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Do independent financial advisors really need CRM?

If you’re an independent financial advisor, you might wonder if you really need customer relationship management (CRM) software. No matter what size your business is, chances are you can benefit from better efficiency through marketing and workflow automation as well as easy access to all of your client information in one place. Not only can this help you attract and nurture long-term client relationships, but it can also free up more of your valuable time to invest in growing your business.

Don’t just take our word for it. Forrester Research reports that financial advisors can improve prospect-to-client conversion rates by up to 300% when they use CRM.

Here are six ways a CRM solution can help you do it all:

  1. Instantly access customer data with better contact management
  2. Deliver more impactful communications with email marketing
  3. Engage clients more effectively through marketing automation
  4. Improve team collaboration through workflow automation
  5. Build stronger client relationships
  6. Improve sales forecasting

How many hours do you spend on your business every week?

Most financial advisors work really hard, perhaps more than they even realize. 

Consider everything you do in a given week: Meet with clients (as well as prepare for those meetings). You perform a range of client support tasks, such as financial planning, investment, banking, analysis, as well as follow-up tasks after client planning meetings.

In addition to working with existing clients, you likely spend several hours per week attracting new customers. For instance, you might offer a free introductory meeting or phone call as a way to directly engage new prospects. And then there are all the marketing campaigns you create and manage, such as free seminars, webinars, and other lead-generation activities that demand a lot of your time to plan and execute. 

Of course, at the heart of your profession are all of the research and investment strategies you employ to manage client portfolios according to their individual goals and needs. 

Have you ever sat down and tallied up how much time you spend on all of these tasks each week? According to one report, you might be spending at least 53 hours per week managing everything. 

CRM saves you more time than you may realize

The good news is, CRM can help you work a lot smarter, not harder. The best CRM for financial advisors is one that helps you automate everyday tasks, set reminders, and quickly identify new opportunities. Best of all, in addition to CRM features, you can also take advantage of marketing automation to create and customize marketing campaigns for specific types of prospects. For example, maybe you want to bring in younger families with children to help them plan for college or buy a home. Or maybe you’re interested in attracting empty-nesters who need financial advice while thinking ahead to retirement. 

No matter what your business goals are, a financial planning CRM system provides the functionality to help you do it all in less time. Here’s how!

Instantly access customer data with better contact management

All too often, financial advisors store client information in multiple apps and platforms. Customer contact information might be in Outlook or Gmail, while account information might be in an Excel spreadsheet, and still more data might be spread across various financial planning apps and cloud storage solutions. 

A CRM can help consolidate all of your vital customer information in one place. That way, you or a colleague can quickly access a customer record to follow up on a question or schedule a planning meeting while having all client data at your fingertips. Not only does this help you work more efficiently, you ensure you have all of the most updated information in front of you. In the financial services industry, where timing is often critical, you can’t afford to overlook an important investment decision for your clients simply because you didn’t have easy access to their portfolio and contact information.

Deliver more impactful communications with email marketing

In the age of social media, it can be tempting to abandon email marketing in favor of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. But email marketing isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, over the next few years, the global email market is expected to grow to $17.9 billion by 2027, up from just $7.5 billion in 2020.

Many financial services professionals and independent advisors already use email programs to create email marketing campaigns for prospects and clients. But today, some of the best CRM platforms include email marketing tools so you can simply plug in your customer contact and demographic information to create and deliver powerful emails to any lead, prospect, or client. 

Of course, some of the best CRM tools already provide a library of easily customizable email templates and landing pages. That means you can build, modify, and save all your campaigns right in your CRM

Engage clients more effectively through marketing automation

Many people confuse email marketing with marketing automation. While they have some things in common, it’s important to understand the difference — and what that means to you as a financial services professional.

In a nutshell, marketing automation goes well beyond email marketing, which doesn’t give you broader insight into your clients’ needs, preferences, and behavior. While email marketing will always be an essential part of your communication toolkit, marketing automation helps you capture and store every user’s interaction with your company. You can then turn those digital “breadcrumbs” into productive marketing insights for future campaigns across any email, website, app, or social media platform or leverage them for customer support initiatives.

Marketing automation is ideal for financial advisors because it helps you engage new and existing clients through a range of media, including email, social media marketing, mobile apps, and more. Just as important, its key features help you find more time in the day by streamlining many of the repetitive and time-consuming tasks associated with things like social media posting and email marketing campaigns. In fact, marketing automation tools have been found to improve productivity by approximately 20%.

Improve team collaboration through workflow automation

CRM goes well beyond simplifying marketing campaigns. Many CRM systems can help you run essential business, lead management, and sales processes that drive your entire business. For example, a CRM with a simplified user experience can greatly accelerate the onboarding process for new team members. You can remotely collaborate with team members wherever they work, which eliminates the need to always be in the office.

CRM workflow automation also streamlines the sales process and improves the customer experience. For example, let’s say a new client signs up for investment portfolio management. Less than a month later, the original advisor goes out on maternity leave. With a CRM, any other advisor can easily pick up where the first one left off to ensure the client’s needs don’t fall through the cracks. With the help of reminders and other notifications, any advisor can schedule calls, and meetings, and take other important steps to keep the client’s financial goals and wealth management on track.

Build stronger client relationships

As a financial services professional, you know that client relationships are about more than just money. It’s about helping people achieve their personal goals, whether it’s funding a secure retirement, sending kids to college, buying a house, or simply making smarter financial decisions. So you have to do more than just crunch numbers, you have to establish long-term relationships built on trust. 

As a result, personalized service is critical.

It all starts with understanding your market so you can tailor your messaging and marketing campaigns to align with their needs and interests.

A CRM system can help you track and analyze all the data you capture from website lead capture forms, user behavior on your website, and, of course, relationships with your current client base. Using this real-time data, your CRM can help you identify current and emerging trends so you can customize your marketing and retention efforts on the fly. 

A CRM does more than optimize marketing campaigns. It also helps you engage more effectively with individual clients and prospects. For instance, you can see where each client or prospect is on their personal customer journey, and deliver relevant content at each stage.  For instance, you can send an email congratulating new parents or invite a prospect to a free college planning webinar. 

CRM software for financial advisors helps you capture and process data on customers and prospects so you can create highly targeted campaigns using personalized messaging and offers. A full-featured CRM can help you develop informative blog posts on a range of topics, such as how to choose the best 529 college savings fund. You can also set reminders to send birthday and anniversary cards to clients — all with the goal to create lasting client relationships built on trust.

Improve sales forecasting

Financial planning is all about the future — and that includes yours as well. However, many advisors become so focused on helping their clients that they don’t leave enough time to strategically grow their business. A CRM helps you do more than serve your clients, it also helps you leverage all your valuable data to project future sales growth. 

For instance, you can analyze data from your account balances, past sales, and market analytics to help you understand where your business has seen the most sales growth, predict future trends, and adjust your sales and marketing strategy to meet your goals.

Your CRM should be able to help you understand sales trends on a granular level, too. For instance, you should be able to see metrics tied to lead generation and pipeline value as well as identify which prospects may become clients in the near term. Are there cold leads that may be worth investigating further? You should be able to identify and curate all of these opportunities through your CRM software. Most importantly, it should help you identify where to focus your time and efforts to improve conversion rates — and your forecasted revenue.

Act! Premium checks all the boxes for an insurance CRM

Act! provides financial advisors with all-in-one CRM and marketing automation tools to grow their relationships and meet their ambitious business goals. Discover how our powerfully simple relationship management tools can support your firm with better marketing and data tracking tools that attract more qualified leads and convert them into loyal customers. 

Act! Premium offers flexible pricing as well as customizations and app integrations to accommodate the unique ways you work. We’re committed to meeting your specific needs regardless of your budget and company size.

See how Act! can work for you — get a free, 14-day trial and discover how Act! works seamlessly in your environment!