Written by Kronos Technologies on October 10, 2018
The best advisors continually seek to improve their practices. They work to streamline their workflows and are always on the lookout for the best tech solutions to increase efficiency and provide great customer experiences. Like most of us, they may feel a touch of anxiety when contemplating the switch to a new technology solution. But they overcome their doubts by relying on a tried and true process that makes tech adoption a snap.
Read on to see how the five steps in this software on-boarding process work.
Step One: Consideration
In this first stage, an advisor may be aware that he or she has a practice issue or challenge they would like to address. And they may suspect that there is a technology that can help. At this stage they aren’t thinking about specific products they might purchase, but about the general software category. For instance, an advisor seeking productivity enhancements in their practice might start looking into the possibility of implementing a CRM solution.
Rather than just jumping right in and buying or downloading every new software solution that they hear about, the best advisors take a more planned approach to determining if the solution would be good for their practice—rather than a distraction or just plain ineffective.
They create a list of benefits they hope to see in their practice. Then they evaluate what the software category does and does not do against their list. For instance, the advisor evaluating the effectiveness of CRM as a productivity tool in their practice, might look into whether CRMs can automate activity, segment their client base, collect client data in one central location, and integrate their email accounts.
Step Two: Find the best solution
If the advisor decides the type of software is what they need to meet their practice improvement goals, the next step in the technology transition process is to determine which specific product is the best fit. Important considerations include: budget, effort involved to learn, ease of use, advisor specific features, scalability, and vendor support.
For many advisors the research starts on line, often with reviews comparing products in the category. They will usually also visit vendor websites to get a sense of the company and the type of support that maybe available. But they will also talk to their peers. Advisors are always sharing recommendations for apps and software solutions that help them work more efficiently and effectively—whether the solutions are to make social media management easier or to improve marketing campaigns or to increase productivity. If you can find other advisors or partners who you trust and who have experience with different solutions you can learn a lot by asking a few simple questions, like: did the software save you time and money? Did it make you more effective? How? Was it difficult to use? Did it make a difference with your clients? Did you make more sales?
Step Three: Assign responsibility for the migration
Once an advisor has made the decision to try a new software solution the next step is to get it up and running in their practice. The best way to ensure success is to make one person responsible for the roll-out. If you have a staff member who is interested in technology and best-suited to managing this project assign it to them. If you are a sole practitioner the responsibility will fall to you—so make sure to budget time each day to work on making the transition a success by following the remaining steps in the process.
Step Four: Initial On-boarding
The next step in the technology on-boarding process is for the advisor to actually get started with the software. This means installing it and tailoring it to their specific practice needs. In many cases the best technology solutions for our industry are custom-designed for advisors—so you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time configuring fields and tweaking settings to make it a productive part of your daily workflows.
At this point, with any new piece of technology, the goal should be to achieve a comfort level with the software—getting used to how it works and what it can do. This takes time. But it’s made easier if the software vendor has support and resources available to guide you through the early days. Make use of their people and information. Ask questions if you run into a challenge—and work through the solutions with the vendor’s support people.
In the case of the advisor who purchased a CRM solution, this is the time to set up their staff with accounts, migrate client information to one centralized location in the software, and begin the process of learning how to work with client records.
Step Five: Integrate the technology into your workflow
Once an advisor has successfully on-boarded the new technology and is comfortable with the basics, their focus will shift to becoming an expert in its usage. This means learning all of the features and, more importantly, figuring out the best ways to utilize them to optimize their practice. Doing this requires taking a two-pronged approach: 1) taking advantage of vendor training resources and other educational materials to enhance your knowledge of the solution, and 2) reviewing your workflows (sales, service, marketing, admin) to understand how each would be affected by the new technology implementation.
In the case of the CRM solution, the effects of the new software can be far-reaching—optimizing every area in an advisor’s practice. Mastering CRM features like segmentation tools, filters, activity and opportunity management features will streamline and enhance your marketing campaigns, annual review process, and day-to-day practice operations.
Following these five steps will ensure that any new technology will be successfully implemented in your practice. But that’s not the end of the story. The best advisors understand that sustainable practice growth requires consistent incremental change. This means that as you transition into the mastery phase with one piece of technology, you’re already looking around for the next technological innovation that may be able to help your practice—and the journey starts all over again.