“Where do we start?” is a question that many advisers have as they try to understand the dynamics of successfully working with an outsourced provider. From delivering 10,000+ advice documents over the past decade, there are a few things that we have learnt along the way.
In general, ‘outsourcing’ is a poor word to describe what good providers do. The word ‘partnering’ better defines the relationship required between an adviser and specialist provider to achieve optimal outcomes. This is primarily because partnering with a specialist provider is not a turnkey solution – it requires significant investment from both parties in terms of understanding each other’s businesses. Spending this time upfront will help uncover problems in your practice that you didn’t even know existed.
Understanding this dynamic and preparing to invest your time and energy is the first step towards success. Here are a few other specifics to keep in mind as you transition towards working with a specialist provider:
A blanket approach doesn’t work
All too often, an adviser will look at another practice that is partnering successfully and immediately try to replicate this model in their own practice. This will not work because each practice has its own way of doing things – you can’t take a blanket approach to partnering, you will only end up disappointed.
Before you begin, do your research – start by speaking to prospective partners and gaining insights on how they operate to shortlist those that are most suited to your style and how you operate. It is also a good idea to leverage your relationship with your licensee as they are invested in your success.
Plan the roll-out and define success
Once you have selected a partner firm, extensively plan the roll-out of the project together and define the key stages along the way. During this process, you can work with your specialist provider to map out processes and understand the partner firm’s information requirements (such as completed PFPs and Service Request Forms) – this will help them to deliver the best possible outcomes for your business.
Once this is done, you can then proceed to define milestones for each of the key stages identified – helping manage everyone’s expectations on what ‘success’ means. There are three quick and easy measures to keep in mind when evaluating success: the time you save from partnering (resulting in more face time with clients), peace of mind from the reduced workload, and the quality of output.
Reflect, review and develop
As a rule of thumb, we make sure to touch-base with any new practice that we onboard roughly two weeks into the relationship. This gives us the opportunity to review the progress of the transition and provides insight into the good, bad and ugly – helping us to make those slight but vital adjustments prior to moving forward. Based on the outcomes from this meeting, further reviews might happen weekly or even daily until we are certain that we are on track to deliver the desired outcomes.
Stick with the plan and watch your benchmarks
While everything mentioned above is important, you will not witness the impact of partnering unless you check in and review the plan that you have developed. Is your partner firm on track to deliver the outcomes in the specified timelines? Have you continued with your share of the responsibilities or have you dropped the ball along the way? Consistently monitoring progress is vital for a successful partnership, and provides a great opportunity to make your partner aware if they need to step up.
Overall, doing your research and investing energy upfront will set the foundation for a strong and lasting partnership with your specialist provider. It is also important to keep in mind that specialist providers have already ‘made the mistakes’ that you will inevitably make when trying to manage the entire process in-house. The teams behind partnering solutions are there to help you get to where you want to be – it is beneficial for us to lead you to the best outcomes, because your success drives ours.
We would love to hear from you, and help you run your practice in the most efficient way. Schedule a chat with us or reach out to our Head of Partnerships, Jay Beckton (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we will get in touch.