Compliance is always a polarising word in the financial advice world. Many Advisers are lamenting the associated costs; regulators are scratching their heads at what they see as a dismissive nature toward it and licensees are often caught in the crossfire. Trying to ensure Advisers remain compliant within the industry whilst understanding the corporate aspect of new regulations has become an administrative challenge for many during the last five years.
The most significant barrier for most Financial Advisers in keeping clean client records is time and cost. Compliance costs money, and for smaller organisations this can be a considerable portion of the revenue that they generate per annum. Throw on top of that the expenses for memberships, continuing education, and insurance, and there isn’t a lot left over for investing in the future.
At Practice Dynamix, we see the difference between practices which have a great CRM and those who still try to manage their businesses through Excel. There is a massive opportunity for licensees to add value back to their Adviser base through providing technology that takes the grunt work out of compliance while enabling Dealer Groups to distinguish themselves as a licensee of choice through providing quality services to their Adviser base.
We’ve put together a list of 7 reasons why a dealer group should provide a managed CRM to their Advisers.
The industry is currently under more scrutiny than ever before, with huge impetus on Advisers adhering to the strict regulatory guidelines governing Financial Advice in Australia. The outcome of Hayne’s Royal Commission is only likely to fuel the fire of regulatory burden in the industry and the need for dealer groups to have a solution that provides a scalable solution. An effective CRM not only enhances the capacity of the Dealer Group to view and report on compliance requirements across their Advisers easily but also provides structure and efficiencies in data management which results in lower overheads and higher profit margins.
2. Cost Neutrality
Technology is expensive, both to operate but also to manage. Hiring the in-house talent to effectively manage the CRM solution, provide customisation, technology support and develop improvements requires a highly-skilled resource which may not get utilised to the full extent. Outsourcing the management of a CRM solution for the Dealer Group is a cost-effective way to provide high-tech professional support in a cost-neutral situation for the Dealer Group by passing on the costs to the Advisers, who are already having to pay for the technology in their businesses. The solution will be cheaper for the Advisers through scale, so it’s a win for all involved.
3. Value Add to Advisers
Technology is a great way to reduce the administrative burden of running a Financial Advice business, and there is no better way to reduce the costs of administration tasks than having efficient processes driven by a powerful CRM. In addition to cost reduction, there’s a huge advantage in providing a centralised location for data to be stored and manipulated to demonstrate areas of opportunity within an existing client base.
The advantage of running a managed CRM that’s used by all Advisers within a Dealer Group is the data stored is magnified across all users within the system. Instead of relying on information for one practice, a Dealer Group can gather data points on every business under their umbrella and can provide some extremely valuable marketing campaign data or training days based on real information, for example; under-insurance in people between 30-45 or SOA delivery times.
Additionally, Advisers want their business to just work. If Dealer Groups can provide Advisers with modern, practical business solutions that help drive business on a daily basis without having to invest valuable resources within their organisation on developing those solutions, our experience tells us that they are typically happier and more satisfied with their Dealer Group relationship.
4. Template Control
Legislation changes frequently occur in the financial advice space, and they often need to be reflected in the advice documents provided to clients. Having many different practices who all keep their unique advice documents creates risk for the Dealer Group and makes it extremely difficult to ensure businesses remain compliant. The other concern is documentation being ‘tweaked’ over time to suit the Advisers preference which can evolve into a game of Chinese whispers, creating template differences over time that can be hard to reconcile with the original copy.
Using a smart CRM allows a Dealer Group to store advice documents in a centralised location, have greater control over compliance management and enable Dealer Groups to lock down templates from being edited by Advisers or other financial planning staff members. It ensures quality and can still be customised to display business logos and unique branding across all users. It’s the most efficient and effective way for Dealer Groups to provide updated legislative requirements to all their advisers within the network.
Better yet, by outsourcing the CRM management service, the low-value tasks of updating templates and testing to ensure that they are working effectively can be pushed externally, ensuring that people within the Dealer Group can continue to focus their attention on high-value priorities.
5. Adviser Retention
Advisers appreciate being able to go and give advice, without having to stress over the business operations behind the delivery. Providing a developed CRM solution to advisers that’s being developed by a team who has the sole focus on delivering a great experience using the software, enhances the chance of retaining Advisers in the business by adding consistent value. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”, so Advisers won’t be rushing out to spend thousands of dollars on building their solution and moving their business if they are well supported, and a fully developed CRM solution is another way to achieve that level of service.
The beauty of outsourcing this service is that the staff can spend more time talking to businesses about what they need to grow and develop their service in other areas, rather than being focused on making sure that the technology is working effectively. Building relationships are incredibly important for business sustainability, and by shifting the resources to an external team of professionals, there are more resources available for more personal interactions and meaningful conversations.
Data is king. Excellent data in a structured format allows businesses to gather insights about the operations of their companies, and that power is magnified by having a centralised system that records data from all different sources.
More businesses providing data means more data points, which significantly enhances the ability to provide analytics that an Advice practice can action. Dealer Groups can use the data to understand time spent versus money earned on a client, right through to benchmarking SOA generation times against other businesses within the Dealer Group and understanding the rate of acceptance on review offerings.
Marketing campaigns and lead generation processes can also leverage the data, with information gathered further leveraged to provide insightful analytics on the success of each campaign within various businesses. If there’s a notably higher rate of conversion in one practice over another, understanding the difference in the business process enables the Dealer Group to assist with business improvements that will enhance the success of all members within their community.
It can sound complicated, but when the information is placed in the right hands and implemented using sound processes, it can be an incredibly powerful tool. Leveraging the skill-set of a team to help run and report on business campaigns and analytics can help to supercharge the ability of a Dealer Group to service their clients, and as technology advances it’s going to become more of an expectation that an additional service offering.
It’s always more efficient to do things once, than it is to invest time and energy in achieving the same result multiple times over, starting from scratch every single time. Having a centralised CRM allows Advisers and Dealer Groups to pool resources and build solutions that can be rolled out across all practices. The chances are that if one Adviser is looking for enhancement, that it’s likely going to add value to many other people within the same network.
Over time, with the investment in the centralised CRM system, there is going to be tremendous value in owning that platform with intellectual property from a diverse range of thinkers and businesses developing leading-edge solutions. The platform becomes a marketing tool in itself, and if you rely on an external team of experts to manage that system, it allows for Dealer Groups to plug new businesses into the ecosystem without any additional burden. The business and CRM solution can grow exponentially without any further input from the Dealer Group itself.
Great, But What Now?
Understanding the benefits of using technology within your business is one thing, but the greatest barrier to implementation can often be knowing where to start. If you’d like to talk to any of our professionals at Practice Dynamix about how you can use Financial Planning software to benefit the Advisers in your network, please call us on: 1300 032 023