Five Questions for Redtail’s David Mehlhorn

Five Questions for Redtail’s David Mehlhorn

We asked Redtail's VP of Business Development for his thoughts on the current state of the CRM app ecosystem. Here's how he responded.
Tim Welsh
5 min to read
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All February, we’ve been talking tech stacks — what a great one looks like, and how to get more done with yours. We’ve spoken with industry leaders and highlighted a few apps and integrations that, like Hubly, help advisors, ops and admin teams solve common challenges.

To close out the month, we wanted to talk CRMs. In many ways, they’re the heart of your operations; as Shauna Mace pointed out in our interview with her, “when it’s integrated with the rest of your software, your CRM is critical to a strong tech stack.” 

With that in mind, we sent off a few questions to David Mehlhorn, Redtail's VP of Business Development, about the state of the CRM app ecosystem, and some of the ways the advisortech space in general has changed over the years.

Here’s what he said.

Redtail has been the premier CRM for financial advisors for more than 20 years. How has the app ecosystem changed in that time?

Probably the biggest changes in the app ecosystem over the past two decades center around data accessibility. For context, in 2003, Redtail offered the first cloud-based CRM specifically tailored for financial advisors; so, we’ve been doing this for a while. In the intervening years, we’ve seen fintech providers in every category center their development efforts around cloud-based solutions. This has been great for both advisors and for their clients, as it’s allowed for increasingly useful integrations across platforms that remove common pain points, from client onboarding to account opening to digital marketing. 

A lot of this mirrors some of the broader trends we’ve seen over the past 20 years. In your experience, what’s been the biggest game changer in terms of how advisors interact with technology?

You can’t talk about data accessibility without also considering how far we’ve come in terms of mobile access to data in the 21st century. While we’ve all quickly gotten used to having almost everything we need to run our business in the device we carry around in our pockets, there are definitely times when it hits me just how remarkably fast the explosion in mobile technology has been. Mobile access to data has absolutely revolutionized how advisors are able to go about the day-to-day operation of their business.

With accessibility comes increased security challenges, especially when you’re looking at a system that can be customized with various integrations, APIs, etc. How do you vet new vendors to ensure that integrations don’t affect functionality, security or compliance?

For new partners, in addition to agreeing to our API terms of use and signing an NDA, they’ll need to fill out a security survey that is reviewed by Orion; if they have one, they’ll also need to provide their SOC 2 report. To prevent functionality problems, partners are first given development environment API access and have to demonstrate the integration on a live Zoom call before they are given production API access.

In your experience, where do users see the most value when customizing their Redtail instance with third-party apps and integrations?

Users typically get the most value out of integrations that allow them to exchange client information not only between platforms, but also between things like groupings (ie, contact Tag Groups). Marketing integrations do this most commonly. Likewise, data entry is a common pain point for busy advisors. So any third-party applications that take things like questionnaires and client info forms, and allow clients to input their own data and create contacts in Redtail, are all extremely valuable.

What advice would you give to a Redtail customer looking for ways to get more out of the platform?

I would start by asking, ‘What do you want to do better in your office?’ With their CRM, they have a powerful, flexible tool at their disposal; it is helpful if they know what type of business strategies they want to execute beforehand. Do they want to get better at client engagement? Be more proactive in note-taking? Increase client touches? There are ways to do all of those things in Redtail.

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