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10 practice management ideas to help improve your practice in 2024

This year, almost 250 financial advisors joined us for the SEI Advisor Summit in Scottsdale, AZ to connect, learn, share, and grow together.

While there are many presentations, conversations, and notes taken over the three days, these are my 10 practice management takeaways from the event.

Better together, community roundtables

What do you get when you put over 60 advisors in a room together and ask them what’s working? A lot of best practices; unfortunately, too many for this blog. However, some themes consistently came up across the group:

  • Talent is key for growth
  • Partnership provides scale
  • Value is defined by clients, not the advisor

While we provided three high-level topics to focus on throughout the hour and a half—growth, scale, and delivering value—participants at each roundtable were encouraged to take the conversation where they wanted.

Over and over again, themes around internal talent including hiring, organizational structure, compensation, motivation, and more came up during the Growth session. On a similar note, partnership, external talent—including sharing specific partners that were adding scale—and value within the business were shared. Finally, ideas about how to deliver value started and ended with a firm’s current and future clients’ needs, wants, and expectations.

One key takeaway from the communities roundtables

The clearer you are about who you serve (today and in the future), and what they need, the more effectively you can build the talent and capabilities, internal and external, to deliver true value at scale. If you’re not sure who or how to scale through partnership, simply ask—many of your peers have worked through the same challenges you may be facing.

How advisors are taking action on themes from the 2023 InvestmentNews Advisor Benchmark Study

We recently shared three key themes that came out of the 2023 InvesmtentNews Advisor Pricing, Profitability, and Compensation Benchmark Study. In breakout sessions at Summit, we dove deeper into the themes of growth and capacity, and heard from advisors on what’s working when it comes to marketing and workflows.

Two lessons when using marketing to grow

As I outlined in a previous blog, the majority of advisors have not figured out how to use traditional marketing strategies and tactics to grow organically. In an interactive workshop, we attempted to tackle this challenge head-on. We started with a marketing scorecard and focused on the fundamentals, how you show up online including a peer-review of each other’s websites. By putting ourselves in investors’ shoes, we searched for an advisor and looked ourselves up. Based on the reactions from the attendees, there’s room for improvement! Then we walked through how to construct an effective marketing plan and heard from a handful of advisors who were having success. Here’s what we heard:

  1. Have a plan to get more client referrals. The advisor who has begun having more success getting client referrals did so by developing a plan and building a referral seed-planting habit, which includes the language you use to articulate: 
    • Who you serve
    • How you uniquely serve those clients, often it involves asking or reminding your clients why they sought you out initially
    • Examples of when someone may need your help (reference back to how your clients have acknowledged you helped them)
    • How to make the introduction to you
  2. Events remain an effective marketing strategy. According to those having success, they had a process for how they drove attendees to events and what post-event follow-up looked like. Specifically, a best practice that was shared was to make registration as easy as possible to complete and share. By clearly publicizing and adding an event registration link to their newsletter, one firm significantly increased the number of attendees to their virtual events. Small changes—such as promoting your events everywhere and making registration digital—can make a big difference in attendance and ultimately help you grow through marketing.

Three lessons from advisory firms who have implemented workflows

According to the InvestmentNews Advisor Benchmark Study, 69% of participating firms said they “will implement defining or refining processes and workflows this year.” We asked three firms who have successfully implemented workflows to share how they did it at Summit. Here’s what we heard:

  1. Expect a workflow implementation to take 18 months. The majority of this time will be for change management and trial and error. 
  2. Design workflows to keep advisors out of the process. Appropriate delegation of tasks based on skills, expertise, and capacity makes processes more efficient and helps advisors use their time for higher-value activities.
  3. Optimize the CRM. Features and functionality in CRM systems can support and automate workflows. Try using reminders, templates, and automations.

Last but certainly not least, expert Penny Phillips joined us on the main stage to share lessons and tactics for “Building the Tomorrow Business.” While a blog can’t do justice to everything she shared on stage, there was a consistent consensus from the attendees that she not only gets it, she gets us (financial advisors). Some of the most powerful practice management ideas she shared were simple, such as:

  1. Don’t bother with complex segmentation, you have your top clients and everyone else
  2. Meet annually on the date your clients joined and use an online scheduler to save time scheduling
  3. Use a group email such as to make sure your top clients feel special

While there were too many best practices shared in Penny’s session and Summit to fit into a blog, the key takeaway is to take action on the things that you believe can have the greatest positive impact on your business and to your clients today. There is no shortage of ideas and best practices available to advisory firms.

Firms who make the greatest progress are those who take action. Pick one area to focus on and improve, define what improvement looks like, and get started. If you need help taking action, we are always here to help.

Shauna Mace, CHPC

Head of Practice Management

Important information

2023 InvestmentNews Advisor Benchmark Study

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