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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Hourihan

Why It Feels Impossible to Stay Current with Technology

“I play email whack-a-mole,” explained one advisor at a recent meeting. She said everyday it feels like an arcade battleground to stay on top of incoming emails.

“Is this Tetris or my calendar?” Hard to tell the difference. With back-to-back conference calls, traveling to meetings, and family matters, it’s challenging to schedule all the requirements of a busy professional.

“Oh, it’s easy. Just connect the APIs.” Sure, right on it. But first, what is an API and how do you plug it in?

Whether it is the volume of daily emails, overscheduling, and/or new technology emerging every second, it can be overwhelming. However, in this article, we are going to share some ideas to tackle your inbox, add breathing room to your calendar, and discuss some of our favorite technologies for retirement plan advisors.

Email Whack-A-Mole

Does it feel like we’re getting more emails than ever before? In 2016, the average person received 88 emails per day and sent 34 emails out. Now, it is reported that professionals receive 121 emails a day and send around 40 business emails. That is a 24 % increase in daily emails coming and going!

Also, think how many times per day you check your emails. For example, if you do it when you wake up, get to work, on conference calls, after work, after dinner, before bed and all the times in-between, the average person totals 74 times per day. It’s no wonder that many people feel overwhelmed.

So, how do you tackle the mole? Schedule three 30-minute placeholders on your calendar. First thing in the morning, for example, when you’re drinking your coffee. Then after lunch, say around 1:00 pm. One last time before you close it down for the evening. Each of these placeholders is sacred time and cannot be moved or altered. These are your email blocks. Only there and then will you see, read, and reply to communication.

Put the phone down. Many love having emails on their phone, or watch, and I can attest that it is not always the most efficient way of communicating. It has a time and place, while you are traveling, for example. However, we feel that dedicating time to focus on thoughtful responses is better than a quick, one-handed response while ordering a coffee.

To be honest, it might be incredibly challenging to stick to this calendar. All you can do it try. By having time blocked, it helps the mind relax and not frantically wait for the next mole to pop up your inbox. [If you have tips on how to keep your inbox under control, please share below.]

Tetris Calendars

Legendary business coach, Dan Sullivan, has the recipe for success: free days, focus days, and buffer days. It’s the efficient entrepreneur’s ideal workflow system to take back control over your calendar (and life).

It starts with blocking certain days on the calendar that are for only specific activities and then truly committing and following these principles – and they are non-negotiable. It takes extreme self-discipline and work to follow, but that’s the path of an effective entrepreneur.

Connecting APIs

As a retirement plan advisor, here are some of the technologies we feel your business should either subscribe to and/or have accessibility.

  • CRM (e.g. Salesforce, InfusionSoft)

  • Form 5500 search capabilities (e.g. Retirement Plan Vision, FBi, Brightscope, Judy Diamond, ERISApedia)

  • RFP analysis (e.g. RFP Director, RPAG)

  • Investment screening and monitoring (e.g. Fi360, Envestnet, RPAG, FiRM, Rixtrema)

  • Fee benchmarketing reports (e.g. FBi)

  • Digital fiduciary vault

  • Financial wellness providers (Edu(k)ate, JellyVision,, SmartDollar, just to name a few)

  • Bulk email provider (Constant Contact, MailChimp, InfusionSoft)

  • Specialized marketing content (Retirement Plan Marketing, RPAG, FMG Suite)

  • Google Analytics

By leveraging technology and resources, you can learn more about the plan before meeting with the prospect, so you can have a meaningful conversation about the findings, present relevant reports, discuss costs vs. value, and store everything in a secure online fiduciary vault to help the plan sponsor with their fiduciary plan governance.

Taking this process a step further, by learning about current financial wellness providers, you can address two top concerns of plan sponsors effectively preparing employees for retirement and helping to retain top workers, to help them understand better how their workplace retirement plan is making a difference for their employees.

And, of course, there is marketing. How will prospects and centers of influence learn who you are and what you do without promoting your experience? Marketing involves a series of campaigns to drive new business activities.

Lastly, it’s all about data, so by linking Google Analytics to your website, you can learn more information about site visitors, so you can continue to improve online prospects’ digital paths and convert them into pipeline opportunities and, ultimately, new clients.

Mastering the adult arcade of emails and calendars will take time. The first step is acknowledging how much time and anxiety emails can cause and then finding the calendar solution that works for you. Next is learning from the master how to optimize time through efficient scheduling and that taking a mental break actually boosts productivity. As for tools and technology, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are great firms today that have created excellent interfaces that help retirement plan advisors organize and optimize their internal processes. These structures help retirement plan advisors with internal organization, as well provide an exceptional client experience for plan sponsors and participants. All the while, you are moving more hard workers towards retirement success.

Thanks for reading and Happy Marketing!

About 401(k) Marketing

We believe the retirement plan industry can do better. Our clients are the best professional retirement plan advisors and TPAs in the business. They care deeply about saving America’s retirement future. We are proud to share their voices through industry writings, professionally-designed marketing materials (including websites), and expert content collateral. We lend support by promoting businesses through ongoing awareness campaigns.

About Retirement Plan Marketing

Retirement Plan Marketing is a product of 401(k) Marketing and is an ongoing turnkey marketing solution for retirement plan advisors. It is an easy-to-follow, consistent marketing program designed to get you noticed in your community and generate new retirement plan sales. When you deliver relevant plan sponsor content, you add value to your conversations and can work your way up to become known as the “go-to” retirement plan advisory office.

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