions, and navigate industry challenges. A capable and experienced management team is seen as a positive factor that can drive a company's success.

ESG Factors:

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations have gained significant importance for institutional investors. They assess a company's performance in environmental impact, social responsibility, corporate governance practices, and diversity and inclusion. Strong ESG practices can positively influence investment decisions as investors prioritize sustainability and responsible corporate behavior.

Learn about the six most frequently asked questions about ESG.

Risk Management:

Institutional investors evaluate a company's risk management practices. They assess factors such as operational, financial, legal, regulatory, and cybersecurity risks. A practical risk management framework and proactive risk mitigation strategies are considered favorable attributes.

Peer and Sector Comparison:

Institutional investors compare a company's financial performance, growth prospects, and valuation metrics with its industry peers. This comparative analysis helps investors assess the company's competitive position within its sector and identify potential investment opportunities or risks.

It's important to note that institutional investors may have their proprietary models, algorithms, or investment criteria specific to their investment approach. They may also leverage research reports, industry experts, and external research providers to gain insights and validate their investment decisions.

Where Are Institutional Investors Investing?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to determine a singular industry or sector that is more or less popular for investment. Different institutions and funds within them all have other investment criteria. While the last few years have shown some emerging trends, such as ESG and e-commerce, institutions and investors are always looking to differentiate themselves. Investor targeting is the best way to find investors aligned with your company's strategy and values. 

Who Are The World's Largest Institutional Investors?

The world's largest institutional investors encompass a range of entities, including pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, and asset management firms. Here are some of the globally recognized firms that represent some of the largest institutional investors as of Q3 2023:

  • BlackRock.
  • Vanguard Group
  • State Street Global Advisors
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Morgan Stanley

Please note that the ranking and size of institutional investors can change over time based on asset fluctuations and market conditions. 

Types Of Private Investors:

Retail investors, also known as individual investors or retail traders, are individuals who buy various assets. These assets may include bonds, stocks, securities, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Typically, retail investors require the services of an intermediary, such as a brokerage firm, investment advisor, or investment platform, to facilitate their investment transactions.

Irwin's investor database includes retail investment advisors that provide discretionary and non-discretionary services to individual investors for investor targeting purposes. 

Advantages Of Private Investors For Public Companies

Seeking private investors can offer several advantages for a public company, with the main benefit being a tendency to pursue long-term investment opportunities.

Private investors can provide stability and a long-term investment horizon. Unlike short-term focused public market investors, retail investors are often more patient and willing to support the company's long-term vision and strategy. This allows management to pursue initiatives that may take time to yield results without being overly concerned with meeting short-term quarterly expectations.

While it may seem like targeting retail investors is challenging at scale, knowing that you can cast a relatively wide net is essential. You don't have to target retail investors on the individual level because Irwin enables you to target retail investors as a collective. Retail investors make up a large segment of the stock market, with the latest data suggesting that retail investors have collectively been investing $1.51B per day into US Markets in 2023.

Read more about The Importance of Understanding Your Retail Investor Base.

Disadvantages Of Private Investors For Public Companies

Less Capital Available Per Investor:

Individual investors usually have significantly less capital to invest in your business than their institutional counterparts. While targeting retail investment advisors can help you access the retail market, it can be challenging to make an impact at scale. 

Harder to Communicate Individually:

Compared to institutional investors who have vast access to analyst research, roadshows, and events, it can be challenging to get in touch with retail investors, especially those that don't report their holdings. Irwin helps combat this problem by integrating NOBO List data into your IR CRM, making it easier to contact your NOBO shareholders. Other ways to improve communication with retail shareholders generally entail creating access to earnings calls and fiduciary reports. 

Read more about Why You Should Track Your NOBO Shareholders. 

Harder to Attribute Stock Ownership:

Lastly, it is harder to attribute your stock ownership to retail investors than to institutional investors. While large investment firms may occupy significant and noticeable positions in your stock, it is harder to identify the percentage of your stock held by individuals.

How To Find Investors:

Publicly traded companies can use various strategies and approaches to find investors who align with their objectives and values. Here are some standard methods used to find compatible investors:

  • Investor Targeting and Outreach
  • Industry Associations and Conferences
  • Referrals and Recommendations
  • Marketing Analytics and Surveillance

How To Increase Trading Volume

Investor relations departments can employ several strategies to increase their stock's trading volume and enhance market liquidity. Here are some approaches they can consider:

Investor Relations and Communication:

Effective investor relations and communication strategies are vital to attracting investor interest and increasing trading volume. Companies should proactively engage with shareholders and potential investors through regular communications, such as press releases, earnings reports, investor presentations, and conference calls. Clear and transparent communication helps investors stay informed about the company's progress, developments, and growth prospects, which can lead to increased trading activity.

Market Awareness and Outreach:

Publicly traded companies can actively raise market awareness about their stock by participating in investor conferences, roadshows, and industry events. These platforms provide opportunities to present the company's investment thesis, growth strategy, and financial performance to a broad audience of investors. Engaging with financial media outlets and leveraging social media platforms can also help reach a broader investor base and increase trading volume.

Enhancing Corporate Visibility:

Public companies can improve their corporate visibility by engaging in activities that increase exposure to potential investors. Securing research reports from reputable analysts can help increase visibility and attract investor attention.

Learn more about Irwin's FactSet integration

Share Buybacks:

Some companies implement buyback programs to repurchase their shares from the market. This can reduce the number of outstanding shares, potentially leading to increased trading volume and price appreciation. Share buybacks can signal confidence from the company in its prospects and create a positive perception among investors.

It's important to note that increasing trading volume requires proactive investor relations efforts, effective communication, market awareness, and engagement with the investment community. Companies should also ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and work with legal and financial advisors to implement strategies that align with their specific needs and objectives.

What Investor Targeting Techniques Should You Use?

Finding the right investors for your company is all about knowing where to look and how to filter through results efficiently. With thousands of investors worldwide, all with unique investment needs and criteria, investor targeting software is critical for helping IR professionals save time when narrowing down their target lists. On our Winning IR podcast, we spoke to Scott Einberger, IRO at JLL, to uncover the strategies and techniques to elevate your investor targeting

Listen to Scott Einberger's Winning IR Podcast Episode

How To Start An Investor Targeting List

​​Building a well-thought-out targeting strategy allows IR teams to connect with potential investors who are most likely to be interested in their organization and prioritize them based on fit and potential business impact. Through a strategic list-building process, IR teams can improve their chances of securing investment from partners who can contribute to a company's growth and success. Some good places to start when building your target list include:

  • Banking Partners
  • Sell-Side Analysts
  • Third-Party Lists
  • Peer Ownership
  • IR Software

Scott advises IR teams to avoid filtering or sorting this initial list. "It's meant to be a starting point that you can refine later," he explains.

How to Refine Your Investor Targeting List

Once IR teams have built an extensive targeting list, the next step is to refine the data to highlight best-fit investors who align with an organization's goals. Refining the investor targeting list will require additional research, analysis, and ongoing data evaluation.

Scott recommends taking these steps to create a more focused investor targeting list:

  1. Define your investment criteria.
  2. Review the existing investor base. 
  3. Leverage IRM databases and platforms. 
  4. Evaluate peer ownership. 
  5. Examine who has shown interest.
  6. Assess past ownership.

Once you have this data, you should consider ranking firms and fund managers by how well they align with these criteria.

Remember: investor targeting is an ongoing process. IR teams must regularly review and update their investor targeting list based on company strategy changes, economic factors, and investor preferences. 

Read more about Scott Einberger's Practical Approach to Investor Targeting

How To Find The Right Investor With Targeting Filters:

The following targeting filters can be helpful for narrowing down your list of potential investors. Be aware that the more filters you use at once, the more you limit your potential access to capital. If you find that your targeting list is too small, try reducing the number of filters you use or creating multiple lists to address specific filter requirements.

Investor Location: It can be helpful to filter investors based on their geographic location, especially for IROs looking to plan their itinerary for roadshows and other in-person networking opportunities.

Organization Type: If you are looking for a specific type of investor, such as a family office or retail investment advisor, you should use an Organization Type filter to narrow your targeting list to appropriate investors and firms. Irwin's differentiated data allows IR professionals to find investors in every organizational niche. 

Securities and Peer Holdings: Irwin's investor targeting software allows you to view shareholders of any security and even quickly filter investors who report holdings in your peers. Peer analysis is a fantastic way to find qualified investors with a well-defined interest in your sector/industry.

Equity Assets Under Management (AUM): Filtering investors by Equity AUM allows you to search for investors based on a minimum or maximum AUM. This is helpful to ensure that you're prioritizing investors who can meet your capital requirements.

Buying Power: Buying Power is an estimate of how much of your company's stock an investor can buy based on their current holdings in your company, as well as companies of the same market cap, sub-sector, and your selected peers.  Similar to Equity Assets Under Management, Buying Power is helpful to ensure that the investors you reach out to can meet your business needs. Irwin uses a proprietary buying power calculation to determine if investors are overweight or underweight in your stock, which can help you prioritize the right investors. 

Turnover: Turnover describes how often an investor holds their positions on average. While some investors trade stock regularly due to market conditions, other investors will prefer to maintain their positions long-term. Depending on the capital requirements for your business strategy, you might wish to narrow in on short-term or long-term investors. 

Investor Geographic Ownership: This filter searches for investors that invest in securities domiciled in a particular country. For example, an investor headquartered in Toronto, Canada, may have a portfolio of stocks from companies based in South/Central America or a particular region therein. 

Market Cap Ownership: This filter searches for investors that invest in securities within a particular market cap, which can help you eliminate poor-fit investors.

Investor Style: This filter allows you to search for investors that fall within a particular style, such as Growth, ESG, or Index Investors. This helps you eliminate incompatible investors and prioritize those that are strategically aligned with your business.

This is how Quentin Weber, Senior Advisor of Investor Relations at WSP, uses Investor Style targeting to ‍broaden their reach:

"I use targeting right now to develop an IR strategy around ESG-focused funds. There is a growing interest in ESG thematic funds. Irwin allows me to gather further data and identify funds who might be interested in our story, and ultimately find a way to organize a one-on-one meeting with them."

Read the WSP Case Study

Investor Sector Focus: One of the best ways to target investors is to find ones already interested in your sector or sub-sector. Investors that are bullish on a certain industry are great candidates for outreach.

Position In My Stock: By targeting investors with positions in your stock, you can leverage your existing relationships to increase their ownership of your stock. Investors already owning your stock are more likely to invest than investors who have never held your stock before. 

Reports Holdings: This filter allows you to search for investors that either report holdings or do not report holdings or one or the other. Of note, most investors that are more opaque and difficult to find outside of Irwin do not report holdings, so it's wise to take advantage of every opportunity to find them.

Accessing International Capital Pools

It’s important to note that when dealing with international pools of capital, you may need to differentiate yourself in order to become an eligible investment target. Chris Mayo, the Head of Primary Markets, Americas, at the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), explained on our Winning IR Podcast that UK and European markets are not always able to invest in companies that are listed in the US or Canada. One workaround, Chris explains, is to create an additional listing for the markets you intend to compete in. This regulatory detail is important for IR teams looking to access the broadest possible pools of capital.

Listen to Chris Mayo’s Winning IR episode on How to Expand Your Access to Capital.

How To Conduct Investor Outreach

Which Outreach Format Is Optimal For Investor Targeting?

In a survey of buy-side professionals, we discovered that most respondents (42.1%) would prefer to be contacted by email, with less than a third (31.5%) preferring a phone call.

It is important for IROs to customize their messaging depending on the recipient. Not only does this mean including the recipient’s name and firm, a cold email should also demonstrate why your company is a good fit for their fund. You can use the targeting criteria you used to find the investor to help you develop a personalized investment thesis.

You should also look for potential mutual relationships and connections with your target investor, such as mutual acquaintances or a shared former employer. Feel free to name-drop or mention any other pertinent information that could pique the investor's interest.

How To Increase The Likelihood of Getting a Response From Cold Investor Outreach

The best way to get a response from your cold outreach efforts is to stay your course, and don’t be discouraged if the first email you send doesn’t get a response. It is possible that the recipient didn’t see your message, was dealing with other priorities, or you’ve simply caught them at a bad time. Persistence is key for establishing contact from cold outreach.

In a sample of 500 outbound campaigns beginning with a cold email, we learned that a single cold email has a response rate of 2%, but that number increased to 18% when followed by three more emails. When four phone calls were added to the cadence, totalling eight touchpoints over a four week period, the response rate shot up to 42%. Following up on your comms and including a variety of phone and email touch points over a period of time can greatly increase the likelihood of starting a conversation with a potential investor.

"People appreciate the opportunity to respond on their own time. I keep the initial outreach fairly short and simply introduce myself, my organization, and why I think we're a good opportunity." 

Scott Einberger, IRO at JLL

Should IROs or C-Level Execs Reach Out?

Many investor relations professionals are unsure if they should be the ones to reach out to investors, or if that’s a task best left to the CEO or CFO. In our buy-side study, we found that 64% of survey respondents would prefer outreach from management, however outreach from investor relations officers was still preferable compared to sell-side outreach. 

While it may be ideal for investors to have your executives conduct investor outreach, the reality is that your C-Suite often has competing priorities and delegates outreach to IROs. We asked our buy-side respondents what successful IR teams are doing to win their attention. Peter Mann - Partner, Co-Chief Executive at Grayhawk Investment has this advice for IROs:

“They need to be thoughtful, proactive, the good ones can tell you anything about the company as if they are a member of the management team. And too often, they sound that they are too distant and then it's hard to feel that I’m getting valuable info that I could’ve got off their website.” 

This advice re-iterates the importance of customizing your outreach to investors and clearly demonstrates the need for your outreach to add value. When doing cold investor outreach, boilerplate information about your stock isn’t going to cut it. Before you call investors, do you research into what their priorities are (or ask them on the call) so you can have a conversation that is valuable for both parties. By doing this you may discover that your investor has certain targets or quotas, or has a particular strategy they abide by. Being proactive about your outreach and investor research demonstrates that your company can go the extra mile, which is exactly what investors want to see.

Learn more about how to conduct investor outreach.

How To Choose Investor Targeting Software

In our increasingly digitized world, having software that works for you and makes your life easier is more critical than ever. Here are some essential factors to consider when looking at investor-targeting software: 

High-Quality Investor Database

Naturally, a high-quality database of investors is a pivotal part of any investor targeting strategy. Because targeting with filters helps you narrow down enormous datasets into smaller and more manageable refined targeting lists, starting with a broad database can be very valuable. Having access to non-reporting investors through Irwin's differentiated data is a great way to access investors that are hard to find anywhere else. 

Learn more about how Jamie Heard, Manager of Capital Markets at Tourmaline Oil Corp, uses Irwin to "get leads that I wasn't able to source on [my previous IR software]."

Access To Foreign Investor Data

Not only do you need access to local investors, but your investor targeting software should also help you find foreign investors. Having access to international capital markets can be a powerful investor relations strategy. You can use Irwin to get insight into foreign institutional investors' trading activity and see where money flows across the globe.

Targeting Within Your Shareholder Base

When looking for qualified investors who might be interested in your stock, your existing shareholder base is often a great place to start. Present and previous shareholders are more likely to be responsive to your investor outreach, given that you have already forged trust in the investor relationship. Additionally, existing shareholders are more likely to purchase stock than first-time investors. This is why it's essential to use investor targeting software that connects to your investor CRM to market your stock to your investor base effectively. 

Ease Of Use and Time Savings

Your investor relations software should be easy to use and simplify your investor targeting process, saving time and effort. Having a direct and seamless integration with your IR CRM is one way to ensure that your investor relations efforts have business continuity, which can improve your communications and professionalism. For example, Irwin's easy-to-use investor relations platform helps you automatically pull tearsheets and itineraries to take on roadshows, which can help tremendously when targeting investors by location. 

Steve Adams, Managing Director at Clermont Partners, estimates that using Irwin's investor targeting software has helped him save 60 hours per quarter, or 240 hours annually.

"Certainly, there has been an improvement in capabilities, for instance, ESG targeting. Irwin has allowed us to do much of the same things that we were doing before, but much faster and without as much of a headache as if we were using some of those other data platforms for this. Irwin also has a much more simplified and streamlined user interface, which goes a long way." 

Read the Clermont Partners Case Study

Integrated Features and Services 

Investor relations isn't a singular function. Therefore your investor targeting software shouldn't operate in a silo. In addition to integrating with related needs, such as your IR CRM, your investor relations software can contribute to your targeting efforts in several ways. For example, you might use Irwin IQ to discover investors who have visited your website that you may have otherwise overlooked in your targeting efforts. 

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