Have you ever seen the classic Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles? Tribbles were furry little animals that fit in the palm of a hand. Though cute and innocent looking, they also created a huge headache. Tribbles, it turned out, reproduced with a lightning-fast speed that made rabbits look asexual. In practically no time, the crew of the Enterprise was up to their necks in the cute fluffy creatures.
Think of data as your firm’s tribbles. Maybe you’ve got too much of it. Maybe it’s slow in reaching you. Perhaps it’s the wrong data. Or even worse, maybe it just keeps coming and coming, regardless of whether it’s accurate or even if you want it.
But data is only a symptom. The real problem is your automation. More specifically, how you’re using your automation systems.
Like it or not, automation is now crucial to a financial advisory firm’s operations. So, it’s important to have the right automation systems — the kind that delivers truly useful data in the right amounts. Otherwise, you’re just filling your firm with tribbles. And just like in that beloved Star Trek episode, too much of anything can cause serious problems for everyone.
What your financial advisors need is holistic data.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, holistic data is the complete collection of full data, as opposed to examining each bit of information individually. It provides you with a universal perspective, enabling you to see what’s going on in its entirety in grouping.
Building a holistic data set starts with your CRM. Far too many firms don’t take full advantage of this powerful resource. They fail to fully—and all too often accurately—integrate it into their information field. Some advisors place client information on one form, others use another form. As a result, there is no way to pull it all together.
But here’s the good news: It’s easy to make holistic information happen and deliver it to your fingertips. All it takes is a plan of action, establishing protocols for everyone, and then making sure your staff is following them.
As I just noted, automation produces amazing outcomes. But’s only as good as the humans who are operating it. Computers do what you instruct them to do, not what you intended for them to do.
If one advisor is putting information about a certain type of client in one field, and another is entering it somewhere else, you lose the opportunity to integrate the profiles and get the most from the data. So, you must establish clear, concise procedures and then make sure everyone follows them to the letter. That enables your automation to take it from there and provide your team with the exact data they need, instead of another batch of tribbles.
Once you’ve begun assembling data in a uniform, concise method, it then becomes easy to get it into various profiles on different technologies, and that creates exponential value and return to you and your clients.
Organizing your data and making it consistent from one type of client or prospect to another is the surest way to get the ROI you need from your automation.
Automation is going to play an increasingly important role from here on. Your advisors can continue wallowing through reams of repetitive and duplicative data, wasting precious time finding the information they need. Or you can provide your team with a mechanism to streamline the process and deliver what they need when they need it.
Remember, more service offerings will be needed for your clients in the years to come. So, it just makes sense to develop a system now that will enable you to get the most out of it later on. And what you must be getting from your automation above all else is holistic data. Because that is what your firm will need to thrive, grow, and keep pace with coming challenges.
Not more tribbles.