Last Updated on July 20, 2020 by John Prendergast
The most successful businesses outsource or automate everything possible so they can spend time where it creates the most value for them.
As wealth managers, we all know this intuitively yet we still do things by hand that could be automated. Often it’s because we just don’t know how to automate the task. We’re here to help fix that. Here are 10 common tasks that we can help you automate or make less time-consuming.
Spend Less Time On Emails
Most professionals feel like they spend far too much time processing email. The good news is some simple automation and organization can get back hours every week.
Using a platform like Gmail or Outlook will allow you to automatically sort emails into folders, based upon the parameters you set. What this means is that those weekly newsletters can go to one folder, while emails from clients can go in another. Once it’s set up, you don’t even need to think about it.
Here is the trick to getting set up. Every time that you get an email that isn’t already tagged or filtered, ask yourself if categorizing/filtering that kind of email would make things easier and then create the filtering rule on the spot. Now every day you use email makes things a little simpler and more automated.
Responding can be simplified too. Some emails might need to be responded to immediately, while most emails can wait. For those that can wait, there’s a good chance many will need similar responses, for example to client information requests or scheduling requests. In instances like these, you can save a lot of time using saved responses in Gmail or email templates in Outlook.
No More Frustration with Scheduling
Scheduling calls or meetings with clients can be time-consuming. From struggling to find a date or time that works to missed calls or miscommunication, there are many ways for it to all go wrong. To make it easier, why not try a scheduling tool or app to keep it all together?
Most apps connect with your personal calendars such as Outlook or Google calendars and then make a controlled version available publicly or by link to allow people to schedule with you on their own. It eliminates the back and forth with you.
If you include a link to your calendar in your email signature, you can further cut out a step of this process. The key making this approach successfully is being thoughtful about what blocks of time you make available in the scheduling app and making sure to keep your calendar up to date.
Communicate with Clients Efficiently
Wealth management firms tend to reach a point where handling client issues with email alone becomes impractical. Once there is more than a single person in the firm, understanding what has been communicated to clients becomes impossible in a single email account. And over time, even a solo advisor will have challenges making sense of the communication history with a client.
The obvious answer is to use a CRM system. There are many that work well for wealth managers including RedTail, Wealthbox and many others. Our own partners’ page has a number of options. Once up and running see your communication history with clients is simple and coordination with staff becomes straightforward.
If you really want to up your game in communicating with clients and prospects efficiently think about adding a system that can automate regular branded communication to your clients and prospects.
You have two choices 1) systems that automate your communication such as mass email programs like Mailchimp and even some CRM programs. The challenge is you’ll need to come up with the content. Alternative 2) systems that automatically create content and deliver it.
These systems also come in 2 varieties. The first are systems that generate general news items like newsletters or articles. These can be helpful even if the articles are not necessarily tailored to each individual client. The other type of systems delivers information and simple branded reports that are fully customized to each client and can even have custom delivery schedules or be triggered by events. If you’re interested in exploring something like that, check out Blueleaf.
Don’t Be Shy. Socialize!
For some advisors, social media is part of a business strategy. If you’re one of them, it doesn’t have to be manual. There are simple, effective ways to automate your social media output.
When posting general updates, links or similar content, scheduling apps like Buffer and Hootsuite can help you save time by scheduling posts to go live throughout the week. Instead of going back and forth between sites and apps, you manage everything from one dashboard.
You could also completely offload the work. Try a service like “$99 Social” which sources and posts content to your social accounts, per your instructions. That will free you up to work on social strategy, rather than the execution details.
Back Your Data Up!
The data you have is one of, if not the, most important assets that your company has. Regular backups are critical. One of the best was is to eliminate the task altogether is to store your files in the cloud where they’re automatically backed up.
Using cloud-based services like Dropbox or Box.com, for example, automatically backs your data and works as conveniently as if the data is stored right there on your local hard drive. No thinking required. You can do the same with Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.
Billing and Recurring Invoices
If your practice is fee-based or fee-only you likely have to find a way to collect those fees and provide clients with an invoice. There are lots of options. You could use a combination of excel and accounting software such as Xero. But this is an article about automation. The first level of automation allows you to generate your billing file for your custodian and invoices for your clients usually at the touch of a button. Many all-in-one portfolio accounting systems do this reasonably well.
The complaints we most often hear about these systems is that there is still the work of delivering these invoices to clients by requiring you to download an invoice file, sometimes separate each of potentially hundreds of invoices by hand, individually uploading to client document vaults, and then finally notifying clients. Luckily there are systems available, like Blueleaf, that reduce the work so that invoices are produced, delivered, and clients are notified all in a single click.
Automating Follow-Up Marketing Emails
Marketing automation programs such as Infusionsoft can help small teams gain leverage. You can set up marketing campaigns with a series of communications for each step.
For instance, let’s say a prospect comes to your website and fills out a form to download your free whitepaper. You can send a series of follow-up communications to nurture that lead — without having to manually initiate emails each time. That’s leverage
Try some of our suggestions and let us know how it goes in the comments or email us.