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RDR is here, yet, advisory firms still need to evolve their CRM/Back Offices…

This is part one of a two part article…

Any business, whether or not they’re in the financial services sector, can manage more effectively by embedding their business process within their (Customer Relationship Management)  CRM system.

Advisers are seeing an increase in the need to manage their back office better and addressing this need and the potential challenge in terms of time and possible obstacles, and the associated costs, can be daunting.

In light of RDR, advisory firms must customise their systems so their CRM process reflects their service propositions if they wish to work efficiently. Additionally, segmenting their database is fundamental, but actually is only the tip of the iceberg.

Implementation of any back office or CRM should include a consistent approach to capturing quality data, enabling the sharing of information in one place, accessible by all.

Any team member, for instance Administrator, Adviser, Paraplanner, Compliance Manager, or Management, should easily be able to able to document all activity, from initial contact, through all subsequent steps, including, for example, fact-find, research, recommendation of the solution, implementation, and the follow-up client service they promise to deliver.

An automated work-flow initiating the company’s required or necessary consequential stages will ensure that the team can more practically and efficiently meet the proposition easier and cost-effectively.

All businesses these days should be able to document their specific business process and culture within their systems and they should also be able to generate the reports or data that they require at the back end of the system for effective reporting.

I have evidenced an increase in advisers needing more help to organise their back office and there are several ways in which to do this. For instance, in order to take full advantage of an existing system, a better understanding of its capabilities is necessary, and knowing how they can be improved upon, or tweaked, to support the whole process.

Often, they can do so much more, but users infrequently have the experience, time, or even desire, to physically make the changes necessary.

Initially, an evaluation of current systems (or lack of them), as well as those available generally, should be undertaken, to establish which solution(s) best matches the needs of the practice and to determine if changes need to be made or not.

Bringing in experts in this field ensures that the advisory practice can spend more time on their areas of expertise, in continuing to provide quality client services, and less time physically customising the system.

Here’s a brief list of what to consider when contemplating a move towards a CRM-based process.

  1. What is the first move?

  2. How can the project be managed?

  3. Culture education/implementation

  4. How can this be managed with limited time available?

  5. How can this be managed with limited expertise?

  6. How will consistency of use be monitored and maintained?

  7. And what about the costs?

Any investment these days needs careful consideration, but it is the return on that investment in terms of saving valuable time and resources, improving and streamlining processes, and many other elements, that will determine the true cost, and indeed saving, in the long run.

In part two I will cover – Are some providers more expensive (un-necessarily so) than others ? Watch this space..

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