A Worthy Successor to Junxure
By Joel Bruckenstein, CFP
I have been following AdvisorEngine CRM and its predecessor Junxure for an exceedingly long time. It was about twenty-two years ago that I wrote my first Junxure review. As one can imagine, much has changed technologically over that period. AdvisorEngine CRM is a modern CRM application that maintains the core tenets of what made Junxure so attractive to so many firms for so long, One is that it is specifically designed for advisors. The original version of Junxure was designed by a financial advisor for his own firm. Over the years, thousands of users have provided their input to the AdvisorEngine team, and much of that input has been incorporated into AdvisorEngine CRM. Another core value proposition of AdvisorEngine CRM is that it allows for a high degree of customization without engaging high priced developers or consultants. Yet another is the embedding of best practices in the software. For years, Junxure included most of the fields that advisors need to run their business; they also included workflow templates that can be customized to the specific firm’s needs. It also allowed for a high degree of custom reporting, and it made it available with ease to non-programmers.
If the predecessor was so good, why the need for a massive overhaul and the rebranding? The short answer is that advisor technology is evolving rapidly, and for a period of time the application did not keep up. The underlying architecture was antiquated. The usability had not kept up with the times. The list goes on.
I believe that initially, when AdvisorEngine purchased the CRM software, they underestimated the work that was needed to bring it up to speed. To their credit, they have been making the necessary investment to do just that. The first part of the renovation project was, unfortunately for AdvisorEngine, the most difficult. They had to re-engineer the system from the ground up. That meant building the back end, which is the foundation of everything that follows. As is the case with your house, a quality foundation is vitally important, but you do not see it until the cracks appear. So, the initial investment in the application was one that the end user really did not see or totally appreciate. This work, however, set the stage for what we are starting to see rolled out now. Performance has improved exponentially. Pages load up to ten times faster than they used to. Now that the foundation is set, we are seeing updated navigation, and a much more modern user experience.
One thing that sets AdvisorEngine CRM apart is the ability to customize the user experience without the need for consultants or programmers. The new client record summary page is a splendid example of this. It is comprised of a set of widgets, for example household, individual, activity feed, workflows, financials, opportunities, etc. This summary page can be customized at the firm or the advisor level. You can add or subtract widgets from this view to make it your own.
In another major improvement, you can edit the information within these widgets. So, if you need to edit an address, you simply mouse over a field, and a pencil pops up. Click the pencil and you can edit the necessary field(s).
The activity feed has a consolidated streaming view of important operational activities. This should be of importance to both advisors and their support staff. Reminders have expiration dates. You can automatically clean up past tasks.
Navigation is greatly improved. Each section contains a search box. Along the left of the page are links to all relevant areas of the program (records, prospects, assets, insurance, etc.). Mouse over one of these, and a sub-menu reveals additional choices. So, if you mouse over Opportunities, the sub menu lists Opportunities, Open Opportunities, My Opportunities, and Last 20 Opportunities.
Where appropriate, there are additional navigation tools at the top of the page. In the record section, when you are viewing an individual record, along the top there are tools such as details, workflows, financials, documents, notes and more. Each of these has sub-menus as well. If you select Workflows, there are the following sub-menus: Record Actions, Recurring Action Definition, Workflow Monitor, and Service Monitor.
There is also a dashboard section that is highly configurable. You can tab through an Opportunities Dashboard, a Business Analytics Dashboard, and a Records Dashboards that includes things like accounts by objective, discretionary and non-discretionary accounts, top clients by AUM, top holdings and more. As is the case with the client records page, the user can easily add or remove widgets from these dashboards.
The core functionality that makes this CRM package so useful is all there. When you log in, the landing page contains widgets that let you get right to work. The Action widget provides access to actions that are due today and any overdue actions, as well as a link to the last twenty actions. Opportunities links to open opportunities, my opportunities, and the last twenty opportunities. Records makes the last twenty records instantly available. There is a similar Asset widget and an Insurance widget. In addition, a report widget, a correspond widget, a document workspace, a workflow monitor, and a workflow set-up widget are all front and center. The left navigation provides access to all other major sections of the program.
Attracting new business is top of mind for most advisors. AdvisorEngine CRM can help here with a form builder. This tool allows firms to create web forms without coding experience. When visitors to your site complete the form, the data will automatically be captured in the CRM.
This article is not meant to be an in-depth review of all the AdvisorEngine CRM features, but the depth and breadth of the application is impressive. Most of the impediments that held the old Junxure CRM back have now been removed, and the new features and functionality are impressive.
For many years, the old Junxure CRM occupied an important space in the financial advisor ecosystem. It was more robust than market leader Redtail, but much easier to configure and deploy than applications such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. Unfortunately, its market share declined due to the lack of investment to keep it current with the latest technologies. If the initial release of AdvisorEngine CRM is any indication, this release marks a new beginning. AdvisorEngine has indicated that they will continue to invest heavily in this application to make it again a top CRM candidate in the space. This is excellent news for advisors because the market niche that Junxure CRM once dominated is sorely in need of a new champion. AdvisorEngine CRM could be the answer that quite a few firms are looking for.