The 2009 Financial Planning Software and Technology survey was recently published, and surprisingly, CRM remains an under utilized area for financial practices.
A full quarter of survey respondents counted Microsoft Outlook as their primary CRM solution. A cacophony of voices sound out at hearing that statistic knowing full well Outlook is not a CRM application. While it is (to me as well) the premier Windows-based email client, that is where its functionality ends.
CRM should serve as the core of any financial practice, hosting the most detailed level of information about your customers and prospects. It should enable you to know anniversaries, birthdays, family member likes and dislikes, your activities and tasks carried out on behalf of clients and more. Every interaction deserves a note in CRM, as do meetings, letters and emails to and from clients. This begins to build a versatile database of information for researching your entire books of business along with staying in touch with individual contacts.
If you have an opportunity - take a look at our recent webinar on Process and CRM on Advisors4Advisors to get deeper into your practice capabilities with CRM.
Once you begin to leverage the fundamentals of a good CRM solution - you can take a deeper dive and look for opportunities to use CRM with other practice tools like financial planning, portfolio reporting and form filling to establish efficiencies and reduce manual data entry.
See an article I wrote covering due diligence on selecting new vendors to help you choose a provider that offers these advanced features when you are ready for them.