The evolution of technology has made it possible for independent financial advisors to compete with large houses, but no matter the size of your operation, you’ll need to keep up with technology to improve.
Understanding the benefits of the technology available will help you embrace innovation whether you’re an independent broker-dealer or part of a larger house. “If you don’t adapt, you’re gone,” says Jason Lara, director of sales and strategy at Ebix.
Here are some of the benefits of having centralized, integrated technology at your organization.
Whether it’s inside the office or directly with clients, communication can improve remarkably with integrated technology. “Intra-office communication is a big piece,” Lara says. “The ability for advisors, assistants and managers to access data on the fly and communicate wherever and whenever you need keeps everyone on the same page.”
Integrated technology makes it possible for everyone to stay in touch via tools they already know, Lara says, and helps sync workflows. “You have the ability to put a calendar note in one calendar and sync across with everybody, get text alerts, keep notes that you can control access to,” he says. “The industry is changing, and because it’s so fast-paced, you’re not going to remember everything.”
Better Customer Service
Mobile tools in particular make it possible for advisors to serve their clients more quickly and responsively. Being able to integrate those tools with the home office ensures advisors can respond in the moment and keep a record of communications and actions. “When you are out of the office, you can’t just sit idle — you need to be as productive as you would be in the office,” Lara says. “It’s about bridging the gap as quickly as possible.”
One example is onboarding new clients. If an advisor meets someone new and wants to follow up with them, they can take a picture of the new client’s business card and sync the image with the home office, which alerts an assistant. The assistant can then schedule a follow-up appointment on a calendar, syncing it across all devices to prevent double-booking.
Integration also helps financial advisors collaborate on clients without having to share their entire book of business, Lara says. If a client is interested in something outside the advisor’s specialty, the advisor can refer that client to another and the two can work together on the client’s varied interests without having to fully share their own work. “The client resides in my database, but I can share and collaborate on the clients I choose,” Lara says.
More Targeted Marketing
Automated marketing tools have been around for some time, but being able to integrate them with other tools in the business can improve their effectiveness in connecting with new and established clients. General correspondence, special offers and reminders are automated on both ends, ensuring clients and advisors remember what’s going on.
For example, notifications about periodic reviews can sync with calendar systems as well as trigger automatic emails to the client. It goes both ways as well: Some platforms make it possible for clients to reach advisors much more quickly and directly than in the past, and action on a website can trigger specialized communications and calendar notifications.