Everyone knows sales organizations must modernize, but what does that mean?

Monday, July 30, 2018 | By Matt Fronczke

Everyone knows sales organizations must modernize, but what does that mean?

The continued growth of fee-based business and managed accounts, increasing use of model portfolios and evolving advisor value proposition are forcing sales management to rethink how advisor relationships are built, nurtured, and managed in their effort to drive organic growth and manage a profitable business.  In this new modern era of asset and wealth management, the modernization of sales is critical, but what exactly is “modern” and where should sales management focus their change management efforts? 

To remain competitive, national sales organizations need to redefine their sales management approach and process for the following paradigms:

  • Determining who to cover
  • Defining territories
  • Managing the territory
  • Defining sales roles
  • Engaging with advisors

There are several “right” ways to address changes to these paradigms as asset management organizations come in different shapes and sizes. That being said, all organizations need to focus on the foundational elements for each to find the “right” approach and method for implementing change at their business.

The foundational element for the first paradigm – determining who to cover – shifts who is considered a top advisor and how a ‘top advisor’ list is created and managed.

  Old Paradigm New Paradigm
Determining Who to Cover Cover all advisors within a territory, giving most attention to ‘top producers’ – those with the highest relative gross sales.

Focus on the advisors you can most influence – those with the discretion to make investment decisions.

Prioritize the effort on high ‘value’ and high ‘opportunity’ advisors, drawing from their purchasing behaviors and preferences.


In this new paradigm, advisor segmentation based on influence, value and opportunity (IVO) metrics as well as other demographic, behavioral and description factors, replaces the wholesaler-led advisor prioritization process. This is not to say wholesalers have no input into focus list creation. Years of experience and solid relationships cannot be completely replaced by any segmentation model. Instead, this type of segmentation augments and refines the process to optimize which advisors are covered and how. Using data-driven analysis of advisor assets, transactions and behaviors enables time, resource, and cost-efficiency, which ultimately (should) lead to increased sales effectiveness.

I used “should” because advisor segmentation alone is not going to address all challenges and lead to record-breaking production numbers. Advisor segmentation is the first and foundational step in modernizing the sales organization. Once a segmentation effort is completed, the sales organization can turn toward other modernization efforts concerning advisor coverage, territory design, territory management, alignment of sales roles and improved advisor engagement. Nonetheless, segmentation is a key input into the evolution of all of these paradigms.

This redefined, more modern sales organization heavily leverages data and technology. It also focuses greater attention on training and development (upskilling the sales team beyond relationship building and closing), experiments with organizational structures and revamps compensation plans to go after the right advisors—in the most profitable way.

image shows temperature gauge set to 40For more insights into the remaining paradigms, read our recent whitepaper “Designing the Modern Sales Organization”. A scorecard is provided for sales management to measure their current alignment with the modern approach to the changing paradigms. Use this scorecard as a litmus test to determine where changes need to be made in your organization.

To learn more, please contact Matthew Fronczke, Director, Strategic Business Consulting, at mfronczke@dstsytems.com.

Asset Management, Research, Analytics, and Consulting, Wealth Management

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