As discussed in our recent whitepaper, Cost Effectively Growing Assets, identifying and prioritizing the national accounts partners and financial advisors to focus on is a critical first step for firms in the quest to grow assets in a more effective and efficient way. That requires three key things:
- Making tough, data-driven decisions about distributor relationships – to enable firms to more strategically align their resources with the national accounts partners who offer the best fit and opportunity for the firm.
- Segmenting advisors using rich data and technology – to identify clusters of advisors more precisely based on their needs, as well as the influence, value and opportunity (IVO) they represent to the firm.
- Evolving from traditional lead scoring to customer opportunity scoring – to pinpoint the individual advisors who are most likely to become the firm’s best long-term customers, and assign them an appropriate level of attention based on their sales readiness and importance.
This framework is usually built around the assumption that the most valuable advisors want and need your highest touch, most expensive resources—specifically, in-person meetings with a salesperson.
But that assumption does not fit all advisors.
Firms must start incorporating the advisor’s engagement preferences
Matching the advisors’ preferences is essential to delivering a good customer experience—and preferences for meetings is an important place to start.
Just three in 10 advisors said that they are willing to meet with asset management salespeople, according to our Advisor Insights research, conducted in association with Horsesmouth. Half will only meet remotely, and one in five won’t meet with salespeople at all. With numbers like that, firms certainly have clients and prospects on the top tier of their focus lists who get annoyed at attempts to schedule in-person salesperson visits. It would be far more effective and efficient to know who these advisors are and tailor the firm’s approach using more remote and digital touchpoints.
Source: SS&C Research, Analytics, and Consulting Advisor Remote Selling Survey, in association with Horsesmouth, 2020
But you can’t use data that you don’t have. Just 5% of asset managers track meeting preferences for all advisors in their CRM, while about 3 in 10 firms only track these preferences for some.
Firms Tracking of Advisor Meeting Preferences in the CRM
Source: SS&C Research, Analytics, and Consulting Productivity Insights Topical Survey on Sales During COVID-19
The assumption that salesperson interactions are critical to driving sales can also derail a firm’s efforts to accurately gauge an advisor’s sales readiness and buying intent, especially with traditional lead scoring where the firm decides how many points to assign to various sales and marketing interactions.
In fact, our latest advisor research shows that half of the advisors use at least one product from a firm they’ve had no salesperson interaction with in the past two to three years, while nearly one-third use products from three or more firms without salesperson interaction in that time frame. And we’re not talking token allocations—on average, 20.4% of the advisor’s book of business is going into these salesperson-free purchases.
Evolving to customer opportunity scoring will help in this regard because machine learning can mine a wealth of data to identify the touchpoints that are most important in the journeys your best customers in each segment actually take before a purchase—and create a profile to score the advisor against. Advisors in segments where salesperson meetings are proven to be more important are scored differently than advisors in segments where they are not.
Bottom line, firms seeking a more efficient path to distribution must identify and prioritize the clients and prospects who offer the best fit and opportunity for the firm. But to successfully engage them, the advisors’ preferences for engagement must start playing more of a role—or firms risk alienating the very advisors they value the most.
SS&C Technologies will be hosting a free webinar on the Cost Effectively Growing Assets whitepaper, on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at 1:00 pm ET.
Written by Tracy Needham
Sr. Business Research Analyst, Research, Analytics and Consulting