June 16, 2009
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The ability to market to, sell to and serve clients more effectively is the center of business strategy for successful advisory firms. But strategy is only half the success story. Client Relationship Management (CRM) technology makes the strategy work by providing the underlying infrastructure enabling advisors to get, keep and grow the client base so vital to success.
CRM encompasses everything advisors and accountants use to manage client relationships, from the capture and analysis of client information to analytics that leverage data to achieve better sales performance.
Why is CRM important?
It's cheaper and more efficient retain and generate ongoing or incremental revenue from current clients than it is to acquire new ones.
Retaining clients isn't easy, though. In this increasingly competitive environment, advisors must differentiate not only their product offerings, but their client experience. Client experience is emerging as the most important competitive differentiator between advisors. The focused ability to anticipate and respond to client needs separates top advisors from the crowd.
CRM systems are the foundation for providing exceptional customer experience and for making your practice increasingly efficient, especially if that involves coordinating processes among teams. As the repository for all of your clients’ data, the CRM system also automatically tracks and manages all activity history with your clients, defines and creates tasks for individual team members, and manages all documents and report archives for each client. An ideal CRM deployment provides all information at a fingertip for the status of each client engagement, the client needs, current financial details, and automates and tracks each process for managing this client engagement. The faster you can access information, and the more efficient your team can operate, the better the client experience.
CRM systems also provide analytical insight into your book of clients to improve your marketing campaigns. By aggregating and aligning client needs, such as underfunded education plans, advisors can identify revenue generating opportunities or common needs which the firm can target. This may result in a well-targeted seminar series for a specific group of clients, or a direct mail campaign to qualified clients and prospects based on needs identified from analyzing CRM data on clients.Advisors can extend the capabilities of the best CRM systems as their business demands and customize the solution to their unique needs. Robust CRM systems can give a 360-degree view of the client when integrated with an email system, sales illustration tool, portfolio rebalancing and construction tool, comprehensive financial planning system, trading platform, and client dashboard or portal. This enables financial advisors to track every client "touch” and build profiles of each client to deliver a much more targeted set of advice and financial solutions.
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