A CRM – or Customer Relationship Management tool – is a software that helps advisors and business owners organize their clients. A good CRM will help you achieve several things:
- Securing client information.
- Tracking client data (like birthdays, when follow ups are warranted).
- Keeping a log of when you’ve contacted clients.
- Rating your client and prospect engagement.
It’s always amazing to us just how many advisors are missing the boat on finding a CRM that works for their practice. At New Heights Solutions, it’s one of the first things we recommend people find and commit to using – because it’s a game changer!
A CRM can be viewed as a way to look into the future of your business. While your accounting software tracks past revenue and expenses, a CRM can help you to view your prospect pipeline, see when new payments from onboarded clients are coming in, and more. As a business owner, we often wish we had a crystal ball to predict the future of our operation – and a CRM is just about as close as you can get.
Which CRM Is Right For You?
Typically, we recommend two CRMs for advisors: Wealthbox and Redtail. Both of these CRMs are specific to the financial services industry, which make them a fantastic fit for your RIA. Of course, they both have their pros and cons. The primary drawback to both Wealthbox and Redtail is also their primary benefit – they’re only used by other advisors. This makes it difficult for users to find information about putting the CRM to good use online because the user pool is fairly limited. However, because they’re designed specifically for your needs, they’re going to have unique features that other CRMs don’t have.
If you’re not looking for a financial planning specific CRM, your world of options opens up significantly. Insightly and HubSpot both tend to get consistently positive reviews from entrepreneurs, and are fairly cost effective. However, the New Heights Solutions team doesn’t typically recommend that you intentionally “go cheap” with a CRM. Finding a CRM that includes all of the fields and integrations you need as an advisor should be your first priority.
Wealthbox is our #1 recommended CRM for fee-only advisors. It’s more expensive than other free options, but it also has the capacity to grow as your business grows. In other words, you won’t have to waste time relearning a new CRM down the line because you’ve scaled out of your current software.
Wealthbox offers several integrations, and a significant number of tasks. Generally, their task management system is better than Redtail’s, and they have a more user friendly interface. However, there are some down sides: “Some information and data fields in Wealthbox feel hidden, and I have to dig to find them,” says Maria Thompson, a virtual assistant on the New Heights Solutions team.
Redtail is more expensive than Wealthbox, but is an excellent CRM option for many RIAs. They focus on automated workflows, lots of integrations for you and your team, and being able to track your client data to create more touch-points with your clients for maximum engagement. They also have good customer service that’s geared toward advisors, which can be helpful if you run into any issues during setup.
Again, no CRM is perfect, and Redtail has two big things working against it, according to Maria: “Redtail isn’t the best at task management, and doesn’t have the most intuitive user interface.”
Redtail’s pricing structure (see below), may be a benefit to advisors who are looking to grow their firm. Instead of paying by users, like most CRMs, a Redtail’s base pricing includes spots for 15 advisors. If you expect to have 3 or more users on your CRM, you may save some money by starting with RedTail right from the get-go.
In our first Budget Conscious RIA blog post, we talked about the cost of financial planning software. Every advisor is different, and their budgets are different, as well. Wealthbox and Redtail are at similar pricing points. Wealthbox breaks their pricing into a three-tier system:
- Basic – $35/month
- Pro – $49/month (syncs email)
- Premier – $65/month (more customizable)
Keep in mind that these rates are per user per month.
Redtail prices themselves differently. Their CRM (including 15 users) is one flat rate per month per database. But they offer additional add-on packages that increase your monthly rate:
- Redtail CRM – $99/month
- Speak – $79/month (sending/receiving attachments, messages, organizes client communication)
- Imaging – $49/month for 10 gigabytes
- Email – $8/month per account
Maximize Your CRM
CRMs help you to seamlessly scale your business, maintain authentic connections with each of your clients and prospects, and streamline your business.No matter which CRM you go with for your RIA, the big idea is to maximize its use so that it continues to positively impact your operation. In our Client Onboarding Toolkit, we go over how a CRM can work as part of your onboarding process.