We’ve all been there. You misplace something really important. Your car keys, your wallet, maybe a critical work document. You tear your office apart but find nothing. The harder and longer you look, the more stressed you become. Just when you’re ready to pull out your hair, you reach over and move a file folder, a book, maybe your purse – and there it is. Right at your fingertips. The search is over.
There’s a surge of relief, followed by an important realization: The answer to your problem was there the entire time. You just couldn’t see it.
These days, a lot of financial advisors and wealth managers have headaches because they can’t find something. They’ve invested in the latest technology designed to make their firm operate better and more efficiently. But there’s a problem. They don’t know how to pull it all together and make it work smoothly. And their stress level is shooting through the roof because of it.
If this is you, I have some important advice. Relax. First, you are far from alone in experiencing this situation. Many of your colleagues are in the same boat. And second, the answer to your problem is a lot easier—and closer—than you realize.
Admittedly, it can seem overwhelming at first. Technology has unleashed a tidal wave of data and information that appears poised to swamp the financial advisory industry. But a few simple steps can help you make giant leaps forward in simplifying your daily routine. It all starts with taking a quick inventory.
Identify Your Core Technology Stack – The stack consists of the tools you rely on every day: your CRM, portfolio management system, calendar management system, financial planning software, and your custodian. These are the essential services; they are your core. Think of it as identifying all the players on a team before they take the field and begin the game. (By the way, it’s a good idea to start viewing your custodian as a technological resource, and not just the guardian of your financial data. You’ll want to be sure to integrate their technology into your daily routine.)
Analyze Your Internal Processes – Now that you know which specific platforms and software programs make up your core technology stack, it’s time to look at your internal processes. How do things work? Specifically, what actions are needed at each step along the way? This is where snags often occur. But before you can fix them, you must first identify them. Be as detailed as possible.
For example, let’s say you want to check on whether an account is funded. You start by going to your CRM, then go to the custodian’s platform to see if there’s a notification about the account, followed by jumping into the portfolio management system to set an allocation type for that portfolio. You just identified three steps involving three technologies in order to do one task. Now, do that for all the processes handled by your firm.
Communicate Externally to Find the Solution – Finally, it’s time to ask for assistance. Armed with your core technology stack and your internal processes, you can then reach out to your vendors and tech consultants at your custodians and get their assistance. They will help you find ways to integrate the various platforms, speeding up the process by eliminating steps. And what does that produce? Extra time for you. Which, as we all know, is the scarcest commodity of all.
Just imagine how you can profit from it. You’ll be able to grow and enhance relationships with your existing clients by having the ability to listen to their needs, dreams, questions, and concerns in greater detail while also growing their trust in you by giving them better, more detailed explanations. Eliminating extraneous steps through integrating your technology can also free up time to create relationships with new clients.
Here’s an important tip. Don’t expect to solve everything overnight. Start out by solving one or two problem areas first. Then build on that success. The more issues you solve, and the better you become at finding ways to make your technology function seamlessly in total integration, the more encouraged you will be to look for new solutions to other problems. And that’s when you will begin enjoying the benefits that come from spending less time on internal processes and more on the people who matter most – your clients.
You’ll be surprised to learn the answers to your problems are right at your fingertips. They’ve been there the whole time, too. Now, go apply them!