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Is Your Business Struggling With Your Salesforce Adoption RateMike Capelle is the Senior Vice President and co-founder of United Capital Financial Advisers LLC, a fast-growing financial advisory firm. Capelle shares why his team chose Salesforce as the foundation for their 47 offices (and growing). Read on to see how United Capital leveraged Salesforce to fit an ever-changing and evolving company.

United Capital is one of fastest-growing wealth management firms in the country. We started the business in 2005 with a small team and are now approaching 400 employees serving approximately 12,000 clients. It was critical to have a central technology platform to build our enterprise, but even more important was achieving high adoption (usage) of the platform by our employees.

We founded United Capital to lead a fundamental shift in the financial advisory space and build an enterprise focused on helping people make better decisions about their financial lives. We wanted to change the client experience from a painstaking and opaque "yellow-pad" exercise to a collaborative and transparent "iPad" experience.

However, to have a meaningful impact, we needed to get to size quickly. So we set out to enter regional markets across the US through the acquisition of like-minded local advisory practices.

United-Capital-SalesForce_300x250After initially onboarding our first acquisitions to United Capital's homegrown CRM system, we quickly realized that it was going to be too costly to scale and become the chassis we needed for our future large enterprise.

After an in-depth search, we found Salesforce to have the highest potential of meeting our growing and changing needs.

In particular, Salesforce allowed "flexible standardization" across acquisitions making the on-boarding process, data migration, communication between offices, and systems integration easier.  And within each of these areas, we’ve uncovered best practices that help us achieve high levels of user adoption:

  • Exceptional Data: The more accurate the data migration, the easier the transition. Identify the key data fields and how they will map over in advance. Extract, import and quality check the data before releasing.

  • Higher Productivity: The quicker employees have proficiency, the more efficient they are in performing their work. You can use flows, action sequences, and friendly layouts to improve ease-of-use, however make sure that you also have a strong training process that will get them comfortable using the system. At United Capital, that means training for our unique Salesforce instance, our proprietary apps, as well as third-party solutions.

  • Building Community: It has to start at the top. Our Chatter usage was near zero until the entire Executive Team committed to making posts, comments, and likes on a weekly basis.  Our offices are 5-10 person teams, geographically dispersed around the US, and Chatter has been instrumental in "shrinking" the company and creating a common communication channel for our social enterprise. Adoption and usage has gone viral.

  • Expanding Functionality: The AppExchange increases Salesforce functionality exponentially.  With each company and industry, there are specific problems and needs. In order to fill those gaps, we took advantage of business applications to customize our evolving Salesforce instance. We've enhanced our Salesforce experience with ExactTarget and Pardot, as well as with AppExchange apps PowerDialer, Conga, Appirio, Compete, and Skuid.

  • Customized Solutions: Sometimes you need a unique solution. We chose Salesforce because it can easily integrate with third party systems. With Salesforce’s Heroku platform, we were able to have our proprietary apps work hand-in-hand with Salesforce. We also developed custom integrations to bring client financial accounts and holdings into client Salesforce records.

We have grown to one of the nation's largest financial advisory firms, managing approximately $10 billion for clients across the country. We’ve seen first-hand how powerful and adaptable the Salesforce environment can be in supporting our expanding needs and driving high levels of adoption.  

There are many details behind each of the areas I’ve outlined above, which I will expand on in future posts. Stay tuned to see how Salesforce has enabled us to grow to 47 offices with nearly 400 employees while maintaining only one primary on-premise server.

Are you evaluating a CRM system for your company? Find out why United Capital and thousands of other businesses ultimately chose Salesforce. Feel free to watch a demo to learn more. 


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