CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a term that refers to the practices, strategies, and technology a firm uses to organize, manage and analyze your client data throughout the client relationship. What does that mean? It means everything. How well you manage those relationships is the difference between a firm that remains status quo and a firm that thrives. Your success in selecting the right CRM software to help manage your relationships is dependent upon how well you understand your firm’s needs and matching those to the software.
After all, your clients are the life of your RIA firm. They are to your firm as oxygen is to your body. Imagine your CRM software as your firm's lungs. Your lungs breathe in air and distribute it throughout the body. The CRM captures client data and distributes it throughout your firm. If the air (data coming in) lacks oxygen – it's simply an exercise and provides nothing to your body (the firm). If the air coming in is well-oxygenated but not properly directed to the rest of your body (via the lungs), the body dies. So if you're not capturing the right elements and distributing them to the right areas then, it's simply an exercise in futility. The purpose of CRM for financial advisor software is to assist firms in capturing good data and distributing it to the right teams to improve client interactions and build stronger connections to retain and grow your firm.
There are many CRM for financial advisors choices out there, how do you know you're choosing the right one for your firm? Here are some things to consider while conducting your research:
- Define and assess your client – develop a client persona.
- What are their expectations and why?
- What are their preferences and why?
- What are their behaviors and why?
- What features does your firm need in CRM software? What features do you want?
- Does the system evolve and adapt to your changing business?
- How much have you budgeted?
- Consider the total cost of ownership
- Installation and maintenance - do you have an in-house IT staff?
- Certification, training, and upgrades
- What are your integration needs – create an inventory of existing software.
- Note what you actually use the software for;
- The support it carries;
- If it is up to date;
- Where the gaps and overlaps are;
- If it permits or prohibits your firm’s initiatives;
- Do you want it to integrate with CRM software?
- What are your regulatory needs and concerns?
- Does the CRM system support your legal and compliance requirements?
Because this is a big decision, you'll want to make sure your research is thorough and your investment will support your and business model for years to come. Your clients’ experience is integral to your growth and your ability to thrive, not just survive.