Outgrown Your CRM Workflow Functions? Here’s How to Choose a New Provider.
Financial advisory firms face a multitude of competing workflow priorities. New client onboarding, financial plan reviews, nervous client phone calls, accounts that need rebalancing and business processing – to name a few – all of which can keep you up at night.
Trying to manage firm activity with spreadsheets, CRM tasks and calendar reminders is clunky and inefficient. This is usually a sign that your firm has outgrown its CRM and needs better software to document and streamline business processes while increasing efficiencies. Such firms often turn to workflow management tools that help to achieve these goals and build scale.
Fortunately for financial advisors, several reliable, quality software companies provide excellent workflow management solutions. The available options include large, industry-agnostic providers, such as Asana and Trello, as well as boutique solutions tailored for advisory businesses, such as the one we offer at Hubly.
Your choice of provider will shape your business going forward, so it’s important to carefully consider and investigate each option to find the right one for your firm’s needs and future.
Specifically, you should consider the following:
1. Visibility of Business and Client Priorities
Advisors need a single place to view all firm activity in a clean, visual format in order to get a 50,000-foot view of their firm, to identify areas of inefficiency or bottlenecks and find insights on where your team can reallocate resources.
Ask the workflow software provider how much centralized visibility their solution offers. This functionality can save you and your team from having to dig for information across your CRM and spreadsheets. Also, be sure to ask for a demo so you can get a feel for whether the interface is user-friendly.
2. Workflow Templates
Templates save you time by providing out-of-the-box workflow solutions to processes such as account opening, client onboarding or client meetings, enabling consistent best-practice workflows without employing the resources to design those internally.
Creating workflows from scratch is time consuming and costly, whether implemented internally or outsourced. Templates remove the heavy lifting, but in order for them to properly meet your firm’s needs they must also be customizable for your business.
Ask the solutions provider which templates come with their tools and the extent of customization allowed. Again, a demo will give you a feel for how much work remains to get the templates into a form that works for your business.
3. Documentation to Meet Compliance Standards
Increased oversight and tighter rules around documentation standards resulting from Reg BI have prompted advisory firms to maintain better client notes and records. Your workflow management system needs to work for you by storing the relevant documentation and capturing a chronological history of tasks completed for each client. These include meetings and recommendations.
A tool tailored for wealth management will have the added advantage of being designed with industry-specific compliance needs in mind. Ask the workflow management provider how they can help you meet these obligations.
4. Syncing With Your CRM
While a firm may outgrow its CRM workflow management functionality, the CRM remains a necessary tool for your business. A solution tailored for financial advisors can save time and effort and avoid stale data by moving data seamlessly between your CRM and workflow system.
Without an integration, you will need to manually update information across both systems, so make sure to look into what integrations are available with your CRM when searching for workflow management software.
5. A System That Grows With Your Business
If you find yourself creating workarounds in your workflow management system now, just imagine the impact and complexity of maintaining them as you scale. In order to grow your firm effectively, you need a workflow tool that accounts for the challenges that come as you add more clients and hire more employees. Otherwise you may find your employees manually keying in data and entering the same recurring tasks multiple times.
As an example, today your firm likely runs an RMD report and uses a spreadsheet to track clients with RMDs. This probably encompasses communications with those clients, amounts needed, which accounts are impacted, and dates actions were taken. Can the workflow manager automatically tell you when you need to do those tasks and free your employees to be more productive elsewhere?
6. Support Staff Who Understands Your Business
As a wealth management professional, you are responsible for providing an ongoing, complex service to multiple clients. When you run into a bottleneck or challenge with your software, will the provider’s support staff understand your business well enough to serve your needs or train your employees?
Workflow management is essential for growing firms to create collaboration across team members, eliminate tedious tasks and redundancies, automate and simplify complex processes, and minimize errors while increasing productivity.
There is no denying the excellence of workflow management software options available in today’s market. If your firm is at a stage where it needs to select a new provider, the choice will remain with you for years, so it’s imperative to choose wisely among the high-quality options available.
Meghan Rutherford is the Customer Training & Onboarding Manager at Hubly, a provider of workflow management solutions for the wealth management industry