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Pershing And ActiFi Provide New Guidance And Best Practices For Selecting And Optimizing Client Relationship Management Technology

JERSEY CITY, N.J., April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pershing LLC, a BNY Mellon company, today announced the availability of a new guidebook: Creating Growth Through Optimal Use of a CRM System. The guidebook provides advisors with best practices for optimizing CRM solutions to operate more efficiently and drive growth, as well as a comprehensive overview of the software's capabilities.

The guidebook , developed with ActiFi, a leading software and business solutions company for financial service firms, addresses firms' needs to better utilize their CRM systems. According to ActiFi's proprietary survey data, 41 percent of those surveyed felt they should implement or improve seven of the eight areas of functionality in their CRM system.

"Whether your business is centered around a CRM system, a portfolio management system or a workstation like NetX360 ®, a limitation of technology is that it is only as good as the business improvement it drives and the readiness of team members to use it effectively," said Lucille Mayer, co-chief information officer at Pershing. "To fully take advantage of modern CRM capabilities, executives must lead by clearly communicating the goals and purpose of the CRM system, requiring training participation for all users, and incorporating the CRM system into their own daily activities."

"CRM technology can be an essential tool for advisors to enhance efficiency, improve communication with clients and prospects and ultimately attract and retain more business. Yet many acknowledge they are not fully tapping-into the power of their CRM system," said Spenser Segal, chief executive officer of ActiFi. "The guidebook provides insight on CRM best practices that, when implemented, can help advisors better leverage the technology into their firms."

Highlights from the guidebook include:

  • Avoid Falling Prey to the 98:1:1 Rule – Many advisors spend 98% of their time and money selecting the technology, but only 1% on how they need to change specific business processes to drive maximum benefits, and another 1% on training and preparing for the behavioral changes required to use it effectively. To derive the most value from their CRM system, a more balanced approach and commit to thoughtful implementation is needed.
  • Underutilization of CRM Functionality, Including the Basics – Despite the fact that contact management serves as the foundation to most value-added CRM functionality, 71% of participants in ActiFi's CRM survey said they needed to improve their contact capabilities. Beyond simply recording specific insights about clients and their preferences, when used effectively this CRM functionality can be used to map relationships between clients and track other professionals the client uses – such as CPAs or attorneys.
  • Workflow Functionality is Missed Opportunity – Most CRM systems have extensive workflow capabilities to streamline and scale a business and yet 87% of advisors acknowledge they need to improve their use of this functionality. Workflow can automatically generate tasks and distribute them to multiple team members.  This requires minimal active management and allows the advisor to remain focused on clients and provides structure to help new employees be more productive and creates a consistent and elevated experience for every client.  
  • Leverage Task Assignment Functionality to Improve Efficiency – This vital capability is still at the core of every CRM system. It ensures commitments to clients are met and proper follow up is executed. More importantly, task assignment encourages delegation. This promotes efficiency and allows advisors to focus more effectively on client relationships and investment management – which are essential to growth.
  • Improve Closure Rates with Sales and Pipeline Management Functionality – Sophisticated CRM systems have been designed to track the business development cycle  from a lead, through the qualification process, to a sales opportunity which, if closed, transitions the prospect to a client. Understanding this cycle and using the CRM to track the sales pipeline enhances the ability to manage the process – holding the team accountable for progress and results – and potentially improving closure rates.
  • Elevate All Execution through Integration – Many CRM systems already have the ability to integrate the capabilities of portfolio management, document management, custodial account opening, financial planning and back office systems to more effectively update and share data.

To obtain a copy of Creating Growth Through Optimal Use of a CRM System, visit www.pershing.com/ideas_without_limits.

Pershing LLC (member FINRA/NYSE/SIPC) is a leading global provider of financial business solutions to more than 1,500 institutional and retail financial organizations and independent registered investment advisors who collectively represent approximately 5.5 million active investor accounts. Located in 23 offices worldwide, Pershing and its affiliates are committed to delivering dependable operational support, robust trading services, flexible technology, an expansive array of investment solutions, practice management support and service excellence. Pershing is a member of every major U.S. securities exchange and its international affiliates are members of the Deutsche Borse, Australian Stock Exchange, Irish Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange. Pershing LLC is a BNY Mellon company. Additional information is available at www.pershing.com.

Pershing Advisor Solutions LLC (member FINRA/SIPC) is an affiliate of Pershing LLC and a leading provider of financial business solutions to independent, fee-based registered investment advisors and dually-registered advisors working in conjunction with many of Pershing LLC's introducing broker-dealer customers.

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