5 ways to make smarter use of your CRM system
Practice Management & Strategic Issues

5 ways to make smarter use of your CRM system

April 16, 2018

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

CRM use

In days gone by Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems were used as little more than simple marketing machines. They contained enough information to know who your clients were and how to contact them, and perhaps even had some prospects in there, and be able to produce a mail merge to run a marketing campaign to them.


Over the last few years advice businesses have expanded their use of CRM systems to begin managing advice workflow, with a particular focus on managing their own regulatory risks.  That is; the emphasis has shifted to utilising the CRM system as a means of managing the advisers compliance concerns.


The increased expectations around providing written advice and “know your client” rules has meant that advice businesses generally have become more proficient at capturing hard data on clients, such as product or portfolio information.  It has become common to rely upon data feeds from their preferred product suppliers to maintain current information in these areas.


So we have evolved in general terms into better use of CRM systems, using them to manage essential advice and client service functions, and ensuring that the essentials are captured or covered.


The really smart businesses are working their CRM systems a lot harder though, and investing a lot more effort into capturing data.  They have recognized that the intellectual property, or capitalized value, of their business is a reflection of their organized customer intelligence.  In other words a service business is worth a lot more when any new owner or investor can rely upon solid data to gauge the strength and degree of the customer relationships, together with the latent opportunity that lies within the business.


There are 5 key areas where today’s professionals can often strengthen their use of their CRM systems and build further capital value within their business, and they are:

  1. Gathering more than just the essential client contact data by including social media profiles and accounts.  Even though you may not be currently using those social media connections to engage with the clients it provides further contact points as well as intelligence on how or where they source information and engage with the wider world.
  2. Building a stronger picture of the clients financial affairs by capturing more information on products, assets and portfolio’s not currently “under advice”, including their business structures and interests.
  3. Mapping the clients goals and interests together with their family and business relationships.  How are they connected to who, and where are they trying to go in life?  The more you know in this respect, the more opportunities there will be to provide great advice.
  4. Capturing customer feedback and interactions.  Thinking beyond the compliance-driven need to record the instance of client contact, advisers should be capturing the mood (if not the actual words) of any contact or interaction.  Whether that is via SMS, social media channels, emails…there is a wealth of information being providing by the clients in their interaction that are valuable insights and which can help you build a better business with deeper client relationships. You really don’t have to look any further than Facebook to understand how a business can build immense value from capturing and then analysing and utilising this sort of data.
  5. Integrating other technology platforms into, or in conjunction with, the CRM system.  Financial management & reporting for the business; mind-mapping; social media interaction tools (e.g. Nimble, etc); analytical tools; automated email templates and calling systems and so on.  There is a massive opportunity to introduce business efficiencies and improve the bottom line of the practice by investing in better tech integration.


A good CRM system should be way more than a compliance management system or a basic marketing platform.  It can be the store of IP for the firm and a key efficiency or cost savings driver.


But the real bottom line is the more you know about your customers, the more valuable you are able to be to them.  And therein lies the value FOR you.


You might also be interested in this related article:
What is the point of an expensive CRM system?
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Comments (4)

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