By Craig Dunham
Today, most wealth management firms utilize a customer relationship management (CRM) platform like Salesforce, Dynamics or an internally developed system to organize client data. In fact, Forbes estimates that the CRM market alone will be valued at $36 billion by the end of 2017.
The proliferation of CRMs has paved the way for other client-centric technologies, such as marketing automation platforms (MAP) and sales enablement platforms. For example, 49 percent of all businesses are currently utilizing marketing automation.
Even if the near-term future of the DOL rule is unclear, the simple matter of fact is that “the cat is out of the bag” when it comes to full fiduciary business implementation, as John Anderson of SEI Investment so succinctly put it. Many firms have already made the required investments and business adjustments, and prioritizing client interests is the way forward in terms of competitive differentiation. Doing so in an efficient and effective manner requires the integration of all three aforementioned technologies, or what I like to call, “the tech stack for the Fiduciary Era.”
How Does this Stack Work?
When an individual investor comes into contact with a firm, whether it’s through email, social or web search, the MAP helps to collect that individual’s information and track their activities that follow. The CRM tool absorbs and organizes that initial data and all of the information collected during an investor’s advisory journey.
This integration allows an advisor to perform the appropriate follow-up actions to engage with a prospect or client and log these actions within the CRM. Recording these meetings helps an advisor tailor future ones throughout the relationship, with the ideal endpoint being that the investor becomes a client.
Once a prospect or client’s information has been transferred from a MAP to a CRM, the deployed sales enablement solution can provide contextually relevant, compliant content based on an investor’s personal and financial characteristics—often times collected through other MAP campaigns—such as age, social interests, profession, income, long-term goals, investment risk and more. Essentially, the sales enablement solution acts as an intelligent filter, allowing the advisor to select and distribute approved materials based on all of the information gathered from the MAP. Many times an advisor’s meeting preparation will occur within a CRM system. Other times, it could occur from a mobile device. A well-integrated sales enablement solution will offer content access across multiple devices and applications.
There are two areas where this new tech stack will have the most impact in 2017: productivity and compliance. A sales enablement solution allows advisors to leverage information on clients’ interests from the MAP to automatically customize content before sending it. This drastically decreases risk and reduces the hours spent each month preparing meeting materials; thereby increasing the time available for additional face-to-face client conversations.
Tagging and Tracking Are the Keys to Success
More critical to interacting with clients and mitigating risk is how a sales enablement solution allows Marketing to tag materials within a MAP and align said tagging with the distribution of the compliant content. Following the distribution of content, Marketing has the ability to trace and audit content usage. Content tagging can be useful in other aspects of the tech stack, as well. If Marketing is consistent with its content tags, for example, they can then assemble content campaign reports to get a better idea as to which pieces of content work best and when in the customer journey.
The tech stack for the Fiduciary Era is an integration of three platforms that provides a comprehensive digital experience for clients and a seamless operational process for advisors. Those who continue to wait for the next great competitive advantage in wealth management may end up missing it altogether.
Craig Dunham is the vice president and general manager of financial services at Seismic.