There’s a major Catch-22 when it comes to advisory firm growth. Growing advisory businesses usually provide a world-class client experience. If you can create an awesome experience for your clients, it’s not only easier to win business, but the business you win tends to grow and even multiply through referrals. But growth also means serving more clients. And with every new client, the job of creating that world-class experience becomes harder.
For advisers who want to break that cycle and serve more clients without sacrificing their client experience, automation is critical. In this article, I’ll share how you can use automation to not only accommodate growth, but actually improve the experience delivered to your expanding client base.
AUTOMATION DONE RIGHT BUILDS STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS
We all know the importance of a first impression. Because the initial stages can make or break a client relationship, it’s vital to nail the onboarding process. One of the best ways to do that is with automation.
For a new client, a simple welcome message that expresses your gratitude for the opportunity to serve them and your enthusiasm for what’s to come can leave a lasting impression. Without automation, you’re left to write (or type) each of these messages individually. Not only is that time consuming, but it leaves room for oversights. If you’re anything like me, your daily to-do list tends to shift and grow as you work, and things can get nudged out of sight.
With automation, that thoughtful welcome email is never missed and every new client knows how much you appreciate their business.
Beyond welcoming new clients to the family, automation can improve new client engagement in a number of awesome ways:
Onboard new clients. A good onboarding experience is convenient, supportive and clear. Through automation, you can leverage technology to make the process of setting up an account, gathering client data or even securing signatures seamless.
Simply identify the steps each client must take to get up and running with your firm, craft clear messages that guide them through each one and enjoy hours of newfound time.
Connect and engage. Strong relationships are built around consistent communication and engagement. After the initial onboarding phase, you can further boost new clients’ experience by helping them find ways to stay up-to-date with relevant information about your firm, the market, and anything else you want to share.
Do you post on LinkedIn? On a blog? In today’s environment, face-to-face time is harder to lock down (and with COVID, sometimes impossible). Sending new clients a quick automated message with links to all the places they can engage with you can help bridge those in-person meetings.
Touch base. Getting to know a new client’s communication preferences, service expectations and overall needs can take some time. Using automated touchpoints can help you uncover those preferences and tailor the experience you deliver to their unique needs.
Consider sending a “just checking in” email automatically a couple of months into the relationship that lets clients select the ways in which they wish to receive communications. You can even automate sending surveys out on key dates, such as six- or 12-month anniversaries, instead of blasting them to every client at the same time each year.
Proactively expand relationships. Asking clients for feedback on their experience working with you is important. At the same time, you can explain the importance of referrals and ask if they know anyone who could use your advice. Prompt them for a one-on-one discussion, just to touch base. Automating these messages across several months is a great, noninvasive way to stay in front of your new clients.
CREATING MICRO-MOMENTS SHOWS YOU CARE
Now think about the 80/20 rule. New clients are important for your firm’s growth, but most of your value is derived from existing relationships. Automation can play a key role in elevating the experience delivered to your current clients as well. It’s all about creating micro-moments that show you care.
You likely have a field or two in your CRM to track important dates like client anniversaries, interests, and graduations and other milestones. With automation, you can use that data to set up personal touchpoints. An email or text message that isn’t focused around business, but about an important time in a client’s life, can reinforce your role as their trusted partner in their financial journey.
THE JOURNEY PRODUCES LASTING VALUE
Automation can be game changing in your pursuit of growth. All it takes is access to the right tools and a little upfront planning. For the tech-savvy adviser, there are a ton of marketing automation software options in the marketplace today—Hubspot, Marketo, and Active Campaign are all well-regarded, to name a few. There are also plenty of partnership opportunities with adviser-specific marketing firms. Full disclosure: My company, Snappy Kraken, is an adviser-specific marketing automation company.
Regardless of how exactly you choose to implement automation, it should be looked at as an investment in your business. The upfront cost for technology and the time required to build your workflows will pay dividends in the future — in more personal time, in an improved client service experience and in the profitability of your firm.
Robert Sofia is one of three co-founders and the CEO of Snappy Kraken, a marketing solution for financial professionals.
As our second lead editor, Cindy Hamilton covers health, fitness and other wellness topics. She is also instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. Cindy received a BA and an MA from NYU.