MIF: CRM systems/buying leads from match.com?

Derek McGuire, director of the Marketing Innovation Forum, summarises some the recent discussions on the forum.
&ltstrong&gtCRM – the best and worst IFA and broker systems&lt/strong&gt
CRM systems for brokers and IFAs have been hotly debated on the forum recently. The first post asked whether the much-lauded Salesforce was as good as it appears. Responses were mixed, with the Adviser Technology guru complimenting Salesforce for being web-based and customisable. An adviser, however, stated that it’s not ‘a back office / client / policy management system’ another described it as ‘a glorified diary’. Yet another post commented that ‘Salesforce is a great CRM tool, the problem is that it is non industry specfifc and does not deal with the many issues faced by IFA’s and brokers, such as commission splits and reporting, compliance etc’.
So while Salesforce didn’t get a unanimous thumbs up, the web-based feature was recognised as a real plus by those in the discussion, most of whom presumably remember the problems of desktop-based systems, as many of us do.
One particularly useful post highlighted a ‘website dedicated to guiding financial advisers through the maze of eServices’ offering advice on choosing and using a back office system, and security best practice. A very valuable resource indeed.
And another valuable contribution recommended we ‘check out the costs of the system, the training and any customisation work required prior to committing your money’. The danger is allowing the ‘the tail to wag the dog’, having to ‘change your working practices to fit around the software’. Expanding a parallel point, an adviser commented ‘bear in mind that for many of these companies, training is in itself a revenue generator’, recommending that you be on your guard for hidden costs in time and capital, after choosing your system. And, needless to say, there were some gems recommended (perhaps by the companies selling them?).
&ltstrong&gtBuying leads from match.com?&lt/strong&gt
A long running discussion on our forums relates to the best way of conducting telephone sales, for that all-important conversion of leads into business. One adviser’s recommendation that ‘a woman has a distinct advantage&helliptreat it almost as if you’re on a first date’ was met with the response of ‘maybe I need to source my leads from match.com, it would probably be easier at the moment!’
Joking aside, the serious issue of how to write a quality script or approach is being discussed at length by numerous advisers and gurus. One adviser claimed “you need to be set up properly to do it effectively. A telephone script wont cut it””