By Rebecca King
For many advisers, basic contact management is essential in a CRM solution. Being able to quickly locate contact information for clients or prospects, along with information on any connections they have (are they a friend or a relative of a current client) and their activity history (did they attended a recent seminar), saves time and allows advisers to more effectively serve clients.
Now that you know what you need to consider before evaluating CRM solutions ("Seven Essential Steps When Considering CRM," November/December 2009 Practice Management Solutions) and how much time and money advisers spend on CRM ("CRM Snapshot: Adviser Use, Satisfaction and Cost," January/February 2010 Practice Management Solutions), it's time to examine specific software options.
When you consider how different solutions compare, focus on the areas that tie most closely to your business objectives. There is no silver bullet solution, so don't focus on the software that simply scores the highest in all areas. Instead, identify the key features that you need to achieve your business objectives and focus on those.
The FPA-ActiFi Adviser Technology Report: CRM Edition, which is available for free to FPA members, covers 10 key features of CRM, so be sure to download the report to access complete information. Basic contact management, one of the 10 features, covers a variety of functions including adding a contact, updating contact information and more.
Basic Contact Management Functions
Contact maintenance: How advanced are the solution's contact maintenance capabilities?
Adviser-specific contact customization: Does the solution offer the ability to customize contact information specific to individual advisers?
Contact linking: Does the solution provide the feature of linking contacts?
Contact grouping: How advanced is the solution's contact grouping capability?
Contact productivity: What level of adviser productivity does the solution offer when managing contacts?
Contact activity history: Does the solution offer a comprehensive ability to maintain contact activity history?
So how do vendors compare? We tested software solutions from 16 CRM vendors who serve financial advisers. Their basic contact management was evaluated based on capabilities, intuitiveness and level of integration. In other words, do they offer the full range of functions, how easy is it to use, and do you have to log in multiple times to access that information?
Most vendors are strong in delivering basic contact management capabilities within their software solution.
Learn more about how these CRM solutions compare and find the right solution for you. Visit www.FPAnet.org/Learn/ResearchCenter/ForPlanners/ResearchPublications and download the report today.
TD AMERITRADE, ActiFi and FPA are unaffiliated and not responsible for one another's policies and services. TD AMERITRADE does not guarantee nor is it responsible for the completeness or accuracy of the data provided or for the quality of any third-party product or service.