Most advisers report that they spend just as much time building a client base as they do actually advising clients on their finances. The heavy emphasis on sales and prospecting doesn’t need to be the norm, though. The latest prospecting tools for financial advisers can do the heavy lifting on the sales side of the job, allowing for a greater focus on providing expertise to the client’s themselves.
The Importance of Prospecting
Prospecting is the process of hunting for potential leads—it’s critical to the long-term success of a business. Being diligent about this effort ensures a sales pipeline will remain full, and gives advisers better odds of gaining new customers. But continual prospect research takes a lot of time and effort, so financial advisers are eternally looking for better and faster methods.
Automated Prospecting with AI
Cold calling. Purchasing lists. Networking events. Introductions from friends and family. These are all traditional methods financial advisers have used to find and approach new customers. None of these methods are wrong, they can just be inefficient in the sense that they are very time-consuming and labor-intensive, and some have a very low success rate. The increasing popularity of automated prospecting tools for financial advisers isn’t surprising – this technology saves a tremendous amount of time and effort, while helping advisers increase their customer pipelines.
A form of artificial intelligence, automated prospect research technology can do all the work of mining data about individuals and then find potential connections between advisers and prospects. It’s professional matchmaking for the financial industry and it saves advisers a massive amount of time. Common functions of tools that automate prospect research include:
- Combing a variety of online sources to collect information on prospects
- Ranking and evaluating the viability of prospects
- Placing financial advisers in the social feeds of prospects
- Sending personalized, automated emails to prospects
- Offering advisers control over how to refine the technology so it can better filter prospects
Artificial intelligence and the continual sophistication of technology isn’t something to be avoided by financial advisers out of concern for their jobs. The fear of machines replacing humans has been prevalent since the Industrial Revolution, if not earlier, but technology has simply allowed us to evolve into higher functioning roles.
When they embrace automated prospect research, advisers have more time and get better at what they enjoy – building relationships and shifting the puzzle pieces of a financial portfolio. An article on “Automation and Anxiety” in The Economist states that, “What determines vulnerability to automation, experts say, is not so much whether the work concerned is manual or white-collar but whether or not it is routine.” With AI, financial advisers will be able to rid themselves of the routine tasks, and that is a welcome improvement.
Prospecting with RelSci
RelSci’s relationship capital software is artificially intelligent technology that’s designed to be a top prospecting tool for financial advisers. In its purest form, the platform is built to collect and analyze massive amounts of data, and then transform it in to visible pathways between individuals, companies, and even locations. It’s data-centric lead generation for financial advisers that dramatically reduces the time spent on finding and establishing connections.
“Relationship Science maps the extended network of an adviser’s contacts and current book of business,” explains Emma Griffin, head of product for RelSci. “Advisers then use this network to secure key referrals from existing clients and other influencers they know.”
The top tools within RelSci’s platform that benefit financial advisers include:
- Proprietary Database of Millions. RelSci offers access to a proprietary database of 6+ million influential decision makers in 2+ million organizations. The detailed profiles within the database include both individuals and companies and are populated using thousands of independently verifiable public sources. For financial advisers, this is a “one stop shop” of information on prospects – you’ll no longer have to log in to a variety of databases to get the all the background and contact details you need on someone. Current title, work history, education, awards, donations, political affiliations – all of this information is assembled and centralized for you into one comprehensive profile within RelSci’s database, and none of it is pulled from unverifiable social network data or user-generated content. All profile details are based on facts and publically verifiable.
- Path Finder. Think of Path Finder as the spider web of connections you have built, either directly or through a few degrees of separation. Path Finder reveals links to people you may not even have been aware you had, giving you the smoothest in-roads to prospects. You can view your first-degree or extended connections, seeing how different people in an organization, industry, or even city map back to you. This speeds up and improves the process of qualifying a prospect, and can transform a cold call into a warm introduction.
- Power Search. This tool is what financial advisers use as a primary prospect research resource to create targeted lists. With Power Search, you can run queries in RelSci’s proprietary database of millions using any data point: name, title, industry, city, university, etc. Search results provide a narrowed list of prospects, as well as a clear pathway of connections from you to that prospect. The stronger the connections, the increased likelihood that you’ll be able to gain an introduction.
- 360 Alerts. Keeping up to date on prospects and even clients is one of the top challenges faced by financial advisers. Google can only help so much and being clued in on recent developments in the industry can be critical to an adviser’s success. RelSci’s 360 Alerts service emails a daily, customized report on your prospects (or any person or any entity you’d like to monitor). Containing information that won’t typically be covered by the media, the alerts include recent stock sales, real estate transactions, job changes, and other key professional developments that are important for financial advisers to know. The news in the alerts gives advisers an excuse to reach out to prospects with informed talking points.
- Discovery Tool. Financial advisers use the Discovery Tool to help decision makers and senior executives get a clear view of an organization’s relationship capital. By analyzing the direct relationships and extended networks across an industry, location, and role, stakeholders can evaluate an organization’s reach: its strengths, weaknesses and areas of opportunity when it comes to making key decisions.
Designed for companies whose business model is dependent on maximizing their relationship capital, RelSci’s platform helps financial advisers identify and gain access to decision makers while leveraging existing relationships to gain the most value. The prospecting process for advisers is dramatically simplified and improved, with this single software system.
Other Prospecting Tools for Financial Advisers
Aside from the more advanced prospect research resources like RelSci, there are also a few others that financial advisers use to automate different elements of their job. While these aren’t what most would call sophisticated artificial intelligence, they are automated and save a significant amount of time when put into practice.
Online Scheduler. This type of software is something all financial advisers who don’t have the luxury of a personal assistant need to help manage their calendars. Instead of wasting time bouncing calls and emails back and forth with a prospect, advisers can simply send a link to their online schedule. Prospects can view the calendar and book a meeting in any open time slot that suits them. The scheduler automatically integrates with and updates the adviser’s calendar, eliminating the risk of double booking or overlaps.
A link can be inserted into any email, webpage, or even social profile, so it’s easy to use. Most tools also give users the option of whether appointment requests need to be reviewed before they’re confirmed, or if you’d like to allow instant booking. At most, it’s a few clicks versus lost time emailing back and forth.
Automated Email Tool. Financial advisers will always send manual emails due to the nature of the role, but there is a big swath of communications that can be automated to save time. Because prospect research is continually ongoing and the initial stages are somewhat rote, automated email tools make a lot of sense for financial advisers to deploy.
Email autoresponders send sequential emails when certain triggers are hit. Advisers can set rules and determine what those triggers are within the tools – so, if a prospect takes X action, Y email will be sent. The emails are pre-written and typically include open form fields for added personalization, such as first name or organization. The sequence can be as simple as sending five automated emails over a two-week period, or as complicated as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book with different versions of emails being sent based on a prospect’s actions, industry, etc. The goal is to keep prospects engaged with continual communication, which can be impossible for financial advisers to manage unless portions of it are automated.
CRM Software. The best financial advisers live and die by their CRM software. This tool tracks leads, prospects, and clients, keeping all details and touch points centralized. Advisers working at established financial institutions will have CRM software already in place, but independent advisers may not. The importance of this tool cannot be overstated.
CRM tools store contact information, notes, call logs, and more. This information is accessible to anyone with login permissions, so it’s easy to share prospect data with colleagues or managers. CRM is the most efficient and professional way to manage prospects and clients, helping advisers stay organized and relevant. CRM software also integrates with other existing tools, such as email marketing systems or financial reporting software, to facilitate the entire financial advisory process, from prospect research to revenue reporting.
Outsourcing: The Manual Automation. Outsourcing is not a tool, but rather a tactic. It’s worth noting in this list of resources because it is a viable option, usually for bigger financial institutions, when saving time on prospecting is the utmost priority.
More a form of delegating than outsourcing, one way advisers can hand off prospecting to someone else is by hiring an in-house researcher or short-term consultant to organize, research, and manage the entire process. The researcher would work with the company’s existing toolset, but would free up the adviser to focus on client management.
Advisers with bigger budgets can outsource prospecting to a screening company, either for a single project or on an on-going basis. These companies are exclusively focused on researching and screening leads with maximum efficiency and are under pressure to deliver the most qualified prospects. This sometimes gives advisers access by proxy to better prospecting tools.
Every day, more prospecting tools for financial advisers hit the market. Some are broad enough to promise that they solve every pain point, while others are hyper-focused on automating one stressful element of the job. What’s important for advisers to remember is that these tools should make life easier, not harder. The time spent manually prospecting should be greatly reduced with these tools and if it’s not, then it might not be the right tool for the business.
The advanced technology and artificial intelligence systems that financial advisers are adopting as part of their standard operating procedures will undoubtedly free up an incredible amount of time. The latest prospecting tools for financial advisers also strengthen relationships. With access to such detailed and relevant information, advisers will have deeper and more meaningful conversations with prospects and clients on what really matters to them.