Unless you’re talking to Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, the word “process” often has a boring connotation to it. Either people see process as something that is long and drawn out or as something that you create to standardize mundane functions in an office. But, as advisors, we know better. We know that the correct process allows us to grow faster while staying sane. All the while not having to invest in expanding our human capital. Conversely, If we don’t have efficient processes in place from communicating with a prospect to quarterly meetings with a client, we usually have to bring people in to help us because things have gotten busy or hectic. Too often those processes we had when it was just two people, carry over to when we are 10 and 15 because we are growing so quickly. But if we took a look at what we are doing, how we are doing and why, we would likely find ways to be more efficient, freeing time for each member of our team and expanding our capacity.
We did this for our advisory business and literally cut our operations teams workload by 50%. This didn’t mean that we were good to replace that person with technology and processes, rather it meant that now they were able to add more value to the firm. They were already smart and determined, and now we were able to put them on higher level work while technology did the mundane stuff. This allowed us to grow quicker and allowed us to make better use of our talented people.
One place we looked at was our CRM. A CRM is in many firms. Or it is at least something that many are putting into place. If used correctly, it can be the foundation that is necessary for a financial advisory firm to implement to create efficiency and see growth. But usually, these CRMs become glorified contact books and not as effective as they need to be.
However, one of the best things that CRMs allow for is the ability to create workflows-each CRM calls this something different- this allows for you to create processes around everything from prospect management to account opening to trading/rebalancing to servicing the account.
So, what does this look like? Well, let’s go down two paths.
First, a prospect… if we are actively growing (or trying to grow) we are meeting with people from prospective clients to centers of influences that can provide us, prospective clients. After about, a week or two of doing this full forced you are going to be overwhelmed with who you need to follow up with when you should follow up and what is needed to follow up with them. This is where workflows are invaluable. In a CRM, you’re able to stay on top of this automatically. Let’s say you have a prospective paying that you want to follow up with for a meeting wrap up and then you want to follow up a week later with a follow up to see about a decision. Lastly, you’d like to call them three days after the follow up to talk through their questions. With a workflow, after you enter John Smith in your CRM as a prospect along with your notes about him, you can start the prospect workflow and be done. The next day you will have a task list with all of your tasks for the day and you will see John Smith (email meeting wrap-up.) You go and email john smith and complete the task. A week later you get another task to follow back up with John. Between those time periods, you don’t have to worry about a thing. Well, except for continuing to fill up your prospect funnel.
Let’s look at another use case for workflows. Let’s say you have a client that is opening a new account. Whether it’s with a CRM or some outsourced help (which Wela and Benjamin have fully integrated), you can connect with your broker-dealer and get updates on when the account has been established, funded, etc. As soon as this happens, you can shoot off tasks to the appropriate person to take care of the next action. After they complete that action it then moves to the next person. And if an action or something isn’t done over a period of time (i.e. funding doesn’t happen in 7 days) someone in the organization gets a notification to call the B/D.
The current process at financial advisory firms is that they have a stack of folders for all new clients and they run through them every day and check the b/d website to see the status. They then call their service team and then update the advisor and/or CSA. As a result of business picking up and RMDs starting later in the year, some of those new clients inevitably fall through the cracks because other new business gets in the way.
These processes need to be automated and can help to create capacity and scale for organizations.
This is something that Benjamin and his admin panel can help with. It also helps with the communication with the outside client. Let them know when their accounts have been established and when the funds will likely hit and provide insight as to why this is the process and the time it takes.
Scale, growth and continued amazing service need processes and technology can help your firm run like a machine and make you and your relationship with your clients even stronger than it is… which isn’t a bad thing.