Regardless of the story of origin for your advisory practice or its standard operating procedures, it’s a safe bet you share at least one trait common among successful advisors: the pursuit (beyond growing your AUM) of building a lifetime relationship with each and every one of your clients. Not only do lengthy relationships empower you to grow your clients’ portfolios, but also generational asset management provides security for your practice.
For the future-focused and client-centered advisory business, efficiency is one of the most important qualities staff can develop to assist with their relationship-building efforts. By using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program, firms can effectively and efficiently record day-to-day operations, view historical client interactions and communicate with customers in a variety of ways, all from one central hub. Below are some of the essential benefits a CRM should bring to your practice.
Coming up with good ideas for your business is often the easy part; grandiose intentions, though, have zero affect on your bottom line. We’ve all seen fantastic ideas fall flat because of poor planning or a lack of proactivity in the implementation process.
To bridge the gap from ideation to application, an organized and centralized location for all company, client, and prospect information and interaction can strengthen your office. New employees will be better prepared to get started on the right foot, and existing employees can stay better informed about each other’s day-to-day activities. Operating from this organized foundation strengthens your position in all phases of new idea implementation, from the spark, to the planning, to the rollout.
It can be challenging to remember all of the tasks you need to complete on any given day. Using a CRM to manage your daily tasks on a calendar can ensure scheduled activities are never overlooked. This should also help with documenting the purpose, result or necessary follow-up for any meetings.
Perhaps the primary benefit, though, that a CRM offers over other methods of maintaining contact information resides in its ability to link activities to contact records. We are now worlds away from the Rolodex/desk calendar disconnect that once reigned supreme. Now, you can filter your activity lists by employee, client, date, location, or even the type of activity when needed. More than ever, a complete picture of the client relationship, including their experience with your office, is maintainable and easily retrievable.
Individuals engage you for different services, have widely disparate amounts of manageable assets, and participate to varying degrees in managing their own financial situations. Having the ability to classify or segment your contact data based upon all of these factors and many, many more may suggest effective avenues of approach to your clients and prospects.
Rather than depending upon highlighters, sticky notes, or multiple spreadsheets to track information about your individual relationships with every customer, you can use a CRM to track, maintain and report upon each and every bit of data you gather!
As an added bonus, you aren’t limited to tracking account-level data only, but can take advantage of opportunities to track personalized data, such as beverage choice, favorite restaurant, favorite NFL team, etc. It’s having these types of data readily at hand that can point the way to inroads for strengthening relationships even further. Not only can you filter contacts by their assets under management, but you can also easily determine which clients to invite to a networking event based upon any number of ways you might group them within your CRM.
Once organized information has been entered in a CRM, the system begins to work for you by offering comprehensive reporting on the segmented data. Through this reporting, patterns reveal either successful track records or less than ideal results.
Either way, by reporting on current business practices you become better prepared to adjust resources toward more fruitful endeavors. Specifically, identifying the average time it takes to convert a prospect to a client, averaging the length of time clients have been with your company, or being able to identify what clients have or have not been recently contacted are all easily reportable within an ideal CRM.
With the ability to access client and prospect information on the go, your office is transformed from a brick and mortar location to wherever you happen to be. Client meetings outside the office, work conferences, or working from home may have been impossible or limited previously. Through mobile devices, laptops and tablets, the same information available from within your office is now conveniently accessible at the touch of a button.
Reputable CRMs are also secure and regularly backed up to prevent the loss of your data from computer crashes or device failures. Peace of mind when it comes to data security and ease of access to customer information are just two of the many benefits a CRM can offer your office.
Running a business requires coordination of many moving parts. No one starts building a machine by designing the exterior first. Instead, you want to establish a solid foundation with a strong central operating system. The CRM system is by definition that crucial foundation upon which a business can thrive. With a lifetime’s worth of information about a client available through a few clicks, productivity and relationship building in the office have the potential to soar.
If you have questions about your existing system, now is a great time to contact the provider. There may be new features (or parts of the system that are new to you) that offer opportunities for growth or efficiencies. If your office does not currently have a CRM, there is no time like the present to explore available options. Regardless, you need a CRM that encourages and supplements the practices that have proven successful in your business, allows you to report on in order to learn from those practices and, finally, provides a clear path forward for future successes.