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Practice Makeover: Season 5
Episode 2: How to find (and utilize) the right technology hub
August 02, 2016 @ 2:33 pm
Great financial advisory firms begin with great technology. Kingsview says it partnered with Redtail to improve its efficiency, but what can you learn from their strategy?
The Renovation Room
Industry experts and executives offer strategies, tips and ideas on how practices can improve their business.
Partner, Investment Advisor, Archer Investment Management
This episode really hit on some of the most important things about using a CRM system. CRM stands for Client Relationship Management, which is important to remember because of the key word in there – Relationship. As Brian pointed out, using a CRM is not just about putting data or contact information somewhere as an additional step to your daily activity. The CRM should be your hub all day to record notes, meetings, calls, and emails. If we have a team member out of the office that last spoke to or emailed with a client, we can easily go into Redtail and see all of the last interactions and pick right up where they left off. This helps the client experience to be seamless and saves us a lot of time. Our marketing is really focused on client events that help to develop our relationships and provide value outside of regular meetings. When we are sending out an invitation to these events, we can produce mailing labels for the invitations for hundreds of people in less than 1 minute. The morning after the event, the attendees are noted in Redtail. Any new prospective clients are also added to Redtail with a note regarding who brought them to the event. This really helps us to understand the return on investment for these events as we are able to see how many new prospects are generated and then how many become clients. I would recommend trying this with the new CRM implementation as a way to grow your practice, develop your client relationships, and to track the return on the investment that you make in this type of marketing.
Joseph V. Maugeri
Managing Director, Corporate Relations, CFP Board
As I think about technology, especially CRM, it is obvious that its main purpose is not only to capture information, but also to instill discipline and processes in an advisor's daily work with clients. One interviewee mentioned standard operating procedures (SOPs) in terms of how CRM can help on-boarding a client. Another interviewee mentioned financial planning. Clearly, a good CRM system can help advisors with capturing goals, reminding them about plan updates, as well as phases of implementation. In this regard, the CRM system can help ensure they are doing all of the steps of planning and keeping a client up to date on their financial goals.
To be clear, efficiency does not mean less contact, or less focus on the client. Rather, it allows for more qualitative time, by allowing the advisor to have a full history of client interactions, a record of their goals and objectives as well as the communications between the client and advisor since they were first on-boarded. The less time an advisor spends on capturing this information, the better for the client, since the advisor can now go much deeper to have conversations about issues that are important to the client.This should produce much better outcomes.
The question of course is, “what does an advisor do with more efficiency?” While some advisors may choose to play more golf, others may take on more clients. The best choice may be to use the extra time to discuss more financial planning areas of a client’s life. The CRM will be a great help in this way, since it can provide a snapshot of family members, goals, conversations, fears, past mistakes and successes. The savvy advisor will realize that this subjective information is the perfect complement to the objective hard data they capture in their financial planning software. Using both and combining them in a way that makes for a cohesive strategy for the client is why it will be very difficult to replace advisors with robots.
Director, Business Performance Solutions, TD Ameritrade Institutional
We at TD Ameritrade spend quite a bit of time working with RIAs to help them understand how to improve their firm’s performance through a focus on operational efficiency. That includes finding ways to better leverage technology, but that’s easier said than done. While advisors can gain greater efficiency from implementing a CRM system, for example, few are typically realized.
Why is that? In many cases firms begin their research and due diligence without fully defining their business requirements. Many will make purchasing decisions based on price or a compelling sales pitch. Too often, these advisors later discover they purchased either “too much” CRM or “not enough”.
Secondly, the ability to integrate new software with the other systems at your firm is critical to increasing productivity and reducing processing errors. Many solutions can integrate with other systems, but advisors need to know the depth of these technology connections. “Integration” can mean anything from allowing data uploads to 100% real-time pass-through of information, so we recommend advisors ask questions to understand a software’s capabilities and how it functions in the real world.
A third reason is that during the implementation phase, the firm will familiarize themselves with just enough functionality to meet their basic needs, thinking that they will revisit some of the more sophisticated capabilities at a later date. In most cases, these other functions are never adopted.
Finally, while sometimes firms believe they have outgrown their CRM, in reality they failed to keep up with their vendors updates and enhancements that keep software at the cutting edge. Vendor management is an important aspect of ensuring that your CRM continues to add value to your business and your ability to deliver a superior client experience.
Managing Partner of FiComm Partners, LLC
Many advisors subscribe to the “better mousetrap” theory: build a superior portfolio or a smarter wealth plan, and clients will beat a path to your door. But the truth is, expertise gets you only so far. Good, consistent communication plays a critical role in maintaining any relationship—including client relationships. If you want clients to understand how much value you bring, then you need to tell them. That’s why choosing the right CRM is so important.
Think about what clients really want from you. They’re looking for reassurance that you’ll take care of them, and that you truly care about their personal goals and objectives. They want to be sure you’re thinking about them—not only during a meeting or a phone call, or whenever you happen to send out an email about a bumpy market, but consistently and often. That’s a tall order when you multiply it by your entire book of business. Who has time to create that kind of experience?
That’s where CRM comes in. Modern CRM tools let you create automated marketing workflows, which give you a scalable way to communicate with clients on a consistent, ongoing basis. I’m not just talking about birthday and anniversary reminders, either. CRM enables you to deliver targeted information that’s relevant to every client. You can ask new clients at the start of a relationship about the types of content that interest them. Then categorize their preferences in your CRM, and deliver content accordingly.
Using your CRM to target your messages represents a vast improvement over traditional, mass-market approaches. For example, many advisors feature recipes in their client newsletters, while others share golf trips or travel tips. What if a client hates cooking or gets seasick? How do recipes or cruise ship reviews demonstrate an interest in her unique needs as an individual? Conversely, what if a client wants more than a dry discussion of interest rates, but you never share any human interest stories? It’s almost impossible to keep track of all your clients’ personal interests manually. But with a good CRM, it’s easy to organize and respond to almost any preference.
These days, clients are looking for more than just investment performance. They want consistent communications, too. CRM is the essential tool for giving clients what they want.
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