As pressures continue to mount on financial advisors from the democratization and commoditization of financial advice, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions have become a necessity. Once used as "electronic" Rolodexes to track client and prospecting activities, CRM solutions are now infused with the technology to help advisors create tailored communications, generate deep business insights on their clients and prospects, automate workflows, increase lead conversions, and increase profitability.
Financial advisors not convinced of the value of a quality CRM solution should consider the data. According to Forrester Research, lead conversion rates are 300% better when a CRM is used. The same report shows that nearly 75% of businesses that use CRM software have better customer relationships.
As with any technology solution, choosing the right one for your business is critical for optimizing your return-on-investment. For this CRM roundup, we examined 15 advisor-specific CRM providers based on features, cost, integrations, and more. Here are our top picks.
The 6 Best CRM Software for Financial Advisors in 2020
Best Overall: Salesforce
Salesforce may not be the easiest solution to implement, but its wide array of components make it the most customizable for financial advisors who want customer data their way.
20+ years of industry experience
Integrates with more than 100 data sources
Steep learning curve for less tech-savvy users
Lots of manual entry to get up and running
A bit on the pricey side
For more than 20 years, Salesforce has been expanding its global dominance in the CRM space, giving it the scale to compete each year as one of the top CRM companies. Although Salesforce is a leading CRM provider across many industries, its Financial Services Cloud is an advisor-specific product. The software-as-a-service (SAAS) pioneer’s solution has been described as big box full of state-of-the-art components that can be put together any way a customer wants, making it our choice as the best overall solution.
With Salesforce, financial advisor firms get a mature platform offering integrations with several other marketing automation tools. Salesforce is one of the few CRM solutions embedded with artificial intelligence to analyze data, predict sales trends, and make recommendations based on your workflow processes. Salesforce can integrate with more than 100 data sources to create a massive data bank, providing advisors with deeper insights into clients' needs, interests, and preferences.
Salesforce's most significant advantage may also be its biggest disadvantage depending on an organization's technology capabilities. Its platform comes with so many tools and features, it may be beyond the capacity of some users to fully grasp all of its capabilities. But, it's that wide array of components that enables organizations to customize the platform to specific needs.
Salesforce is also optimized for mobile access on any device.
Salesforce's Financial Service Cloud pricing tilts toward the expensive end of the spectrum, starting at $150 monthly per user for organizations of any size. Firms that want deeper customization will pay $300 monthly per user for the Enterprise plan. At $450 monthly per user, its Unlimited plan is best suited for large organizations. Salesforce provides technical support at all pricing levels, but the Unlimited plan includes unlimited services.
Best User Experience: Redtail Technology
There's a reason Redtail Technology has the largest market share of any CRM provider: It consistently provides the best user experience.
Wide and deep integrations with popular industry tools
Includes seminar management tool
Redtail University for free, in-person training
Priced per database with up to 15 users
Doesn't come with built-in phone/video conferencing (can be added for an additional charge)
Pricing may be a little expensive for small firms or independent advisors
Since 2003, Redtail Technology's CRM offering has become the most popular CRM solution for financial advisors. While it has some unique features to distinguish it from its peers, the main reasons for its popularity are its robust platform with easy-to-use interface, a wide selection of integrations, and its short learning curve, which is why it wins our category of best user experience.
Redtail has managed to create a straightforward, advisor-specific solution without sacrificing the critical features advisors need in a CRM. These include lead and contact management, workflow automations, customizable reporting, as well as the capability to integrate with popular financial tools such as Morningstar, MoneyGuide Pro, LaserApp, and Riskalyze.
Redtail's CRM solution also includes two distinct features that its customers find attractive: seminar management and Redtail University. The seminar management feature allows advisors to add seminar marketing to their CRM to manage pre- and post-seminar activities. Redtail University is the first and only feature of its kind, offering in-person, online classroom training along with individualized support based on your particular needs.
Redtail's platform has been optimized for use on any mobile device. While its platform doesn't include built-in phone or video conferencing, users can purchase RedtailSpeak as a compliant communication platform integrated with its CRM platform.
Redtail is also unique in that it offers subscription-based pricing per database rather than per user. One database costs $99 per month, and it can include up to 15 users. This is an ideal model for small firms that want to scale up quickly.
Best CRM for Small Firms and Independent Advisors: Wealthbox
For the price, Wealthbox is a well-designed, full-featured, intuitive CRM, making it the best choice for small firms and independent advisors.
Easy-to-use, intuitive platform
Short learning curve
Collaborative management with activity stream
Integration with social media
No financial planning component
Since its founding in 2014, Wealthbox has made tremendous headway in the financial advisor space, capturing the second-largest market share among advisor-specific CRM software. Its popularity can be attributed to its quick startup and easy-to-use platform, offering advisors the power of a high-end CRM with hassle-free operation. That, together with several key features, makes Wealthbox our choice for the best CRM for small firms and independent advisors.
Its platforms offer everything advisors need in a CRM, including contact, task, and pipeline management, project management, and workflow automation. But Wealthbox also offers several unique features that make it stand out, including click-to-call capabilities and social media monitoring. But the key feature of Wealthbox is the activity stream, allowing users to collaborate as a team as they move through workflows. Wealthbox also offers one of the best email/CRM integrations, which enables users to send and receive emails through Wealthbox while tracking clicks and open rates.
In addition to partner integrations with popular industry tools such as eMoney and Riskalyze, Wealthbox offers storage integration with services like Google Drive and Dropbox.
Wealthbox was designed with bank-level security for both its web and mobile platforms, making it safe and easy to get work done while traveling.
For $35 monthly per user, the Basic platform offers everything a startup financial advisor needs in a CRM to manage one workspace and one pipeline, including click-to-call and social media integration. The Pro plan adds four pipelines to manage, along with email tracking tools for $49 monthly per user. The Pro level also increases storage capacity to 5GB (from 2GB in the Basic plan). With the Premier plan, users pay $65 monthly per user for unlimited pipelines and workspaces along with 10GB of data storage. Premier plans are also offered with volume discounts and a dedicated account manager.
Best Industry Integrations: Junxure
With its ability to integrate with many of the major tech providers, back-office solutions, and custodians, such as OpenView, Gateway, Wealthscape, TD Ameritrade, LPL Financial, Albridge, and Schwab, Junxure makes our list as the best CRM for integrations.
Reliably capture data from top industry companies
Excellent customer and tech support
Client portal with centralized information
Robust reporting function
A little pricey for smaller firms
Longer learning curve than many CRMs
No mobile app
Created by financial advisors for financial advisors, Junxure has remained an industry favorite for more than 15 years. Junxure has developed a loyal user following for its ability to capture clients' financial data through integrations with many of the top tech providers, custodians, portfolio managers, and back-office solutions, making it our choice as the CRM with the best industry integrations.
Nothing streamlines workflows and makes better use of data than the ability to integrate with existing ports of data. Junxure took it a step further by adding a client portal, enabling its users' clients to access personal investment information and historical reports through a single login. The downside is that synching with systems outside its integration ecosystem requires a lot of work.
In addition to the core CRM functions of workflow and marketing automation, Junxure offers a robust reporting function that allows users to create attractive, customized reports for clients as well as actionable internal reports for advisors. It also provides both basic and advanced search functionality, along with customized search criteria.
Junxure also provides best-in-class customer and tech support, resulting in a 98% approval rating and 96% retention of customers each year. It also provides access to live training to help with startup and onboarding your data, and users will probably need it because Junxure is not the most straightforward platform to use by those not very familiar with CRMs.
Junxure offers one level of pricing—$65 monthly per user, billed annually—making it a bit expensive for smaller firms. Special custodial and affiliate pricing is available.
Best End-Client Experience: Envestnet Tamarac
For advisors who want to provide an excellent experience for their clients with superior customer service features, Envestnet's Tamarac CRM is our choice for the best end-client experience.
Wide and deep integrations with custodians and portfolio managers
Robust reporting feature
Superior business intelligence for deeper market and client insights
Built on Microsoft Dynamics platform for greater ease of use
Mobile app for users and clients
No collaborative tools
Pricing only available through consultation
Over the 20 years of its existence, Envestnet Tamarac has become a financial services behemoth, offering best-in-class solutions in wealth management, portfolio management and reporting, data analytics, and CRM. The Tamarac CRM harnesses all the power of Envestnet's digital prowess to provide a more complete and compelling end-client experience. Tamarac's primary focus is on helping financial advisors provide their clients with more personalized investment expertise, making it our choice for the CRM with the best end-user experience.
Tamarac users can draw from dozens of data sources through partner integrations with custodians and portfolio managers to centralize essential client information and make it available in customizable reports. Its reporting feature provides flexible reporting and powerful portfolio analysis, making it accessible to clients through a client portal, which can also be accessed through a mobile app.
Its business intelligence capabilities are second to none, with the ability to automatically pull data from multiple integrated systems. It can then create business intelligence reports to track pipeline progress versus goals, prepare for client meetings, and monitor key centers of influence for developing referrals.
If Tamarac sounds sophisticated, it is. The good news is that the platform is built on top of the widely used Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform, making it easy to learn and use for Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft 365 users. The downside is the Tamarac platform is designed for use by independent advisors, with limited capabilities for team collaboration.
Pricing is provided through a custom quote after Tamarac's consultants work with advisors to determine what they specifically need to configure and implement the platform.
Best Value for Small, Growing Firms: UGRU Financial
UGRU Financial's starting plan is stacked full of features, including contact, lead, and opportunity management capabilities for $59 a month for three users, making it our choice for the best value for small, growing firms.
Full-featured starting plan
Low per-user cost
Mid-tier plans offer marketing and workflow automation
No built-in phone (but the capability to link to VOIP system)
UGRU Financial was started in 2011 by a financial advisor who grew frustrated with the limitations of CRM programs. His goal was to create a platform that included everything a burgeoning financial advisory team could need to manage and grow client relationships at a price most could afford. He succeeded far beyond his expectations, making UGRU our choice for the best value for small, growing firms.
UGRU is a full-featured CRM with all the perks advisors have come to expect with a quality solution. At $59 per month for up to three users, it's starting package covers all the bases, with contact, lead, and opportunity management for unlimited contacts. It also includes calendaring for multiple users and solid workflow building capabilities that include more than 40 pre-designed workflows advisors use most. While that price may be a little steep for a single user, when three users are involved, it drops the per-user cost to just under $20.
The Performance plan jumps to $139 monthly for three users, adding email functionality to send and receive emails from the CRM, including bulk and mass emails. Additional features include document storage for clients and a client portal. There are standard but liberal allowances for free storage and email processing. Additional fees apply when the standard allowances are exceeded. The $139 monthly fee breaks down to just under $46 each for three users, which is still a great value.
At $179 (less than $60 per month each for three users), the Professional plan starts to get a bit pricey, but UGRU added some key features to maintain its value approach. In addition to the Performance plan features, the Professional plan adds full marketing and workflow automation functionality. Considering that a standalone marketing automation program can cost $60 per month, this is an excellent value to have it included with a CRM. Using these features to increase revenue and efficiency can produce more than enough ROI to cover the additional cost.
UGRU also offers an Advisor Pro plan for advisors serious about getting to the next level. For $324 a month, the plan adds advanced revenue-generating tools such as a financial planning module and tools for creating professional-quality marketing collateral.
All information is accessible through a mobile app. The key missing ingredient is a built-in phone. However, the system can easily connect to a VOIP system with a single click and includes time-stamped notes and customize call scripts.
What Is a CRM for Financial Advisors?
For financial advisors, the key to success is being able to expand their client base while developing longer-lasting and more profitable relationships with their clients. A customer relationship management (CRM) system enables advisors to scale their efforts and resources to manage their contacts and identify new opportunities.
CRM systems are data-driven, giving advisors the ability to have essential information at hand for cultivating relationships with clients and prospects and efficiently moving them through the pipeline.
What Does a CRM for Financial Advisors Typically Include?
While CRM systems have always been data-driven, data analytics and business intelligence technology enable advisors to turn that data into actionable plans to reach targeted prospects and serve clients more professionally and efficiently.
The core function of a CRM system is contact management, chronicling a record of all interactions with clients, calendaring future contacts, and prioritizing future activities based on specific criteria. With many CRMs, contact management is integrated with other data sources to draw in information on a client's investment progress, enabling advisors to adjust client strategy as necessary.
An outgrowth of contact management is workflow automation that allows advisors to free themselves from repetitive tasks. Clients and prospects are tagged based on their needs, interests, level of engagement, and position in the pipeline so that workflow automation can carry out the essential but mundane tasks of follow-up, scheduling, and communications. Some CRM systems add a marketing automation component, enabling advisors to set up marketing campaigns and track results.
A CRM system is also a time management tool, enabling advisors to prioritize and schedule activities, sometimes automatically.
A good CRM also includes document management to maintain files, attachments, and notes pertinent to a client relationship for quick retrieval.
CRM systems should have the capacity to track all activities and results on both a macro and micro level by client. Analytics kick in to provide measurements against targets and provide insight into future actions needed. The analytical insights can then be converted into professional-quality reports suitable for client consumption.
Finally, a CRM is not as useful unless it can integrate with the other data sources or investment management tools you use. The wider and deeper the integration, the better.
Of course, not all CRM systems are the same, with some offering more bells and whistles than others. But at minimum, a CRM should include these core components.
What Are the Expected Costs of a CRM for Financial Advisors?
Pricing for CRMs can vary widely. Some systems are priced per user, while others base their price on the number of databases or assets under management. For independent advisors or smaller firms looking for a starter CRM package with the core components, the cost of a CRM system can range from $35 to $60 per user per month. For systems at the higher end of that range, users should expect additional features and a higher level of customer support.
Prices jump to $70 to $120 at the mid-tier level for CRMs that include additional features, such as marketing automation, more email functionality, or more data storage.
How We Chose the Best CRMs for Financial Advisors
CRMs continue to evolve at the pace of technology, making them more complex, and making it more difficult to draw comparisons. In reviewing CRMs for this roundup, we first looked at the core components listed above and how they compared with one another. We narrowed the list further based on unique features that could improve advisors' CRM experience, such as ease-of-use, customization, and breadth of integrations. We also considered the overall experience and value of CRMs as it relates to independent advisors and smaller firms. With that, we winnowed our original 15 finalists down to the best CRMs in six categories.