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4 training pitfalls financial advisors should avoid

We’ve worked with hundreds of independent advisory firms over the years to help them get the most out of the technology we provide here at AdvisorEngine®.

We take great pride when a firm learns how to plug a new tool into their business and leapfrog over operational challenges. 

But the truth is, not every firm reaches that point of success right away. 

Sometimes, the biggest barrier is in execution. It’s great that you’ve invested in a new tool – but you’ve got to have a well-trained staff to put it into action properly too. 

Considering RIA firms spend anywhere from 2% to 5% of their annual budget on technology, according to industry estimates, we feel it’s important to get this crucial point of adoption right.

Here are four common mistakes firms make when introducing new technology tools.  

Mistake #1: Skipping training 

You must learn how to walk before you can run. This is common sense. And yet, we’ve seen this mistake committed repeatedly. 

You need to participate in training and learn the software to be able to make sense of it and use it. Don't assume you don't need to be trained, even if you’ve used a similar software tool.

One longtime industry tech expert recently estimated RIA firms were only reaching 50% of the functionality their tech tools provided because they did not do enough training and practice.

Also – when you’re in training, listen closely and take notes. Don't be afraid to ask questions and engage with those conducting the training.

Mistake #2: Being passive

You’re not going to become a power user overnight – but if you don’t use the software tool regularly, you’re not going to achieve a level of proficiency either.

A CRM can help you organize and centralize all your client details and actions, but you’ve got to feed it. Data input is an easy way to get familiar with new software.

But some advisors elect their client service representatives (CSR) to input client details into the system rather than doing it themselves. That not only keeps the advisor from learning how to use and navigate their CRM, but it also slows down the entire process and it introduces potential errors because the information is being put in second-hand.

We’ve also seen firms where one staffer is the only individual trained to use the software. Again, that’s a plain mistake – what happens to your work, for instance, when that colleague is out sick?

Mistake #3: Using a tool incorrectly

Here’s another good reason to do your training: You’ll know what the tool is built to do, and what it’s not supposed to be used for. 

If for instance, your software doesn’t allow for real-time trading, forcing a trade outside of the normal parameters of what it can do will cause issues.

That’s not to say you cannot use your tools creatively. 

Within AdvisorEngine’s CRM, for instance, you can segment your clients into service levels and associate actions for each level so that actions get created automatically, based on the parameters you’ve set. 

But wealth management’s multiple aspects of client engagement and strict regulatory requirements go outside the scope of CRM, which is why it’s not built to be a standalone project management tool. 

Advisor technology providers offering CRM increasingly are bundling it with other tools, including digital account onboarding and portfolio management, in one platform to be part of a complete business solution instead.

Mistake #4: Not staying on top of your tools (and users)

As trainers, we do dozens of individual sessions with firms, monthly webinars and presentations at our annual >drive conference to keep our clients informed on all the functions, features and abilities in our software.

The reality of software tools is that they are constantly being updated and improved! Staying on top of what we’re building here at AdvisorEngine keeps us busy.

So firms can fall behind when they don’t do regular checkups to see what is working well for them and what needs improvement. It’s like your car – every couple of thousand miles, you need routine maintenance to keep things running smoothly.

Usage audits are a good solution, we’ve found. Here are some of the questions to help you evaluate how you’re doing with your CRM, for instance:

  • Is our data free of errors? 
  • Are we able to get our data back out of the CRM? 
  • Are our workflows efficient enough for everyone to follow consistently? 
  • What functions and abilities of the software are we not using that could ultimately enhance the client experience?

We also recommend periodic meetings to gauge individual understanding and knowledge of the software you’re using. We’ve found that firms who meet regularly to evaluate this together have teams that operate at the same usage and skill level overall. 

If you’re experiencing any of the issues we’ve listed, the good news is that they can be corrected with a little bit of work. We live by the saying: Practice makes perfect!


This blog is sponsored by AdvisorEngine Inc. and CRM Software LLC. (“AdvisorEngine”) The information, data and opinions in this commentary are as of the publication date, unless otherwise noted, and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to use AdvisorEngine or deemed to be a specific offer to sell or provide, or a specific invitation to apply for, any financial product, instrument or service that may be mentioned. Information does not constitute a recommendation of any investment strategy, is not intended as investment advice and does not take into account all the circumstances of each investor. Opinions and forecasts discussed are those of the author, do not necessarily reflect the views of AdvisorEngine and are subject to change without notice. AdvisorEngine makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or representations. As a technology company, AdvisorEngine provides access to award-winning tools and will be compensated for providing such access. AdvisorEngine does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.  AdvisorEngine and Junxure are registered trademarks of AdvisorEngine Inc.

AdvisorEngine Training Team

AdvisorEngine Training Team

Our AdvisorEngine training team – made up of Billy Rueckert, Tricia Cameron, Robin Zeratsky, Richard Barfield and William Schultz – works alongside our clients to manage, design, develop, coordinate and conduct all training programs with our wealth management technology platforms.


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