During the past 6 months, remote selling has become a fact of life in the asset management industry. This shift, while necessary, has been an unwelcome one for many firms, with a significant number of distribution leaders champing at the bit to get their salespeople back on the road. According to a recent SS&C survey, nearly 9 in 10 asset managers said that, if given the choice between their salespeople having only in-person meetings or only remote meetings, they would choose in-person meetings. However, financial advisors do not necessarily share asset managers’ enthusiasm for in-person meetings. Our research, conducted in association with Horsesmouth, shows that while only a third of advisors (30.5%) are willing to meet with asset managers in person, nearly 7 in 10 (68.4%) are willing to meet with asset managers remotely. Almost half of advisors (49.3%) are only prepared to meet with asset managers remotely.
Given those results, we expect that even once in-person selling on a large scale becomes feasible again, remote selling will play a much larger role in asset managers’ distribution models than it did prior to the pandemic. Despite most firms’ preference for in-person meetings, asset managers are preparing for this trend. Three years from now, asset managers expect:
- The number of external salespeople will reduce by 20%;
- The number of internal salespeople will reduce by 38%; and
- The number of hybrids will nearly triple, from an average of five to an average of 14.
The anticipated shift is not limited to the balance of roles, but will also impact how salespeople across various roles interact with advisors. For example, over the same three-year timeframe, asset managers expect the time that external salespeople spend in the office to increase to 50%, from just 20% prior to COVID-19.
Since remote meetings are clearly here to stay, it is important for asset managers to figure out how to make them as effective as possible. One key consideration is the goal of the meeting. Over three-quarters of asset managers believe that remote meetings are less effective for relationship-building and due diligence meetings, but that they are as or more effective than in-person meetings for market updates, portfolio reviews, and meetings with product specialists or portfolio managers.
In addition to focusing on topics that can effectively be covered via remote meetings, asset managers can also make these meetings more impactful by following a few best practices. For example:
- Our advisor survey data shows that 65% of advisors are more likely to attend a remote meeting with an asset management salesperson if they use screen sharing to show presentations, hypotheticals, etc. and provide a clear agenda in advance;
- Keeping meetings short (no longer than 45 minutes) is particularly important in a remote format. We found that 93.6% of the advisors that we surveyed said that their ideal meeting with an asset management salesperson would be 45 minutes or shorter, with 55.5% of advisors selecting 15-30 minutes as the ideal length of time; and
- Firms should consider making more than one remote meeting technology available—if they do not already. Nearly 4 in 10 asset managers only have the capability to use one remote meeting technology, but more than half (52.7%) of advisors said that using meeting technology that they’re familiar with (and are allowed to use) would increase their likelihood of attending remote meetings with asset managers.
Using strategies like these can help asset managers maximize the value of remote meetings, not just during the pandemic, but beyond. To learn more, explore SS&C’s distribution solutions.
 SS&C Research, Analytics and Consulting Productivity Insights Topical Survey on Sales During COVID-19, 2020
 SS&C Research, Analytics and Consulting, Remote Selling: Asset Manager Sales in a Post-COVID World, 2020
Research, Analytics, and Consulting