Unless An Advisor Works Through These CRM Adoption Issues, He Will Only Scratch The Surface In Using A CRM Effectivelty

Thursday, April 14, 2011 09:31
Unless An Advisor Works Through These CRM Adoption Issues, He Will Only Scratch The Surface In Using A CRM Effectivelty

A new report from Aite Group found that 25% of advisors surveyed don't have a CRM or don't find it applicable to their businesses. The problem is not the CRM, it's that advisors are not being trained on new software.

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The press release says Aite Group's report rates seven CRM systems, but the ratings of these apps fail to reflect an important component in adoption of new software: training.


The most popular and sticky apps used by advisors are simple and require no training. Unfortunately, CRM systems require training.


CRM is now the most important app in advisor practice management because it is used to manage clients and employees. Embedding your workflows is difficult but necessary in order to get the most from a CRM, but few advisors get that far with their CRM systems.


For advisors to utilize CRM systems effectively, the training they get can be as important than the CRM's ease of use.


Advisors need to know  that buying a CRM is only a first step.  To adopt a new CRM takes training and planning. It takes time for an employee in your firm to learn how to use software for his job.


You need to make sure he employees get the resources and training materials to learn the app, and you must tell--or show--him how he's expect to sue the program in his job.


Once an employee masters the basics, you want to ask him for suggestions about how to use the app more effectively.


Once you've achieved adoption, be prepared to devote the resources to continuously improve how you use the software by molding it around your practice.


Unless an advisor works through these CRM adoption issues, they will only scratch the surface in using a CRM to improve productivity.


Comments (6)

Micah McCann
This is the sad truth and it only gets worse. It is extremely difficult to stay in front of the bevy of new features and integrations being added by the CRM providers. Training and awareness about future enhancements is extremely important.
Micah McCann , April 14, 2011
the reality is that most CRM systems are designed to sell in an industry going to an advisory model. None I have looked at over the years helped us as an RIA manage a process. We are integrating TD's API into outlook and finding great benefit.
brentb843 , April 14, 2011
We have seen many RIA's use CRM technologies to create massive growth in their practices. The firms that have grown the most focus only on the features that can solve the business problems they are facing that are preventing them from getting to the next level. In one extreeme example we have had a client use their CRM to go from 50 Million AUM to over 2 billion in only a few years.
BrianEdelman , April 14, 2011
I sell CRM to independent fee-based and fee-only advisors. Believe it or not, I don’t like to sell training. “CRM training” is fine in the wirehouse environment, but independent advisors are finished with letting the wirehouse tell them how to do things.

They’re fiercely independent, entrepreneurial, and they do things their own way.

An advisor’s value proposition is often based on a unique approach (planning, client service, process, investment methodology, etc.). The root cause of an advisor’s success is also the reason that CRM "training" doesn’t create value.

Training is fine for simple-purpose applications because they’re used the same way by almost every advisor. Cheap CRMs and old Windows-based CRMs might also require a little training because a firm needs to learn “workarounds” or to change processes and employee’s responsibilities to accommodate their CRM. A good CRM, on the other hand, has thousands of features and integrations. Each of them is important to certain advisors, at certain times, and in certain circumstances. A “cool feature” to one advisory firm is the sine qua non of another firm’s ability to balance service levels with profit margins.

Adoption and ROI is always highest for advisors and planning firms who clearly articulate their niche, business goals, business problems, service model, and roles of each team member. When we learn these things, we tweak the screens, workflows, reports, security level, user rights, and alerts, for each member of a firm – and all based on that member’s role in the execution of the overall business strategy. Firms who have adopted our CRM well, have it so customized for each user that you’d hardly know that each person is actually using the same system.

So…back to training….Each advisor, para-planner, and staff member should learn only the few parts of their CRM that help them to do their own job better. The Principals/Owners should be one-click away from dashboards with real-time management reports that allow them to conduct operations like a war-time general.

Most CRM providers roll-out hundreds of enhancements each month and a new version every 6 months or so. Even then, I say that advisors should not spend the time learning the details about all these new features. Most features were added to help other advisors or staff to execute on very different business strategies.

Instead of training, plan a periodic review with your CRM vendor. That way, we can understand how your practice is evolving and can recommend tweaks, changes, and new features that will help you.

In short, if an advisor can articulate his business strategy, and will invest the time to configure his CRM – he will execute on that strategy successfully.
steveambuul , April 15, 2011

do tell more about TDA's API and Outlook...

stvnrsmth , April 15, 2011
We are creating an Add-in that will bring in balances, transactions, etc directly from TD. It will be built on a process for managing accounts instead of a sales/transaction model. Should have first screen shots next week.

The real cool thing is all the data disappears when the contact is closed so security is paramount. No third party or advisor maintaining a dbase of client information.
brentb843 , April 18, 2011

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