Ep. 239: The Breakaway Blueprint with Anand Sheth, Pulse360

Come on in, sit back and relax. You’re listening to Episode 239 of the WealthTech Today podcast. I’m your host, Craig Iskowitz, founder of Ezra Group Consulting. This podcast features interviews, news and analysis on the trends and best practices, all about wealth management technology.

This episode is part of our Breakaway Blueprint series, where we talk to technology leaders who have offerings and solutions that would be we feel would be great for breakaway advisors starting their own RIAs. The technology we’re talking about is called Pulse360, and my guest is the CEO and founder of the company, Anand Sheth. In this episode we spoke about the capabilities of Pulse360, specifically around client meeting organization and automation, around prospecting, around helping client migration when you sign a new client on how do you get them onboarded, and a new tool they launched called the AI Note Genius, which leverages generative AI to help advisors generate content.

But before we get started, let’s talk about tech stacks. At Ezra Group, we’ve seen tech stacks of hundreds of RIAs and let me tell you, most of them are loaded down with tech debt. So you shouldn’t feel too bad about yours. But let’s face it tech debt is like a giant anchor, holding back your business growth.

If you want to free your firm for exponential growth, you should run, not walk to our website EzraGroup.com and fill out the Contact Us form. Our experienced team can evaluate your current tech ecosystem, deliver targeted recommendations, optimize your existing systems and operations or run an RFP and help you implement new software to take your firm to the next level. You can take advantage of our free consultation offer by going to EzraGroup.com.

Topics Mentioned

  • Elevator Pitch for Pulse360
  • Client Migration
  • Supercharged Prospecting 
  • Efficiency Gains from AI
  • Pulse360 Product Roadmap

Episode Transcript

Craig: All right, we’re going to a slightly different format today. We’re just going to jump right in. I normally do the intro as a separate recording. I’m just going to jump into this interview. Anand, I’m glad you’re here, man.

Anand: Thank you for having me, Craig.

Craig: All right. I’m going to do a little intro to you separately before this. The editor will plug it in, and then we’ll have this interview going. Where are you calling in from? I think you’re in sunny California, aren’t you?

Anand: I am in sunny Southern California, yes.

Craig: Well, just so you know, don’t think you’ve got all the sun to yourself; it’s sunny in New Jersey now!

Anand: Yes, I know. Right now is not the perfect time for us to say ‘sunny Southern California,’ because it’s sunny everywhere in the US. But come wintertime, I’ll remind you again.

Elevator Pitch for Pulse360

Craig: Yes, when it’s November. I’ll have you back on in November and then you can tell me how terrible it is here in New Jersey when we’re getting sleet and you’re enjoying the weather. But let’s get into this interview. Can you please provide a 30-second elevator pitch for Pulse360?

Anand: Yes, sure. Pulse360 is a software tool that helps financial advisors turn their clients into raving fans. Typically, when you want to create raving fans so that they refer and you grow your practice, there’s a lot that goes behind it. You have to be organized. You have to deliver a higher level of client experience. It’s not just answering their phone [calls]; it’s more so. We’ve built a tool to help advisors streamline and systematize and bring in some automation and AI to do all of those things.

Client Migration

Craig: That was very concise and clear. Can you talk a little bit more about this? This is our Breakaway Advisor series. We’re talking to what we think are the best technology solutions for breakaway advisors. You are a breakaway advisor yourself, so you know a lot about this. Every breakaway advisor needs to migrate their clients from wherever they’re coming from—a wirehouse, broker-dealer. That’s a big issue. You want it to go very smoothly because that’s the heart and soul, the foundation of your new business. What can Pulse360 do to help breakaway advisors with their client migrations?

Anand: For breakaway advisors, when they leave, there’s so much on their plate. They have to do so many different elements. Where Pulse can come in is to say: If you’re bringing over clients, you’re going to need to have a communication strategy where you’re telling them what your services and fees are going to be and what accounts you’re going to potentially need to open up. When you’re migrating, you may be doing 10, 15, or 100 clients. And it’s pretty similar across the board in that sense. Yes, every client will be a different account and whatnot, but ultimately, the overall theme is the same: You have to communicate with them.

Anand: With Pulse360, with our powerful templating system and our powerful library, you can draft up these documents that make you look like a professional. And because we connect with your CRM as well, you can kick off workflows or tasks in there. You can make sure you and your team—if you’re going to have a team—are not dropping the ball on any of these things. It’s not just the communication to the client, but also the other side, which is: We’ve got to make sure we follow up on the statement requests or paperwork requests and things of that sort. We streamline that piece, at least from a migration perspective, for advisors.

Craig: That seems incredibly helpful. Talk about the connections to the CRM. When I’m in the application and kicking off workflows, is it hard? What do I have to do to make that happen?

Anand: We connect with three CRMs today: Redtail, Wealthbox, and Salesforce. With both Redtail and Wealthbox, we are bringing in the workflows that they may already have in those systems. In our system, it’s as easy as just picking the right workflow to get that started back in either Redtail or Wealthbox.

Craig: Those are the three most common CRMs. If any advisors are looking to launch their own RIAs, if they’re starting with any one of those three CRMs, this is going to plug right into Pulse360, no problem.

Anand: Yes. We do that easily and our integration is all automatic, so you don’t need to worry about any of those parts. It’s going to ping over into Redtail, Wealthbox, or Salesforce your notes and tasks. And we bring over the contact details so you don’t have to repopulate any of that. Those are the last pieces that you need to worry about when you have so much on your plate as a breakaway advisor.

Craig: One thing that you mentioned, Anand, is the templating system. I know what a template is. At least when I’m doing Microsoft Word, if there are documents that I do a lot, I can save it as a template. Then in Word, I can click ‘File’ —> ‘New’ —> ‘Template’, and I can get my list of templates, whether it’s meeting minutes, agenda, this kind of report, status report, or things like that. Up will come the template. Is it the same? What’s different about it? And what’s the power of the templating system in Pulse360?

Anand: I used to do that as well myself when I was in the advisor world for over two decades. The challenge with templates in Word or Google Docs is that each team member can have their own set of templates and now you start not being as consistent.

Anand: Secondly, even when you go and edit those templates, you’re going to have formatting issues. You’re going to be fighting with bullet points here, bold or italics here, and highlighting some things in here. All of that is taken care of by our template. Once you set it up, you don’t need to fuss around those things. You just need to focus on what you need to get out to the client.

Anand: Our templates are also on top [of that] created in [such] a way—and we’ve spent an enormous amount of energy and resources behind this—that they look very professional in emails. Emails are notorious; it’s an old technology, and not everything comes across on all the different devices. We’ve done an inordinate amount of work to make sure your image is preserved. Exactly how you format it is what gets delivered. And when the clients open it up, they see it that way.

Supercharged Prospecting

Craig: Excellent. That is much, much clearer. Thank you. Moving on from client migration, another aspect of being a breakaway advisor is that they now have to start prospecting for new clients, grow that business, and scale that business up. What are some of the ways that Pulse360 can help breakaway advisors with prospecting?

Anand: Especially when you’re breaking away and figuring out your marketing, you also have to be able to convert those potential client or prospect meetings into clients. There are a few steps that go into it. We feel that you should show your professionalism to all these prospects. What that means is that if somebody schedules a call with you or a meeting with you, send them a highly personalized agenda that, once it’s set up in our system, will take you two minutes to send. But the impact to the prospect is going to be “Wow, this advisor that I’m going to go meet with is very professional and has clearly mentioned what I am interested in” because, in our system, we allow you to personalize this and customize it before it’s being sent to the client or prospect in this case.

Anand: Then, let’s say you meet with them and they don’t decide to sign up right off the bat and now you need to send a follow-up. With Pulse360, what we recommend and how advisors can set it up is that with our different templates for prospect templates, just send a meeting summary in less than two minutes. You don’t have to give away the farm and detail out everything, but you can at least talk. If a prospect was interested in education and retirement, let’s say, you could put those notes and say: “We have lots of different choices for education, and I can help you navigate that.” That piece of language can be built into the email and, with a click, dropped in. And then you can email that to the prospect.

Anand: As I mentioned before, there’s a task element to this because you have to make sure that you’re not dropping the ball on the potential prospect. What if it takes them two weeks before they reach out to you or maybe three weeks? You could attach a task that goes back in your system—in Redtail, Salesforce, or Wealthbox—that will remind you to recheck in with the prospect and say: “Hey, can I help answer any questions?”

Anand: It’s a full system from the perspective of always making sure you look like a professional and you’re also not ending up spending a ton of time from your busy schedule doing these things. It could be just two minutes for an agenda; two minutes for a meeting summary. That creates a much bigger impression for your prospect. I think that part will increase the amount of prospects who decide to hire you versus not. There are many advisors who don’t do those steps. Versus with our tool now, you can without having to hire a whole army of people either.

Efficiency Gains from AI

Craig: That leads me into my next question for you, which is [concerning] the efficiency gains—the time saved by Pulse360. You’ve got a nice base of clients now. Can you talk to me about: How many meetings do they have a month? How long do they prep? How long do they follow up? And what are the time savings they’re seeing from Pulse360?

Anand: We looked at our data and on average, our advisors are doing around 30 meetings a month. That’s about 10 meetings a week, let’s just say. For each meeting, let’s say they’re an hour long, there’s time spent beforehand. Michael Kitces has great data on this, where you have to spend [time] getting prepared. That could be pulling reports, putting an agenda together, or reviewing: What are you supposed to talk about? What have you promised? All of that takes time.

Anand: We’ve seen advisors say they spend anywhere from 30 to 35 minutes preparing for the meeting. We have cut that down by half, so you’re saving 15 to 20 minutes just on the prep side of this world. Then, after the meeting, there is the other equation: You have to do the follow-up, as I was mentioning, for the prospect. You have to create tasks, kick off workflows, and create client communication.

Anand: With our AI tool, the NoteGenius, we’re seeing advisors who have communicated to us that we’re saving them anywhere from 50–70% of their time on the post side of things. Once it’s dialed in, it’s a repeat system that they can just use. That depends on different advisors, but typically that amounts to around 30 to 35 minutes for every meeting. You’re looking at close to an hour—30 to 35, 15 to 20 minutes—worth of time saved per single meeting for a client review.

Craig: And the average advisor has about 40 meetings a month, so saving an hour is 40 hours saved a month.

Anand: Yes. And if you want to be even more conservative because maybe you’re not doing everything possible, it’s at least 50% of that. You can easily say you are able to save 15 to 20 hours a month. You can utilize that time, especially if you’re a breakaway advisor, to do all the other things that you have to get done to make sure your clients are migrated, you’re getting new clients, or your practice is being set up the way you want.

Craig: Yes, man. We only have 24 hours in a day. Time is the one commodity you can’t buy, so giving it back is invaluable. You’re talking about a lot of hours per month.

Anand: Yes. What’s interesting is that, as advisors, we don’t notice this amount of time. What we always say is: “We don’t have enough time. We’re just so busy.” It’s because you’re spending time doing these manual pieces of work, which are not systematized or automated. You end up going on that wheel all the time for every meeting that you have.

Anand: Sometimes I’ve heard advisors [say that] they don’t even want to have scheduled meetings because they know how much work goes into it and comes out of it, which is not ideal. I’ve had two decades of experience; I’ve done all sides of this myself. If you just start thinking in terms of systems, then Pulse360 will help you from that perspective.

Anand: With our automation and our AI, even writing an email communication to your client, we’ve taken that off. Even creating and suggesting tasks—that’s all being done automatically with our NoteGenius system. You just have to review what the output is and say, “Yes, that’s fine,” and commit.

Craig: And that’s all there is to it. Moving to the next segment. We’ve done client migration. We’ve done prospecting. Now let’s talk about maintaining your business—maintaining your service levels at a high level. How can Pulse360 help with that?

Anand: This is something where, as I mentioned at the beginning, we’re helping advisors turn clients into raving fans. What does that mean? How do you convert a client into a raving fan? If you’re able to communicate better with your clients about their goals, beliefs, and values that you may have captured in a meeting a year ago, you can resurface it with a couple of clicks and share a document with them that shows them: “Hey, Craig, here are your beliefs and values that you’ve told me. You don’t like SIN stocks; you love ESG, for example.” You can put things of that sort into Pulse360 in a very organized way.

Anand: A couple of things our advisors always tell us are: 1) We’ve helped them deliver exceptional client service, and 2) we’ve become like a second brain for them because of the level of organization that comes with Pulse360. When you combine those tools from a client review perspective, your meeting prep is going to be much better. You’re not going to feel that you have dropped anything through the cracks because you can quickly see: “These are the items I have identified as [part of the] next meeting. I need to cover these items.” Or “This client has told me ‘don’t bring up SIN stocks'” or “they love ESG.” You can spend more time building portfolios or researching what they have and aligning that with their values and beliefs. That’s from a meeting prep perspective for a client review.

Anand: After the fact with the client review is the same concept: You push that through and then store these little nuances about a client into our system. Communicate with them via an email summary so that you can now show how professional you are and that you’ve been listening. Sometimes I know advisors—since I was one as well, I can say this—like to verbal vomit during a meeting. We could go an hour to an hour and a half. Our clients don’t remember half the things we tell them. In an hour, they’re gone. By recapping it in a proper email summary—which we make super easy with our NoteGenius AI tool—then you’re able to show that client that you’ve heard and documented everything. And with our tasks and automations, you’re not going to drop anything either. That’s where our client review process comes in for advisors where we can help. All this may sound the same across migrating clients, prospecting, or this. It’s just because it is that way. We’ve built it in a way that it’s not different every time. You basically follow the same steps over and over.

Craig: That’s where the templates come in.

Anand: That’s where the templates come in; that’s where our library comes in, which are text snippets that you may be using all the time. For example, why do you need to write an email to a client and say, “Use this link to schedule a time with me”? That should already be saved somewhere that you can just click and add. Or, “Hey, we’ve talked about your Roth IRA and IRA accounts and you need to do a risk assessment.”

Anand: With our connection with Nitrogen, previously Riskalyze, you can input the risk link directly from our software so you don’t have to jump into another software to do that. You can save this in a library so it’s always there and is a reminder for you to make sure what needs to be sent out to the client as well.

Craig: Can you explain how that works? What do you mean I can plug in that risk score from Nitrogen Wealth? How do I do that?

Anand: The risk assessment link. We’ve built in our connection with Nitrogen where, and this could happen with the prospect as well, if you want them to take a risk assessment that Nitrogen provides, you will typically log into Nitrogen and generate that link. Then you can copy and paste it in your email and send it. What we’ve done is build Nitrogen—at least that capability—directly into Pulse. When you’re writing that note, you can click a button and say, “Generate a link for me.” And we will go to Nitrogen, create that link, and then you can drop it in that email and send it off.

Anand: That saves you a few clicks and maybe a minute or two here. But once you start doing this for ten meetings a week, for example, the volume starts compounding. These are little time savings that we’ve built in.

Craig: It all adds up. All of the little time savings add up.

Anand: Yes.

Pulse360 Product Roadmap

Craig: We’re running out of time. Can you give us a little taste of what’s coming down the pipeline—the roadmap for Pulse360—in the next six to twelve months?

Anand: Six to twelve months—that’s quite a bit.

Craig: Three to six months.

Anand: There you go—three to six months. We’ve got big plans. Soon, in the month of May, we’ll be looking to launch something we’re calling SmartFields with data integration. What that means is that we’re going to be able to allow you to connect with Nitrogen and Holistiplan to bring in data. Let’s say for Holistiplan, [it will indicate] what your total tax is and what your total income is. When you’re doing meeting prep, you can have those fields automatically start getting [data] from those data sources and filled out. That’s in May that we’re going to be launching.

Anand: The second thing that we’re looking to launch in May as well is a Zoom recorder, an in-person recorder, as well as an upload feature where you can upload an audio or video file. That will create a transcript of your meeting. From there, you can take that transcript and generate a professional-looking client email. We’re not talking about what ChatGPT does as far as… You don’t even want to use ChatGPT, by the way. But I know some advisors do. You don’t want to use that for your client data. But there are emails that are generated that look very [much like] what I call blah in my case. In our system, because of our template behind the scenes, your email is going to be with your branding. How it looks and the structure are really important. You can use that transcript to create, using our NoteGenius, a whole email plus the task. It’s going to be really seamless. Now you won’t necessarily have to have a note taker in a meeting.

Anand: Because we’re in a highly regulated industry, we’re taking care of certain things for advisors that they no longer need to worry about from a compliance angle—SEC, FINRA rules, regulations, or even state regulations. We’re baking all of that in behind the scenes.

Craig: That sounds incredible. I wish I was an advisor so I could use Pulse360, but I’m not. But there are plenty of advisors who are listening. Anand, where can anyone listening find out more information about Pulse360?

Anand: You can visit our website, Pulse360.com. You can check out what we have to offer there besides what you’ve just listened [to]. You can schedule a demo if you’d like, or you can watch some of the videos there and decide if you want to subscribe or start a trial with us.

Craig: Excellent. Anand, thank you so much for being on the program! I really appreciate it, man.

Anand: Thank you, Craig, for having me and the opportunity! I appreciate it.

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The Wealth Tech Today blog is published by Craig Iskowitz, founder and CEO of Ezra Group, a boutique consulting firm that caters to banks, broker-dealers, RIA’s, asset managers and the leading vendors in the surrounding #fintech space. He can be reached at craig@ezragroupllc.com