Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Increasing Productivity Via Client Relationship Management Systems

(td wants to know: What are you using to stay in the loop with your clients?)

Choosing a Client Relationship Management System That Works for You

by Tammy de Leeuw
Financial Advisors Netzone

Speaking to hundreds of agents and advisors over the past couple of years, I reached a startling conclusion:

A lot of money gets left on the tables by financial professionals due simply to their not having a functioning Client Relationship Management strategy. Apparently, there are still people out there using Outlook and a pad of paper to stay organized, while the competition is moving ahead with high-tech solutions to competitor-proofing their precious client base.

"I use ACT for Advisors," one agent told me, "but when I need to make any sort of big change, I usually have to consult tech support. It can burn up a lot of my time and is pretty expensive."

"I chose my CRM based on what my former broker used. I felt that I could save myself time because I didn't have the learning curve to deal with- I already knew how to use it. Unfortunately, after I spent a lot of money on it, I remembered something: I HATED my old broker's system! Now I feel stuck," lamented one financial advisor.

Contact managment databases have come a long way since the days when Goldmine and ACT were pretty much the only thing available apart from extremely expensive proprietary systems.

In those days, no one really sweated the issue much either, since a card file or Rolodex and some yellow pads were all an advisor needed to stay on top of things. Clients were happy with one or two calls a year, a calendar, and maybe a Christmas card. Newfangled CRM software was regarded as a luxury reserved for big companies.

Today, however, with even the senior market becoming more Internet-dependent and with the onslaught of new technologies and marketing strategies, a good CRM is essential to ensure that your clients remain YOUR clients, year after year.

"It was a pain to get started, but once everything was in place, I found that I was much more efficient, was able to prospect better, and never again let a client drop through the cracks, " explained Roger, a registered investment advisor.

Ok, so we need it. But how do we choose? Web based or software based? How much is this going to cost? Is it really worth it?

In the next post I will discuss what to look for when you make the move to get a contact managment system in place and how to avoid sleeping on the bed of nails known as "regrets".)

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