As life worldwide gradually transitions to a new post-pandemic norm, asset management firms are at a crossroads. Do they continue the digital evolution that helped them survive and thrive over the past year —or shift back to a strategy that deems in-person meetings to be an “essential” step toward a sale?
As a new, hybrid approach emerges, we believe asset managers must move boldly toward the future—a “digital-first” sales model—if they want to continue thriving in the ultra-competitive environment ahead.
Digital-first selling is much more than applying robust data and advanced technology to traditional sales and marketing thinking. Instead, it’s about transforming the firm’s go-to-market approach, converting practices currently built around the salesperson to a broad set of strategies built around the customer’s journey and preferences.
Through using technology to perform routine tasks, digital-first strategies free salespeople to focus on their true value: building and growing the relationships most valuable to the firm.
Still, digital-first selling requires embracing a more holistic strategy, including:
- Building a robust data analytics and technology foundation, transforming information and content into more practical, actionable and engaging intelligence for everyone: prospects, customers, salespeople and C-suite alike.
- Enabling a culture across the entire firm that values digital touchpoints and data-enabled decisions, from the top down.
- Evolving sales strategy to a point where salesperson contact is no longer a box to be checked for a sale, or even for a good relationship — instead, it is a resource to be up-leveled and leveraged when it is most beneficial to both firm and customer.
- Changing the sales process to shift the burden of information delivery and decision guidance to automated technology. This evolution will enable firms to promote salespeople from being providers of information to consultants who help advisors sort through complex decisions and challenges.
- Providing a single, seamless customer experience recognizing and optimizing all of the customer’s touchpoints and automatically delivers what is needed to advance their journey.
This type of transformation takes time but, as we have seen, has been accelerated by the pandemic. Salespeople have already migrated en masse to virtual meetings with their clients. In addition, firms have long been using various digital strategies—including email, social media and their websites—to reach clients at a scale unreachable with traditional approaches.
Firms now need to evolve toward a digital-first sales process across six key organizational workstreams:
- Data & Technology
- Knowing Your Customer
In each area, firms need to recognize where they are along a continuum from traditional, human-centric selling to fully optimized, digital-enabled human selling.
Asset management distribution has changed for good. Advisors prefer the convenience of virtual and digital engagement—and they expect asset managers to deliver the same high-quality experiences they are getting elsewhere online. A digital-first transformation will win sales and loyalty from advisor—and maximize the firm’s resources.
To learn more, join our "Digital First Selling: Leveling Up Distribution in a Post COVID World" webinar or download a free copy of our “Leveling Up Distribution in a Post-COVID World,” whitepaper which lays out maturity models for each of the six workstreams.
Written by Lee Kowarski
Vice President, Head of Data Science & Distribution Solutions