Smart Financial Advisors Use Workflows and Processes … Why Don't You?

Would you like an easy button for your firm?

If you are willing to put in time and effort upfront, it is possible.

Sure, that sounds cliché.

But , don't underestimate the benefits of workflows and processes for your financial advisory firm.

You either have poor systems in your business or no systems at all.

Creating a set of workflows and processes for your organization could mean the difference between success and utter chaos.

While everything may seem to run smoothly when you’re running a one-man show, the nightmares will begin once your organization starts to grow and as more people become involved.

Business processes will increase a firm’s agility, efficiency, productivity and visibility enabling it to remain competitive.

This article will examine various business processes for financial advisors and some of the benefits they bring to their organizations.

What's a Business Process?

It is an activity or set of activities that will achieve a specific goal for your organization.

Business process management (BPM) is a systematic approach aimed at improving processes, such as:

  • New client orientation
  • Invoicing
  • Recruitment for new team members
  • Firm budgeting
  • Updates to existing processes
  • Core Business Processes for Financial Advisors

    Processes bring order and structure .

    If you adopt them in your organization, your business will thrive.

    Creating processes may seem tedious.

    But having no processes at all will create more problems.

    A business process management system for financial advisors should include the following core business processes :

    1. Prospecting & Client Acquisition

    You can’t afford to rely on word of mouth to get leads for your business.

    You need to build massive trust and authenticity online , too.

    You will need processes to create a sustainable strategy that you can duplicate.

    Build a system for generating new, qualified leads .

    Identify your sources for prospecting leads and later create a workflow to work through these leads.

    Employ strategies for outbound marketing , inbound marketing , and joint partnerships with professionals who offer services complementary to yours .

    Examples of outbound strategies include cold calling , cold emailing , in-person solicitations, and speaking at seminars or on webinars .

    Examples of inbound strategies include generating leads through your website with search engine optimization or PPC advertising .

    2. Client Onboarding & Meetings

    You can set up the process for conducting a meeting with a new client as a workflow in your CRM .

    The system should automatically schedule and assign all of the required tasks to the respective members of your team.

    Scheduling the appointment should trigger a series of other steps, alerting other members.

    In this case, a client onboarding checklist template may come in handy.

    The list should contain activities such as:

  • Contacting the client to confirm the date of the meeting
  • Searching for possible topics of conversation and commonalities
  • Developing prepared responses for common questions or objections
  • Providing a report or presentation, customizing as needed for your new client
  • Organizing a client appreciation event
  • 3. Ongoing Client Services & Account Maintenance

    As a financial advisor, one of your responsibilities includes mangaging certain transactions between financial institutions and your clients.

    It is your job to fill out applications on behalf of your client, forward their initial cash deposits, and initiate fund rollovers.

    You should know which forms you will have to fill out for your clients and have them prepared in advance.

    You should set schedules with reminders on when to reach out to financial institutions to get periodic reports on clients' accounts.

    Processes will enable you to complete these steps efficiently.

    4. Research

    As a financial advisor, you may help your clients with buying products such as life insurance, annuities, money market funds, equity-based mutual funds, etc.

    You must be well versed in the features, benefits, and limitations of such products.

    You should build a structure around the research process in your organization to help you and your team members stay abreast of new products and developments in the industry.

    This includes scheduling for certified educational courses .

    Benefits of Business Systems for Financial Advisors

    1. Improved business agility

    Your business environment is changing.

    Business processes must, therefore, adapt to new conditions fast.

    Business Process Management enhances the coordination of operations through a framework that demands meticulous documentation of all the steps in a process.

    The thoroughness of the BPM process allows for a clear understanding of every step in the workflow process .

    Recording this detailed information can help your organization understand the impact that change might have on your business processes.

    If you know the effect changing business processes will have on your profitability, then your firm will be better placed to adapt to change .


    2. Reduced costs and higher revenues

    Employing the right BPM in your organization will help trim expenses.

    These cuts will be made possible by enhancing the productivity of the workforce and the business processes.

    You will not be able to notice the decrease in operational expenses right away, but eliminating bottlenecks will lead to remarkable improvements.

    For example, it could reduce the time needed for prospect to become a client, which affects the way your organization acquires new clients and delivers its financial planning process and services.

    If your firm can acquire clients much faster, your revenues will, consequently, improve.

    Additionally, you can improve your organization’s efficiency and profitability by reducing waste.

    BPM assists in allocating and tracking resources which helps eliminate trivial unnecessary expenses.

    Consistently evaluating performance will also help you determine inefficiencies and prompt you to address these problems.

    3. Greater efficiency

    Employing BPM will significantly enhance the effectiveness of your business processes as it will enable the integration of all your organization’s operations from start to finish.

    You will be automatically alerted when responsibilities are delegated to individual members of your team.

    You will be able to address delays efficiently and manage tasks appropriately.

    BPM will also help to optimize processes by removing redundant tasks and employing automation to avoid unnecessary reworks and errors .

    Related: Why Great Content Matters for Financial Advisors

    Automation gives you the freedom to focus on your clients and to shift your focus to helping your clients achieve their goals.

    4. Improved visibility

    BPM relies on refined software programs for process automation.

    These programs allow you to track performance and monitor business processes in real time.

    Best of all?

    You don’t need extensive labor or monitoring techniques to see how the system is working.

    This level of transparency will enable you to get a better perspective of the processes .

    You can then modify the structures and processes as you deem appropriate.

    5. Compliance, safety, and security

    Every organization must comply with industry regulations.

    BPM will help your firm implement regulatory requirements much faster.

    These could be labor law compliance, financial reports, and a host of government rules that each organization should follow.

    A reliable BPM will guarantee compliance with set standards and help you stay up to date with relevant laws.

    BPM can also promote security in your organization by facilitating compliance and procedure documentation .

    Employees are encouraged to safeguard your organization’s assets, which may include physical resources or private information, from theft, misuse, or loss.

    6. Improved engagement internally with team members and externally with clients

    BPM provides the right support structure to help your team engage and adapt to new ways of working.

    Implementing streamlined processes means that your employees will take less time to complete tasks.

    Errors and mistakes will also be minimal.

    If you empower your employees, they will be able to concentrate on the critical task at hand—exceeding your clients' expectations.

    Adopting a client-centric approach will give your clients more value. It will increase your retention rates and referrals.

    7. Consistency

    Consistency is vital to any business .

    It will help you forecast better and enable you to identify problems that might occur along the way.

    Your clients and employees will crave consistency.

    Automating processes will ensure that you complete tasks consistently and reliably.

    How to Create Business Processes

    Before you add your workflows and processes into your CRM, start with pen and paper .

    If you prefer to use technology , you can use a word document instead.

    Starting out the old fashioned way is essential.

    It will help you test out the processes a few times to determine whether the steps are in the correct order and use an appropriate timeline.

    If you need to make any changes, it will be easier to make them on paper than in the CRM.

    As your firm evolves, so will your processes, so keep that in mind.

    If you are satisfied with the steps and processes and everyone on your team is onboard, you can move forward and create the workflow in your CRM.

    If you don’t have a CRM, you can use Excel or Numbers (on Mac).

    File sharing platforms such as Google Drive , Dropbox , or Box can also be useful.

    They allow for version control and easy collaboration among team members.

    Key Takeaway: Smart Advisors Use Workflows and Processes

    Other than helping to keep you organized, processes will have many positive outcomes for your organization,

    They will increase efficiency, productivity , agility, visibility, and reduce costs .

    They will also assist in compliance and enhance safety and security.

    The use of workflows and processes is common among top financial advisors.