What are some of the must-have digital tools for your independent financial advisory practice? In this article, we walk you through the top ten digital tools to increase productivity, cut your costs, and reach new clients. Read on to find out.
Being an Independent Financial Advisor can be challenging. You don’t have the resources of a full-fledged advisory business at your disposal nor the manpower. Competition is intense, too, meaning you constantly need to find ways to offer an exceptional customer experience.
In today’s world, going digital is your best bet. A range of digital tools and solutions is available on the market to help you manage your clients, cut costs, and enhance outreach. Let’s look now at the top ten digital tools that can help transform your advisory practice.
This integrated wealth management portal is one of the essential tools you should have in your arsenal. BlackDiamond allows you to manage all aspects of your client’s portfolio in a single, comprehensive platform. You can also leverage its powerful dashboarding and infographic features that give clients access to aggregated information about their portfolios; you get customized dashboards, net worth statements, balance sheet reporting, and more. BlackDiamond also includes a secure messaging interface that you can use to communicate with your client.
Precise FP lets you automate one of the most crucial aspects of your advisory business – data collection. Precise FP can be integrated with the other tools you use and gather data from your clients or prospects in a streamlined manner. The financial advisory industry is heavily dependent on data. Precise FP helps you eliminate errors in applications and forms, thereby reducing costs, improving accuracy, and saving time and effort. Precise FP can also play a role in your KYC and compliance processes, enabling your clients a more hassle-free experience.
CRM – Freshsales
A great CRM suite is an absolute necessity for any advisory practice. Freshsales CRM is a simple and cost-effective option that lets you manage your customer conversations with ease. CRMs function as a central repository of your client information and give you the ability to track and store information regarding each lead, prospect, or client at various stages of the sales cycle.
Freshsales has two key advantages: it’s relatively cheap, and its feature-set is beginner-friendly, minimizing your learning curve. Freshsales lets you store and monitor critical information such as the last conversation, emails opened, and other personal information, all of which can prove vital in building a long-term relationship with your client. Freshsales also integrates with your website and other marketing tools, helping you capture leads and streamline conversations.
Email Marketing – MailChimp
Communicating with your clients and leads is critical to your role as an independent financial advisor. This makes an email marketing tool an essential part of your outreach efforts. Email marketing tools let you send mass emails in a structured manner to clients, prospects, or your other database contacts. Mailchimp is a feature-packed email marketing option. Mailchimp allows you to create stunning mailers, newsletters, and more using inbuilt templates. Automation features help you send this content to your entire database or targeted groups with ease.
One of Mailchimp’s significant benefits is the ability to structure follow up conversations and drip campaigns. Maintaining consistent communication matters when you’re trying to move prospects through the sales pipeline. These features allow you to send follow up emails to your contacts based on their responses and actions to earlier messages.
Web Design – Website.com
Having a well-designed website is a no-brainer. You need to put yourself and the content you create out there to reach the right audience and have a base platform for your marketing efforts. Creating a fully custom website can be very expensive, and adding new features later will add to lifetime costs. Instead, most advisors will be well-served by using WordPress.
WordPress is a beginner-friendly Content Management System that helps you build and maintain websites without requiring any coding knowledge. WordPress and WordPress themes and plugins give you virtually everything you need to create and publish web content. You can post blogs, host video content, contact forms, landing pages, and much more. If you can’t find a feature you’re looking for in base WordPress, chances are that a free or paid WordPress plugin will add that functionality for you.
Social Media Management – Hootsuite.com
Social media is a critical aspect of your marketing efforts since so many people (including your leads) are active there. With social media marketing encompassing several different platforms, a comprehensive management solution can reduce complexity, saving you time and effort.
Hootsuite is a feature-rich social media management platform that lets you schedule and manage posts on your various social channels from one place. You can set up and connect all your social media accounts to Hootsuite, then post and monitor from a single hub. Hootsuite also allows you to track and analyze the results of your outreach efforts and schedule posts days in advance. If you advertise on social media, Hootsuite lets you manage and optimize these ad campaigns, boosting your ROI.
Cloud Collaboration – Google Workspace
If you have more than one person on your team, great collaboration is critical to success. Google Workspace gives you this advantage by integrating a few collaboration tools into a single suite. Workspace gives you email, cloud storage, documents and spreadsheets, a calendar, meeting tools, and more. Cloud collaboration is especially important in today’s world, with everyone working from home. Individual solutions and their licenses can add up in cost. An integrated platform like Google Workspace can help you save considerably on licensing while ensuring a more consistent experience.
Data Backup – DropBox
Data storage and backup are essential for the security and continuity of your business. Having a cloud storage space like Dropbox means you can store critical documents and backup your system information in a secure, offsite location with access from any one of your devices. Backups are your insurance if you experience a cyberattack or lose your data because of faulty hardware. A recent backup can help you get up and running with minimal downtime.
Virtual Meetings – Zoom.com
Today, most business meetings are virtual due to lockdowns and social distancing routine. This makes it important to have a reliable virtual meeting tool to connect with clients, your team, and your prospects. Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing tools out there. Zoom lets you host, manage, and record video calls and audio calls. This can help you maintain connectivity with clients even when they’re not physically accessible.
Insights and Analytics – Fugent.com
Fugent allows you to automate and manage critical aspects of your customer experience and online presence. Fugent can help you monitor and manage client interactions and give you valuable analytical insights into client engagements, helping you identify what kind of information your clients are looking for and the best ways to communicate that to them.
Digital tools help you manage to do more with less. This means offering better services to a broader range of clients at more competitive rates. Rather than seeing digital as a cost center, you should consider digital tools long-term investments that generate a tangible ROI. Once you get comfortable with your digital tools and platforms, you’ll see tangible results as they help you save time and effort. In a competitive and dynamic advisory environment, and as many newer prospects turn to DIY investment planning, digital will offer you key advantages in terms of your advisory business’s long-term sustainability.