Does Your System Measure Up? What Asset Management Firms Need in CRM Software (Part 1 of a 3-Part Series)
Asset Management Transformation Series: How Firms are Rebooting Sales and Service (HINT: It’s Much More than CRM)
Sales targeting. Trade resolution. Getting the data you need to make the right decisions. With very few exceptions, the challenges faced by asset management firms—on both the institutional and wholesale sides—are generally consistent. But the technology designed to support your efforts still hasn’t gotten it quite right.
Whether you use a “horizontal” CRM solution like Salesforce or a point solution like SalesPage, you aren’t operating at peak efficiency. Traditional systems and the traditional approaches they support don’t take the big picture into account: It’s not about CRM; it’s about how you do business.
For asset management firms to break down these roadblocks, the conversation needs to be expanded not only to include what CRM can do (that goes far beyond what most realize), but also into technologies like predictive analytics and machine learning, as well as other tools and techniques that promote increased engagement at all levels.
In this 3-part series, you’ll learn about the components that come together to form an operational platform to fill those gaps you’ve been dealing with for too long:
Part 1: CRM as a Platform – More than a tool to hold customer data, CRM is a powerful operational platform. Does yours measure up?
Part 2: Why Machine Learning is Important to Asset Managers – Machine learning and predictive analytics are not science fiction; they’re powerful technologies that are very real and can be very valuable assets, keeping you ahead of the curve, without complicating your life.
Part 3: Tools to Help You Get There – There are some amazing tools beyond CRM that will help you amp up your sales and service…and they’re surprisingly easy to use.
Asset managers are having to do more with less. With competition nipping at your heels, you need to be laser-focused—spending your time on your most profitable relationships. CRM systems should support you in these efforts, but more often than not, they fall short. Instead of helping you think strategically, they help you enter leads and move them along the pipeline…not much more.
Is it time to throw out your CRM and replace it with another one? Perhaps, but let’s pause for a moment. What if the problem isn’t with the CRM system? What if the problem is that you’re focusing only on CRM, rather than the role it plays in your business processes?
All CRMs are not created equal
When you think about the ideal CRM system, you don’t think, “How easy is it to enter a lead?” Usability is important to be sure, but nearly all CRM solutions these days are relatively comparable when it comes to features and functions. The ideal CRM system helps you organize your data and your day to get the most value possible. That’s what is most important in an asset management software solution.
Therefore, the focus should be on how to get your CRM system to talk to the other tools your business users depend on to do their job.
Rather than viewing it as another tool, asset managers should view CRM as a platform—a foundation that supports all your business-critical applications. There should be a synergistic relationship between CRM and these tools; they should “complete” each other.
The bottom line: You need more than just CRM; you need a CRM solution that can be that platform and more. If yours is lacking, then you are missing out.
Institutional sales: Do you know the whole story?
If you’re in institutional sales, you are tasked with having a handle on relationships. You are constantly reviewing requests for information, RFPs, the traders you might be involved with, and an ever-growing number of news and activity feeds. You’re also looking at all of the interactions within the organization around making offers and institutional sales opportunities. You’re tracking relationships.
Is your CRM system able to track internal interactions—for example, the interactions between a sales person and an analyst? Most CRM systems fail in this area. It is critical to understand who knows who, who is meeting and why, how follow-up is being handled…and all the details around these relationships and activities. Otherwise, you don’t know the whole story, which can be costly to your business.
The right CRM system provides you with the ability to easily view how your institutional salespeople are interacting with your consultant relationships, as well as what those interactions and relationships are generating. Today’s CRM systems let you accomplish this from an activity tracking and relationship metric perspective rather than forcing you to enter information multiple times and click through screen after screen to get the information you’re looking for.
You simply go about your business while your CRM monitors your behavior, watching your emails, phone calls, and meetings—sifting through all this information to uncover opportunities as well as possible areas of concern. Your CRM should be able to say, “Hey, I’ve noticed that Bob, an institutional salesperson, hasn’t been talking much lately to Karen, a consultant…and Karen hasn’t been forwarding any deals to Bob. Maybe that’s the relationship we need to work on.” (By the way, this is machine learning in action, which we’ll discuss further in Part 2 of this blog series.)
Wholesalers: Who is buying what?
What if you’re on the wholesaler side? Your job is to build relationships with advisors and advisory firms to distribute products your firm is packaging and selling: understanding what products your firm has formed that you’re offering to the marketplace; knowing your distribution platforms, the relationships you’ve built, and the buying agreements you’ve put together with them; being aware of the actual trades that are occurring through the distribution platforms; and finally, aligning the trades back to the buying agreements you put together with your distribution platforms.
Does your CRM system track all that information and handle critical integrations that enable you to close that loop? Does it help you have a handle on your trade agreements? Which fund distributors are buying your product? What about tolerances? Interests? Types of investments? If not, how do you know for sure that you’re building buying relationships that result in sales of product? How do you know which funds are being distributed through which distribution platform? Chances are, you don’t. And that means you’re probably not being as effective as you could be.
The right CRM system helps you:
- Manage trip and territory planning, so you can help your wholesalers use their time effectively
- Understand the performance of your team by allowing you to create roll-ups showing performance based on the integration of wallet share to show capital inflows and outflows
- Operate in a mobile environment, where your wholesalers can log calls, look up clients, and capture interactions and activities seamlessly on mobile devices, while CRM recognizes when you make a call, captures it as an activity, prompts you to enter notes via voice-to-text, and lets the coverage team know about that conversation
- Understand the trading activity for your clients
- Motivate your wholesalers by allowing them to instantly see their achievements—and you can create both internal and external competition and gamification
- Provide detailed client profile tear sheets quickly and from anywhere so your wholesalers have everything they need to be ready for the next meeting
- Seamlessly realign territories and account allocation using machine learning so your wholesalers are focusing on the most profitable relationships and activities.
Where does your CRM stand?
Looking at CRM as a platform rather than an application—and tallying up the benefits of a CRM system that connects critical systems and uses machine learning to increase the productivity of your team—where does your CRM stand? Are you ready for a sales and service reboot? Contact the Financial Services experts at AKA Enterprise Solutions to learn more about what Microsoft Dynamics 365 can do for your firm.
In Part 2 of this blog series, I discuss 5 reasons why asset managers should include machine learning in their daily routine.