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What Should Australian Advisers Look for in a CRM Solution?

January 29, 2020

By Adrian johnstone

Australia’s financial advisory industry is in a state of flux, with government regulations, industry reforms and increased competition all causing disruption. Uncertainty regarding the future of the sector has forced large swathes of financial advisers to leave the profession altogether. According to Independently Owned Financial Professionals, the financial advisory sector will lose anywhere from 17% to 40% of its advisers over the course of the next few years.

Despite that degree of upheaval, there are opportunities to grow your client base and expand your business in this environment. But it will require shrewd planning, the support of a dedicated, knowledgeable staff and dedicated client support to do so.

Your customer relationship management (CRM) platform is an important piece of the puzzle, helping your team stay up to date on every client and prospect and how to best serve their needs. With so many CRM options available, how can you find the right one for your financial advisory business? Consider these factors when vetting CRM vendors, and you will land on the best solution that matches your needs.

1. Will it scale with your business?

With so many financial advisory firms closing up shop and professionals leaving the industry, there’s a golden opportunity for other organisations to fill that void and expand their client base. As such, advice firms that stick it out over the next few years are likely to see their business grow, perhaps tremendously so.

Don’t lock your firm into an ill-suited CRM platform that is incapable of easily and quickly scaling up along with your business needs. Scalability is one of the most important features you should look for in a CRM solution, especially given current industry trends.

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A cloud-based platform is a safe bet if you want to futureproof your firm’s CRM capabilities. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions allow businesses to expand their platform’s features at a moment’s notice. If you’re expecting to add more users to your CRM in the coming years or increase the number of data sources that will integrate with it, a cloud-based solution will allow you to scale up with ease. And if you need to wind things down at a later date, it’s quick and painless to do that, too.

With a cloud-based CRM platform, you’ll never have to worry about your tech keeping up with your business.

2. Integrate with third-party software

Advice firms rely on a lot of different business applications to function, but all too often, these platforms operate in silos, effectively cut off from one another. Your CRM platform can’t exist in its own vacuum if you want to get the most value out of it. Look for a CRM product that can seamlessly integrate with the most widely used business applications on the market today.

Having extensive third-party integrations at your disposal allows your firm to pull in data from a wide variety of sources, giving your financial advisors the most comprehensive view of account statuses, client onboarding progress, financial holdings and other important aspects to maintaining strong customer relationships.

The right CRM platform will provide a comprehensive view of your entire client relationship landscape by bringing together as much information as possible from as many sources as possible. That should be a two-way street too. The best CRM solutions allow users to pull data into other business software so they don’t have to constantly jump between different applications to get things done. That means more productivity and a better quality of service for your clientele.

3. More than just a CRM platform

CRM applications originally emerged as a way to help organisations keep tabs on their customers and sales prospects and manage those relationships accordingly. The latest and most advanced solutions available today have significantly expanded their capabilities beyond those narrow aims.

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Leading CRM solutions function as comprehensive information hubs, giving your team of financial advisers complete visibility into every client, provider and partner you do business with. They can also include a number of additional features to boost productivity and collaboration between different internal teams.

Financial advisory firms should also look for analytics capabilities when selecting a CRM platform. Ideally, the software will be able to pull in data from various sources and produce reports that shine a light on key performance metrics and provide insights into customer relationships.

Don’t let an outdated CRM platform restrain your advice firm from realising its full potential. Choose a business management solution that offers more than just the baseline CRM tools.

4. Partner with a responsive vendor

You should never feel like you’re on your own in getting the most value out of your CRM platform. Too often, vendors disappear once they’ve made their sale and the product has changed hands. Vet each potential technology provider to check that they will stick around past implementation to help answer any questions, address performance issues and configure your CRM platform according to your business’s needs.

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Work with a vendor that will provide hands-on support and listen to your feedback.

Having vendor support that you know you can always count on offers some much-needed peace of mind regarding any new business purchase.

When searching for a new CRM platform, look for a solution that provides more than basic features at a low cost. Think of it as a long-term investment that will continue supporting your core business goals for years to come.. That means prioritising factors like scalability, third-party software integrations and an extensive list of tools that expand upon the platform’s functionality. 

Do your due diligence, vet every vendor, ensure their software checks all of your most important boxes, and you will find the right solution for your needs.

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