Klaus M. Godiksen, head of global sales at Nordea Investment Management, London, said most CRM systems are not designed by people with investment management experience and thus fail to meet all the needs asset managers have.
"When we started evaluating these systems, we wanted to be sure the firm had a platform that was developed by people who understood our industry inside out," he said. "A lot of CRM systems have been developed for other industries." Nordea chose the Satuit system in 2001.
Seibel Systems Inc., San Mateo, Calif.; Onyx Software Corp., Belleview, Wash.; and Acxiom Corp., Little Rock, Ark., are three of the companies that provide CRM systems to a wide range of industries, including the financial industry.
"What distinguishes Satuit's CRM from most of the others is that it's designed (solely) for the investment management business," said Paul E. Berg, managing director at Century Capital Management Inc., Boston. Century Capital has been a Satuit client for about a year. "In our business, relationships are linked to master trustees and custodians, to consultants and pension boards. All these entities have entirely different contact listings, not just a phone number, e-mail and company name."
Mr. Godiksen manages eight Nordea offices in seven countries and uses the CRM system from Satuit to track the sales efforts in those offices.
"I have people sitting in eight different places, and those people are on the road a lot," he said, explaining that the system allows his salespeople to access important client data through laptop computers or personal digital assistants.
"Sometimes we have a laptop with us and sometimes we don't, and we have to have the flexibility to access the system either way," he said. In addition, the system cuts down on the time it takes to run sales reports.
"We're getting paid to be on the road in front of clients, and you need effective (data management) tools to do that," he said. "If I had to have everyone sitting in an office doing reports, that's important time" away from selling.
Mr. Berg added that most CRM systems are built for sales managers and key account executives, but in the investment management industry, such systems need to be designed for the salespeople first, then the managers.
"A lot of these CRM products are built primarily for sales managers who want to count the number of phone calls a guy made in a day, a week, a month or a year," he explained. "But in this business you can make six phone calls that last all day and land hundreds of millions of dollars of business. For the sales manager who's far away counting (telephone calls), that salesperson can rank in the fourth quartile."
Ms. Maguire said the implosion of the stock market a few years ago drove money managers to take a harder look and to better understand the entire sales process, which opened the door for Satuit.
"We came up with the notion of sales phases — where are you and what do you expect to happen in each phase," she explained. "Then you can look back and say ‘we had 100 opportunities last year — 50 got to the midsales phase,' and you can examine why — maybe performance, or maybe the sales guy was asleep at the wheel."
Since competition in the investment management business remains stiff, CRM is expected to continue to play an important role in helping firms capture more assets.
"There's still a lot of wind in these sails," Ms. Maguire said.