Are you a Salesforce admin, developer, architect, or responsible for building apps at your company? Then Skuid AppHacks has your name on it.
The seas of business app dev and design can be rough to sail alone. So, we’ve teamed up with our friends in the Salesforce world to help you find smooth waters. Join us on Youtube Live each month as we interview MVPs, champions, and admins. We’ll talk about the latest tech trends, app building, design tips, and so much more!
In our first session, Building the right solutions, we were joined by longtime Salesforce consultant Shell Black. A five-time Salesforce MVP, Hall of Fame member, and consultant for 15 years, Shell runs a firm of 50 Salesforce experts with a targeted focus on the financial services industry.
Here are just three of the questions we asked Shell during our discussion.
Move from clunky navigation to clean experiences.
Skuid: Your team has focused increasingly on financial services. What are some trends, use cases, or best practices you've seen for building Salesforce apps in that industry?
Shell Black: Many folks in financial services have access to a ton of data and visualizations that live in so many different Salesforce objects. Navigating to and assessing a big picture view requires a lot of clicks and drill-downs, or even backing out and looking at something else. And that can be very clunky and time-consuming.
We get a lot of requests on how to make that information more accessible, digestible, and actionable. Here’s a real-world example that we've seen.
A wealth management client came to us asking for a “med chart.” I scratched my head initially because they were talking like doctors yet they were wealth management advisors. But their analogy was absolutely on target.
Think about a patient who visits a practice with multiple doctors. When yours is out but you still need to be seen, another doctor must quickly look over your medical chart to understand your history. That doctor needs to know what meds you’ve been on, what past procedures you've had, and more, in order to speak intelligently and make informed recommendations.
A financial advisor needs that same ability. If you have a life event and another advisor is covering for yours, the new advisor needs to know your investment strategy. What assets is their firm managing on your behalf? Are you properly insured? Do you have estate planning docs? Or other trusts and beneficiaries?
To quickly assess the health in that relationship, a financial advisor needs all that information at their fingertips in one or two screens. Then they can take your call and make intelligent recommendations. It’s all about surfacing data and making it actionable so that they can provide a better experience for their customers.
Position the tech stack as a differentiator.
Skuid: Companies in wealth management or financial services often grow by mergers and acquisitions. When this happens, new employees suddenly have to learn new systems. You mentioned viewing the tech stack as a differentiator for firms that are growing that way. Can you talk more about that?
Shell Black: So, wealth management is all about Assets Under Management (AUM). The fast way that firms grow AUM is to acquire another practice. And one of the things I've seen in the industry is the tech stack being a differentiator for firms acquiring other companies, hiring new employees, and attracting new customers.
An advisor’s skill is building relationships and managing clients and their money. Many of these professionals aren’t focused on technology and weren’t trained to use it either. Having a tech stack that works the way it's supposed to helps these employees do their jobs better.
For instance, a lot of the bigger firms look at a CRM like Salesforce as a competitive advantage. They want to invest in areas that make the advisor experience as friendly as possible. If a company’s tech stack helps it easily surface information and make it actionable, this improves the client experience and makes the firm more valuable.
Companies like this may have a community or a portal where the client can see how their investments are doing. How are things trending? How are they progressing towards their life goals? Or maybe there's a planning checklist.
Bigger firms can invest in that technology, which makes them attractive. If they do have an acquisition conversation, or are trying to recruit new financial advisors, having better technology will help those advisors make more money. The right tech allows them to focus on what they're good at.
Grok the problem before you build.
Skuid: How do you make sure you're building the right experience for your clients?
Shell Black: I see a lot of young or new consultants that are just order takers. And if you're just being an order taker, you're not adding value.
Don’t be afraid to ask, "Why? What's the root cause? What am I solving for?” Because if you work with a client and they say, "This is how we do it today," and you're just cookie-cutter building that into Salesforce, you may be replicating a problem.
You want to understand the business needs. That gives you the opportunity to build a better mousetrap. Otherwise, you just made the same mousetrap and it may not be scalable, reportable, or it may not have the flexibility that you need. That's not to say that you can ever, future-proof a solution for 20 years out. But hopefully, given enough time and budget, you can solve that need by asking why and actually build a better solution.
Shell had many other tips to share from finding your niche versus staying broad to advice for people just entering the Salesforce ecosystem and more. Watch the rest of our discussion here.
Are you building apps in the financial services industry? For more best practices, check out this resource.