The COVID-19 pandemic: How it’s impacting asset management sales teams


Friday, June 19, 2020 | By Saadiah Freeman, Product Manager, Research and Consulting

The COVID-19 pandemic: How it’s impacting asset management sales teams

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the day-to-day activities of asset management salespeople. While the shift to virtual-only advisor meetings is the most obvious change, sales leaders have also had to figure out how to manage remote teams effectively and how to keep morale and engagement high amidst challenging times.

Beginning in March, SS&C has been carrying out biweekly surveys of asset management sales leaders, to keep our fingers on the pulse and monitor how the evolving situation is affecting distribution teams. Although it’s too early to know for certain which new practices will stick and which won’t, these surveys have yielded some interesting insights into how sales leaders are responding, what’s working well, and what needs to change for firms to successfully weather future disruptive events. Here are three selected takeaways from the survey findings:

  1. Prospecting has been more challenging. The vast majority of asset managers (81%) are finding prospecting more difficult in the current environment. Salespeople have traditionally used in-person meetings early on in an advisor relationship to establish rapport and learn about the advisor’s business; this approach is currently off the table. With advisors working from home, sales leaders are reporting that it can also be more difficult to contact them on the phone. However, some firms are responding to this challenge with innovative approaches like lunchtime web meetings with prospects to review holdings, virtual wine tastings, educational webinars focused on helping advisors navigate the current situation, and an increased focus on mining social media for referrals.

Chart shows survey responses as to a sales organization's ability to meet goals in the current operating environment

Source: SS&C Research, Analytics, and Consulting Productivity Insights Topical Survey on Sales During COVID-19

  1. Firms are taking a fresh look at what they measure—and which metrics they value most. Market volatility has underscored the importance of asset retention, while prospecting hurdles have highlighted the need to generate a steady flow of new clients. These factors have heightened sales leaders’ focus on both net sales and net new clients, with 80% of respondents saying these KPIs would be “more” or “much more” important over the next 12-18 months. In addition, a number of firms are revisiting their approach to activity metrics, assigning equal weight to virtual and in-person meetings and allowing activities like email interactions to count towards activity analytics.

Chart shows survey responses as to wholesaler success measurements

Source: SS&C Research, Analytics, and Consulting Productivity Insights Topical Survey on Sales During COVID-19

  1. Team structure, distribution model and segmentation are in the spotlight. The pandemic is providing a stress test for the resiliency of sales organizations, and some firms are finding that their existing structures aren’t holding up as well as they might like. For example, one-third of sales leaders reported that, as a result of the current environment, their team structure needs major change or a complete overhaul.

Chart shows survey results as to which elements require change in the current environment

Source: SS&C Research, Analytics, and Consulting Productivity Insights Topical Survey on Sales During COVID-19

In challenging times like these, precisely targeted segmentation and a flexible distribution approach are more important than ever. As the situation evolves, we expect to see more firms making large-scale changes to the way they structure and manage their distribution efforts.

SS&C’s Research, Analytics, and Consulting team can help asset managers target the best opportunities and optimize their distribution efforts. To learn more, read about our WalletShare analytics service and our consulting capabilities.



Research, Analytics, and Consulting


Theme picker