Small Business Interview: Carrie Mosley

Carrie stays on top of the day-to-day operations at Juetten Personal Financial Planning and shares with us how she incorporates LACRM into what they do. Read on to learn more about how the whole team stays organized with the CRM!
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Meet our small business manager:

What does Juetten Personal Financial Planning do, and how did you get to where you are today?

Juetten Personal Financial Planning, LLC was founded in 2002. We are a fee-only Financial Advisory firm and act as fiduciaries for our clients. That means we do not sell products or receive commissions, and we always act in our client’s best interest; not our own. Clients use us for two broad areas of help: financial planning and investment management. We are happy to serve in either or both roles. Clients pay us an hourly fee for small projects, a flat fee for projects like a Retirement Readiness Check-up or a flat annual fee for on-going investment management.

Our Certified Financial Planner practitioners (CFP®) support our clients throughout all phases of the financial planning process from getting acquainted with our clients, assessing a client’s goals, determining their financial situation, devising a financial plan and holding our clients accountable on following through with their financial plan.

As the Operations Manager, I oversee our firm’s day-to-day operations, systems, processes, compliance, reporting and analytics, and I always seek opportunities to improve the service we provide to our clients while gaining efficiencies.

I joined Juetten Personal Financial Planning in 2015 after spending a decade in Finance, IT and Operations in the corporate wireless industry. My background was a natural fit for my role with Juetten Personal Financial Planning.

What does a typical day look like for you?

“Every morning, I review my Task Report in LACRM combined with email to determine what I need to accomplish that day... I love being able to cross off an item on my Task Report.”

Every morning, I review my Task Report in LACRM combined with email to determine what I need to accomplish that day. We prioritize client-impacting work first and then spend time on special projects and process improvements next. Typically, my daily work is related to billing, marketing, system administration or projects focused on operational improvements. I love being able to cross off an item on my Task Report.

Our Advisors use LACRM to prepare for their upcoming meetings with clients. The advisor will review their calendar and see which meetings they have that day or that week. They will review the information, notes and entries in LACRM to be sure they have current information about that client. If there are any tasks related to that client, they will be sure to note them so that they can work to complete the task. For example, if a client’s agreement is about to expire, they will have a task set in LACRM to renew that agreement at the next client meeting.

Interested in learning more about how scheduling tasks and events can keep your team organized? Check out this tutorial on using calendar items to collaborate with your team!

How does collaboration work at Juetten Personal Financial Planning?

“Having a CRM helps us keep our work organized in one place so that anyone on the team can get a status update on a client and find pertinent information about them.”

We are a team of 10 and we all work virtually so it is critical that we have systems and processes in place to stay organized.

Along with email and phone calls, we often hold video conference meetings so that we can stay in touch, work face-to-face and screen share. Having a CRM also helps us keep our work organized in one place so that anyone on the team can get a status update on a client and find pertinent information about them.

Each team member has their role and set of defined responsibilities. We have designated back-ups and we try to document as much as we can to maintain a record and audit trail.

We are a tight-knit team and everyone shares a common goal – to help our clients on their financial journey.

Other small business owners like Ava Chase also use the CRM's collaboration tools to stay on top of all of their clients. Click here to read more about how collaboration works in other industries!

How did you grow Juetten Personal Financial Planning from where it was to where it is today?

“As the client base began to grow, it was clear that additional staff and roles were needed to keep up with the demand...After implementing LACRM, we were able to grow into a multi-advisor company with a full support team.”

Juetten Personal Financial Planning started as a single advisor who managed all aspects of the business. As the client base began to grow, it was clear that additional staff and roles were needed to keep up with the demand. We slowly added an administrative assistant, then a second advisor and a handful of data analysts. After implementing LACRM, we were able to grow into a multi-advisor company with a full support team.

Like many small businesses, there is an ongoing conflict between when to bring on a new person. If you bring them on too soon, you may not have enough work (and income) to support them. But if you wait too long, you are in a position where you don’t have time to train the new person, or the owner and staff are burning out because of too much work, and customers may not be getting the service they deserve.

We are working to refine our business so that we no longer try to be everything to everyone. Most new financial advisors will, understandably, take on any client willing to work with them, but we are at a place and time where we will benefit from focusing our marketing and choosing our clients carefully so that we can provide customized but efficient service to our clients.

We build loyalty by always trying to help the clients by educating them and helping them to make the best decision for their circumstances. I don’t think we have a formula for this per se, but something must be working because much of our new business is referrals from current or former clients.

When starting a new business, it is important to begin with the end in mind. All successful business are good at cutting costs or increasing income or both, and realizing that will help you when you approach a business problem.

Financial knowledge, experience and empathy are critical to success in our industry. Financial knowledge: this is a given, but it’s important to be able to sort out the valuable financial information available from all the financial noise that’s out in the world. Experience: imagine you’ve never been river rafting before. It’s YOUR first trip down the river, but you want a guide who’s done this before, whether that’s helping you prepare for retirement, sorting through the options for Medicare or weathering a downturn in the market. Empathy: Money is an emotional topic. It’s imperative that your clients trust you. It’s not like buying a car or a book or a sofa.

Onboarding a new hire? Here are some tips and tricks on how to help get your new employee adjusted to LACRM!

How has using a CRM changed the way you (and your team) work?

“LACRM has given us the ability to scale our business.”

Using a CRM has enabled us to keep our client information in a centralized location and it is easy to apply attributes to those clients so we no longer have to keep that information in our memory bank, on paper or in other disparate places.

A CRM helps us maintain meeting schedules so that we can proactively reach out to our clients and schedule upcoming meetings, group our clients into segments for analysis and marketing and it helps us manage our prospects.

Prior to using a CRM, we lost track of our prospects if they declined to become a client. Now we have visibility into this information, we can report on it and analyze the data so that we can find opportunities for converting more prospects into clients.

Having a CRM has made reporting and data mining easier in general. We can now easily pull reports on our client’s age to see who may be nearing retirement or who may need to take a required minimum distribution from their IRA by the end of the year.

We can easily measure the tenure of our clients and measure retention rates. Thanks to the ability to add custom fields to LACRM, we can now report and measure on all data that is important to us for State compliance purposes and for business operations.

The added reporting and data mining serves our clients so that we can be proactive to their situation and ensure we are providing them with a unique and high quality of service.

LACRM has given us the ability to scale our business. When Juetten Personal Financial Planning was first founded, it was a single advisor. Since implementing a CRM, we have been able to add advisors and associates with relative ease.

As your business grows bigger, it's important to make sure your CRM is kept up to pace with you. Running a quick 'fire drill' can help make sure you're prepared to scale up with your CRM!

Do you have any tips or tricks on how you use LACRM?

“We use LACRM as our central hub of information.”

We use LACRM as our central hub of information. It contains information about prospects, all of our client contact information, meeting schedules, agreement terms and rates, and additional notes.

We use pipelines to manage our prospects, upcoming meeting schedules, and client document status.

We use groups to bundle clients into similar categories. For example, we’ll put the client in the 2017 group if they signed on for the first time with us in that year. This helps us calculate the length of tenure a client has with us. We will assign a “Pending Agreement” group to clients who have decided to sign up with us but we are waiting for their signed agreement. We also use groups to mark which clients have become inactive.

We use tasks to assign each other work, and also to assign ourselves work. Our admin has established a process that includes various steps that initiate after a client returns an agreement and she uses tasks to make sure each of these steps get done. Perhaps a client has requested a follow-up at some point in the future. A task will help us remember to make that follow-up.

We have created countless custom fields so that we can capture and track information about our clients that is required for compliance by the State or required to effectively create a financial plan.

We needed a way to create a Household within LACRM and decided to use the Company Name field for that purpose. That allows us to create individual contact records for all members of the household and track information such as birthdate, risk tolerance, employment information, etc that is specific to that contact and LACRM will then group all of the related contacts under a Household (Company Name).

We try to BCC LACRM on all of our email exchanges between clients so that the emails are logged and so that others can review the communications.

We do not use the calendar function in LACRM much at this point as it has some conflicts with Google calendar and it doesn’t work with our client scheduling software, however, we see that new calendar features are coming and we are looking forward to exploring them.

Finally, we utilize  CreateForm to enable our clients to enter their information into LACRM directly. Through CreateForm, we created a professional looking web-based data entry form that we can send to our clients to complete. They enter their own personal information such as name, email, address, etc and it automatically loads into LACRM. This saves us the time and energy to manually enter their information into our system and ensures a high level of data quality. Since we can set certain fields as required, this ensures that we capture the information we need every time.

Want more advice from real LACRM customers?  Check out all of our customer tips on our blog!

What made you choose LACRM over other CRM solutions on the market?

“Our first CRM was slow, clunky and complicated... LACRM was easy to use, understand and adapt to our needs.”

Initially, we used a series of Google Docs spreadsheets to track clients and meeting schedules, but that got complicated as we grew both in staff and clients.

After a State audit, it became clear that we needed a centralized place to maintain our client information and to be able to generate reports efficiently.

We first tried Sugar CRM because it seemed really inexpensive and flexible on the surface. However, in reality, in order for it to work for us, it needed to be set up by someone with a lot more technical skills and time than our firm had. It was slow, clunky and complicated. There were plenty of people offering us help to set up CRM to our specifications...for a high price.

Since we weren’t even sure of what we wanted, it seemed like it could be a giant waste of time and money to have someone design something for us, to perhaps find out it didn’t really meet our needs when we actually started using it with clients.

We then set out to find something easier to set up and affordable. We are a small company, after all.

We saw LACRM’s free trial, heard some positive comments from some financial planners who were already using it, and tried it out.

At first, it didn’t do everything we wanted, but it did most of what we were looking for, it was easy to use and understand, and adapt to our needs.

By the time I joined Juetten Personal Financial Planning, we were in the trial period of LACRM. I worked closely with the advisors and administrative assistant to define the requirements, set up Households, create our various pipelines, create the custom fields, replicate our Google Docs spreadsheet functionality and test the system with a small batch of clients.

Occasionally, I would reach out to the LACRM Coaching team for suggestions or help. They were always quite responsive and informative.

Once we could see that we could easily customize the system to meet our needs, we decided to subscribe and load all of our clients into the system. The initial data load was quite simple – an import from an excel spreadsheet.

For about 2 months we maintained both the Google Docs spreadsheets and LACRM side-by-side to make sure we didn’t have any gaps. Very quickly, the team started seeing the benefits of LACRM and utilized more and more of the functionality.

Now, more than 2 years later, LACRM is at the heart of our operations.

Comparing LACRM with another CRM? Click here to see how LACRM stacks up against other popular CRMs out there!

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