Salesforce officially entered the financial services technology market Tuesday with the public launch of the Financial Services Cloud, its first industry-specific client relationship management (CRM) product.
The San Francisco company first announced Financial Services Cloud in August and ran a pilot program with a select group of advisors. Salesforce missed its original February target for a release, and Simon Mulcahy, the general manager of Salesforce’s financial services division, said the company made several tweaks to the product using advisor feedback and also increased the amount of integration partners available.
For example, Orion Advisor Services is providing new billing capabilities to its portfolio management that lets users aggregate, schedule, pay and report seamlessly between the Orion and Salesforce platforms. Advisor Software has also signed on to provide a new suite of customizable apps including lead generation, on-boarding, rebalancing, portfolio management and automated digital advice.
“At Orion, everything we do is driven by our belief that when you’ve met one advisor, you’ve met one advisor—each one is unique in their approach and challenges,” Orion CEO Eric Clarke said in a statement. “Orion and Salesforce have worked together to listen to the specific needs of these advisors and have developed solutions that streamline account management processes through a personalized approach.”
In total, the Financial Services Cloud integrates 20 companies to power everything from data and aggregation to document management, security and compliance. It also integrates Microsoft Office to sync with programs like Outlook and Excel.
The CRM is powered by Salesforce’s new Lightning design, which will eventually be used to power other industry-specific applications. Mulcahy said the company decided to start with financial services because it was a product-centric industry that hasn’t adapted to the digital and client-centric times. Salesforce paired the product launch with a new study of investors that found convenience, a holistic view of accounts, modern technology and online reviews as the most important factors in choosing a financial advisor, behind fee structure.
United Capital was a firm heavily involved in the development of the Financial Services Cloud. Mike Capelle, United Capital’s chief strategy officer, described the relationship as being “on speed dial for feedback to help them ensure that they were addressing the true and pressing needs of those who work in the wealth management space.”
In a YouTube video, United Capital CEO Joe Duran described how Salesforce has been central to his company’s digital approach to wealth management. Duran and other executives with United Capital helped introduce the new CRM and its features via webinar. For example, the company used Salesforce to create a digital conversation of its Honest Conversations exercise.
The Financial Services Cloud will cost firms $150 per user, per month.
The resources of a giant technology company like Salesforce puts pressure on smaller firms like Redtail that have always focused on building wealth management CRMs, but Redtail CEO Brian McLaughlin said he isn’t worried about remaining competitive.
“Redtail has been proud to serve this industry for a long time and as such we understand the firms that operate here and how unique they are,” McLaughlin said. “We’ll maintain our focus on our client experience, which is what has and always will set us apart.”