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Harness the Power of Data to Engage Clients and Grow Your Business

Chris Mauriello February 20, 2024

Older couple using a client portal on their tablet

Client engagement is critical to attracting new business as well as for the retention of existing clients. Our research shows that using a client portal is fundamental to achieving—and reaping the benefits of—that engagement.1

If you’ve gotten your clients to embrace their portal, you’ve likely discovered there’s a wealth of information now available to you about your clients. Aside from using that data to provide them with financial planning, there are many other ways it can be used to enhance and grow your business.

Leveraging Your Client Data at the Individual Level

Data shared via a client portal gives financial planners information to understand the client’s needs which allows you to provide the best possible service at the individual level.

Personalized recommendations: Starting with the individual, use the data to provide personalized recommendations to existing clients. Research conducted into the adoption of emerging trends—such as financial psychology—and how technology could be used to help meet client expectations, found that clients value personalized financial advice.2

Using a client portal to collect your clients’ data not only provides an efficient way to keep client information up to date, but it can also provide clues into what matters most to them. As you are onboarding clients and they’re adding accounts for the first time, pay attention to what they add and when they add it. Often the things they add first are top of mind and indicate that they want to have conversations about those items.

For example, if the first thing a client adds is their 401(k) because that’s where they’ve done most of their saving, have a conversation about how they are allocated in that 401(k). Ask questions about the level of contribution. Are they contributing enough to maximize a company match? Could they be contributing too much and it’s preventing them from allocating funds to other needs? Even though as an advisor you may not be able to manage that money for a long time, it’s still a value add as you’re addressing something the client wants to talk about.

Similarly, if a client enters the details about their retail banking accounts and you see they’ve got credit card debt, that’s a good indication that they are interested in learning more about budgeting and spending management. Guidance on how best to do that should be a part of your conversations with them.

These conversations aren’t leading to a product sale or more AUM, but they are a value add. They show the client that you want to talk to them about the things they’re interested in, which adds the personal touch they’re looking for.

Cross-selling opportunities: When it comes to building share of wallet with individual clients, the data you have access to via their client portal will identify cross-selling opportunities based on the products and services they already have. This is not just true for bringing additional assets under your management, but also for identifying clients that have investment portfolios but haven’t yet explored other aspects of financial planning. By looking for product or service gaps at the individual level, you can offer the client a more holistic approach to their financial plan while at the same time increasing revenue.

Our research showed that one of the things clients like most about using a client portal is that they can see everything in one place.1 This is also an advantage for the advisor. If you’re managing just one portion of a client’s investments, you want to make sure that you’re still aware of their larger financial picture. When the client uses their portal to connect all of their accounts, you can make optimal recommendations.

Insights from Aggregated Client Data

Taken as a whole, client data can provide guidance that drives critical organizational decisions.

Client segmentation: Pooling the data collected from your entire client base allows you to complete an analysis to segment clients based on various criteria. These could include age, income level, investment goals, risk tolerance, etc. Identifying patterns and trends that support your client segments can help you understand what types of financial products or services are most popular among your specific client base.

The goal of segmentation is to improve the efficiency and profitability of your firm by aligning your services and efforts with those your clients need and value. This insight can guide your business strategy and help you focus on areas with the highest growth potential.

Targeted marketing campaigns: Client segmentation can help you tailor not just your services, but also the marketing efforts used to target your ideal client. Utilize your collected client data to create targeted marketing campaigns aimed at attracting new clients with similar profiles and needs. By shaping your messaging to target the specific client segments you created using your data, you can streamline your marketing strategy to spend your budget where it makes the most sense, improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, and attract your optimal client types.

Predictive analytics: Predictive analytics uses historical data to predict future outcomes. By applying it to your collected client data it can be used to forecast future client needs and market trends. By analyzing historical data, you can anticipate changes in client behavior and proactively adjust your business strategy to stay ahead of the curve.

Connecting with the next generation: The anticipated generational wealth transfer has already begun. It will continue over the next few decades and according to Cerulli, only one in five affluent investors uses the same advisor as their parents.3 Understanding the collective preferences of younger clients could help you set your business up to not only retain the children of your older clients but also help you attract those who are looking for someone new.

Make the Most of Your Client Data

As your clients’ lives and finances change, so will their data. Keeping clients successfully engaged with their client portal will ensure you can adjust your advice and recommendations for their individual financial plans, as well as make changes to the way the collected data informs other aspects of your business.

Overall, leveraging the data shared by existing clients can provide valuable insights for growing any financial planning business, from tailoring products and services to attracting new clients and improving overall client satisfaction.

To learn more about how client engagement is supported by the use of a client portal, as well as its intersection with FinPsych, read our eBook The New Value Proposition for Advisors: How Combining Technology and Psychology Transforms Client Outcomes.

Sources:

1. eMoney, “Beyond the Plan” Research, July 2023

2. eMoney Consumer Pulse Survey, August 2022, n=1,201

3. “Cerulli Finds Just 19% of Investors Use Their Parents’ Advisor.” Cerulli Associates, 2023. November 14. https://www.cerulli.com/press-releases/cerulli-finds-just-19-of-investors-use-their-parents-advisor.

DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.

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About the Author

Chris Mauriello, Financial Planning Practice Management Consultant, has been helping eMoney clients at every level for 6 years. Starting as a Customer Service Rep, Chris’s passion for helping advisors implement and use eMoney led him to become a Client Success Coach, then a member of the Live Training Team, and ultimately to his current position, where he helps firms scale their planning services to deliver more personal, impactful advice.

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