Wealthtech Insider (5/12/21)

More than a Rolodex: How CRM workflows help grow relationships

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In an industry where personal relationships are the backbone of how advisors interact with many clients, the value of a CRM is central to the service provided by an advisor and their team. Forrester Research found that of companies who use a CRM, 74% of them report better customer relationships. You can draw your own conclusions, but the evidence supports that a good CRM plays a pivotal role in growth and building long lasting relationships with clients.

According to the 2021 Technology Tools for Today software survey of technology by financial professionals, CRMs have a market penetration of 92 percent. While that is high, it also reveals that there’s not an insignificant number of firms who don’t use a CRM—and the total number is also likely higher than what any one survey can accurately measure in such a wide and varied industry.

Even advisors who make use of CRMs may not be using the full extent of their features to encourage a consistent experience across their client bases. They are more than just rolodexes of client information – good CRM workflows can help you connect with investors in a consistent and meaningful way. But what does a good workflow look like? Consider the example of a new prospective client meeting.

When you don’t have workflows or automations set up, even something as simple as setting up an initial meeting can be a difficult experience, for one simple, major reason: no two people are alike. Think of the old way of taking meetings. A prospect calls your firm and wants to set up a time to come into the office. Depending on who’s in the office at the time, their call could reach a number of different people.

Each of those people might have a different way to record the call. One might enter it into the CRM, another might sketch the note on a notepad, and another might type the note into a text document. Once the note is taken, whoever took it either needs to look at their schedule to confirm the meeting time, or if they won’t be involved in the meeting, go to the person’s calendar who will conduct that initial review.

Each of these people can work at different speeds and have their own process. They might confirm the meeting on the phone, or they might tell the prospect they’ll call back with a confirmation. There’s no consistency.

With workflows in your CRM that guide everyone’s actions, you can avoid the nightmare scenario of unknown expectations and missed opportunities. Here is how a CRM could handle a standardized discovery process:

  • The prospect fills out a contact form on your site, which sends the information to your CRM.
  • The CRM starts a new prospect workflow, sending out a welcome email with a link to an advisor’s calendar. The prospect sets up a meeting at their convenience.
  • The meeting appears on the advisor’s calendar, meeting scheduling app, and CRM. Recognizing this step, the CRM sends another automated email to collect more relevant information before the meeting.
  • Upon receipt of this information, the CRM creates a step for the advisor to review it a day before the meeting. If anything is missing, the advisor has ample time to prepare.
  • The advisor takes notes during the prospect meeting, entering them into the CRM. Upon closing the meeting task, another task is created: an automated follow-up with the prospect containing whatever information you have decided is relevant.

With the amount of data that flows through this system, and its capability to act as a unifying hub for your team’s data and your operational processes, your CRM is one of, if not the most, critical piece of your firm’s technology stack. As a changing competitive landscape and client demands pressure advisors to optimize their businesses and improve their service, full use of your firm’s CRM can lay the groundwork for enduring success.