Recently, I have had the pleasure of working closely with an investment advisory firm that currently uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0. This multi-state RIA has established aggressive AUM growth targets and aspires to deliver a more high-quality, consistent client experience. To enable its operational processes to become more tightly aligned with its business strategy and growth plans, the advisory firm has decided to upgrade from CRM 3.0 to CRM 2011. The firm’s owners and financial advisors are looking for CRM 2011 to be the cornerstone of their practice and their newly revamped client service delivery model. They intend to leverage the enhanced functionality of the
The triggers, timeframes, task owners, and dependent conditions for the firm’s workflows are all being carefully defined, designed, developed, and refined with the help of Customer Effective. In particular, the RIA’s required core workflows in CRM revolve around the conversion of prospects to clients, the process of client onboarding, the setup of new investment accounts, changes in asset allocation strategies, and the process of initiating and tracking client withdrawal requests. All of these workflows, along with the automatic creation and tracking of investment reviews and follow-up meetings based on client service tier levels, are fairly common in our CRM implementations in the financial advisory space. In many of these workflow scenarios, the completion of one mission critical task results in 1) the automatic creation of another task for oneself or for someone else, 2) the updating of a specific data field in CRM, and/or 3) the immediate delivery of an email to a colleague with a notification reminder, alert, or summary of a recent development or outcome in a key process. For instance, the following simple steps could occur as part of a more comprehensive automated workflow in the case of the RIA receiving a client distribution request:
- the account administrator would receive a task reminder to fill out the pertinent detail in CRM and complete any required paperwork to initiate the withdrawal (as needed, follow-up tasks could also be generated to attain any required client signatures after a pre-defined number of days);
- upon completion and receipt of the needed signed paperwork, the firm’s designated trader would then receive an auto-email notification from the account administrator and be assigned the task of executing the necessary trades based on the withdrawal amount, available cash balance, and the particular payout/transfer out/exchange instructions;
- the financial advisor on the account, and even the client, for that matter, could then receive an auto-email from the account administrator or client relationship manager summarizing the final distribution amount along with transaction details upon successful submission, execution, and settlement of the trade(s).
Due to the fact that to-do’s, conditional checks and waiting conditions, and activity progress can be automatically created and tracked in CRM and directly integrated with MS Outlook, the odds of follow-up items falling through the cracks or being delayed are lowered. In a way, CRM workflows force sales and service personnel to collaborate and communicate more frequently with their peers. Moreover, with the help of workflows, the RIA firm expects to achieve an increase in staff productivity and a reduction in manual data entry in multiple systems and spreadsheets. These combined gains in operational efficiencies are anticipated to decrease turn-around time on client requests and also free up hours for more value-added client and prospect-facing activities. Therefore, the RIA is better positioned to achieve their lofty growth objectives and expand their client base in not only their headquarters, but also in their satellite offices.
Furthermore, the utilization of well-defined workflow rules ensures that all of the RIA’s employees will demonstrate more consistency and uniformity when dealing with their high net-worth customers. Additionally, workflows via automatic task generation and ownership assignment will facilitate better compliance and adherence to corporate-wide policies, procedures, and deadlines. The open, collaborative environment of CRM will allow users to view current and upcoming open activities as well as any closed or completed activities related to records, such as Contacts and Accounts. Managing directors, partners, advisors, and support teams can all have access to see what tasks are overdue and outstanding for their most high-profile relationships. With such overall visibility into the stage and task-level detail of the workflow available in CRM, client service associates will take more pride in efficiently completing their tasks. Since they do not want to be constantly identified as the main cause of a process bottleneck concerning any of the firm's most profitable clients, service levels should improve throughout the organization.
To learn more about how Customer Effective can help financial advisory firms craft and execute a plan to reduce administrative burdens and focus more time on relationship building, managing investments, and growing their practice, please visit
Post by: Kevin Wessels,