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You Can't Automate Behavior Into Existence

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With everything from CRM systems to financial planning software offering automated solutions for advisors, it’s tempting to view automation as a quick fix for many manual and time-intensive processes. Indeed, when implemented effectively, automation can yield a triple win for advisors by enabling them to work more efficiently, improve client service, and accelerate growth. When evaluating automation opportunities, however, it's important to remember that you can’t automate behavior into existence.

What do I mean by this? Simply put, you have to start by understanding an existing process or workflow before identifying the best way to automate. Implementing automation will not magically transform advisors’ behaviors and existing workflows. If that were the case, it would certainly make life easier for people like me who develop technology platforms for advisors!

Technology solutions for advisors are actually fairly commoditized today. The differentiated value that platform providers can offer depends on their ability to support the specific needs of advisors. After all, if the technology isn’t aligned with the way advisors actually work, it’s likely to be a wasted investment of time and money.

Solutions aligned with advisor behaviors

At Thrivent Advisor Network, we believe that gaining a clear understanding of each advisor business model and how their teams work is the starting point for all our tech stack decisions. This approach allows us to focus our tech strategy and investments to yield the greatest impact for advisors.

We’ve learned from experience that it’s counterproductive to try to compel advisors to change their behaviors to fit a predetermined set of tech tools or processes. Instead, we listen to advisors, observe how they work, and learn about their existing workflows, pain points and desired outcomes. By collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative feedback, we’re able to help advisors choose the best tech options curated on our platform to fuel the growth of their practice. We’ve found that this approach works better than requiring advisors to alter their behavior to use off-the-shelf solutions or new tools or processes created for them that don’t reflect their specific needs.

To also ensure we have a constant feedback loop, our Thrivent Advisor Council, comprising representatives from advisory firms on our platform, provides ongoing input on the business challenges advisors face and what pain points they’re looking to solve with technology. We also rely on input from our relationship managers and from regular interactions with our community of advisors during their transition to our platform and beyond.

This constant stream of input informs our tech strategy and decisions about how to invest in and improve our platform. This, in turn, allows us to continually strengthen our service offering ‐ with the ultimate goal of empowering our advisors to help their clients achieve financial clarity and live lives full of meaning and generosity.