It’s official! We’re number one when it comes to client data-gathering! This, according to the 2019 T3 Software Survey Report.
You might find it curious that, in the report, PreciseFP was actually placed under the “Miscellaneous Tools” category. I don’t find it surprising at all. Let me explain why…
After 12+ years in this business, we still don’t have any real competition. Nobody has chosen to create a highly customizable, yet out-of-the-box ready data-gathering and client engagement tool made specifically for our industry.
When I think that our greatest competition in the category of data-gathering is Microsoft Office and Google Drive, I can’t help but think that we are in the exact same place that CRMs were just 10 years ago, when their greatest competition were the likes of MS Outlook and other non industry-specific contact managers. Fast forward to today, the T3 report indicates that 86% of advisors are now using an industry-specific CRM. To that, I say hats off to the majority of advisors! To the 14% who continue to use a generic CRM, I say they are wasting their time due to countless inefficiencies, exposing themselves to potential lawsuits and other regulatory violations, and just plain providing an inferior service to their clients. If a company (in this case there are several) has invested the time and resources to build a CRM around the way advisors should be working with their clients, why wouldn’t I want to sign up for that deal? It’s a no-brainer!
And so is signing up with the company (in this case, there is only one) who designed a highly customizable data-gathering and client on-boarding platform around the way advisors work with their clients (and around the way you run your firm). We even go one step further and integrate with other leading financial planning and CRM tools, so that data-entry into those applications is a thing of the past. Why wouldn’t you want to sign up for that kind of a deal? Still not convinced? How about the fact that the CFP Board thought that data-gathering was such an important exercise that they made it one of the 6 steps to financial planning? Still thinking that MS Word has this covered? Need more convincing? How about needing a way to prove that you are satisfying the Know Your Client Rule and the Fiduciary Rule (of which the latter is likely soon making an appearance in a state near you, if the DOL doesn’t resurrect it first, that is)? Nobody provides an easier way to satisfy these requirements, and no other solution out there provides as detailed an audit trail to be able to prove that your are satisfying them. After all, if a tree falls in the woods and there is nobody there to hear it, does it actually make a sound? And if you act responsibly and provide suitable advice based on the information that your client provided, did you really act responsibly if there is no audit trail backing you up?
So my point in all of this is I am not surprised that we don’t have a category (after all, we’d be lonely on that page as the only listed vendor). But I do expect that one day, perhaps sooner than I think, we will see an adoption rate that is more in line with what CRMs experience today. We may not get to 86% in the next 5 years, but it is obvious to me that advisors have no choice but to get more sophisticated when it comes to data-gathering and client on-boarding. Clients expect it from an experience perspective, your firm needs it from an efficiency perspective, and regulators and litigators will have your firm for lunch if you don’t have things air-tight from a legal perspective.
The only other thing that I would like to mention about the T3 report is that we could have appeared in a few other categories. PreciseFP may be best known for data-gathering, but after 5 versions and several years of listening to advisors, we now do so much more. Allow me to list the categories we could have appeared in (and some others that weren’t even listed, but that are also important to the success of an advisory firm):
- Risk Tolerance Instrument. Anyone that has looked at ours knows that it’s scientifically-validated, comes complete with a risk score, and works on any device. (And if you’re a value-seeker like me, you should also know that our RTQ, along with all of these “extras” listed here, are included with your license to use PreciseFP!)
- Investment Portfolio Statement (IPS). Ours is totally customizable, and is even integrated with our Risk Tolerance Questionnaire (the only IPS that is integrated with a RTQ, to my knowledge).
- Digital Marketing Tools/Services. Since PreciseFP was designed to engage clients, it is the perfect digital marketing tool. We even have a library of content for you to use, or you can design your own with our easy-to-use template editor.
- Survey Software. We should all be sending our clients periodic surveys to give clients the opportunity to express their feelings about our services and about where we might improve. Most advisors I talk to are paying to use a service like Survey Monkey, or similar. To that, I say quit monkeying around and start using PreciseFP to send better surveys that allow you to incorporate images, videos, and financial-planning related fields — things that generic survey tools can’t do.
- Electronic Signatures. Advisors are using PreciseFP to be able to send out their Service Agreements and other documents requiring a signature. E-signatures are included with your license to use PreciseFP and clients love being able to use PreciseFP as a one-stop-shop for all data-gathering, including e-signatures.
If PreciseFP is hard to place in a single category, it’s because it’s a platform that does so much. And while we’re honored to win the category of “Miscellaneous Tools” (we’re honored to win any category, for that matter!), we would be remiss to point out the fact that being in “miscellaneous” does not make what we do any less important. The fact is, we help 1,000’s of advisors run more profitable practices every day. Practices that are more in-tune with the “new wave” of clients that is on its way. New clients who refuse to be put in a box. New clients that will update you on their financial situation, but only if you make it convenient, relevant, and rewarding. I would argue that MS Word, as great a word processor as it is, doesn’t measure up to the task. I would also argue that any financial planning or other software that does data-gathering as an “after thought” and doesn’t allow you to customize the experience to be laser-focused on your client and your firm is also missing the mark by trying to put your client in a box.
You may already be a user of PreciseFP. But if you’re not, I encourage you to sign up for a free 7-day trial and see for yourself how we help advisors be more successful at what they do. It’s what gets us excited about showing up for work each and every day.
And while we patiently await the day we get our own category, we will continue to serve a greater number of advisors like you who have already put us under the category of “Indispensable”. And, truth be told, that is the category that we are most honored to be placed under.
Don Whalen, CFP®, CEO