Creating trustworthy relationships with clients through fast, accurate, and personalized care makes financial services professionals stand out among others. Fortunately, Allied Financial Software, Inc. has the products and expertise to help financial and insurance professionals stay organized and on top of their priorities, giving them more time to focus on building relationships with clients and potential prospects.
An Act! ACC Sales Leader and Platinum Tier Partner, Allied Financial offers a range of customized Act! product packages specifically for businesses within the financial and insurance markets. Allied Financial Software also provides product training, consultation, and development courses to ensure clients get the most out of their Act! products. We recently sat down with Allied Financial Software President Scott Abboud to discuss how Act! makes life for financial and insurance professionals easier by providing them with the platform and tools they need to succeed.
To start, please tell us more about Allied Financial Software—its history, offerings, expertise, etc.
In the late 80s and early 90s, I started as a financial services professional and worked with two large firms. As a sales manager, I started using Act! in 1992 and began using Act! in my own practice with a side business of software consulting for my colleagues. I created Allied Financial Services in 1993 and went out on my own as an independent investment advisor. Later, I became a VP of business development for a large broker-dealer, where I traveled the country, sharing the best practices for financial advice with various financial institutions. Act! was a part of those best practices, freeing financial planners from the chaos of Rolodexes and index cards by providing them with an intelligent software solution to help organize and manage their client and prospect relationships.
After becoming a Certified Financial Planner® in 1991, I ran my own financial planning practice and eventually began consulting primarily for financial services software. My experience and background in financial planning and asset allocation awarded me unique insights into financial service, which enabled me to customize the Act! software to cater to the unique needs of financial advisors and insurance professionals. In 1999, these industry-specific database templates were the blueprint for creating Act4Advisors, an Act! add-on designed specifically for the financial and insurance industry verticals. The popularity of the Act4Advisors software prompted me to start Allied Financial Software, Inc in 2001 and become an Act! Certified Consultant in 2002.
Allied Financial Software has always focused on the financial and insurance industry and, along with consultation and training, began developing customized Act! add-ons to cater to both unique verticals. Our company has worked with financial and insurance institutions of all sizes, from sole proprietors to enterprises. However, with larger organizations, we tend to work closely with departments within the companies. So, we are used to providing our expertise to smaller teams.
What differentiates you from your competitors?
By far, our domain knowledge within the vertical-specific Act! add-ons are what differentiates us from our competitors. Our Act4Advisors add-on for Act! was designed specifically for financial planners, investment advisors, and insurance professionals. The customized database program includes pertinent industry features, such as personal information fields, basic account and insurance information, custom reports, web portals, and document management, with scanning capabilities. With these capabilities, users can leverage Act!’s database features to automatically track client information and quickly determine things like proper services, products, benefits packages, and qualified plans.
Allied Financial Software also offers Scan&Organize add-on for Act! that allows Act! users to scan and manage essential documents directly within the Act! platform. This enables users to maintain client folders which can include vital documents such as Wills & Trusts, Financial Plans, Invoices, communications, etc—helping any Act! users including financial and insurance professionals stay organized and provide superior service to their clients.
How have you seen Act! solutions evolve over time?
I have been an Act! user since nearly its inception so for me, a lot has changed! While I could discuss how Act! has grown to include email management tools and has evolved to include mobile and cloud-based CRM integration and Act!’s Marketing Automation (AMA), the greatest evolution of Act! has been its continued growth and prioritization of its user interface. Act! has always provided its clients with highly intuitive and connective software, and its products just continue to become more user-friendly and easier to adopt—which makes it a lot easier to sell!
Regarding user adoption, are there any common roadblocks customers encounter when setting up a CRM system?
For anyone new to CRM, the most challenging part of software adoption is getting them to change their habits and how they manage their client lists and important data. Whether it is resistance to change or fear of the unknown, clients often feel like their way is the right way. As consultants, an important part of our job is getting clients to understand that while their current processes may “work,” they may not be serving their customers to the best of their ability, and CRM technology like Act! is designed to take their operations and customer service to the next level.
How have you seen customers’ business needs evolve in the past few years, e.g., any trends in software needs since Covid? And, are there any capabilities customers are more interested in as business becomes increasingly digital?
The most significant change I have seen is the accelerated migration to cloud technologies, with many CRM vendors doing away with on-premise software options. As a financial and insurance-focused CRM consultant, we are fortunate to have a tool like Act! that provides both an Act! Premium on-premise CRM, along with various CRM deployment options that include hybrid approaches offering users the flexibility and accessibility of cloud software with the security and reliability of on-premise technology.
Visit their website to learn more about how Allied Financial Software, Inc. can help organize your financial or insurance professional services team and improve relationships with your valuable clients.