Sunday, February 12, 2023
Your CRM helps you be more effective and efficient.
The CRM is a central piece of software for all service based businesses. When done well, it brings together all the information from your current clients, your prospective clients, and helps with the day-to-day operations that keeps your business flowing and growing. It makes you more efficient and effective with automation and surfacing what you need to do when you need to do it.
These systems usually need to be customized to your business’ data model and workflows which is why there are industry-specific CRMs and armies of consultants willing to shape them to your needs. Some wealth management CRMs include Redtail, Wealthbox, AdvisorEngine, and Salesforce Financial Services Cloud.
Those CRMs fall short for advisors in the 401(k) industry. While they are good for tracking client (plan) level information, they are not made for participant-level information. The information for decision makers in benefits, HR, and the C-suite is geared towards making a sale or servicing at the plan level. Providing support for thousands of participants is a different data model and benefits from different workflows.
For participants an advisor may want to track:
An advisor may be intermingling that information with their leads in their CRM but–often as not–they are tracking that in a series of spreadsheets and Word documents if they are tracking it at all. This can leave participants wanting in the level of service and follow up that they may need. Participant engagement is a two-way street and a good participant CRM can help you know which participant needs a nudge and when.
This wealth of participant information enables an advisor to provide a higher level of reporting to plan sponsors. The advisor can demonstrate their value by reporting on number of calls or meetings, participant engagement, retirement readiness, and what topics participants are concerned about.
These metrics, when combined with recordkeeper, investment, and fee data, allow the advisor to provide a more comprehensive picture of a plan’s effectiveness. Benefit utilization extends well beyond how many people have signed up.
Additionally, these metrics provide a framework for winning new business. Advisors who are leveraging their CRM for data will have a leg up on advisors who don’t. Every advisor has a story to tell about why a plan sponsor should select them but not every advisor has the data to back it up.
If your firm offers household investment management, insurance, or other services to participants, the information in the participant CRM can highlight prospects who will benefit from those services.
Recordkeeper data only shows a slice of a household’s financial picture. A purpose built or well-customized CRM can store all of it.
Finally, the data in the 401(k) can unlock a trove of business intelligence. This is the step from working in your business to working on your business.
This business intelligence can be used to determine what content to create, who to deliver it to, which employees are the most effective at participant support, which plans or industries require the most support, whether group meetings are underutilized, whether in-person meetings are more effective, and answers to many other questions that will help you shape your retirement plan business into something that scales effectively.
Taken a step further and this information will help you calculate which plans are the most profitable, which you may be losing money on due to the amount of participant support resources they consume, and thus whether a prospective plan will be profitable based on their profile (number of participants, expected call/meeting volume, number of locations requiring travel, etc.).
There are numerous use cases and workflows that a 401(k) advisor or financial wellness coach will utilize as part of their plan and participant support processes.
Many of these workflows make use of custom field data and email templates but can also be accomplished with using the notes section of a contact record and your regular email client.
It is a good idea to send a participant an email in advance of an upcoming meeting. This email serves not only as a calendar reminder but as a prompt for the participant to take action on any outstanding financial wellness tasks. When the participant shows up prepared (updated account balances and ready with specific questions) the meeting is more productive and a better use of both the participant’s and the advisor’s time.
Using email templates you can pre-populate the meeting reminder email with certain information as long as you have the info in the participant’s profile in your CRM. You can remind them of their current contribution rate, current household retirement savings, and the topics covered in your last meeting.
Finally, before sitting down with a participant, you can review the participant’s profile and everything that has been discussed or assigned during previous meetings.
One of the main purposes of a CRM is to maintain the history of interactions between a company and a client. In this case, the advisor will record notes about participants and what has been discussed during the meeting. Topic tags can provide not only an easily visible (and reportable) way of seeing what has been discussed but also can power automations that may use them as inputs.
After a participant meeting the first thing an advisor should do is get the next meeting scheduled. An email template will allow you to include standard followup text based on any topic tags that have been added to the meeting. The template also will allow you to automatically drop your scheduling link into the email for friction-free scheduling.
Between meetings a coach may want to periodically reach out and checkin on a participant to see if they are making progress, have any questions, or if they have hit any obstacles as they work through their financial plan. Reports in your 401(k) CRM can easily provide you a list of participants that you haven’t interacted with in a given time period.
Click on a participant. Select a template. Click send. Checkin accomplished.
In advance of the annual plan reviews that an advisor does with each client, they can run reports in their CRM to provide metrics such as number of participants met with, the participant engagement rate, participants who have taken action, and much more. This information demonstrates the value the client and participants are getting from their 401(k) plan and advisor and that the value is ongoing.
The Wallet1000 Participant Engagement Platform is built for this specific purpose but every advisor has their own needs. Dedicated retirement plan advisory firms may benefit more from a 401(k)-specific CRM while firms that also do wealth management may want a more general CRM that they customize or to use two distinct CRMs.
Above all, the most important feature of a CRM is usability. The value a CRM provides a business rests on the information it contains. A CRM that is hard to use will not get used.