Contact Management Systems

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Many firms in the financial services industry use contact management systems (CMSs) to track their dealings with high net worth and corporate executive clients and prospects. This is especially likely if the firm has segmented its sales force and restricted contact with such persons to designated high net worth financial advisors, high net worth specialists, or senior investment bankers.

A CMS is also important for cultivating and nurturing client relationships. Important client information is recorded and stored for easy access, which helps to provide clients with optimum service.

Using a Contact Management System

Each time a firm representative has had contact with the client or prospect⁠, whether in person, by telephone, by e-mail or by postal mail, they are to enter details of that contact into a CMS. The purpose of recording this information is to:

  • Evaluate these representatives and set their compensation
  • Ensure that the client or prospect is contacted with appropriate frequency, not too often or too infrequently
  • Track results of these contacts, such as financial assets gathered, or investment banking engagements won

As the final point suggests, inputs into a comprehensive CMS also should include notes on the results of these contacts, including the metrics that should be part of the firm's management reporting regime. Any accomplishments entered into a CMS must be subject to independent confirmation.

Using a CMS as a repository for important client information can help to deliver personalized service to meet clients' specific needs. Satisfied, loyal clients will then enhance your firm's reputation as a great service provider.

Contact Management System Case Study

High net worth specialists, employed by the marketing department at Merrill Lynch and identified as Private Advisory Services, had a bonus scheme that was largely formulaic, based on household assets gathered. In Merrill Lynch's high net worth CMS, the specialists would enter the number of assets that a client or prospect had deposited⁠—or promised to deposit⁠—with the firm, pursuant to their marketing efforts. Subsequently, the controller of Private Advisory Services would monitor activity in the accounts of those clients to confirm whether those deposits had taken place. Additionally, entries in the CMS would be used for the subjective portion of the bonuses, to evaluate the specialists' timing and performance in following up on assignments.

Moreover, entries in the CMS would be categorized with respect to specific marketing initiatives, such as Vintage Motor Sports, the Merrill Lynch Shootout (i.e., Merrill Lynch as past title sponsor of a PGA Tour event), and sponsorships of a symphony or museum nights. This data also would be used to evaluate the financial returns from sponsorships and promotions.

Benefits of Using a Contact Management System

There are many advantages to having a CMS, which can be used by any firm regardless of size. A CMS does the following:

  • Strengthens the firm-client relationship
  • Tracks and stores different types of important data, such as client contracts, asset information, and other important data
  • Provides deeper insight into clients through the analysis of their data
  • Invites collaboration and sharing among designated firm members
  • Provides a secure site of recorded and saved data for those working to serve the firm's clients, such as marketing, sales, and customer service
  • Improves the client experience due to efficient and effective service

By incorporating a CMS into your business, you can keep track of and share current client information, which can assist you in determining your next business strategy for meeting ever-changing client needs.