Top Components of an Effective Advisor Support System
These five support factors allow financial advisors to do what they do best, unencumbered by the basic blocking and tackling limits professional housekeeping has on their work.
1. State-of-the-Art Analytical Tools
Technology has come to play a critical role for today’s financial advisors. Financial advisors need software that assists their calculations and projections in as many aspects of their business as possible. They should have access to:
- Historical data about the performance of investments, including detailed comparisons between multiple investments.
- Data visualization tools that make complex financial data more digestible for clients in meetings and reports.
- Easily accessible equity evaluation formulas for stocks.
- Mobile applications that put financial information at their fingertips for client meetings and calls when they do not have access to a computer.
This is the new standard for financial advice. Technology is giving advisors more power to make insightful predictions while also simplifying the presentation of that data for clients. Ensuring that advisors have access to these technologies and the skills to use them is step #1 in their success.
Examples: Black Diamond, eMoney Advisor, MoneyGuidePro, NaviPlan, RightCapital
2. Coaching and Training
Financial advisors must be armed with the knowledge to grow their skills, but not everyone has time to stay on top of new techniques and strategies. Training and coaching resources help advisors stay on top of the industry’s latest trends. This training can take many different forms, according to the needs of both the individual and the firm. Some new recruits might need to learn about client relations, getting extra help on techniques for appropriate communication and conflict resolution to ease their transition from theoretical education to professional reality. Seasoned veterans might need help adjusting to the tools of the digital age, bringing their technical capabilities in line with their deep knowledge and experience.
A critical addition to individual training is small group meetings with other advisors. These allow advisors new and old to share ideas, give advice, motivate each other, and keep each other accountable. Group meetings can operate as business development, coaching, training, and morale building all at the same time. Encouraging collaboration to keep colleagues accountable and on track can have tremendous overall value for both individuals and teams.
Advisors can also work with a coach on a one-to-one basis in order to help identify the obstacles that are preventing the advisor in the achievement of the successes they seek. A coach can help review the advisor’s business processes and implement changes based on the advisor’s goals, whether they are to find new business faster, develop better referrals, build repeatable processes, or scale their business model. Together, the coach will help you determine the key, core priorities you need to accomplish to get where you want to be and determine an effective process and timeline to get you there.
3. Client Relationship Management (CRM)
Financial advisors should be able to spend their time analyzing markets and creating advantages for their clients. It is understandable that many have not had the time to learn the variety of technologies that help manage relationships with their clients. CRM software has arisen to combat the manual management of prospective and current client needs and relationships. CRM is a critical tool that streamlines basic tasks for financial advisors, which may include everything from organizing client meetings to fielding interviews with potential clients. Less time can be spent writing emails or poring over calendars, and more time can be focused on providing expert advice.
Examples: Hubspot, Insightly, Salesforce, Zoho
4. Marketing Automation
In the same vein, social media and email marketing automation tools minimize the time advisors need to spend promoting themselves and maximize their ability to be the most successful and effective advisors that they can be. Getting the word out about your practice can be incredibly time-consuming, and it is an activity with an entirely different skill set from the one that clients rely on. Tools that manage these tasks can therefore have an enormous impact on an advisor’s ability to focus on his or her business and grow an advantage over their competition. Look into social media management applications, marketing managers, and networking services to broaden the reach of your practice without wasting valuable time.
Examples: ActiveCampaign, HootSuite, Hubspot, Net-Results
5. Education and Inspiration
People, especially millennials, want to understand the significance of their job and its capacity to create value for their clients. Financial advisors help clients to achieve their goals, offering them financial security and eliminating the stress of money management. This can be communicated in a variety of ways, from formal meetings with guest speakers to topics introduced in advisor group meetings. The point is to remind advisors about the value that they are providing, something that can infuse the work of first-year and veteran advisors alike with fresh purpose and energy.
If possible, use volunteering or charitable programs to reinforce this message. No matter what professionals are doing, the ability to give back to their community financially or with their time is a critical part of both building morale and sustaining long-term career contentment.
Comprehensive Support Leads to Comprehensive Success
An effective advisor support system bolsters every area of the business while maintaining accountability of each advisor to their clients and colleagues. Advisors cannot work to their full potential without access to the technologies transforming the business. Their outlook and sense of value also contribute greatly to understanding their purpose. These factors promote efficiency, drive productivity, and foster success.
Christopher Crawford is the Director of Advisor Relationships for the Buffalo Funds. He has 10 years of experience in the financial services industry, previously holding positions at Invesco, IMA Financial Group, and Arthur J. Gallagher. At the Buffalo Funds, Christopher works with investment consultant relations, key account management, institutional distribution and client service. His main goal is to partner with advisors to bring business building ideas and provide unparalleled customer support to their business, always striving to make it easy and reliable to work with the entire Buffalo Funds investment team. Christopher received an M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and a B.S.F.A. from Southern Methodist University. He also holds licenses for the Series 7, Series 63, and Series 65.