Many advisors in the Financial Industry pay for and have a subscription to a CRM (Client Relationship Management) tool, but very few utilize it to its full extent. Most CRM tools, like Redtail or Sales Force, have massive functionality that most financial professionals find very overwhelming. It takes a lot of upfront time and brain power to get a CRM in true working order, and most advisors just don't have the capacity for that.
However, it is very important to implement the use of a CRM in your practice from a compliance point of view, a best practice point of view and a practice valuation point of view. And there are solutions to the time and brain power hurdle also. At my broker/dealer, we have Virtual Assistants that you can hire to do the upfront work for you.
Now the above image is specific to my broker/dealer, however, these concepts can be applied to any broker/dealer that you are affiliated with. My personal favorite CRM is Redtail but that is also because I have been in the Independent Financial Channel for the last 17 years and Redtail is geared towards independent financial advisors. But again, these concepts can be applied to any CRM that you use.
First, if your advisor portal with your broker/dealer has the ability to integrate with your CRM, then definitely do that. You want your internal advisor portal and your external CRM to be talking together and for data to flow both ways. Most advisor portals are the broker/dealers official books and records, but you really need to have your own set of books and records in place, especially if you are Independent. So step 1 - integration with your broker/dealer.
Next, in order to recall conversations, forms sent, and other correspondence with your clients, it is useful to link your CRM to your email provider. If the client record in the CRM has the email address that you are using saved, then all emails received and sent will be stored in the client record of your CRM. This comes in very handy when trying to remember conversations from a year ago after the email has been removed from the server. Now you can just go to your CRM to find that old email.
Similarly, use the notes area in your CRM to record conversations that you've had with clients. I'm sure you have heard this before, but I will say it again - DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. It is so incredibly important to keep notes of phone conversations and of meetings you have had with your clients. Write everything down that you discussed. Especially any trade orders or investment decisions and the rationale behind those decisions. This will absolutely serve you in the future. If you are a terrible typist, then use a dictation tool to speak out your notes and the dictation tool will turn your spoken words into text. Most CRMs have dictation tools integrated within them and most Windows OS and Microsoft subscriptions include dictation tools. Use them to your advantage. You won't go wrong.
Next tip is Tag groups in your CRM. Do you find yourself struggling with RMDs at the end of each year? Or trying and failing to remember who owns a certain investment? Use Tag groups in your CRM. This is a very easy way to sort through clients and keep them organized in groups. For example, Resource Apartment REIT had a liquidation event a while back. Most advisors wanted to contact those clients and let them know that the liquidation event was occurring and discuss a new investment with them in which to invest the funds. An easy way to pull that list in an efficient manner is by creating a tag group for the clients invested in the Resource Apartment REIT. It's best to do this at the time of purchase. Or maybe you want to make a tag group for everyone that is retired and is interested in cooking to invite them to a Client Appreciation event you are hosting which is a cooking class taught by a local chef. Or maybe you want to make a tag group of every client that is a mother that way you can send them a little gift each Mother's Day. Tag groups are just easy ways to organize clients in a way that works best for your business. And clients can have more than one tag. Definitely look into this.
And the last Operational Efficiency Tip I have for you is to utilize your CRMs Workflows or Activities. This is a great way to assign tasks to staff, keep track of the movement of cases that are being worked on for a client, and know what is going on at any given moment for new business. These are two different functionalities that most CRMs have, but Activities seem to be the most commonly used and the more flexible of the two. There is a lot of functionality and customization available with Activities in Redtail, specifically. Activities can be tailored to your specific business model, your staff, and your investment style. I highly recommend using this tool within your practice.
If you want to know more about how to best utilize a CRM in your business, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to help advisors build a more efficient practice.