top of page

CRM Mastery: Empowering Financial Advisors for Success With Stephanie Dannebaum

Stephanie Dannebaum

Stephanie Dannebaum is the Founder and CRM Consultant of Stephanie Dannebaum Consulting, a firm specializing in elevating CRM systems for financial advisors and planners. With a decade of experience in operations, investment management, and financial planning, she has worked extensively with CRM platforms like Redtail and Wealthbox CRM. Stephanie's mission is to align CRM systems with business goals, ensuring high adoption levels and driving sustainable business growth. She's recognized for her ability to understand each firm's unique needs and tailor CRM functions to empower every team member's role.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [1:53] Stephanie Dannebaum's approach to empowering financial advisors through technology

  • [2:48] Why Stephanie focuses on CRM as the core of business efficiency

  • [4:38] The concept of empowerment and how it drives better customer service

  • [9:03] Including every role in the conversation for better CRM adoption

  • [13:26] The main factors that often resist CRM adoption among advisors

  • [16:40] What are the capabilities of a CRM beyond being just a digital Rolodex? 

  • [22:50] Insights on the most essential and popular CRM integrations for financial advisors

  • [27:39] How AI is changing client experience in CRM

In this episode…

Are CRMs just overhyped digital Rolodexes, or do they hold untapped potential for financial advisors? What barriers are holding advisors back from leveraging these powerful tools, and how can a shift in perspective lead to groundbreaking efficiency and growth? How can CRM systems transform the day-to-day operations of a financial services business?

CRM consultant Stephanie Dannebaum tackles common misconceptions and reveals how properly implemented CRM systems can be at the heart of business success. She shares her expertise, from empowering advisors by aligning CRMs with their specific business goals to exploring key integrations, and the role of AI in revolutionizing client experiences. Her unique approach helps financial advisors harness the full potential of their CRM, turning it into a hub for proactive client management, workflow efficiency, and actionable insights.

In this episode of The Customer Wins, Richard Walker interviews Stephanie Dannebaum, Founder of Stephanie Dannebaum Consulting, about CRM strategies and integration. Stephanie discusses the transformative power of CRMs in financial services, techniques for overcoming resistance to CRM adoption, and the various benefits and integrations that make CRM essential tools for advisors. 

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Quotable Moments:

  • "The CRM is at the hub of your advisor tech, and my goal is to educate on how to utilize its features maximally."

  • "Empowerment through technology leads to quality time spent with clients."

  • "CRMs are more than a place to store contacts; they're proactive tools that provide crucial business insights."

  • "Efficiency in the financial services industry requires aligning technology with human roles."

  • "The future of AI in our industry is about enhancing, not replacing, the human aspect of advising."

Action Steps:

  1. Audit your current CRM usage to identify areas for improvement: Analyzing current CRM practices can reveal gaps and opportunities for better integration and efficiency.

  2. Involve every team member in reshaping your CRM processes: Including all roles fosters buy-in and ensures that the CRM supports every aspect of the business.

  3. Explore and integrate CRM-compatible software to streamline operations: Stephanie discussed the benefits of integrations that save time and resources, demonstrating the need for choosing CRM-compliant software.

  4. Embrace CRM reports for actionable insights and proactive client management: Stephanie advocates for using CRM reporting features to refine client servicing strategies and make informed decisions.

  5. Stay updated with advancements in AI that can further elevate your CRM capabilities: With the rise of AI in CRM functions, staying informed on new developments ensures you leverage the most efficient tools for your business.

Sponsor for this episode...

This is brought to you by Quik!

At Quik!, we provide forms automation and management solutions for companies seeking to maximize their potential productivity.

Using our FormXtract API, you can submit your completed forms and get clean, context-rich data that is 99.9% accurate.

Our vision is to become the leading forms automation company by making paperwork the easiest part of every transaction.

Meanwhile, our mission is to help the top firms in the financial industry raise their bottom line by streamlining the customer experience with automated, convenient solutions.

Go to to learn more, or contact us with questions at

Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:02 

Welcome to The Customer Wins podcast, where business leaders discuss their secrets and techniques for helping their customers succeed and in turn grow their business.

Richard Walker 0:16 

Hi, I'm Rich Walker, the host of The Customer Wins, where I talk to business leaders about how they help their customers win and how their focus on customer experience leads to growth. Some of our past guests have included Rick Williamson of Redtail, Whit Lanier of Amplify Reviews, Ryan Shanks of FA Match and Chuck Failla of Sovereign Financial Group. Today I'm speaking with Stephanie Dannebaum, founder and CRM consultant of Stephanie Dannebaum Consulting. And today's episode is brought to you by Quik! the leader in enterprise forms processing. When your business relies upon processing forms, don't waste your team's valuable time manually reviewing the forms, instead get Quik!. Using our Form Xtract API, simply submit your completed forms and get back clean, context-rich data that is 99.9% accurate. Visit to get started.


All right, I'm really excited to talk to today's guest. I was hoping to have somebody like her on the show who can really talk to CRM stuff. So Stephanie is the founder and CRM consultant at Stephanie Dannebaum Consulting, a CRM consulting firm for financial advisors and financial planners. In her role as a strategic partner, her goal is to be a facilitator to guide financial advisors and planners to elevate their CRM systems with proven solutions for clients success and sustainable business growth. Before pivoting to a consulting role, she spent the last decade gaining experience in operations, investment management and financial planning. She has first-hand experience with various software systems, predominantly CRM systems such as Redtail CRM, now owned by Orion, and Wealthbox CRM. It is her mission to develop CRM systems based on roles and business goals to ensure the highest level of adoption and success. Stephanie, welcome to The Customer Wins.

Stephanie Dannebaum 1:53

Thank you for having me, I really appreciate it.

Richard Walker 1:56 

Yeah, I'm excited to talk to you as I said, so for those who haven't heard this podcast before I talk with business leaders about what they're doing to help their customers win, how they build and deliver great customer experience and the challenges to growing their own company. Stephanie, let's understand your business a little better. How does your company help people?

Stephanie Dannebaum 2:12 

Definitely. So my main goal is like you were mentioning to really empower financial advisors by utilizing technology. So the CRM is at the hub of your advisor tech. So my goal is to educate both financial advisors, as well as their staff to really understand how best to utilize the features. So that way they can spend as much time as they can with their clients.

Richard Walker 2:33 

So you and I have a lot in common here, because my company is actually called Efficient Technology, Inc. and our original goal, when we were doing consulting, was to help people be more efficient with the techniques they already had, and really empower them to do more. Why did you choose the CRM as your focus?

Stephanie Dannebaum 2:48 

Definitely. So I think with the CRM, that's really the hub and everything connects with it. So you want to have your staff be going into the CRM, that's where you can be as proactive as you can with your clients. So having that to be as robust as possible only empowers the team as well as your Client Servicing activities. I think the other ones are super important. As you mentioned, I have experience with investment management and financial planning. So I've used all of those as well. So I've done pair planning, I've done all of that. But I felt like the CRM is one area that the advisors could utilize the most help with. And so again, as you mentioned, I'm a strategic partner over at Redtail. And being able to be a partner and support advisors as well as the CRM systems made sense to me.

Richard Walker 3:31 

Yeah, I think it makes sense. And I agree with you, it is the hub, it's the central place, it's the record of truth for most advisors. Do you see a lot of advisors still not adopting and using CRM?

Stephanie Dannebaum 3:42 

Yes, I would say quite a few still don't. I talked to a lot of advisors who are still either in Excel, or they have another way of documenting their procedures, and as well as monitoring their contacts, but really capitalizing on the technology that is available to them. I mean, I know it's expensive when we talk about a larger group that is having to build out their CRMs. But in the grand scheme of things, it's worth the investment. And what's great about a lot of these CRMs today is that they're really trying to be customized to financial services. So, there are a lot of other CRMs out there that I've seen people use and it's great. But if you can focus on a wealth management one, it makes more sense because they're built for financial advisors. So whether it's the practice management side, so the workflows, for instance, or if you need to do certain features, like account linking, they're really built for financial advisors and those different advisor tech solutions.

Richard Walker 4:38 

So often I find in business, we have to answer a question for ourselves as business owners. Do we want to work with people who already understand what we do? Or do we want to educate people to try to get them to adopt what we do and then use our services? So I'm wondering, have you answered that question? Do you have a specific target customer?

Stephanie Dannebaum 4:56 

Yeah, I think for me, I like to help everyone, I've always been that way. I think where I thrive as a consultant is that I've always been the resident tech expert in the firms that I worked with when I started out in operations and then migrated into being an advisor. But I was always in charge of making sure that everyone understood the technology. So I was always the subject matter expert. And I really thought that that really empowered the firm. And so I like to translate that with my clients. So I always try to empower all team members, whether you're an administrator, or you're the owner of the firm, like you mentioned before, I always like to view the CRM based on the role that you have. So everyone should be going into the CRM, for instance, but depending on what your role is, in the firm, there are different areas that you should be focusing on.


So if you're an administrator, you want to be doing the day-to-day tasks, probably more on the contact management to monitor those birthdays, for instance. But then as the owner of the firm, you're going out and you're meeting with these clients, you want to be running reports and seeing what happened during the last meeting that you had with them, what's upcoming, what milestones are happening in their life. So being able to understand how best to use the system based on your role is really, really important. But I always like to empower team members, the clients that I've worked with, they like to view me as a designated hitter. So I come in, I help them, I empower them, I provide them training. And then whenever they need me to come back, I empower them. But my goal is really to make sure that the team knows how to use the system, get a subject matter expert in-house, so that way, they feel empowered, and they want to buy into utilizing the system.

Richard Walker 6:35 

So a long time ago and early in the history of my company, one of the ways I would help people is I would give a presentation on how to build an efficient office like I was part of FPA and I'd go to different chapters and do that. So you just mentioned something that I think is critical to this, a lot of people think of technology as the cure to the silver bullet. And I think of it as only a tool, I think it's more important to find the process, define the role to perform each step in the process, and then find the tool and don't try to force people to really adapt to their capabilities and their skill sets according to their role. So it's really nice to hear that you kind of think you're thinking the same way, leverage what people have and what their skills are. Right.

Stephanie Dannebaum 7:16 

Right, exactly. And really just empowering people based on those roles. And then there's no question. So, by us building out those workflow templates, for instance, and having all of those procedures documented, making sure that everything is crystal clear of what the expectations are, because then you can translate that into other areas. So let's say, someone wants to be groomed into being an advisor, you can utilize those metrics to do promotions to do bonuses. So again, you can really utilize the software to empower team members to have, there's a lot of teams I work with, where they say, oh, I'm sending emails back and forth for different questions. And that is so much time wasted. So I call it switching costs, there's a lot of time where you're having to talk with one team member, see if this is correct, what's the status of this? What's the status of that?


And so by having everything in the CRM, and all of your steps already ironed out, and everything is automatically being triggered with workflows, for instance, then there's no question and you're able to really focus on why a lot of the advisors that I work with got into the business, which is to work with their clients, and to have those one on one meetings and to support their lives. And so, again, that's where I really see an opportunity to capitalize on this software to empower people. So, I'm sure we'll talk about AI here shortly and I agree with it, it's the same thing where I feel like its technology is really meant to empower humans and team members and such versus it being a hindrance or something. So, I would say when I first worked with clients, if there is any hesitation, as far as, going all in and actually using a CRM, especially those who are more focused on using Excel spreadsheets, and such, I explained to them the value add, and I think the practice and the understanding of how to use it will really empower team members.

Richard Walker 9:03 

Okay, so you're using one of my favorite words, which is empower, because I think my job is to empower others to be their best version of themselves, and in my company, empower others to do their best work, but there's something in the clue of what you've said. And maybe I should just ask you, I mean, what do you believe is actually empowerment? And how do you achieve that? Because I can empower my wife to clean the car all day long with the best tools, but she'll never do it.

Stephanie Dannebaum 9:26 

Right. I think it's all about I mean, to me, it's incentives. So I mean, I have two kids, and I want to make sure that they grow up understanding what is expected of them, and I want to make them as the best humans possible. And I think aligning those incentives really and understanding of what's required and what's needed to be done. I played sports my whole life. I played lacrosse in college. And I've always been part of a team and I understand what it means to empower everyone else and work together on a common goal. And so I think rallying people and I think that's translated to me being a consultant, I love to get with teams to rally them together with a common goal of servicing clients. And really, at the end of the day, making sure that they're happy with where they're at, in their journey as far as whether they're trying to be promoted to a different role, or if they want to stay within but just bolster their understanding of what needs to be done for a client.


I try to see from every single perspective, just because of my background, I started out as a client service associate, and then did some investment management and financial planning, like I mentioned. So I understand, no matter where you are, in your journey in financial services, I understand what you're looking for. And then how do we empower you to feel like you're part of the conversation? I think bringing everyone on at the table, if you will, when we're talking about those procedures is really critical too. So getting buy-in is also asking all of the junior and senior leadership, okay, what do you do on a day to day basis? Well, how can we implement that into this procedure, so that way your voice is heard, because there are a lot of, even when I was working before, I've seen just so many times where that is not the case.


And so making sure that no matter what your role is, you're heard, you're being part of the conversation, and you're part of that vision of going forward with the firm, I've seen that switch of understanding how to be part of something, I think that is where that empowerment, feel, they feel more, open to having that conversation. So yeah, I've noticed a huge problem, I have one client and where I've seen a huge transition, we had to find a service associate who's quite kind of timid, which I don't blame her, she was newer, newer to the industry. But after about a couple months of us working together, she's the one always contributing, she's the one that's very vocal. And I feel like a lot of that comes down to giving her the power to actually speak up. And now I feel like that has only benefited the firm.

Richard Walker 9:29 

Yeah, so you said a whole bunch of really valuable, powerful things in there about including people in the conversation recognizing who they are. I want to point out something else that I think is really very awesome. And something you've said here, which is when you align somebody with their role to the technology, what you're actually doing is, let's take a step back, I think most people are in a role that they want to be in. So yeah, some people want to move out, some people are not happy with their job. That's true of all places, but most people I think are in the role they want to be in. And what you're doing by aligning the tech with them is you're enabling them to do their job better, faster, easier, more fun, etc. And to me, that's empowerment, that's how you really get people to do their best work, if you're giving them something they already want to do and a methodology to do it even better.

Stephanie Dannebaum 12:01 

Exactly, no, if you can make it fun, I think that's a huge game changer. And being able to, having them feel like they're part of the conversation and just part of the whole process. But yeah, I feel like that's with everything, whether it's school, or sports are our work. If you can make it fun, and you can make it something where you feel like you have a voice, I think that makes a huge, big difference.

Richard Walker 13:10 

Okay, so you said a lot of rounds. Another topic, I wanted to ask, I want to bring a little bit more clarity to it. What do you think are the bullet points, like high levels? What are the most factors that cause resistance to adopting a CRM in the first place?

Stephanie Dannebaum 13:26 

Yeah, I'd say probably the top reasons. One, it seems to be too complicated. There's not enough time to put in to actually going back from that step away from the business and actually building it out that there's maybe not enough capabilities of the software that need to be fulfilled. And then I think also just not understanding what it is really capable of. So I think those are just a lot of these roadblocks that people have. And honestly, their misconceptions, I would say, a lot of the time, the reason why people aren't implementing their serums are just myths, there's no reason why there should be that roadblock. But I think probably the biggest thing is time.


I mean, a lot of advisors I work with. I mean, you're meeting with clients so much is going on within the business that to turn around and have to work on the business takes a lot of time. And you have to dedicate that and allocate it in order to really capitalize on that. So that's where I'm able to come in, and really help out these advisors carve out that time we meet, we make sure that the system is appropriate. And it's worth that investment of time because in the long run, you're not having to spend all that time on the switching costs. So that's where I talk to my clients and say, look, let's just get together for two to three months, let's get this done. So that way, in the long term, all of a sudden your switching costs are gonna go so short, that then you're going to be spending your time with your clients and really being as efficient as possible.

Richard Walker 14:55 

Yeah. So there's something that happens in the sales process when you're selling technology. All of your services, etc. And that is when somebody thinks your price is too high, they actually don't understand the value that you're bringing to them, or they don't see it because it doesn't apply to them, which is perfectly fine too, you're not a fit for everything, right. But I think in the CRM case, I have a hard time thinking of an advisory firm that wouldn't benefit from using a CRM better, or using one at all. I mean, it's incredible when I meet firms that are like, yeah, we use Outlook, like, that's good enough. That's not actually a CRM, I'm sorry, that's very basic contact management, with emails attached to it, or like you said, Excel. Oh, my gosh, that's a nightmare. But I wonder if you can kind of spell out CRM is a big thing. But a lot of people think of it as just, oh, I put my contact records in there. What are the core values that you get and benefits that you get? I mean, we talked about efficiency, but like workflows, storage, what is it? What are all the things you get with a CRM?

Stephanie Dannebaum 15:54 

So I'd say, when people first talk to me, they say, oh, it's just a digital Rolodex, it's just a way for me to throw a bunch of names in there, and I don't need to use it. But again, what's really great about the CRM today is that they have taken that to the next level. So we have those contacts, but then you're able to actually take action. So I'm all about being proactive. And so really, not only can you keep contact information in there, but then there's a lot of key aspects of those different clients, prospects that you can track. So we're talking about sources. So for instance, when I meet with clients, we say, okay, let's see, where are we getting a lot of our clients from? It looks like a referral. Okay, we can put money, time, everything into working on our referral base.

Richard Walker 16:39 

Intelligence about what you're doing.

Stephanie Dannebaum 16:40 

Exactly, exactly. So having that. So being proactive, making sure you're filling out all of the contact information you have more than just a phone number and an address, like, what is the source? Did you meet them somewhere in particular, then there's also keywords and custom fields within the system. So you can start tagging things. So if you have a bunch of people that come to a certain client event, or if you have a common interest among your client base, so niche is a word that keeps getting thrown around in our industry, and being able to utilize those features to segment those people, you can send out broadcast emails, through that you can be able to grab those people and then launch a workflow for that client review.


So workflows for the practice management side are pretty robust. We have workflows, which are automatic tasks that can be launched, I always say workflows at a bare minimum, you should have one for prospecting, onboarding, and a client review. And then the CRMs also have more one-off items in nature, whether it's a task, or an activity template. And the templates, in my opinion are, what makes those practice management aspects paramount is the fact that you can templatize all of those different items. So again, there's no question. So you can most definitely create a workflow one-off if you wanted to. But to me being able to structure saying, okay, these are the procedures I take when it comes to prospecting, when we do Client Servicing, beneficiary updates, account information updates, having everything structured, so that way, there's no question, we go to the custodian, and we do this, we then contact the client for this reason. So having everything documented, it's in the system, there's no question as far as what is required of you.


There's also an opportunity section with a lot of these CRMs to help foster that lead generation as well as prospecting, so you can track them saying, if you're a lead advisor, and you want to see where you are in your sales pipeline, or maybe it also shows different bottlenecks, for instance, so I've seen some advisors where we go through and we see oh, wow, step number three out of five of our prospect that we have, maybe 80% of the people here, why is that? Oh, it's because of XYZ reasons. So really understanding, I like to build the CRM, where you're being proactive on a day-to-day basis, filling out those notes, filling out the contact information, doing those workflows, but then in a month, six months, a year's time, when you're having to gather all that information, then you're able to run those reports and see and get those insights and those metrics, so that way, you know what's going on. So, the reporting feature in all of these CRMs is really robust.


Some have pre-populated reports, some you can make them completely custom. But that's my goal is to have it be where the CRM is going. And then if you need to check in for different items, whether it's for internal purposes, or for Client Servicing reasons, to me that's where I see the fruition of all that hard work on the day-to-day. And so again, that's where I like to empower a lot of the different team members saying, look, I know that day to day seems, you know, minute and it's not maybe as important, but when we talk about it as a whole, utilizing the reports, you can actually gather all this information and have those metrics so that way the firm can succeed.

Richard Walker 20:08 

You're right, that makes it really truly the hub. It's the core of the business, because it's really doing everything you can operate your entire business from it. And look, I'm going to say something that may sound like I'm underprepared for my meetings when I go to them, but our CRM makes me so efficient, I can look at the notes very, very fast from the last meeting and prior meetings, emails that have come through with this customer, I can do that just a few minutes before I start a call and be relatively up to speed as to what we're going to talk about next. Because it is in my CRM, it's all right there. And it's so easy to access, we've gone further with our hours in terms of what product they have, and what services they have, and agreement types, etc. But I think that's one of the beauties as well is that you can customize a CRM to meet the specific needs of a workflow or a business operation or the type of firm that they are. Right.

Stephanie Dannebaum 20:57 

Right, exactly. So, they've all done a great job of having a standard platform, and standard areas that you can be able to implement. But there's so much that you can do on a custom basis. So whether it's custom fields to track certain data points, or if it's behind the scenes, and you need to customize different options within the contact card, for instance, or if you need to, the status, or the contact type, however, you want to categorize or segment contacts, for instance, there's definitely a lot of ways and that's where I'm able to essentially take advisors, procedures and bring them to life. So everyone has their secret sauce, everyone wants to make sure that they apply what they do with their clients. And so again, that's where I step in and help really customize the CRM, because everyone does it differently.


And there's no reason for a firm to think that, oh, just because I'm down the street from this person, I have to do it the same way. I do have a lot of advisors who come to me and say, well, what did they do? Is it a good way to do it? And so, I'm more than happy to share those best practices, I have seen a lot of trends, as I've worked with clients, especially when we talk about the independent space, and then the broker-dealer space, making sure that if they have a good way of approaching the CRM, how can we align with similarly. But I would say more often than not people have their own way of approaching their clients. And we want to make sure that the CRM reflects that.

Richard Walker 22:27 

Yeah. Awesome. All right. So I have another question, integrations, like, now that you have the hub in place, there's all sorts of different types of other products they're using, but people often refer to it as the tech stack, but I don't want to get too technical. What are the most important and the most popular integrations that you see customers using? And I'm not asking you to say quick, by the way, not at all? So if it happens to be great, but no.

Stephanie Dannebaum 22:50 

No, I mean, Quik! is pretty popular, I would say, depending on how large the firm is, it just depends on what kind of software. I mean, when we're talking about that solo advisor, or a smaller firm, we're talking the baseline, so probably the portfolio management software, and then your custodian, possibly, depending on how you want to have the accounts coming in, and then obviously, financial planning software, if that's possible. And then there's a lot of other form generation software, but there's larger firms, I would say, they're looking at even more of a robust Kitsis has this awesome, tech map, and you can actually search, it's huge now, I feel like, not that long ago, it was like, half the size, and now it's gonna be a whole wall here pretty soon.


But what I really appreciate as someone being in the industry, you can actually search in their directory. And so what they've done is, in my opinion, they've done a great job of setting the baseline of, hey, if you're a solo advisor, these are the five different software's you should probably be thinking about. And then if you're a medium, or if you're a large enterprise, it just shows you all of the different options that are out there. So definitely say, some sort of meeting software is really popular these days, again, being able to alleviate administrative time within those meetings when I first started.

Richard Walker 24:17 

Do you mean like calendar scheduling?

Stephanie Dannebaum 24:19 

Like a meeting summary. So I mean, I'd say, when I first got in the industry, I was sitting in so I would take the calls we had back when I was in operations, I would sit in a lot of the client meetings and handwrite, all of these notes, and then I would have to scan them and then get them in the system and then retype them into the system. And nowadays fast forward a decade, I mean, you have AI meeting summary software, you have dictation software, you have all these different options now, again, to alleviate your staff, and it's not to and again, like we were talking about earlier, it's not to remove the administrative tasks that need to happen as far as from certain team members. It's to empower them and have them Focus on what actually needs to happen, manually and it needs to have the human behind it.


Having those phone calls talking to someone, if we have to call someone because of a life event, you don't want to have someone out, you want the human to be making that phone call. You shouldn't be bogged down having to retype notes from the last meeting, right? So, again, trying to relocate someone's time to be more efficient. But yeah, I'd say meeting summary is probably a very popular integration these days, as well as portfolio management, financial planning, depending on where you are in the industry, whether you're investment-focused, but it seems like they come out all the time, compliance is another popular one. And so really, again, the goal is to have all the information be funneling into the CRM. But what's also great too, is what the CRM has done with these partners is done single sign-on.


So the goal is, if you need to meet your head there, the goal is really to go into the CRM, be able to view something, especially the lead advisor, who they're busy with. So they need to spend five to 10 minutes really getting the lay of the land of what needs to happen during that next meeting, for instance. And then being able to go back in with a single sign-on if you need more details. Let's say we look at the portfolio, and there's a statement that is saved within the CRM, you look at it, and you see a position, maybe that was kind of shocking to you, as far as the performance, you can quickly just click the single sign-on and go back to the custodian and see the history. So you want to have as much in a CRM, but what I appreciate is that with the single sign-on, you're quickly able to go back and dig deeper into what is going on with that client, depending on the kind of software that you're working in.

Richard Walker 26:45 

Times have changed so much. I think back to 2000, when I joined my mentor and his business and financial planning, and prior to joining him, I had actually helped build his CRM, a custom-built CRM and Microsoft Access of all things. But what were our choices back then? Right. I mean, there really wasn't much out there. So things you're talking about, like getting portfolio analysis, we had integrated with Morningstar, so we could get all that data analyzed.


I had actually built a charting system with the Yahoo API's to get chart data. And we can see real time position changes. Wow, it was so hard to do all those things. Now, oh, my gosh, I'm so jealous. So talking about change, let's talk a little bit about AI. We're gonna run out of time. But let's talk a little bit about AI, artificial intelligence. How are you seeing artificial intelligence change the game and the client experience and the CRM experience?

Stephanie Dannebaum 27:39 

Definitely, I'd say the AI probably the biggest area is that meeting summary that we had talked about. So, what's happening is with AI, they're able to gather all of that information from that meeting, and be able to synthesize it and figure out okay, what are the key action items? And what are the main points of that conversation? So I'd probably say that's probably one of the largest areas, in addition to prospecting. So I've seen some prospecting software come about that is helping out with AI trying to figure out essentially, to delineate, where are people coming from, you know, where, where, how can we garner more people that align with either our values or the types of locations that we are looking for? So I would say those are the two major areas that I'm seeing, as well as the CRM themselves are trying to figure out how they can utilize the AI capabilities?


But I'd say, it's definitely at the forefront of a lot of conversations, and is just trying to figure out again, not only the technology, but with the AI and we're trying to figure out okay, how can we best use it to empower as the conversation it seems like that has been the theme of today's conversation, trying to make sure that it's, again, it doesn't take away from the role but if it can alleviate and those action items and the meaning summary can be generated in a matter of minutes, versus again, having someone sit down like I did a decade ago typing out every single one. So again, it's just trying to make sure that you're capitalizing on the software, but I would say it's definitely not going away. If anything, I feel like a lot of those software companies that are on the Kitsis advisor tech, they're only going to add it.


I've seen it go from zero to I feel like a bunch in the last couple months. So I just keep on getting I've seen them and keep on getting pinged about different options that are coming about. I don't see it going away. If anything, I see more and more people using it.

Richard Walker 29:39 

Yeah. I just interviewed Corey Westfall of Mobile Assistant. Yep. And they do dictation stuff. And he really emphasized the human component, which is also a theme with AI. You can't erase the human, especially when it comes to intelligence and seeing the big picture with stuff. But I really love how AI is helping us become more efficient, streamlining things, giving us insights, etc. Is there an AI wish that you have? Like, is there something you wish AI could do in the future?

Stephanie Dannebaum 30:09 

Oh, gosh, I think that's a good question.

Richard Walker 30:14 

You don't have to answer it because it's a big one.

Stephanie Dannebaum 30:16 

No, I know. That is a big one. But I think just continuing to understand how we can do a lot of these, there's so many manual tasks that have to be done. And so trying to figure out how we can alleviate that so that we can be in front of clients. So especially in financial services, I think of a lot of those manual tasks, which again, I think that's where like those meeting notes and such, and even when I talk about AI meeting notes, I mean, I always recommend just because the AI engine did that doesn't mean that it's perfect. So it's super important that the human come in and review those notes and make sure but at least you're not having to do those keystrokes. You're just having to go through and review it and make sure that it's correct. But I think my goal, my vision, and what I would love to see with AI is just to empower people so that way, they can focus on the human element of why they're in the industry.

Richard Walker 31:09 

Yeah, yeah. Which goes back to the first part of our conversation about the role, right. And I used to be a consultant with Arthur Andersen and we've worked with big Fortune five hundreds, people would be threatened that the new technology is going to take their job away, like, no, it's not gonna take your job away, it's gonna make it better, it's gonna let you do the things that you're actually paid to do. I have yet to meet the person who likes typing data into forums or off of forums, we get to eliminate that part. So you can do what really matters. And so Stephanie, I have another question for you. But we're gonna have to wrap up before I ask it, what's the best way for people to find and connect with you?

Stephanie Dannebaum 31:45 

Definitely, the best way to connect with me is to go onto my website, which has just my first and last name, Schedule a time for us to chat. Another way is to go on to LinkedIn, I do a monthly newsletter chatter that really matters. So I always like to talk about the latest that's happening with the CRM, as well as my business and just the industry as a whole. And then I have my contact information on both of those locations.

Richard Walker 32:11 

Awesome. Awesome. All right. So here's my last question, who has had the biggest impact on your leadership style and how you approach your role?

Stephanie Dannebaum 32:18 

Gosh, I'd probably say, my mentor when I first got in the industry, so about a decade ago, I was in the midst of getting my MBA, and a family friend of mine talked to me about how financial services is a blossoming industry. He had a background in insurance. But he really showed me how I can marry the two aspects of why I wanted to be in the career, which is how do I help people? And then how can I plan and do that? I did city planning for undergrad. And so I really wanted to figure out how I can still support people. And so I thought that that was a great way for me. And he did. I'm very grateful for him. He groomed me, and we started out in operations. And he showed me how I could support families in their financial goals. So I'm very eternally grateful for him.


He showed me how to be a leader, how to run a business, how I can support family members, his biggest mantra was, it doesn't matter what the day to day is, you got to know your clients dog's name, because they know that then you have that personal relationship. And I'm all about having that relationship with not only the clients that I worked with previously, but also my clients that I work with. I want to know who they are, what drives them, what's their niche. So for me, that was a very big part of my life and I still talk to him today. He has now retired, but he's a great guy. And I really appreciate everything that he did for me and really helped me understand how to be successful in this industry.

Richard Walker 33:49 

I love hearing that. I love hearing that. I love how people give to each other and inspire others to become better. And that's what you're doing for your clients now. So you had a good pattern set for you that you're now repeating. That's so awesome. All right, I want to give a huge thank you to Stephanie Dannebaum, founder and CRM consultant at Stephanie Dannebaum Consulting for being on this episode of The Customer Wins. Go check out Stephanie's website at And don't forget to check out Quik! at where we make processing forms easy. I hope you enjoyed this discussion, will click the like button, share this with someone and subscribe to our channels for future episodes of The Customer Wins. Stephanie, thank you so much for joining me today.

Stephanie Dannebaum 34:27 

Thanks so much Rich. It was a pleasure talking to you.

Outro 34:30 

Thanks for listening to The Customer Wins podcast. We'll see you again next time. And be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.


bottom of page