It has been found that the advisors take hasty decisions into selecting a CRM tool before devoting time for evaluating the varied functionalities of chosen CRM. Most companies are of the opinion that ‘we want the biggest tool with option for varied features availability.’
One of the possible problems with this kind of approach is that the philosophy of ‘bigger is better’ above practicality. Due to this, many of the advisors end up spending humungous amount for a solution that will need time intensive customization and at the end fails to deliver desired results.
But the good news is that there is a CRM tool for every kind of organization but varied advisors select the wrong software.
- Purchasing without deciding if we require a generic or domain specific CRM
This is an important step towards buying a CRM tool and also one of the steps which is often missed by advisors. Instead of purchasing impulsively based on the essential features, advisors need to first think about what they really require and being honest with themselves before eyeing to buy software.
There are a few essential differences between generic and financial CRM tools that advisors need to consider from the start.
It is believed that the generic CRM tools have been developed to work on different platforms and not just on the financial sector. With the aim to efficiently produce a CRM that will be useful for the advisors and also scalable to the masses at the same time, generic CRMs are typically required to be configured for usage.
If an advisor is not considered as an expert in the particular selected CRM or do not have the time for proper configuration, advisors will be required to pay a Value Added Reseller (VAR) for completing the configuration. One of the other options is to make use of the capabilities of the CRM vendors to closely work with an overlay provider. They make use of the capabilities of the standard platform and also offer the configuration and integration that the advisors require.
The financial CRMs are usually pre developed keeping in mind the requirements of the sector in mind. CRMs in this particular section have their own set of strengths and also weaknesses. One of the main benefits of using it that they are completely out of the box and mainly developed for the domain.
When a financial CRM successfully meets the advisor’s requirements, it can be made functional within a time span of just one day without the presence of any customization. It helps in maintaining low cost. Making a smooth transition to a new CRM is often considered as the deciding factor for considering the net user adoption within an organization. One may be needed to carry out due diligence essential and also be satisfied that the selected solution will help raise the efficiencies and also bring improvement in the client ties.
It is believed that the advisors must consider the pros and cons of generic and financial CRMs, there are few essential questions which needs to be asked such as –
1. What features and advantages I want to gain from CRM?
2. Can I get my CRM customized, and if not, how much do I need to spend for carrying out the necessary customizations?
3. Will the selected CRM can be successfully integrated with other technology solutions used in the company?
Finding the answers to these questions will help in making a well informed decision by the advisors.
- Purchasing without finding out relevant details about the integration features in action
It is essential to always take a close look at the integration features in action before buying a CRM. There are varied companies agreeing to sell advisors what they require, instead of what has been developed.
By monitoring an integration demo of the functionality, the advisors can take a better decision if the CRM can be integrated with the solutions used by the company.
As CRM acts as the hub of all details, reviewing the seamless integration with other applications is important. Some of the relevant questions which need to be answered in regard to the integration are as follows –
1. Which features are already existing and which ones need to be developed?
2. Does your selected CRM have successfully passed the security test?
3. What is the level of support being provided by the CRM during the implementation stage and also beyond?
As integration is considered as an essential word which the advisors must look for, it comprises of more than just communication between systems. When the advisors starts to drill down into the CRM and how it will actually work in a big software ecosystem, extra questions also come to the forefront such as raising the functionality, security and support.
While reviewing the varied features a CRM can possibly have, it is essential to uncover which features are considered as essential for being an inherent part of the CRM and which features will need extra customization or even build out. Many of the advisors are likely to find out that even the domain specific CRMs need extra modules for functions such as insurance feeds and imaging.
All the CRMs are varied in their approach, hence it is essential for the advisors to screen those features which are required on urgent basis and which are the ones that will be required in the near future.
Security is an important concern when working with relevant financial details, and when the advisors have varied systems integrating and sharing data, this concern becomes bigger. One of the easiest ways for advisors to find out if a CRM is safe by reviewing if the CRM has passed the security test.
One of the most essential things to consider when reviewing a CRM’s integration capabilities is the level of support offered by it. It is believed that the actual implementation is a well-planned strategy and it needs company-to-advisor communication, resources, time and also cooperation. As most of the advisors would have data in their database, hence it is essential to be able to quickly import those details into the new CRM.
This sort of data transfer has cost involved although not mentioning about the training sessions tutorials. Hence, it is essential to ensure the cost while buying this tool.
- Closely monitoring the pricing right at the start
Making pricing as the top most priority right from the start is not the right approach. It is obvious that ever advisor wants value for the allocated budget, but if you kick start a relationship based on the pricing questions can lead to no value zone quickly.
Making the pricing as the final consideration while buying a CRM is a good option. When the pricing related questions are kept for consideration at last, it will allow the advisors to keep a close check on the functionality related issues such as generic vs. industry specific, inherent vs. add-on features and integration capabilities.
Some of the questions that will help the advisors to make the final cut are as follows –
1. Is the CRM offered per user or per office and what are the charges per user or per office?
2. Is the CRM capable to import available client details from another tool/software? This is often responsible for nearly 40% of the implementation pricing.
3. Is the CRM capable to offer support to client data export functionality?
4. Are you being charged for technical support?
When answers to the above questions are available, then bagging the right CRM won’t be a tough job.
Vendors offering free CRM should be additionally scrutinized to ensure that they are in a position to offer support to the security needs required to maintain the safety of the client data.
So, which is the best CRM in the market
Generic CRMs are mainly bought by the larger RIA companies and also broker dealers to be utilized as platforms instead of just a CRM. This kind of CRM also provides the needed flexibility to develop workflows and also tailor the system on a firm-by-firm basis. Although, this functionality is usually costly, but it is effective and pays off in a controlled process is implemented company wide.
Financial CRMs are most suited to the individual advisors and registered reps. Companies with half a dozen users or less are not likely to be happy with a financial CRM.
Buying an extensible and costly solution is only efficient when the advisors are ready to make use of the platform features it provides although most of the financial CRMs have integrations to financial industry tool that do not need any work to implement, which helps in saving time and money.