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The CRM dilemma

Tracey Underwood of PACE Solutions has practical tips which you can follow to support your business success.

Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRMs) fulfil an important role within a financial advisory business. Unfortunately sometimes due to previous bad experiences with CRMs, many companies fail to implement a system, preferring instead to develop their own ‘database’. These ‘databases’ generally consist of several disconnected excel spreadsheets, an outlook diary and/or a paper-based system. Whilst this may satisfy the needs of some firms in their early development stages, if a firm wants to grow and develop into a professional financial advisory practice then it needs to invest and develop its IT infrastructure effectively and with their future needs in mind.

Common problems

Many firms may say that they function perfectly well without using a CRM however when digging deeper some common issues arise such as:

1. The firms tend to be overstaffed

Staff are employed in roles which could be replaced by the CRM. Examples of these job roles include data inputting from one document into another, checking spreadsheets, creating new spreadsheets, and creating targeted mailshot lists.

2. There are no clear systems and processes in place

Without automation of processes, individual team members will adopt their own way of processing work rather than that of the firm. The firm will then end up with a set of individuals using a system to address their own needs and a dysfunctional process resulting. As a result, timescales are not met or tasks are missed completely.

3. There is no corporatisation

Following on from point 2, individuals will create their own letters, reports, valuations etc. The client experience will therefore be different depending on the individual they have dealt with.

4. Poor management information

The firm doesn’t know what level of income each client generates or whether they are profitable. As a result, the management team are unable to make sound business decisions.

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