When It Comes To Marketing, RIAs And CRMs Are In The Same Boat

Tech Providers And RIAs Share Similar Challenges Communicating Their Value Propositions To Prospects
Adrian Johnstone, CEO & Co-Founder, Practifi
Adrian Johnstone, CEO & Co-Founder, Practifi

Most of the people reading this don’t have to worry about marketing a CRM platform. But I bet you might worry about standing out in a crowded marketplace that grows more competitive by the second. We have more in common than you might think.

I interact with RIA clients every day, and from my vantage point, advisors and their tech partners run into strikingly similar business challenges. Let’s delve into what this means for both sides.

Navigating The Marketplace Maze

I’m sure you did your due diligence when looking for your first CRM. You probably found a lot of contenders who, at first glance, offered a very similar lineup of core services and functionality. This is exactly what your prospective clients do when they shop around for a financial advisor. In both cases, our prospects need more to go on than generic promises of comprehensive services.

The actual services you perform are the foundation of your work, but the way we talk about them almost turns them into commodities. From my perspective, it’s very hard to win new clients by leading with the same presentation and talking points as each of your competitors. You’re effectively saying, “We’re uniquely the same as everyone else.”

It’s very hard to win new clients by leading with the same presentation and talking points as each of your competitors.

For many RIAs starting their journey, defining their technology needs can be a challenge. They may not even be familiar enough with CRMs to even know what to ask. Similarly, RIAs have to demonstrate their knowledge to prospects who may not know financial services inside and out. If you’re a CFP professional, earning your designation is half the battle. How do you demonstrate your expertise to someone who doesn’t know what your credentials bring to the table?

The solution we’ve found is to model our tech business the way that a great RIA runs its business. Fortunately for us, we talk to great RIAs every day, so we have a pretty good blueprint to follow. So how does a great RIA stand out?

Get Specific About The Service You Will Deliver

What do you do when everyone says they offer comprehensive wealth management? You can’t exactly say, “Well yes, but ours is even more comprehensive-er.” Zero in on why a client might need “comprehensive” wealth management services. What are the problems that your clients are trying to solve? How are you best equipped to solve them? What will the day-to-day experience of that service feel like to the client?

You may have answered these questions internally as you set your sights on your ideal client profile. The harder part is to state exactly what that client experience will be like to your clients without falling back on business speak and the same buzzwords everyone else uses. But you can’t skip this step and expect blockbuster growth. Your ideal clients can’t find you if they struggle to pick you out of a crowd.

To that end, your clients are your best sales team. When our advisor clients have a good experience with our platform, they don’t keep it to themselves. The same is true with RIA clients. But we can go a step beyond “referrals are good.”

Proactive engagement with shared connections allows you to grow with greater intentionality.

Through client conversations and modern tools at your fingertips, you can uncover the connections between your current clients and high-value prospects – and pursue them. As great as it is to encourage (and receive) referred business, proactive engagement with shared connections allows you to grow with greater intentionality.

When it comes to seeking new business, RIAs and their tech partners are copying each other’s homework. It’s a great sign that we’re all converging on the same path. The key to differentiation in this era of wealth management is a laser-tight focus on the authentic, specific value the client will experience, and the ability to use all the resources at your disposal to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Adrian Johnstone is the CEO and Co-Founder of Practifi.

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