If you are a boutique asset manager, how do you stand out when times become volatile, and how will sophisticated investors know what you stand for? A market downturn may be an opportunity to invest in your growth, while others sit on the sidelines.
Just building a website doesn’t mean investors will come. It needs to be digitally wired to make it visible and accessible to wandering eyes. An increasing number of advisors are discovering the ROI benefits of search engine optimization (SEO), not only in generating website traffic, but also for attracting more qualified leads.
What’s more important to emphasize – a fund’s investment performance analytics or its investment process and management team. Both. To illustrate this point, I figured that a hypothetical analogy – just in time for the start of the baseball season – might be appropriate.
Asset managers and mutual fund firms are coming to the realization that, without a digital marketing strategy, they are likely to fall short of their growth ambitions. Firms looking to change their growth trajectory by adding digital assets need to be absolutely clear on what they expect to achieve and how their strategy can work to accomplish it.
A recent webinar on “How Digital Assets Can Drive Sales,” sponsored by the Third Party Marketing Association, offers a top-down and bottom-up overview of the essential elements of a complete digital marketing strategy and how firms can optimize their resources for the best results.
In the webinar, I am joined by Global Head of Digital at Kurtosys, Rich Watts, who discusses how successful firms are using digital assets, such as marketing automation, to increase the level of engagement with their target audience and empower their sales teams with actionable data. From there, I provide a bottom-up perspective with a day in the life of a digitally empowered salesperson – a kind of “tire hits the road’ demonstration of marketing automation in action. I encourage you to set aside 50 minutes to watch the webinar, but here is an overview with some of the key takeaways:
Rich Watts – Kurtosys
Content is the Key Driver of a Digital Marketing Strategy
Content has always been the key driver of digital marketing, but the challenge for firms is being able to generate constant, relevant content that attracts visitors. While more than 80% of asset managers surveyed by Kurtosys agree that content is extremely or very important as the foundation for prospect marketing, 60% believe there is too much of an emphasis on quantity over quality.
That’s why an increasing number of firms are employing marketing automation and machine learning to create market-focused content that can be personalized and directed at targeted clients based on their browsing behavior. Even traditional content, such as fact sheets are being transformed into digital versions with dynamic capabilities to respond to the product interests of the client.
Developing Thought Leadership Should be Primary Goal
Thought leadership is where content plays its most important role. In a survey of more than 1,600 asset managers, the vast majority consider thought leadership to be the most valuable activity for promoting understanding and improving perceptions among clients. Developing thought leadership should be the primary consideration in a content marketing strategy to provide an in-depth foundation to build a relationship with the target audience.
To drive influential thought leadership, asset managers should always promote their views rather than their products and it should be timely, original, and individual. In addition to promoting their thought leadership through a proactive public relations campaign, firms need to leverage their social media apparatus to amplify their influencers.
Sales Teams Need to be Better Aligned with Marketing
Sales reps spend up to 43 hours every month search for information to use in identifying and contacting qualified prospects. The most common complaint of sales teams is they can’t find content to send to prospects. Marketing should be helping sales teams by providing them with the necessary tools to move deals through the pipeline.
Marketing needs to ensure that their sales reps have the right content and data and they know how to use it. The use of marketing automation to score leads can help sales teams to see how prospects are engaging with marketing activities so they can contact them in real time and take advantage of the reactions to the campaigns they create.
Dan Sondhelm – Sondhelm Partners
A Day in the Life of a Digital Sales Person
In this segment, I use a fictitious asset management firm, BKS Capital, to illustrate how adding a digital strategy transformed the sales process and increased the productivity of the sales team exponentially. Starting with the premise that many firms value sales over marketing, BKS was no different. It employed minimal digital assets – a basic website that was more like a digital brochure and a rudimentary “blast” email system.
Their business development emphasis was on current relationships and the number of phone calls their reps can make. But they can only make so many calls and spend so much time on the phone due to the gatekeepers. They are fairly adept at working their funnel – getting leads and prospects on the phone and eventually converting them into clients, then rinse and repeat. But it was not enough to generate the growth they needed. With a great story to tell but limited brand and visibility, BKS needed to change the status quo if they didn’t want to remain a “best-kept secret.”
Life with Marketing Automation
By adding a basic marketing automation program, not only did the sales rep see more leads, they can see how their leads are engaging with their email and website content. With lead scoring, the sales reps can focus on the leads with the highest level of engagement and make contact at the right moment. With a more strategic email system, the content can be targeted and triggered based on a lead’s activity in the funnel, giving them a reason to come back. All of this is done automatically and reported to the sale rep so they know when and what action to take next.
In the webinar, you’ll see the actual data provided to the sales reps, starting when they wake up in the morning at 6:00 am and throughout the day. Each screen provides real-time data on lead and client activities – what and when it occurred – even when they are out of the office. The data is coordinated with their CRM for easy followup. Now, the sales reps can narrow the focus of conversations to what leads have been doing.
See How We Can Track You
For a real-life demonstration of how a lead is tracked, I offered the audience the opportunity to go to our website – SondhelmPartners.com, click on “Contact Us” and in the comments section add that you want to receive your own personalized “life of a lead” report that shows how a marketing automation system can track your every move. You are welcomed to try it yourself.
When you leverage your digital assets, leads start coming in from unexplained places, but they will know your story, making easier for sales reps to start conversations. More people are engaged with you, which ultimately drives new, qualified leads. And, the entire sales process, from the top to the bottom of the funnel, is accelerated, which not only boosts the morale of your salespeople, it boosts your bottom line.
Asset managers are purchasing marketing automation platforms which can cost between $1,500 and $2,500 per month on a subscription basis with long-term commitments. Yet, many are using it like a $100 per month, no commitment MailChimp or Constant Contact program. That’ like buying a Porsche and driving it like it’s a Hyundai. Why spend the money if you don’t benefit from more utility? This story was picked up on Nasdaq.
Why do we need to spend time developing original content? My web site and wholesalers tell advisors and institutions everything they need to know. Consider the story of a local vineyard that successfully leverages its subject matter expertise to turn wine aficionados like me into loyal customers.
Asset managers are purchasing marketing automation platforms which can cost between $1,500 and $2,500 per month on a subscription basis with long-term commitments. Yet, many are using it like a $100 per month, no commitment MailChimp or Constant Contact program. That’ like buying a Porsche and driving it like it’s a Hyundai. Why spend the money if you don’t benefit from more utility?
A fundster entrepreneur in the upper midwest is boosting his growth efforts in several ways including marketing, public relations, sales and adoptions. The firm hired Sondhelm Partners and partner Distribution Revolution.
Sondhelm Partners is pleased to announce that Dan Sondhelm will speak on-site to a major mutual fund series trust board next month. The discussion is designed to provide fund board education on growth (and survival issues) for existing and new boutique managers such as: the “build it and they will come” mentality is obsolete, the new era of difficult platforms, communications strategies to tell your story, right time to commit to growth, realistic efforts and expectations for startups and more. For Dan Sondhelm to be part of your board or firm’s next meeting, contact Dan Sondhelm.