Most advisors today won’t disagree with the notion that any successful, growing firm needs to have a CRM (Client Relationship Managment) system. There are no shortage of available systems out there, but there are also a number of different key considerations to evaluate when choosing which one is going to fit your firm.

Begin with the end in mind. As this article in Financial Planning magazine points out, optimizing your CRM means understanding where you want your firm to be in the future, not where it is today. We all know that the more “bells and whistles” you want the higher the price tag, but most of the major CRM players in the fintech (financial technology) space are within reason of one another in price. There are certainly some very low-cost option, but the phrase “you get what you pay for” will also ring true in this space as well.

Security. This one is a hot topic across all areas of a financial services practice. While we don’t pretend to be an expert on this area, there are a couple of must-have’s with any cloud-based CRM provider. At a minimum you’ll want to ensure that your data is backed up at multiple off-site locations, has appropriate firewall and encryption, and SSL technology. If you have questions about the level of security, it’s best to confirm and consult with your IT provider.

Integrations, Integrations, and more integrations. It seems as if the goal of a lot of providers in the fintech space is to be the first to be able to provide a true “single sign-on” experience for users. What makes single sign-on capable is the ability for your CRM to integrate with other tech that you use in your firm, such as Orion, eMoney, Riskalyze, etc. The ability for data to be sent to and from your CRM significantly streamlines your time and allows your team to focus their time and energy elsewhere in your firm.

Workflow management. You had to expect this one coming from us. The ability to utilize a workflow management system allows you write into your CRM how multiple tasks in your firm are done. Workflows, in one sentence, do the following: they tell who needs to do what, when it needs to be done, and for which client. Even something as simple as doing an address change for a client has multiple steps that should be put into workflow, and your CRM should be the hub where all of this is laid out and documented.

When making the decision on your CRM, make sure you’re clear on what you need your CRM to do for you in your firm. It will most likely be one of the most utilized pieces of software you’ll use in your practice.