By Vasyl Soloshchuk, CEO and Co-Owner at INSART
Our series of WealthTech Cookbook articles explores various wealth-management components, explaining the importance of each.
This time, we will be exploring the realm of customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM is a business-management component that helps firms handle their day-to-day operations on the customer front. What’s more, with the aid of CRM firms of all scales—from small companies to large corporations—can not only manage their relationships with clients, but also analyze these relationships in great detail.
The main goal of using such technology is to see what factors lead to success and help companies win and retain clients. Additionally, CRM tracks the reasons why clients opt out.
To begin, we will explore the current offerings on the market and provide an overview of the most popular solutions. We will then tap into the innovative approaches that next-generation wealth-management products might employ, and the drivers powering the changes.
Overview of CRM solutions
According to a recent report by T3, in 2016 more than 75% of their survey responders were using some form of CRM. A year later, this number grew by 10%. The top four companies providing CRM solutions were:
- Redtail Technology
Snapshot: Based on the powerful motto “Simplicity that scales,” WealthBox offers a comprehensive tool exclusively for modern-day financial advisors. The solution can serve the needs of both individuals and groups of professionals. WealthBox has a 30-day trial period that enables advisors to test-drive the solution for free. The company has captured close to a quarter of the market, with an average user rating of almost 8 out of 10 according to T3.
Features: Contacts, tasks, calendar, workflows, projects, reports, custom fields, activity stream, compliant note archiving, permissions & visibility, mobile app companion, admin controls, bank-level security, partner app integrations, data portability, CRM migration assistance, customer support, Chrome extension for Gmail, BCC email forwarding, Wealthbox Mail, two-way email sync, email templates and themes, email open and link tracking, API access, account switcher, workflow template publishing, dedicated account manager, volume discounts.
Pricing: Apart from its volume discounts, WealthBox offers different options for different client segments and aggregates the needs of each type into its Basic (one workspace), Pro (three workspaces), and Premier (unlimited number of workspaces) packages, with monthly subscriptions starting at $35 per user. To track sales opportunities, WealthBox enables management of one, five, or an unlimited number of pipelines. Likewise, each user can take advantage of 2 GB, 5 GB, or 10 GB file storage depending on their needs.
Integrations: Albridge, Blueleaf, MoneyGuidePro, LaserApp, QuickForms, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Calendar, AWeber, Constant Contact, MailChimp, Twilio, SLack, Twitter.
Other benefits: WealthBox facilitates a smooth transition from other CRM tools to its platform. For instance, the company enables simple migration and easy data transfer for users of Salesforce, RedTail, and other systems. Beyond that, users can opt to use the standard importing process by means of Outlook and CSV files.
Snapshot: Working in sync with advisors, Junxure has over 12,000 users who apply this robust toolkit to communicate with existing clients and prospects. At the start of 2018 year, the company joined forces with a leading FinTech firm, AdvisorEngine, to innovate together. According to T3’s ratings, Junxure’s CRM solution is used by almost one-fourth of users surveyed, and it has an average rating of 7.39.
Features: Client demographic and financial information in one place, workflows, efficiency tracking, client documentation management, market data provided by strategic partners.
Pricing: From $65 per user per month (cloud) down to $44 per user per month (for a minimum of three users).
Integrations: Advent, Albridge Solutions, Docupace, LPL Financial, TD Ameritrade, Netx360, Orion Advisors, Schwab Openview and Portfolio Center, Worldox, Finance Logix, Tamarac Advisor Xi, CitiesDigital, MoneyGuidePro, Envestnet, Black Diamond, LaserApp, Morningstar.
Other benefits: Junxure offers an integrated learning tool called eXpert that helps users sail through the onboarding process in real time.
Snapshot: Another niche CRM solution for financial specialists, Redtail’s cloud CRM is all about cost-effectiveness; it allows up to 15 team members to be brought on board. According to T3, the platform has earned a rating of almost 7.5 out of 10 from its users, and accounts for a 19% market share among those surveyed.
Features: Unlimited leads, contacts, reminders, tasks, complementary database conversions, broadcast emails, free mobile app, custom exporting, access anywhere and anytime, backup and disaster recovery, document management, workflow processes, categorization and tagging of client records, detailed reports, seminar management, free support.
Pricing: From $99 per month (up to 15 uses).
Integrations: Charles Schwab Portfolio Center, Fidelity Clearing and Custody Solutions, Pershing, RBC, Scottrade, SEI, TD Ameritrade, TradePMR, IPS Advisor Pro, LaserApp, Quik!, Advicent, asi, Cashflow insite, eMoney, FinanceLogix, inStream, MoneyGuidePro, Money Organizer Pro, Money Tree Software, Right Capital, WealthTrace, Docupace, Laserfiche, netdocuments, Citrix Sharefile, Trumpet, Advent, Albridge, Aqumulate, AssetBook, Blueleaf, Boss, BridgePortfolio, Broadridge, ByAllAccounts, Orion Advisor Services, PortfolioPathway, TRX, Wealth Access, cerado, globalRelay, LiveOffice, Smarsh, Advisors Gateway, Advisor Launchpad, Advisor Products, AdvisorWebsites.com, BillGood Marketing, Constant Contact, Demandforce, Broadridge, MailChimp, Marketing Pro, Precise FP, SendOutCards, Copytalk, Mobile Assistant, Voice2insight, AdvisoryWorld, Morningstar, FinaMetrica, HiddenLevers, Pocket Risk, Riskalyze, Jive, Monmouth Telecom.
Other benefits: Apart from the myriad sales-related instruments that Redtail offers, there is also a seminar-management component that allows users to easily plan and conduct corporate webinars from the CRM solution itself.
Snapshot: With its Financial Services Cloud, Salesforce, one of the world’s leading CRM solutions, brings the personal goals of financial managers, relationship networks, live events, and financial accounts under one roof. About 11% of T3 survey respondents stated that they prefer Salesforce, and it has an average user rating of 7.21.
Features: Client and household profiles, relationship builder, visual relationship map, lightning app builder with easy drag-and-drop and customizable communities, seamless data integration, proactive engagement cards, client dashboards, in-context collaboration, measurable advice, persona-based analytics, actionable client insights.
Integrations: Advisor Software, Informatica, Yodlee.
Other benefits: By personalizing client relationships at scale, Salesforce’s Financial Services Cloud helps wealth-management businesses to save up on customization, using AI to serve the needs of each advisor.
T3’s top 4 comparison
A couple of years ago, one of the financial advisory news portals compiled its own research on the most popular CRM solutions. The findings, which correspond to T3’s top four CRM solutions, were as follows:
Source: InvestmentNews with pricing data update for 2018
A number of other companies have also leveled-up the customer management game, such as Tamarac and Concenter Services/XLR8.
Snapshot: Tamarac CRM uses a differentiated client-management approach. This CRM solution adds a personal touch to every relationship and interaction with the customer via its web-based platform. The platform reflects Microsoft Office’s applications interface, meaning that less effort is required from independent advisors to adopt the solution in their everyday work. Due to its cloud-based nature, Tamarac CRM allows RIAs to serve their clients from any screen.
Integrations: Morningstar, Quovo, HiddenLevers, FactSet, Salesforce, Salentica, Fidelity Clearing and Custody Solutions, Pershing, Schwab Intelligent Solutions, Ameritrade Institutional, DocuSign, iPipeline (Laser App Software), Laserfiche, SharePoint, MoneyGuidePro, eMoney Advisor, RightCapital, CAIS, Chicago Clearing Corporation, Okta, SunGard.
Other benefits: Tamarac CRM is a GOLD-certified partner of Microsoft. with the Microsoft Dynamics platform at its core, Tamarac CRM allows for scaling to meet the future goals of growing businesses.
XLR8 by Concenter Services
Snapshot: Designed exclusively for the financial sector, XLR8 is a custom-made configuration of the Salesforce CRM. Concenter Services added a process engine in order to record and handle the routine workflows and processes of every company.
Features: Key account information and relationships under one roof.
Integrations: Salesforce (Silver independent software vendor), Schwab Performance Technologies, NetDocuments, Trumpet, TDAmeritrade, Orion, Black Diamond, Tamarac, MoneyGuidePro, LaserApp, By All Accounts.
Pricing: $75 per user per month (including XLR8 and the Salesforce Force.com Enterprise license).
Other benefits: Following XLR8 installation, Concenter Services offers additional customization to adjust the CRM solution to the needs of the particular company. It received the highest Satisfaction Rating from Advisor Perspective in 2017 and 2018. Their Project Group handles the transition for data migration, customizations, integrations, and a full Training program. Additionally, regular client communications are provided to simplify Salesforce releases, XLR8 enhancements and overall CRM efficiencies.
In addition to the above there are several other CRM solutions in this category, such as ProTracker, which offers both a cloud and mobile version; SmartOffice by Ebix; the contact management app by Advisors Assistant; and the performance reporting and planning platform for investment advisors by Advyzon.
Beyond traditional customer management
Alongside the most popular CRM offerings, we are seeing emerging players challenging the status quo of existing products by adding more capabilities to the core feature set that a typical CRM solution has to offer. NexJ, for example, has brought intelligent customer management to the market with its innovative platform, which has a handful of integration and workflow capabilities that add more intelligence via analytics, machine learning, and AI. The engine creates a specific customer model taking into account all of a customer’s attributes from multiple data sources. After customer profiling, NexJ automates and streamlines routine workflows.
In this way, the system helps advisors choose which prospect to contact and suggests the best time to do so. NexJ’s platform is thus an essential instrument for building long-lasting relationships with and loyalty from clients. Beyond that, a customer data analytics and intelligence platform brings together all of the enterprise data and insights, channeling them back to the CRM and BPM products offered by the tech firm.
The benefits of fully fledged wealth-management solutions
Another firm disrupting the space of smart wealth managment is Hydrogen, brought to market by the founders of Hedgeable, an AI-powered investing platform. Hydrogen offers an API platform that helps global financial players create and scale FinTech applications. Hydrogen’s Atom product allows companies to build complex solutions efficiently and cost-effectively. The API platform is also able to integrate with CRM components, an integral part of the solution. The innovative team offers clients the opportunity to utilize the potential of REST APIs as they create modular systems and bring them to market.
White-label, ready-to-use “all-in-ones” CRM allows RIAs to capitalize on goal-based financial planning tools without sacrificing CRM integrations to deal with client relationships. Further, FinTech company AdvisorEngine offers online presence optimization, as well as integrations with various custodian banks, account aggregation, investment data and analytics, as well as top-tier CRM solutions. The company recently acquired Junxure to add an edge to its platform.
Behavior analytics and chatbots
The likely next steps will be to explore behavior analytics to obtain insights about clients that will help to create tailored offerings. In addition, understanding potential clients’ desires will move the opportunities in sales pipelines, turning prospects into real clients.
IBM Watson is already following this path with its Client Insight for Wealth Management. The company is able to track the evolving needs of clients and adjust its offerings to provide dynamic personalization.
But that’s not all: Chatbots for support might be another interesting area to alter conventional customer care and cut down on underlying labor-intensive costs. According to Gartner, customer support will gradually become more and more chatbot-centered, with about one-third of enterprise-oriented service providers adding AI capabilities to their sales processes. Therefore, for CRM as one of the leading sales management tools chatbot adoption might be crucial.
Among all the tech tools used in financial planning and the investment-management industry, T3 survey responders particularly noted the pivotal role of CRM. More than 40% of users claimed that this component was the most important office instrument in helping them manage their day-to-day business and client-facing operations. The responses varied, however, depending on business maturity, with the younger generation of RIAs placing less emphasis on CRM and focusing more on financial-planning tools and building relations with clients from scratch.
Vasyl Soloshchuk, CEO and co-owner at INSART, FinTech & Java engineering company. Vasyl is also author of the WealthTech Club blog, which conducts research into Fortune and Startup Robo-advisor and Wealth Management companies in terms of the technology ecosystem.