3 Steps To Fix Workflows for Financial Advisors
A simple 3-step approach to planning your workflows for financial advisors
Financial advisors need proper workflows in place to run their business effectively. Workflows help advisors and their teams deliver a consistent client experience that is on brand to ensure that each client receives the same level of service. When used correctly, workflows provide clarity around each client’s progress and makes it easy for the entire team to have a clear overview of what has been done for a client and where they are going.
While the benefits of having proper workflows in place is clear, poorly designed workflows often do more harm than good. The problem with many financial advisor’s workflows is that they are too long and complex. When a workflow has too many steps, it is near-impossible for financial advisors to have a clear oversight of where all of their clients are in a process and to provide a customized client experience.
Another problem is that often financial advisors will keep their workflows to themselves as a worksheet, a task-list in their personal notebook, or worse - a long list in their head. Are guilty of keeping a client to-do or promise in your head? No judgement! This is common among financial advisors but this habit will cause issues when your team members have to step in for you when you take a vacation or are summoned for jury duty. Well designed workflows are essential for seamless team collaboration and task delegation.
The following is an overview of how poorly designed workflows can cause more harm than good;
- Difficulty scaling a high touch experience for clients
- Lack of visibility and single source of truth of your client funnel
- Inability to customize the service experience for each client
- Barriers to team collaboration and task delegation
- Tasks falling through the cracks
When was the last time you revised your workflows to spot bottlenecks and eliminate time-consuming reviews? How do you ensure that your workflows support seamless task delegation? If it has been a while, it’s time to dust off your stale workflows to make them more intuitive, relevant, and collaborative.
At Hubly, we recommend a simple 3-step approach to planning key processes based on best practices that we’ve seen work time and time again for hundreds of financial advisors.
- Plan the Stages
- Plan the Tasks
- Sprinkle on Automations
1. Plan the Workflow Stages
Think of a Process as a funnel or a Kanban board, with each Workflow acting as a stage in the Process.
Clients usually start in the first workflow of the process and then move through the different steps in the workflow as work gets completed. Your workflows need to be adaptable because if a step in a workflow isn't relevant or needed for that client, you should be able to skip that step for your client. No workflow should force you to check off a task that you did not complete for a client just to continue moving through the processes. Make sure to make your workflows are customizable!
When planned well, you should have a different Workflow for each stage in your Process. This way it is easy to see exactly where every client is at, where they are going, and easily spot work that needs to be prioritized:
Now It’s Your Turn
- Choose an area of your business (ie. New Client Prospecting or New Client Onboarding Workflow) and start by reviewing your current workflow.
- Break the workflow up into manageable pieces by grouping the tasks within your workflow into logical groups
- Give each grouping a title
2. Planning Financial Advisor Workflow Tasks
Getting the right level of detail in a Workflow is tricky, and we always recommend starting simple until you’ve driven at least one real client through a workflow. To keep things simple, it is helpful to generalize all workflows into one of two distinct types to make sure that you create your workflows for optimal usability. The two types of workflows are the following:
- High volume, high frequency workflows— these workflows are used for many clients, frequently throughout the year. For this type of workflow, individual steps are nearly memorized. i.e client meeting meeting workflows
- Low volume, low frequency workflows— these workflows are only used for some clients, infrequently throughout the year. Individual steps are easy to miss unless they are properly documented, and the cost of making a mistake risks cost or reputation. i.e ending client engagement workflows
Now It’s Your Turn
- Start by reviewing your first Workflow and decide if it is high or low volume.
- Based on the workflow type, high volume or low volume, consider if there are too many, or not enough steps to guide a user through it. The following outlines the difference between how each type of workflow should be built out:
- Workflows that see a high volume of clients and are used frequently throughout the year should be kept brief
- Tasks should be documented in a way that allows you or a team member to simply indicate where they left off, like a bookmark
- Additional details or instructions should be documented. In Hubly you can easily document this as Descriptions on those tasks. To keep your workflow concise, descriptions don’t show in Hubly unless you click on them - but they are easily accessible if you , a team member, or new hire, needs additional information.
Low Volume Workflows
- Workflows that see a low volume of clients and are used infrequently through the year should be well documented and can include longer task lists. Proper documentation in this case will help ensure accuracy and efficiency, helping you and your team avoid unnecessary delays due to known issues or procedure research.
- Key details, such as known bottlenecks or complex third party requirements, should be documented as distinct tasks
- Task names should still be kept brief, as their purpose is just to track progress
- Details should also be included in order to document additional information or instructions to the user. In Hubly you can document this as Descriptions on those tasks so that they are only seen if the user needs additional information.
3. Sprinkle On Automation
The purpose of automations is to save you time and clear up your mental capacity so that you can focus on financial service instead of administrative work. Automations are used to automate the simple repetitive data rekeying that even a monkey could do and to start workflows based on set rules.
When it comes to workflow specific automations, these are created directly within Hubly. Hubly can save you time by setting sequential reminders for client tasks, triggering workflows (i.e. start a workflow for you once a client turns a certain age), and categorizing clients for you as they move through a workflow. You can set up even deeper automations by using Zapier to integrate your software systems and reduce duplication of work. Check out some of the automation possibilities here.
The trick is to keep automations simple. Start by sprinkling on automated actions to support your existing priorities. We always recommend that you wait until you’ve had at least a couple real clients flow through a workflow so that you can pinpoint where your bottlenecks are and then add automations to help.
Now It’s Your Turn
- Think about tasks that you are consistently doing and decide if you will save time and clear up mental capacity by automating them. Tasks that you can automate with Hubly include the following:
Sequential Task Reminder
Always setting a reminder on a follow-up step? Try pre-configuring a sequential task reminder that will automatically be set upon the completion of the preceding Task
Add Clients to a workflow once the complete an action
You can add clients into a workflow in Hubly when they schedule a call or submit an interest form. You can do this by adding a Zapier trigger that monitors that form and adds the client to that specific workflow for you in Hubly.
Try adding an Add or Remove Stream/Tag Rule to trigger when the client is added or completes that specific workflow:
Instead of manually running CRM reports to identify which clients are turning a specific age, add an Age Based Rule in Hubly to monitor a group of clients and add them to that specific workflow when (or before/after) they turn a specific age:
If you find that you are manually setting reminders to add clients into workflows every month/quarter/year, then add a Repeating Rule to add a group of clients to that specific Workflow on a set frequency. Hubly will automatically remind you of what needs to be done, and you will not longer wake up thinking about it in the middle of the night:
Important Client Dates
With Hubly automations there is no need to struggle to stay on top of long-term topics, such as insurance and estate plan reviews, or manually identify when it’s time to schedule check-in meetings/reviews based on the previous meeting date and client service level. You can add an Important Client Date Rule to monitor a group of clients and add them to that specific Workflow a set amount of time before/after an individual client date:
Automatic Task Routing and Assignment
Manually assigning work is time-consuming and tedious so the more you can automate delegating work, and end back-and-forth communication, the more time employees will have to focus on the important work. Instead of having one person in your firm responsible for routing tasks and managing team workloads, Hubly can act as your firm's automated air-traffic controller for tasks to keep team members accountable.
If you want to learn how to set up automations between Hubly and other software, then check out our best time saving automations for Financial Advisors and their teams.
Test your automations out, see how they work for you, and feel free to iterate. The same applies to your workflows and task lists. It’s important for financial advisors and their teams to adopt a mindset where you plan, test, and improve — making your operations more efficient with every passing cycle of client work.
Not a Hubly user yet? Schedule a free strategy call with us directly to get started.