Technology: To Use...Or Not to Use
Ask an advisor about the technology they use in their practice and you will likely get a mixed reaction. Tech complexity and cost have long been sources of frustration for advisors, with many still reluctant to fully embrace newer technology platforms.
On the other hand, more recent holistic financial planning platforms are proving their worth in meeting the needs of clients of all ages. Increasingly, advisors are embracing these new tools, recognizing how they can help them provide added value to clients who expect more than just investment advice.
According to a recent survey conducted by T3 Consulting Services, 64 percent of the 5,500 respondents indicated they were using financial planning software. Fee-only advisors’ adoption was 68.3 percent and dually-registered advisors came in at 60.6 percent.
Danielle Fava, director of product strategy for TD Ameritrade Institutional, which serves as custodian for more than 7,000 advisors, attributes this growing popularity of planning software to how advisors are using it to develop deeper relationships with clients.
While at one time most of these programs focused exclusively on planning for retirement, newer offerings allow simple plans to be quickly created for common client issues like planning a vacation, paying down college debt or saving for a wedding. Obviously, this helps the advisor address the unique needs of younger prospects and clients, thereby helping to future-proof their practice.
CRMs: The Heart of Financial Planning . . . and Inbound Marketing
When considering the different technologies that advisors use, what was deemed the most important in the T3 survey? Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms ranked first at 52.3 percent. A distant second at 22.9 percent was financial planning software, and portfolio management software was less than half of that.
The popularity of CRMs is of little surprise because advisors know these programs can not only by powerful tools in strengthening client relationships, but also effective in prospecting, generating leads and onboarding new clients.
When used properly, CRMs become the epicenter of everything important in a client’s life that has an impact on their financial well-being. Sound financial planning subsequently begins and ends within a Customer Relationship Management platform.
Perhaps more importantly, the CRM also serves as the central neural system of advisors’ marketing programs, particularly with those advisors who are using inbound marketing. For advisors using this strategy, the technology stack looks like this:
You can clearly see that technology is playing an increasingly important role in financial advisors’ practices. When properly implemented and used effectively, technology can bring efficiencies to the business. Even more importantly, however, a well executed CRM strategy can enhance existing client relationships and serve as a powerful tool for prospecting and winning new clients.
If you’re not familiar with inbound marketing, you’ll want to be! We invite you to download your complimentary copy of The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Practice and discover how inbound marketing might help you boost your client acquisition strategy.