Since its founding in 2005, United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC has emerged at the forefront of a fundamental shift in how financial advisers interact with clients. “We wanted to change the client experience from a painstaking and opaque ‘yellow pad’ experience to a collaborative and transparent ‘iPad’ experience,” says Mike Capelle, Chief Strategy Officer.
With that philosophy, United Capital has quickly become one of the fastest-growing wealth management firms in the country, with 400 employees serving more than 12,000 clients. Rapid growth has had its share of challenges. A series of acquisitions of like-minded local advisory practices quickly exposed the limitations of United Capital’s homegrown CRM solution. So, after an in-depth search, Salesforce was selected as the central technology platform for its “flexible standardization” across acquisitions, making the on-boarding process, data migration, communication between offices, and systems integration easier. In practice, that means all 47 offices are now supported on just one primary, on-premise server.
With help from Salesforce, the company developed a unique system for getting to know clients and how they think about money, so its advisers can provide more personalized counseling and financial plans. Potential clients start by taking an online quiz, integrated with the App Cloud, that helps identify their financial mindset. Using Marketing Cloud, advisers get a single view of their customers’ profiles so they can tailor communications that are more relevant and more timely.
“We started using Salesforce to manage workflows to help our advisers offer the right services to the right customers at the right time,” says Gail Graham, United Capital’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We want to provide the best possible customer experience, and build high levels of satisfaction and loyalty.”
Information on customer commitments and goals is fed into client records in Salesforce, along with data from United Capital’s financial planning and portfolio management solutions. Employees from every office can access these comprehensive customer profiles anytime, anywhere, using the Salesforce1 Mobile App on their mobile devices.
“We generate a complete financial Guidebook for every client,” explains Graham. “What’s important to them, where they are today, and what steps we recommend to get them on the right path. We measure progress against these goals at regular intervals. All of this is enabled through Salesforce.”
Advisers also collaborate — using a Chatter social network — to share ideas and strategies for helping clients. Role-based groups help employees, spread among 49 offices, quickly find the best practices and solutions. “All of our employees are on Chatter,” Capelle explains. “It helps us shrink the company, and keep all of our offices connected throughout the day.”
United Capital is looking at additional ways to use technology to get closer to customers. The company is evaluating Chatter as a means to connect clients with advisers and estate planning, insurance, or college planning experts to make it easy to share information and bring in different resources.
“In our business, it’s not enough to be innovative — we also have to find better ways to help customers,” explains Capelle. “We’re continuing to work with Salesforce to find new ways to improve our offerings.”