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The Advisor’s Journey to CRM Success, Pt. 8: Templates, Checklists & Workflows

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With the basic functionality of contact information, history, tasks and to-dos in place and being used regularly, you are ready to begin to use more advanced CRM functionality.

The next stop on our Journey to CRM Success (see the complete series so far: Spenser Segal on CRM Success) is templates, checklists, and workflows. This is where you begin to deepen the impact of CRM.  

Variation in process poses a significant challenge for advisory firms and can quickly lead to confusion, inefficiency and ultimately an inability to effectively grow your practice. Often there is little documentation about the process or checkpoints that ensure everyone in the office is performing tasks in an effective manner. Implementing the use of templates, checklists and workflow within CRM are highly effective ways to overcome this challenge. 

Templates Drive Consistency

In most practices everyone is philosophically aligned, but execution on a specific process like “prep for client meeting” can be very different depending on who is executing the process. Templates offer a means to document how a task or process should be done and enable them to be performed in a consistent way by all members of the team.  Agreement on this definition and documentation of the process is a much bigger step than most anticipate (see this previous post for more). 

Checklists Drive Timeliness

At the core of every process is a sequence of tasks in logical order that can be organized in some type of checklist.  When the sequence is clearly documented and easy to follow, the process can be executed more efficiently. This increases the effectiveness of your team by minimizing time wasted struggling to determine if they remembered to do everything. 

Workflows Automate Simple and Frequently Repeated Tasks 

This is the point at which your process is not only guided by CRM, but components of your process are executed without human intervention. Workflow functionality will enable you to easily distribute work among team members while keeping it highly visible. For example, if you have embedded your “prepare for client meeting workflow” in your CRM and your CRM is integrated with your portfolio management and financial planning systems, you can automate parts of the process.

The workflow can automatically pull the most recent account values from the portfolio management systems and send them to the financial planning software application where it can run an updated simulation. Using rule based logic, the workflow knows that if the simulation comes up with a lower probability of success that the advisor should take additional steps to prepare a set of solutions for the meeting.  If the simulation shows the client is very much on track those additional steps don’t need to be executed.  

Leveraging the workflow functionality of your CRM is one of the most powerful ways you can increase the efficiency of your practice. It requires that the team has a defined process and service model that can be embedded and executed from the CRM  (see our 5 levels of utilization blog).

Each of these helps to take the variation out of how and when things are done, and leads to greater organizational effectiveness. The more consistent and reliable your processes become, the more productive and profitable the organization will become. 

Keeping these tools productive for the long term requires continuous review and updates.  As with any other aspect of your CRM implementation, commitment from leadership and willingness to evolve over time are key to keeping the rest of your team engaged. 

Join us for the next post as our Journey to CRM Success continues. 

The next stop along the way will be about sales and pipeline management.

See the complete series—Spenser Segal on CRM Success.


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