Review: Best CRM Software for Financial Advisors


When it comes to financial advising, after a certain point, the biggest hurdle to success is staying organized. That's where CRM software shines.

When it comes to financial advising, after a certain point, the biggest hurdle to success is staying organized. That’s where CRM software shines. Photo by Ivan Lian.

Okay, so you’re a financial advisor. Or you’re thinking about becoming one. Either way, you have no intention of being a mediocre financial advisor. Maybe you want to one of those famous financial advisors, like Mellody Hobson or Dave Ramsey. Alternatively, maybe you’re just looking to manage a whole lot of money, like James Wallace and the rest of the advisors on my list of the 5 most successful financial advisors.

Or maybe not famous, but at least comfortably well to do, right? All while helping people in the process — that is why you became a financial advisor, isn’t it?

So you want to take things to the next level. You’re not content. You’re hungry. You’ve read my posts on the best financial advisor value proposition examples and brushed up with my list of financial advisor prospecting ideas.

Which means that 1) leads are rolling in and business is booming or 2) it will be soon.

And you know what that means? Soon you’re going to have so many clients that pen and paper, Excel, Google Calendar, or some combination of the three isn’t going to cut it. You need to get organized.

You need the best CRM software for financial advisors.

What is CRM software?

CRM stands for customer relationship management. CRM software is software that helps you maintain your relationship with your clients and keeps you organized when it comes to acquiring new ones.

Here’s an example. I assume you have some kind of funnel in place that you use for client acquisition — maybe you’re purchasing leads, or cold calling, or whatever. Now, the question is: are you keeping any kind of analytics on those different efforts?

If you’re spending $100 a lead from some company (cough, maybe you know the one I’m talking about), presumably you want to make more than $100 dollars off each one. This means, for instance, if it (generously) takes 5 leads to get 1 client, you’re going to need to have a lifetime value of that client of at least $500 dollars just to break even on lead generation — and that’s not even taking account your labor and all the other costs involved.

So, with proper analytics, you should be able to put this all together in about 5 minutes. If not, well, it’s pretty damn likely that you’re hemorrhaging money somewhere in your acquisition funnel: probably one of your lead generation methods isn’t paying off and, even if it is, consider this next example.

Let’s say you put together these analytics and you find that, through one service, it costs you $500 per actual client gained, and leads through it seem mostly tapped, such that you can’t really get any more through them. On the other hand, maybe you’re also finding that you’ve made at least $5,000 worth off of clients that found you via the web, and your site to date has cost way less than that to build out.

This is a good indication of where you ought to focus your efforts.

This is just one of the features a good CRM will mostly handle for you. A good CRM will also record stuff like call history, calendars, appointment reminders, meeting notes, and so on. Most will even allow you to make notes on birthdays and hobbies and, trust me, if you want a loyal client, remember their birthday. After that, you’re pretty much set for life.

Fight! 3 Examples of the Best CRM Software for Financial Advisors

Representatives from amoCRM and Pipeliner duke it out. Who will end up as the best CRM for financial advisors? Keep reading to find out.

Representatives from amoCRM and Pipeliner duke it out. Who will end up as the best CRM for financial advisors? Keep reading to find out. Photo by Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

Alright, so, you now know what CRM software is and why you need it, but now comes the tough part: deciding between all of the available options on the market. You could just try out several different ones, but that would cost money and, more importantly, a lot of time.

It’d be a whole lot of easier if someone just did all the testing and reviewing for you.

You know, someone like me.

So that’s exactly what I did. I browsed the Wealth Management forums, gathered recommendations on the most popular CRM software for financial advisors, and then I compared the most promising three:

If you’re just interested in my final recommendation, scroll to the bottom. Otherwise, keep reading.

3. Pipeliner

Pipeliner, unlike the other two CRMs reviewed here, doesn’t offer a free tier, but you can sign up or a 30 day free trial. If you’re just starting out and have a small client base, when it comes to a financial advisor CRM, you might be better served by one of the later options, like amoCRM or Capsule. Keep reading.

Once you’ve set up your account, you’ll be presented with an installer page. I was surprised. Unlike the other CRM software featured here, this one is an installable application, and not a web app.

pipeliner-crm-install-page

Then you’ll have to install it:

pipeliner-crm-installer

One of the big advantages of this approach (installed software) is that you can use it without an internet connection. If this is an important feature to you, Pipeliner is what you should choose.

When you open up the installed software, here’s what it looks like:

pipeliner-crm-dashboard

While the dashboard is not exactly pleasing visually, it does a great job at conveying information. You can really see what stage everyone is at in the pipeline.

Here’s what it looks like when you want to add someone new into the system:

pipeliner-crm-add-new

Like the other software on this list, you can import your existing contacts:

pipeliner-crm-import-contacts

There’s also a calendar for scheduling:

pipeliner-crm-calendar

And an interesting, although sort of ugly, note-taking feature:

pipeliner-crm-notes

One neat idea I haven’t seen implemented before is a timeline feature. This allows you to pick up on lulls in your productivity in a glance and is, I think, a good way to stay motivated. One bad day isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things.

pipeliner-crm-timeline

Finally, you can generate an entire array of different reports, which will allow you to really dig into your performance and figure out what could be improved.

pipeliner-crm-reports

Altogether, Pipeliner is sort of ugly, but in a practical sort of way. If it’s important to you that you be able to use your CRM software without an internet connection (maybe because you’re on the road a lot), then I recommend choosing it over the applications featured in this article. Sign up here.

2. amoCRM

When you go to the amoCRM homepage to sign up, you’ll be presented with a form like this one. Like Capsule, discussed next, they let you pick out your own subdomain to use — a nice touch. Unlike Pipeline, amoCRM offers a free tier, for up to 5 open leads and 100 contacts.

While I suspect almost everyone will quickly outgrow this tier, it’s nice to only pay for the value you’re getting out of the product. If you have more than 100 open leads, for instance, you can probably afford the 50/month tier. (There are also cheaper tiers between 5 and 100 open leads.)

Here’s what the sign-up form looks like:

amocrm-signup-subdomain

After that, you’ll be transported to the main dashboard.

The view from the amo CRM dashboard.

The view from the amoCRM dashboard.

You’ll notice that the design is a bit nicer than Pipeliner, but not quite as nice as the next CRM, Capsule.

Conveniently, the software comes along with many helpful messages to get started. By following them, you’ll pretty quickly figure out how to manage your current contacts. Here’s what that dialogue looks like.

amocrm-importAfter that, maybe you’ll want to add a new lead. Here’s that view:

Tracking leads with amo CRM.

Tracking leads with amoCRM.

You can also check out how things are going with the pipeline view. This will let you understand where you ought to be focusing your efforts to maximize your return on investment. Plus, this can be motivating.

amocrm-pipelineFinally, amoCRM comes with a built-in calendar feature, called tasks, which you can use to schedule different things. It also features Google integration.

amocrm-tasksAltogether, I think amoCRM is a very solid choice, but I prefer the next CRM for financial advisors, Capsule.

1. Capsule

Capsule is a great CRM: well-designed and easy to use. The software offers a free tier up to 200 contacts, so it’s great when you start growing your financial advising service.

On the sign-up page, they even let you pick out a custom domain:

When you sign up for Capsule CRM, you'll be shown this dialogue for setting up a custom subdomain. Convenient!

When you sign up for Capsule CRM, you’ll be shown this dialogue for setting up a custom subdomain. Convenient!

You’ll receive a confirmation email. Mine was close enough to spontaneous to be imperceptible. I just tabbed to my gmail account and it was there.

Once you log in, you’ll be show the Getting Started menu. This can also be pulled up at any time from the preferences drop-down menu, so don’t worry if you close it.

capsule-crm-getting-started

The Capsule CRM “Getting Started” menu.

You’ll notice that there’s an option to import your old contacts — a very important feature when it comes to a CRM. You don’t want to have to manually type in all your current contact data (say from Outlook) by hand.

The Capsule CRM import contacts page.

The Capsule CRM import contacts page.

After you have all of that out of the way, you can go back to the main screen. The more information that you enter, the more content that’s displayed here, giving you an at-a-glance overview of what you’ve got going on.

capsule-crm-dashboard

Adding new contacts is simple, too:

capsule-crm-example-client

The software doesn’t come equipped out of the box with every field you might want, like recording a client’s birthday or the size of their account, but you can easily extend this with custom fields.

capsule-crm-custom-fieldsCapsule can even handle automatically grabbing information from your social media accounts, like Twitter.

capsule-crm-social-network-integrationThe software also has no problem handling what I discussed in the section “What is CRM software?” Namely, it can figure out how your client acquisition and sales funnel looks, and calculate the probabilities for you. Then, you’ll know where to focus your efforts in order to maximize profits.

capsule-crm-sales-pipeline

All in all, Capsule is a very strong choice: well-designed and it covers all the primary features that you want in a CRM. Plus, it’s hard to complain when you can use it for free. I am convinced that this the best CRM software for financial advisors.

Sign up for an account.

My recommendation

best-crm-software-for-financial-advisors-victory

So, what’s a financial advisor to do? In this author’s opinion, you have two real options:

  • If offline access is important to you, Pipeliner CRM is the best (and only) serious option for financial advisors. Sign up here.
  • On the other hand, if you’re willing to sacrifice online access, Capsule offers more features and a stronger design — all at a lower cost. Sign up here.

Get organized and let me know how it goes.

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