Building the ideal distribution organization is not possible. There are simply too many variables—including human, financial, technology, data and market, to name a few—that inhibit asset management organizations from achieving the ideal. With that being said, building the right distribution organization for today while preparing for that ever-moving ideal state of the future is possible (with a little bit of focus and discipline).
In our whitepaper “Untangling the Web: A Practical Approach to Modernizing Asset Management Distribution,” we discuss how asset management organizations can develop their best game plan to build towards an ideal state while optimizing their business of today.
The first and seemingly obvious step is identifying your goals and objectives. Even more simply put, what do you want to accomplish? Seems easy, right? Not so fast, my friends! Do you recall our key takeaway from our 2020 paper, “Rightsizing Sales Organizations and Managing Territories”? If you don’t, the point is this: before you can set goals or build a vision for the future you need to Know Your Numbers! You need to understand your customers (current and prospective) and know your revenue sources (products and clients). Spend the time to truly understand where revenue comes from, where your best customers and prospects are located/concentrated and the characteristics/profile of those customers. This enables you to set realistic and proper goals for your sales organization based on where you are today. After all, as Maya Angelou said, “you can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been.” Goals cannot be accurately and appropriately set without that knowledge.
Now back to the goals and next steps. Once your goals have been set (via a thorough understanding of your numbers) you can move to the next phase—identifying key dependencies and challenges. This is the concept of “untangling the web of independencies” that we discuss in the "Untangling the Web: A Practical Approach to Modernizing Asset Management Distribution" whitepaper. Some areas of distribution cannot be modernized or altered without corresponding upgrades to other areas of the business. Changes made to one area have a flow-through effect on many other areas, and it is not always clear to asset managers which lever they should pull first.
This is a critical step since certain dependencies and challenges may not be addressable in the short term and thus prevent the successful execution of your goals in the near term. It is therefore recommended that any effort toward modernization begin with vigorous and open discussions on your end-state goals and objectives, including a thorough assessment of any limitations that may stand in the way of executing the effort. Should challenges or barriers to success be identified, they must first be addressed before the larger modernization effort can commence. In some instances, the goals and objectives should be adjusted until such challenges can be addressed. After all, it’s a whole lot more desirable to make incremental successful steps toward modernization than undergoing a massive project that’s destined to fail, resulting in a heavy cost not only to the firm’s finances but also to its culture and reputation.
A sales modernization project is a complicated and time-consuming endeavor. There is no single correct outcome for this exercise. Indeed, that is precisely the point. Each firm must identify and address the issues and objectives most salient to its own success. And when it is complete, a thoughtful sales modernization effort will support the firm’s ability to execute its goals.
Our “Untangling the Web: A Practical Approach to Modernizing Asset Management Distribution” whitepaper provides a roadmap for evolving distribution teams and we look forward to helping firms progress.
Written by Matt Fronczke
Senior Director, Strategic Business Consulting