News article

The software most advisers and planners should use, but don’t

We’ve written regularly about conversion rates over the past couple of years. The latest occasion was in my Money Marketing column, which you can still read by clicking here.

Improving conversion rates has two key benefits:

  • Lower marketing costs
  • A more efficient business

However, there are several reasons why conversion rates might be low, including:

  • The wrong people being put into your marketing funnel
  • Ineffective nurturing
  • A poor proposition
  • Unattractive pricing

To understand where the problems lie, increase conversion rates and drive efficiencies, you need data. However, in our experience, too few firms collect relevant data and those who do rarely analyse it.

To solve the issue of data collection, while improving the nurturing of potential clients, we believe more firms should adopt a CRM (Client Relationship Management) system.

“But I have a back office, why do I need a CRM?”

Most traditional back-office systems are compliance not sales focussed (yes, whether it’s investment management, advice or financial planning, everyone is selling something). That means they don’t have the pipeline monitoring functionality necessary to improve conversion rates.

Furthermore, most firms only start to use their back-office system during the engagement process. In contrast, a CRM should be used at an earlier stage, as soon as the initial enquiry has been received.

What does a CRM do?

In the context of managing your enquiry pipeline, a CRM will help you to nurture potential clients more effectively, identify possible conversion rate issues and provide actionable data to improve your business.

In more detail, we’ve found that using a CRM delivers many benefits:

Organisation: Information held on one location, which anyone in your team can access. No more spreadsheets, little black books or post-it notes. The CRM will drive efficiency and organisation.

Improving conversion rates: Used correctly a CRM will help you nurture enquiries more effectively. When some firms have headline conversion rates as low as 10%, this is a key benefit of a CRM.

Accountability: If you’re a sole adviser/planner firm, you probably don’t have anyone holding you to account, forcing you to take those follow-up actions. Your CRM will fulfil that role. If you’re in a larger multi adviser/planner organisation it helps you keep track of your team and their actions.

Accurate data: Your accounting software shows your current financial position, effectively the bottom of the sales funnel. A CRM shows the top of the funnel and how enquiries are progressing down it.

A CRM should give you the confidence that you’re on track, with sufficient new enquiries being added to the funnel and progressing through it, or act as an early warning system, highlighting trouble ahead. For example:

  • A sudden fall in enquiry numbers points to issues with marketing, leading to potential financial shortfalls ahead.
  • A large increase in new enquiries, or a significant improvement in conversion rates, might indicate a need to scale up your operational capability for a period.

Evidence-led decisions: The data in the CRM will allow you to make more informed decisions. For example, conversion rates can be calculated at every stage, reviewed and, where necessary, action taken to improve them.

Efficiency: Knowing what you must do and when leads to more efficient and effective nurturing of potential clients.

Marketing: You can’t build a marketing strategy to attract new enquiries until you understand your conversion rates. Your CRM will provide you with this information. Furthermore, the data in your CRM can be used to run campaigns to specific groups or on specific topics. Again, it’s all part of the nurturing process.

Picking a CRM

Google ‘CRM’ and you’ll be presented with an array of options. From Salesforce to HubSpot, Zoho to Pipedrive, the choice can be bewildering.

We recommend starting simple; consider what you want the system to do and use that as a checklist when comparing options. Beware of over-engineered, expensive systems and slick sales patter. In our experience, the huge functionality of some systems will act as a barrier to being embedded in your business.

When we went through this process, we identified three key requirements; a central record of new enquiries, the ability to track, and nurture, our pipeline and to monitor outcomes.

We selected Pipedrive. It’s simple, cost-effective, easy to set up and delivers what we need. And no, we aren’t on commission!

Back office interaction

Running a back office and a CRM isn’t ideal as you will have no ‘golden’ source of data. If you’re lucky to have the enquiry nurturing and tracking functionality in your back-office system, then use it. If not, you’ll need both. However, the prize of increased conversion rates and efficiency is worth it.

Still not convinced?

For less than a tenner a week our CRM has transformed our business. It has the potential to do the same for you, driving efficiencies, giving you data to make better business decisions, improving conversion rates and reducing cost.

Having seen the benefits, I’m amazed more advisers and planners don’t use one.

A question to finish…

If there is enough demand, we will happily run a free webinar on the benefits of using a CRM, including a demonstration of PipeDrive in action.

If you would like to register your interest, please click here to send us an email. If there’s sufficient demand, we will organise the webinar for after the Easter holidays.

Stay in touch


Sign up to receive our hints, tips & ideas to improve your marketing.
As you’d expect, we’ll never pass your details to anyone else and if you don’t like what we have to say, you can unsubscribe at any time.