Are Business Management Platforms really the great leap forward?

Increasingly efficient BMPs are making CRMs the ‘horse and buggy’ on the technological super highway



You can take statements like “studies reveal…” with a grain of salt when you see them or read about them. I know I do, but I’m going to have to break with my own rules for a second here and share something with you that I found recently: there have been studies conducted recently which revealed an increasing level of lost sales due to Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs). On top of this, the same surveys have shown significant numbers in business wanting more efficient processes. So, it goes to show that all avenues point towards this archaic approach within the financial services industry being on its way out. But we shouldn’t fear its absence causing a vacuum in our general operating processes. A solution is at hand.


These same studies have established that the average salesperson experiences 20 lost sales each year because of problems associated with poor use of CRMs, with an average cost of close to $18,000 to business per salesperson per year. In mid-size firms, the total cost of these problems adds up, and is around a half a million dollars, rising to almost four times this in large enterprises—a figure which rises exponentially when the sales team increases with the business’ size. You’d think that technology designed to streamline processes (and make sales and business transactions more efficient) wouldn’t eventuate in such a shortfall due to error. But when it comes to older technology like CRMs, it’s more commonplace than you’d expect – or at least hope for.


Alan Trefler, CEO at Pegasystems once said, “Without a BMP, your CRM is just an expensive Rolodex”. It’s a good point – and Alan would know: he’s the CEO of a company which has been specialising in CRMs since 1983.


CRMs have their foundation in the 70s, with more widespread use emerging in the 80s and 90s; they were systems which had information entered manually, as well as using spreadsheets and company databases. More overarching CRM software was an early 90s innovation; designed for companies to be used as a centralised customer database, which supported upselling, cross-selling and customer satisfaction measures. The best practice approach at the time was to retain existing customers rather than over-allocating resources in seeking new ones.


The emergence of email as a medium for business, in concert with emerging digital technologies, has created a new frontier of opportunities for seeking out new, and consolidating existing business. This new tech has opened a world of new communication methods; it is something that at the same time has had a counter-effect among sales and customers – many in sales say they spend more face time with customers now than they did a decade ago; others say it’s easier to build relationships with customers than ever before. It would seem that this influx of communications technology has made many people appreciate genuine human interaction more than they used to. Ironic, but true.


While CRMs remain a standard component of corporate life, their role and efficiency moving forward has become cloudy. It’s not uncommon for up to an average of nine hours per week to be spent doing CRM admin and data — which adds up to being roughly a quarter of your working week and 450 hours per year.


While the cloud and its technology are something that a lot of organisations are making the most of and using as a key part of their operations, technology’s evolution has seen the emergence of a new centrepiece for an organisation’s software: that software whose central function revolves around ‘productivity’: email, word processing, spreadsheets, and the web.


It’s easy to assume that legacy technology like those found in CRMs are destined to be incorporated into productivity software, such as Business Management Platforms (BMPs). Software packages can be integrated so that all transactions related to the client and their transactions can be linked and a full ‘case study’ be available. Automation is helping reduce time spent on manual data entry, which cuts admin time – a godsend from many perspectives… especially admin.


I’m positive that the financial services sector would be wise to embrace this change.


Most financial advisors have of late been struggling with business technology and is something which has many in the financial sector have been scratching their heads trying to figure out why. But I see it as being straightforward.


Every day I see the struggle industry insiders are facing: the fact that they’re not sure how they can add value to the relationship an advisor has with their clients. Additionally, I’ve heard of countless concerns about what the economics are when it comes to running businesses. How do they increase the way they can serve more customers, and to do that in a way that meets the customer’s expectations, as well as meet their own compliance obligations?


It’s technology like BMPs which looks to help bridge this gap.


I’ve found that the light at the end of the tunnel is the BMP, leading the way for business and CRMs alike. When I co-founded Practifi with my business partner Glenn Elliot, the intention was to create an all-encompassing business management platform for financial advice, superannuation and insurance that aligns the siloed pieces of the technology ecosystem. What we ended up doing was creating an integrated solution that addresses many pain points in the industry and allows firms to grow and build the advice business they always dreamed of.


Applying a BMP to business operations, means clients are able to run their businesses on the cloud, automate their processes, integrate their point solutions and engage more meaningfully with their customers. We take that process seriously internally, so we are dedicated to making sure our systems are helping business owners and managers understand it, to read through it and to be able to report and have a hands-on approach to driving their business. We wish every SaaS model felt that same obligation to clients.


And that, of course is well beyond what a CRM would traditionally do.


Adrian Johnstone


Adrian Johnstone
Adrian Johnstone

About the author


Adrian has over 20 years experience helping advice businesses of all sizes leverage technology for growth. In his role as Practifi’s Chief Commercial Officer, Adrian drives the go-to-market strategy and product direction globally, gaining deep insight into the needs of advisers the world over. He is a regular visitor to the stage for keynote and panel sessions in Australia & the US on how to make technology deliver value.  Prior to Practifi, Adrian was a consultant and trusted adviser to Australia’s top financial institutions and superannuation funds. He helps wealth management firms achieve massive efficiency gains and scale confidently by leveraging technology to create the very best customer experiences.


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