In today’s competitive asset management landscape, it can be tough to stand out from the pack. Identifying what makes your firm unique—and being able to explain it effectively to advisors—is key for long-term success. In fact, while some firms’ value propositions have a wider appeal to advisors than others, the most important thing is to have a value proposition that advisors understand and remember.
In our 2020 Advisor Insights survey, conducted in association with Horsesmouth, we asked financial advisors to choose from a list of attributes that they associated with specific asset managers. Then, we analyzed the correlation between selected attributes and firm advocacy, which is the likelihood that an advisor would recommend that asset manager to another advisor. While some attributes, like “low cost,” “high quality products,” and “consistent product performance,” were more strongly correlated to advocacy than others, it was particularly telling that the strongest negative correlation to advocacy, by a wide margin, was “none of the above.” In other words, advisors who don’t associate any specific differentiating features with a particular firm are far less likely to be the kind of loyal customer who would recommend that asset manager to their peers.
Firm attributes: correlation to firm advocacy
Identifying a compelling value proposition and delivering a consistent message to advisors is critical. Obviously, branding (and marketing more generally) play a key role in achieving this outcome. However, asset managers also have another resource that they can draw on to make their firm and their message memorable: the sales team.
In the same survey, advisors were asked to rate their interactions with salespeople from various asset management firms. Advisors who rated their interactions with a firm’s salespeople as “somewhat positive” or “very positive” were, on average, at least four times less likely to choose “none of the above” from a list of attributes for that firm. This was the case regardless of whether the salesperson interaction took place in person, via video call, or over the phone. Positive interactions with asset management salespeople clearly make it significantly more likely that advisors will associate the firm with certain desirable attributes (provided, of course, that salespeople are reinforcing the firm’s value proposition in their interactions with advisors).
So, what does this mean for asset managers? In a nutshell, it underscores the importance of having salespeople who are able to build meaningful connections with advisors, solve their problems, and keep advisor interactions relevant and engaging. Even when advisor conversations don’t lead directly to a sale, they can still play a valuable role in boosting advisors’ awareness of your firm—and help turn clients into loyal advocates.