Posts belonging to Category 'CRM'

Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm—Part 7: The Keys to Success

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm

by Spenser Segal

In the previous six posts in this series on the process for choosing and implementing the right technology for your advisory firm, we provided you with a detailed step-by-step process when doing so. On the surface, it may seem a bit daunting to accomplish all of the tasks we suggested.  However, it is not necessary to do every step at once in a linear fashion. In fact, you will most likely find yourself coming back to elements that you skipped in order to achieve the business results that you are committed to. Although this might seem a bit inefficient, sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know and thus, you may need to skip specific tasks until you have more information that is learned accomplishing a different one.

Focus on Executing and Monitoring Your Business Results

It’s okay if you don’t follow the five steps exactly.  Each firm has certain natural strengths and activities that it does well in the normal course of running its business. These activities will align with some of the specific steps and can be completed in the course of managing the business. For example, if you already conduct an effective weekly staff meeting where you review strategic initiatives and client projects that are under way, you may not need to do anything incremental for your software project. From an “execute” step, you can use your existing meetings to review the software implementation project and discuss key accomplishments, next steps, etc.  (more…)

Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm—Part 6: Ensuring New Technology Meets Your Business Goals

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm

by Spenser Segal

In my last post, the sixth in a series on the process for choosing and implementing the right technology for your advisory firm, we talked about execution and ensuring that the correct resources in both time and money were allocated to ensure success.

Now that we have a successful initial software implementation, it is time to focus on ensuring that the business results that we anticipated are being realized.

One critical step is having a clear process and defined metrics to measure the progress towards the business goal. For example, if you implemented a systematic rebalancing tool that is designed to free up time for your advisors to meet with more clients, we would first decide what metric we want to measure, for example, number of client meetings per week. Once we’ve established what we want to measure, we can determine what the results were pre-software implementation, set a goal for what we would like them to be (e.g., increase by 20%), and then we can measure progress on a weekly basis toward our goal.  (more…)

Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm—Part 5: How to Implement New Technology

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm

by Spenser Segal

In my last post, the fifth in a six-part series on the process for choosing and implementing the right technology for your advisory firm, we discussed the importance of planning. Now that we have a clear and well defined plan, it’s time to get started executing your technology ideas so that improving your business can become a reality.

The effective implementation of technology is not a one-time event, but an ongoing journey. The execution phase is the centerpiece of this journey.  (more…)

Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm—Part 4: Building an Action Plan

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm

by Spenser Segal

In my last post, the fourth in a six-part series on the process for choosing and implementing the right technology for your firm, we talked about getting clear on the business outcomes that your firm is focused on achieving, as well as an approach to select potential technology vendors that are most likely to enable you to achieve your goals.

Now that we have identified clear outcomes, the next step is to put in place an action plan. The plan will enable you to effectively and consistently execute on a task-by-task basis in a manner that steadily moves you and your team toward achieving your goals.

When it comes to planning for your software implementation, there are two big mistakes that tend to be made.

First, advisors tend to overestimate how much they can get done in a specific period of time whileunderestimating what they can accomplish over the long term(more…)

Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm-Part 3: Envision

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm

by Spenser Segal

In my last post, the second in a six-part series, I discussed key elements that need to be assessed prior to embarking on the process of making a technology purchase decision for your advisory firm. Now that we know our current situation, it’s time to Envision what the future could be if we implement the right technology into our practice.

During the Envision step, we focus on envisioning a future state in which we can eliminate the pain points in our practice. Whether it’s a process bottleneck, a boring and repetitive task, or an opportunity to grow the business, we need to envision how technology will improve the way we currently do things.

The initial step in Envisioning is to define in specific terms the anticipated business benefits that will come from implementing the new technology. For example, let’s say that the specific business benefit we want is to increase the number of referrals we get from current clients by 50%.

Next, we need to identify the specific features and functions that are tied to the business objective. In this case, ability to generate an “ask for referral” agenda item, track referrals and generate referral reports are key functions related to the above business benefit we want to achieve.

Finally, we need to narrow the list of potential vendors, because we don’t want to spend time analyzing 25 potential vendors – instead we would like to focus on five or fewer vendors.

How do we narrow the list?  (more…)

Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm-Part 2: Assess

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm

by Spenser Segal

In my last post, I discussed the five steps necessary in selecting and implementing the “right” software for your practice. The first step is Assess.When purchasing technology, one of the most common mistakes we see advisors make is not clearly understanding, from a business perspective, the “why.” We don’t see advisors asking the key question: “What is the business objective we are trying to achieve with this purchase?”

A key limitation of technology is that it is only as good as the business improvement it drives and the readiness of team members to use it effectively. For an example, look no further than a motorist who paid extra for four-wheel drive in his car without ever using that feature or even knowing its purpose.

In the ActiFi “Process Bridge” (see above). a five-step process, the “Assess” step is about assessing three things: (more…)

Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm-Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Choosing Software That Works for Your Advisory Firm

by Spenser Segal

This is the first in a six-part series designed to present best practices to advisors on how to choose, implement and monitor new technology for an advisory firm.

Most financial advisors implement technology solutions with the ultimate goal of increasing profits, efficiency and the value of their businesses. At ActiFi, we’ve helped advisors make many decisions on selecting the best technology solution for their practice. We’ve been called in by advisors when they don’t get ROI from the software they purchase, and through years of experience, we’ve adopted a set of best practices in selecting and implementing the “right” software for your practice.

Consider this common scenario among advisors. After many months of consideration and research, you purchased a new CRM system. You were optimistic that many of the operational issues your firm had been facing would disappear and things would never fall through the cracks again. However, six months into the deployment you’re not receiving the benefits you had hoped. Sure, you have noticed some improvements, but the workflow efficiencies have not materialized. Did you just spend thousands of dollars in out-of pocket expenses and opportunity cost for what seems to be a glorified contact manager?

Unfortunately—according to numerous studies—when implementing technology programs, advisors failed to meet their business objectives between 60% and 70% of the time. The reason is rarely technical. (more…)

Over- vs. Under-Engineering: Configuring the workflow functionality of your CRM

by Spenser Segal

The Scenario
With the increased volume of client calls and concerns to address, an advisory firm’s staff is getting worn out trying to fit more hours into their days. The advisor appreciates the extra effort everyone is making, but putting more hours than usual into the same clients isn’t going to be a viable long-term solution. They need to work smarter, not harder. The team knows their CRM system is capable of much more than they’re currently using it for, and that a few changes could simplify many tasks, but if they didn’t have the time before to sit down and figure it out, they sure don’t now.

Process Definition in Action
We recently went into an advisory firm who wanted to gain efficiency and consistency in their client service by embedding their processes on their CRM system. Since step one is defining their client service processes, we decided to conduct a little exercise. We gave everyone a sheet of paper and a pen, and asked them to write the words, “Defined Process,” along with their definitions of the words.

Then we asked them to select a client-facing process that they all could agree was pretty well-defined. After some back-and-forth discussion, the group selected Client Onboarding. (more…)

CRM: Business Strategy or Technology?

by Spenser Segal

Many advisors and other businesspeople talk about their CRM software so often that they have stopped thinking about what it stands for, namely Customer Relationship Management. But if you set aside the software context for a moment, that phrase looks far more like a business strategy than a technology. So what is CRM, really?

It’s a Business Strategy

A key limitation of technology is that it is only as good as the business improvement it drives and the readiness of team members to use it effectively. For an example, look no further than a motorist who paid extra for four-wheel drive in their car without ever using that feature or even knowing its purpose. The point of CRM is not to have advanced technology capabilities for their own sake but instead to deliver a client relationship experience consistently and profitably.

As a business strategy, CRM is about systematically embedding best practices and powerful ideas into the way that a firm does business, so that a consistent high-quality experience is delivered to every client, every time. A CRM strategy is working if the principal can take a six-month safari in Borneo, and a junior advisor can fill in capably for her while she’s gone. In order to make this happen, that junior advisor would need to have access to the knowledge and thought process that the principal goes through, in all types of settings. (more…)

My New CRM System Is Up And Running…Now What?

by Spenser Segal

After many months of consideration and research, you purchased a new CRM system. You were optimistic that many of the operational issues your firm had been facing would disappear and things would never fall through the cracks again. However, six months into the deployment you’re not receiving the benefits you had hoped. Sure, you have noticed some improvements, but the workflow efficiencies have not materialized. Did you just spend thousands of dollars in out-of pocket expenses and opportunity cost for what seems to be a glorified Rolodex?

This is a common scenario among advisors that we see all the time. Let’s start with the basics. What is CRM? CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM is not a technology or a piece of software; rather, it is a business strategy that can be enabled or assisted by adopting technology. Like any business strategy, the results are only as good as the quality of the execution.

In the financial advisory space, CRM is a strategy to deliver a consistent and high-quality financial advisory experience to all of your clients. It is also designed to deliver an effective relationship development experience to prospects. However, in order to drive a CRM-based business strategy, you need to have a well-defined client service model or models. The operative phrase is “well-defined.” (more…)