When I was young I used to visit my dad at work. At the front of his desk sat a box of hundreds of names and companies. I would watch him flip through the cards to find numbers or addresses so he could reach out to his customers. He would take the box on our family trips so he’d never be without his customers’ contact information in case he needed to reach them while away. I never imagined that, years later, I’d have the opportunity to provide advisors with an even more important resource for their business.
In the advisor technology space, the CRM tends to be the most underappreciated technology despite the fact that choosing a CRM is arguably one of the more important decisions an advisor can make.
There are a few reasons why a CRM hasn’t traditionally received the publicity of the other “sexier” technologies. First, advisors don’t necessarily view it as adding tangible value as they do other tools, such as those for risk assessment or financial planning. Second, it’s more difficult to see the direct correlation between making good use of CRM and business profitability. Finally, the CRM is not client facing and many advisors focus on technology with which their clients can interact.
For one or a combination of these reasons, we sometimes run into advisors who have not yet adopted a true CRM into their practice. This reluctance on their part offers an opportunity for a teachable moment, however, as it is widely acknowledged that CRM should serve as the central hub for a firm’s operations and should be, in fact, the first technology that advisors add to their practice.
Confused About CRM? It’s Not Your Fault
When I began working at Redtail, one of the first things I discovered about advisors is that many had misconceptions about what makes a true CRM. Many told me that Microsoft Outlook was their CRM or that they didn’t need a CRM because they tracked all that customer information in an Excel spreadsheet. They viewed a CRM like my dad’s old Rolodex of contact information along with some brief notes about the client.
Fortunately, true CRMs offer much more than these narrow interpretations, which I still encounter much too frequently.
A CRM is a place to store valuable information about your client that helps you make decisions that are in your client’s best interest. A CRM is a place to keep track of clients’ personal interests and family details that allow an advisor to build trusted relationships with them. A CRM can also be a tool to grow your business or used in a regulatory audit. Workflows and processes can be created to keep the office on track and to create unique, memorable experiences for clients and prospects. A great CRM is also going to integrate with the other industry tools you use and, consequently, spur efficiencies while also minimizing opportunities for clerical errors.
Already Have a CRM? Time to Re-evaluate
Now if you’re currently using a CRM but are feeling like it doesn’t offer the breadth or depth of functionalities that you need, it may be time to look at what else is out there. The first step, however, should be to carefully evaluate what you are currently using on a day-to-day basis in your CRM.