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Choosing a Vendor, a Supplier, or a True Partner to Digitally Transform Your Wealth Management Workflow

Doug Wood, January 5, 2021

An illustration of two people shaking hands with illustrated white and blue circles in the background.

When a wealth management company makes a decision to “bank” on core, supplier-provided, business critical software or services that plug in to the heart of the company’s day-to-day workflow, they aren’t looking for a vendor/customer relationship.

Wealth management companies are looking for more: a true, deep, and total partnership they can rely on over the long term.

For a supplier in this kind of partnership, this calls for a shared understanding of every aspect of the client’s relevant business and ongoing requirements. This calls for responding to and anticipating a client’s needs with consistent, predictable execution and market-leading capabilities that equal or surpass the competition.

In addition to all of that, a true partnership calls for unwavering, quantifiable, excellent service and support. At Advisor360°, we refer to this level of support as extraordinary systematic care.

“Extraordinary” in the way we respond to and exceed the needs of our clients. “Systematic” in the way we proactively leverage state-of-the-art tools and practices while measuring everything we do. “Care” in the way our people deeply commit to serving our clients, ensuring they succeed.

Our clients are at the top of their games. Earning the initial right to partner with them at that level, and then re-earning that right every day, is our primary focus.

Are your vendors true, deep partners? Are your vendors up to the challenge your mission-critical business represents to them?

Last month, Rich Hart asked if your wealth management platform was up to this kind of challenge—and then showed that Advisor360°’s platform is uniquely constructed for this role in your business. Jenn Sawan followed up by emphasizing the service component of an adaptive and responsive SaaS offering, and referenced real-world examples that show how we’ve responded and why that is so critical.

My role at Advisor360° targets Customer Success & Operations. My team’s responsibilities include supplying a trustworthy, enterprise-class infrastructure for our SaaS platform. Also, as that platform is delivered and improved, my team ensures that our customers are immensely successful as they come online and use our offerings effectively. In those roles, we can never be satisfied, and instead must show clients we are constantly improving.

What’s the difference between a “Supplier/Client” and a “Partner/Partner” relationship?

Client expectations of a partner related to service and support go very deep. Partners align and collaborate at every stage of the product life cycle. That alignment is necessary during the sales, customization, onboarding, go-live, and roadmapping phases. It is also central to every aspect of ongoing use, as well as service and support.

If you’re my partner, and you care about my business, then you understand that I don’t want to need your service or support.

Partnered clients expect that you have taken every opportunity to deliver on a platform and its surrounding infrastructure with an eye toward avoiding the need to resolve issues and to ensure continuous operation indefinitely.

To meet these client expectations, the supplier must:

  1. Build a high-quality, dependable, and resilient SaaS offering
  2. Ensure those characteristics extend beyond the offering to the infrastructure it runs on, and the service and support model that backs it up
  3. Monitor all operations and infrastructure proactively, anticipating and avoiding errors
  4. Deliver intuitive and adaptive interfaces that guide users to successful outcomes
  5. Offer training options designed to increase efficiency and overall proficiency
  6. Supply useful, well-constructed, and evolving self-help features including context-sensitive help, online resources, FAQ, and other reference material

Even with all of these, problems may be encountered. At these times, the strength of a partnership will be most thoroughly tested.

Clients demand a partner that:

  1. Understands the nature of the impact on the client’s business
  2. Plans for success across the duration of a long-term relationship
  3. Positively and proactively engages with the client in advance of specific requests or encountered problems
  4. Reacts nimbly based on the nature of the client’s issues
  5. Expects to be held accountable, measured, and inspected at every step during the resolution process
  6. Deploys allocated, expert-level staff that are ready to respond
  7. Shows exceptional problem solving and diagnostic skills
  8. Constantly learns from experiences while showing particular intolerance to recurrent problems
  9. Listens clearly to the client, every step of the way, learning from that interaction

No supplier meets all of these objectives all the time. But a supplier partner needs to achieve at a very high level and continuously improve.

At Advisor360°, our partners are our business. Their success is our mission.

Douglas A. Wood is Senior Vice President for Customer Success & Operations at Advisor360°, ensuring clients have a true partner, and the service and support they need to achieve anything.