Your firm can have alpha-generating funds, great marketing materials and highly motivated salespeople. But with so many asset managers vying for the attention of intermediaries, it’s critical to focus your sales efforts on firms and people who are most likely to let you in the door.
If you’re a boutique firm, you probably don’t have the time and resources to figure out which institutional consultants, broker/dealers and registered investment advisors will want to listen to your story.
Fortunately, there are a variety of online applications that can do this research for you. Three were discussed in the second part of the webinar series on Tech Tools for Stronger Mutual Fund Sales and Marketing, presented by the ICI Small Funds Committee and Sondhelm Partners.
These tools can help you build targeted lead lists; uncover advisors who are generating significant inflows to your funds; and find firms that are most likely to use your products.
Building targeted lead lists
CRM systems, email marketing platforms and marketing automation software enable sales teams to reach more intermediaries faster and cheaper, but as a result financial advisors and institutional gatekeepers are bombarded with unsolicited and irrelevant contacts each week and they ignore nearly all of them.
Wirehouse and independent brokers, investment advisers and institutional consultants have different due diligence criteria and business requirements. Your funds may be the perfect solution for some and a non-starter for others. That’s why it’s critical to focus your sales and marketing efforts on the target audiences that are most likely to listen to your story.
Building these qualified lead lists through Google, FINRA and SEC searches is time-consuming, costly and return limited results. To speed up the process and maximize opportunities many organizations, ranging from the biggest brand names in the industry to boutique firms, rely on access to online advisor databases like Discovery Data.
According to Discovery Data’s Executive Vice President Craig Katz, their data subscriptions provide detailed information on all 40,000 registered firms and over 2 million professionals across North America. These include wirehouse and independent brokers, investment advisers, research analysts, institutional consultants and insurance agents.
Discovery Data delivers robust and continually updated profiles that display important information including a professional’s title, licenses, designations, business and home email, phone and address, employment history, self-reported AUM where available, and more. Firm-level profiles provide hundreds of data points to qualify or filter against such as firm owners and partners, services offered, firm type, investment vehicles and strategies utilized, client type, custodian, total AUM and AUM breakdown by investment vehicle.
Discovery Data clients can apply customized filters to narrow down the universe to specific audience segments, for example, RIA firms established in the past year by an advisor who broke away from a wirehouse that today have over $100 million total AUM, at least $25 million invested in private funds and are based in the Chicago area.
Discovery Data also offers data integration services, so sales teams always have the most up-to-date information on clients and prospects within their CRM system and automatically receive notifications when advisors change firms or move to different locations.
Identifying your best-selling advisors
Your salespeople already know which of their advisor-clients use your funds. But what about other advisors who are generating inflows that you don’t know about-but should?
You absolutely want to cultivate these “top producers.” But the omnibus-level flow data you get from your transfer agent doesn’t usually provide information at the transaction, firm or advisor level.
SalesStation from Celera Systems helps you find the sources of your fund flows. According to Tom Larson, Celera’s Director of Business Development, SalesStation can collect, reconcile and map inflow and outflow activity coming from a variety of different internal and external data sources, including feeds from broker/dealers, custodians, and retirement plan recordkeepers.
From this data, SalesStation can report daily and monthly information on purchases and redemptions for each fund, both in aggregation and by channel (institutional, broker/dealer, RIA).
Even more impressively, SalesStation can visually display flow activity for both advisory firms and individual advisors in your territories, which can help you identify local top producers. Contact details can be fully integrated into your CRM platform, enabling your salespeople to elevate these “best-sellers” to the top of their VIP cultivation lists.
Honing your competitive edges
Targeting relationships with advisors who are using your funds now is only one side of your sales coin. The other side is targeting advisors who should be offering your funds.
Morningstar data can tell you how your funds compare to the competition in any given Morningstar Category. But it doesn’t tell which firms or even offices in your territories are using products with performance and expenses that don’t match up to your product in that category. That’s where a technology like Broadridge’s Opportunity Hunter can help.
According to Rick Niedt, General Manager of Distribution Solutions, the Opportunity Hunter algorithm uses aggregated positions, net flows, and product-level data from a variety of sources to determine which advisory firms in your target markets represent opportunities to gain new assets. The application provides detailed information on each firm’s overall asset allocation and book of business and can generate location maps to aid in road-trip planning.
Now, other applications can produce similar results. But Opportunity Hunter takes this process a step further. Using Morningstar data, it dynamically compares the performance and expense characteristics of your funds to an aggregate of the competitive funds held in that category by local advisory firms, with graphic visualizations displaying where yours outclass-or lag behind-the aggregate.
Armed with this inside knowledge, you can focus your sales efforts on the advisory firms where your “ours is better” story is supported by Morningstar’s objective research.
Putting it all together
Building a list of qualified advisors will make your outbound marketing and sales efforts more efficient, and will reduce the risk of sending an irrelevant message to the wrong people. This, of course, assumes that your sales and marketing teams are equipped with the right materials and resources to convey your success story effectively and quickly. To learn more about sales and marketing automation tools that can maximize and measure the impact of your inbound and outbound marketing efforts, read the first article in this series.
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.