Leveraging Technology to Turbo Charge Your Sales & Marketing Game, Part 1

According to presenters of Tech Tools for Stronger Mutual Fund Sales and Marketing, a webinar recently presented by the ICI Small Funds Committee and Sondhelm Partners, 86% of these boutique fund companies are investing in sales and marketing applications to turbo-charge lead generation and close more deals.

Why are they making this investment? Because it’s harder than ever for smaller firms to generate new business. Consider this: According to Richardson Research, 83% of salespeople never get a second meeting with an institutional prospect. If that isn’t bad enough, according to CSO Insights, 53% of B2B buyers can’t distinguish between products offered by competing firms.

For boutique asset managers, the message should be crystal clear:

  • Sales teams need to dramatically increase the number of contacts to build a larger pipeline of qualified leads
  • The quality and personalization of each engagement with a prospect – whether in the form of an email, a cold call, a meeting, a pitchbook – has to be of highest quality and relevancy.

Assuming you already have top-notch products, exceptional thought leadership, and stellar marketing materials at your disposal, the next step is to make the most of your sales and marketing technologies – or upgrade those you have now.

In this first of a two-part webinar series, we summarize some of the more innovative developments in CRM, content and sales automation and inbound marketing presented by the CEOs whose firms were featured on this webinar.

Pumping up your CRM volume and efficiency

 What’s the difference between a typical CRM platform and a souped-up CRM in terms of increase sales productivity? Ask Karen Maguire, CEO of Satuit Technology, and she’ll say tools that enable salespeople to increase call volume, easily organize road trips and stay in touch while on the road.   In the webinar, she described several key productivity-enhancing features of their SatuitCRM software.

  • Click to dial: Your inside salespeople may need to make a hundred calls a day to prospects and clients. And what’s the most time-wasting part of this process? Manually dialing a number and typing in the results of the call. If your technology infrastructure allows salespeople to make calls through their computers, Satuit’s click-to-call feature dial simply by clicking a button on each contact’s CRM record. Gone are precious minutes wasted in keypad tapping and wrong numbers. Best of all, Satuit can automatically record the outcome of each call – connection, voice mail, length of call – in each contact’s activity log, so you can get accurate data on call – related productivity.
  • Search Nearby: When your outside salespeople are visiting their territories, they need to make the most efficient use of their travel time. Satuit’s proximity search feature works with Google Geocoding to display the locations of a salesperson’s prospects or clients in a specific city or region. Your salespeople can then have it create a customized travel route that integrates with their smartphone’s GPS to efficiently guide them to all of their site visits.   They can also automatically create a call plan from the list.
  • Fully mobile CRM: What’s the point of a CRM system if your road warriors need a laptop and wi-fi to access it? Satuit’s mobile platform lets your salespeople manage all of their CRM activities on tablets or smartphones, and all activities automatically synch with your home office system. They have complete access to prospect and client records, including the ability to updated activities on the fly. They can even send emails with attachments from their phones and push the directly into their CRM, so they don’t have to wait until they get back to their hotel to follow up on a call or visit.   If they have the integrated portal, they can download and send any marketing materials while sitting in a prospect office – or, even better, they can give the prospect a log in to download their own marketing materials.

Automating pitchbook and marketing material production

What’s one of the biggest sources of friction between an asset manager’s sales and marketing departments? The time it takes to prepare pitchbooks and bundled marketing materials in time for a salesperson’s hastily scheduled meeting.

According to John Toepfer, founder and CEO of Synthesis Technology, the solution is data-driven content and sales automation software. These applications allow marketing departments to create dynamic libraries of up-to-date, preapproved data and content on the firm and its products.

Sales teams can use applications like Synthesis Technology’s FlightDeck to pull information from these libraries to create customized and compliant pitchbooks that can be distributed and presented electronically or printed. Toepfer shared a case study illustrating one of their FlightDeck clients who is producing 200 to 300 customized pitchbooks per month.

One feature of the Synthesis platform Toepfer really likes is its ability to email pitchbooks and other sales materials to prospects and track their interactions with the content. Now, I’m not a strong advocate of sending pitchbooks in advance of the meeting. They’re meant to be presented, not read. But I can see the value of sending a digital version after a meeting, especially if it can be trimmed down to only include information that the prospect is interested in (such as performance data on a specific fund, rather than multiple funds) and a customized page is added that has links to supporting materials, such as whitepapers, commentaries and prospectuses.

Digital marketing on steroids

Email services like Constant Contact are very good for some asset managers because they make it easy for anyone to execute email marketing campaigns at a low cost. But for now, they offer little information about each recipient’s level of engagement other than whether they read a message or clicked on an embedded link. They can’t tell you what people did afterwards. How long did they stay on your site? What content did they view? Did they come back to your website at a later time? Are they a warm lead?

That’s why I often recommend marketing automation/inbound marketing platforms like Hubspot, SharpSpring, Marketo and Pardot. They can track the online behavior of each of the individuals in your database. They can tell you how engaged your subscribers are over time. Specifically,

  • Which emails each person opened (and which they ignored);
  • Which links within an email they clicked;
  • Which pages and content on your web site and blogs they viewed;
  • How they engage with your firm’s social media posts;
  • How much time they spent on your web site and how often they came back on their own, rather than in response to an email campaign.

While each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, they each assign lead scores to email subscribers based on their level of online engagement. Prospects with low lead scores, such as those who never engaged with an email or visited their website can automatically be sent follow up emails. Prospects with high lead scores can be moved to the top of the sales person’s contact list.

The platforms also assign lead scores to existing clients to identify potential attrition risks. For example, if a shareholder stops engaging digitally, he is at risk of leaving. That is a good time for a phone call to make sure you are still on their radar screen and to arrange a meeting to see what you can do to strengthen the relationship.

It’s cheaper than staying small

The use of these technologies can lead to greater cost-efficiency over the long run. But keep in mind the initial start-up costs and time it takes to train sales and marketing people to learn how to use them can be substantial.

For asset managers new to sales and marketing technology, you won’t be able to incorporate all of them into your growth strategy for the new year. But you could determine your biggest challenges and see if there is a technology to improve your situation. Are you doing processes by hand leaving room for errors or slow reporting? Are you not keeping up with newer technologies because you’ve always done things your way? It may be time to kick the tires to learn what solutions are available to help you grow.

Dan Sondhelm is CEO of Sondhelm Partners, a firm that helps asset managers, mutual funds, ETFs, wealth managers and fintech companies grow through marketing, public relations and sales programs. Click to read Dan’s latest Insight articles and to schedule a complimentary consultation.