CRM Software helps convert prospects, increase business.

By Warren J. Mackensen, CFP®, ProTracker Software

In today’s tumultuous economic climate, financial advisors have a very real pain point:  business is down industry-wide, and firms are actively seeking new clients in an extremely competitive marketplace.  What they may not realize is that if they invest in the right CRM system, they can significantly improve their marketing efforts, making it easier and more effective to conduct outreach, track prospects, and convert them into clients.

Today, there are still many financial advisors not using CRM tools.  In fact, 38% of financial professionals are using Microsoft Outlook as CRM software because there’s no cost to access that program. However, compared to more comprehensive, robust CRM solutions, basic systems like Outlook have far fewer capabilities and do not capture the level of detail necessary to maximize prospecting efforts or manage internal operations. And of course, financial advisors that are not using CRM software at all are at a significant disadvantage – they’re wasting time and losing money, clients, and new business opportunities to competitors.

While there are a number of solid CRM solutions in the marketplace today, the most effective software packages have been developed by financial advisors for other financial advisors.   These industry experts understand from firsthand experience the needs and pain points of other financial advisors.

A powerful and effective CRM software program should feature important capabilities including the ability to:

Track prospects:  CRM software can track and sort potential new clients by a number of valuable criteria, including their conversion probability, their potential fee and possible competitors. It can also generate a call history, outlining when they’ve been contacted by the firm, as well as a call back list, indicating who will follow up and dates for next steps.

Track new clients:  Once a client has signed on with a firm, their financial advisor can update their status in the system so they don’t continue receiving prospecting calls or materials.

Filter by firm contact:  Companies that use CRM software find it helpful to be able to filter prospects by firm representative. It’s quick and easy to sort information by individual advisor so everyone across the organization can clearly see who initiated outreach to each prospect, who is continuing to pursue the prospect, when the prospect was last contacted and when the next follow-up call or meeting is scheduled.  It’s also easy to see which employees are maxed out and which could take on more contacts. Additionally, financial advisors can be earmarked to pursue a certain prospect based on shared interests or other rapport-building criteria.

Capture information in batches.  New, more advanced, CRM software tools allow companies to accurately capture, track and sort contact information in batches.  In other words, if a firm purchases a mailing list, the contact information can be quickly imported into the system and filtered by a number of criteria. Likewise, a firm can easily enter data collected from a seminar or other event into the system. Some models allow users to scan business cards and automatically capture all of the contact information in the proper database fields.  Furthermore, it’s possible to import information from VCards at the bottom of emails. CRM users can easily identify – and separate – existing clients to ensure that the firm doesn’t prospect to them.

Track tasks: CRM software manages and monitors tasks, and provides detailed “to do” lists sorted by due date, priority, employee name and other key criteria. Employees benefit from an automated tool that provides reminders about key action items, such as an impending deadline or upcoming new business meeting.

Manage marketing campaigns: CRM software can manage and monitor the firm’s marketing efforts, goals, target audiences and results. For instance, your firm might implement a new web site to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and then create an SEO web campaign. The target audience is pre-retirees looking for retirement income, and the company’s goal is to recruit four new clients per month. Using the CRM tools, each employee can have instant access to this information, tracking their individual efforts against the overarching company goals.

Track marketing efforts by prospect: Software users can track the firm’s marketing efforts by individual prospect, learning how they heard about the firm, the firm’s marketing tactics that target this person, and information about which other companies may be competing for this business.

Collaborate with colleagues:  Financial advisors can share knowledge with colleagues by providing success stories during the prospecting process. Perhaps one of the firm’s financial advisors read a Wall Street Journal article outlining a new industry trend.  When she quoted this information to her prospects, she had an 85% success rate with conversions.  She can use the CRM system to pass along this valuable nugget of information to her colleagues so they can implement this approach with their own contact list.

Track conversion rates: CRM tools can monitor the number of days it took to convert each prospect to a client.

Many financial providers are turning to the new version of ProTracker Advantage, which was developed by a financial expert with an engineering background, to meet their needs. ProTracker Advantage offers major new enhancements focused on client project capabilities, giving financial professionals the ability to manage and monitor projects, provide project workflow estimating, and prepare client project proposals. Other upgrades include the ability to interface with other software programs, improvements to workflow processes and updates to the retirement projection calculator, helping financial professionals provide a higher level of client service.

Warren J. Mackensen founded Hampton, NH- based ProTracker Software in 1997 to deliver intuitive software solutions, as well as critical security and compliance information, to the financial services industry. Mackensen has developed a variety of innovative business solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of the financial industry. Over the years, Warren has re-imagined his products to utilize the newest technologies, solve industry issues, and improve efficiencies. For more information please visit: www.protracker.com

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Category: Articles, Contact Management, Technology for Advisors