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Blogs - The New Generation's Practice
For Startup Advisor, More CRM Struggles
Monday, December 9, 2013
Partner Insights

One of the most challenging things I faced when setting up my RIA wasdeciding on a CRM system. I first used Redtail, but I canceled it on the first day of the trial due to the poor interface and user experience.

I then moved on to Saleforceís Wealth Management edition but found a better solution by usingForce.comand anoverlay by XLR8 (Concenter Services).

But I was still not happy.

Salesforce (using XLR8) is far too big for my solo practice. Itís nice that its terminology is customized for the financial planning community, but Iím not using it effectively. So I went in search of a more cost-effective CRM package, asking other Gen Y owner-advisors what they were using.

Advisor Sophia Bera at Gen Y Planning and she told me she uses a product called Less Annoying CRM (often referred to as LACRM). I liked the interface, but given my CRM track record, I didnít want to jump in straight away. I went through the online videos, set up a live demo and participated in their 30-day trial.

I also made sure that this system would do what I wanted it to do. I need a contact management system, prospect management, a workflow system for existing clients, and email/contact integration. I also need it to log emails seamlessly.

It turns out that LACRM offers most of the functionality I got with the Salesforce/XLR8 combination, but in a much cleaner way. And the annual cost of using LACRM is 10% of the annual Salesforce and XLR8 licenses -- that's very important for a startup.

Iím only one month into using the product, but I really hope my CRM journey is over for the near future. Iím happy with the software Iím using right now, and donít want the headache of researching and changing to another one.

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(5) Comments
Canceling RedTail after only one day? I started with RT this fall when I started my RIA and have found it does everything you described in your 6th paragraph.
Posted by John W | Monday, December 09 2013 at 1:27PM ET
How does LACRM score with regards to integrations (compared to Redtail)?
Posted by Bradley B | Monday, December 09 2013 at 3:26PM ET
Finding the right Customer Relationship Management(CRM) Software is a task in itself. There is no one size fits all. You need to go through the products in the market and evaluate the right match in terms of its offerings as also the cost. An extremely comprehensive CRM may not be required at a newly set up firm or even a mid-sized firm. At the same time you cannot have a CRM which does not integrate the various tasks required to be performed by a financial advisor. Speak to other people in the profession and that might help. However set up a trial period and see whether it is upto the mark.
Posted by KIMMY B | Friday, December 13 2013 at 1:04PM ET
Integration was not mentioned in this article, and integration is huge for me. Redtail, while not perfect, integrates with Pershing's NetX360, MoneyGuidePro, and LaserApp, cutting my data entry time by leaps and bounds.
Posted by Thomas D | Wednesday, December 18 2013 at 3:27PM ET
Thank you for your comments.

At this point, LACRM does not integrate with any FP software program. However, that was not the main goal of my CRM at this time. For me - cost (1/6th of Redtail), ease of use, and simplicity was among the top factors and LACRM won at this stage. I may come to the stage a few years from now where I need to switch to a system that needs to integrate with all of my planning software, but for now that is not a concern.

Posted by Dave G | Monday, December 30 2013 at 2:36PM ET
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