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Recap of Hearsay Summit 2017: The Mobile Advisor Cloud

Ten years ago, the first iPhone was launched and the world forever changed. Steve Jobs described his invention as a device that, in addition to being a phone, could play music, movies, and TV shows, as well as transfer your browser bookmarks and sync your photos.
Over 1 billion iPhones (and 1 billion Android devices) later, all of us – our employees, customers, prospects, and children – are now connected at virtually all times to an Internet-enabled, location-aware mini computer and have helped make Apple the first company in history to surpass $800B in market cap. Around the world and without exception, mobile has transformed every aspect of our personal and working lives. Yet the enterprise, particularly highly regulated financial services, still lags far behind.
Over the last two days, more than 110 wealth management, insurance, and banking leaders and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs convened in San Francisco to discuss this enormous opportunity at Hearsay Summit’s inaugural Advisor Cloud Conversation. The rise of mobile and social media, compounded by roboadvice and digital direct-to-consumer models, has raised client expectations for financial touchpoints. Clients want to be engaged digitally, especially via mobile – yet financial advisors and firms are still marketing, selling, and servicing clients exactly as they were in 2007, in the pre-iPhone era. Advisors are told they aren’t allowed to text. Their websites are dated and don’t show up on Google or load easily on smartphones.
View videos of all the keynotes and panels.

Today’s Advisors Must Be High-Tech and High-Touch

Opening our Summit, Caroline Feeney, President of Prudential Advisors, shared her belief that the future of financial services sales organizations must be high-tech and high-touch. Advisors must leverage technology to deliver client convenience and delight, and free up their time from routine tasks so they can focus on high-value, relationship-deepening client interactions. Caroline recounted the story of how she came up with the idea for Hearsay Messages – as a former advisor, she instantly saw how critically important of a channel it is for advisors to build relationships with clients.

The Advisor Cloud Completes the Customer Experience

Kristin Lemkau, JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase Chief Marketing Officer Kristin Lemkau made the point that much of how customers experience a company and brand is through their advisor or banker – so you can’t deliver a great brand or customer experience unless your advisors are findable and connecting authentically across social media, texting, email, and local websites – what we call the Advisor Cloud. And in order for that to work, true collaboration across marketing, digital, IT, compliance, and sales leadership is critical.
Lisa Kidd Hunt, Charles Schwab EVP and SIFMA President-Elect, further highlighted the importance and value of local advisors engaging with clients on digital across the client lifecycle, especially as trust in large institutions continues to decline.

Content Posting on Social Is Not Enough

Matt Dunn, Morgan Stanley

Matt Dunn, Head of Advisor Digital at Morgan Stanley, described his organization’s advisor digital toolkit and next-best-actions framework to scale their financial advisors’ ability to efficiently prospect, manage more accounts, and create a more valuable, meaningful client experience. Some firms make the mistake of treating their social selling programs like social brand marketing or customer service, when in fact the use case is fundamentally different. The true value “unlock” for advisor social programs is to enable 1-to-1 lower-funnel and post-sales interactions powered by AI and machine learning. The result is measurable business outcomes such as client acquisition, retention, assets gathering, referrals, and NPS – all critical to Morgan Stanley’s 16,000 financial advisors.

Texting is the Fastest-Growing Channel Preferred by Clients

Birdia Chambers, Prudential Advisors

Birdia Chambers, Head of Social, Texting, and Communications Distribution and former compliance officer at Prudential Advisors, described best practices and lessons learned rolling out Hearsay Social and Hearsay Messages across their field organization. She described the importance not only of addressing compliance requirements but unlocking critical business use cases:

  • Financial firms tell their advisors not to text, but every firm has advisors who text clients because clients are texting advisors. It is imperative to mitigate regulatory risk, both from FINRA, SEC, and TCPA.
  • Arm advisors with high-value use cases. Show that they can leverage texting to deepen relationships with clients such as following up after a meeting, and sending real-time market and product updates. They can dramatically increase productivity by scheduling birthdays, congratulatory wishes, and appointment and billing reminders, in advance.
  • Enable advisors to delegate texting to staff and assistants with Hearsay’s web-based team Texting Console to help free up advisor time for face-to-face meetings.
  • Typically, advisor texting programs are driven by the head of sales in partnership with marketing, IT, compliance, and privacy counsel.

Read more about Prudential’s advisor texting program.

The Advisor Cloud Integrates with CRM

Justina Cho, Head of Agent Digital at New York Life, described their vision of the Agent of the Future. With customers demanding more control and transparency than ever before, it has become an imperative at New York Life to create a modern, integrated digital platform that combines social, email, web, and CRM data.
Executing on the Agent of the Future vision, Justina announced a multi-pronged Advisor Cloud partnership with the Hearsay team. We are thrilled to build upon our longstanding social advisor program with Hearsay Sites and Hearsay Mail agent-driven email marketing, all fully integrated with CRM.

The Advisor Cloud Takes a Village

Telisa Yancy, Chief Marketing Officer, and Kristin Kirkconnell, Chief Information Officer, of American Family Insurance underscored the importance of the three-way partnership between marketing, sales, and IT. Rather than allocating technology resources according to business units, companies must put the customer at the center and think about where they are and how they want to connect. They discussed the need to link corporate and local agent efforts in order to present a seamless customer experience.

Advisor Cloud Ecosystem panel

Finally, key executives from LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, and Airbnb, as well as the founders of Palantir, Addepar, and Box shared their perspectives on the Advisor Cloud and how it can complement Corporate Marketing Cloud and CRM. The group agreed mobile is especially a game-changer for sales because it’s a chance to connect 1-to-1 with customers and prospects anytime, anywhere. From Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn Messages, and texting to mobile-responsive websites and emails, the opportunity on mobile for financial advisors and insurance agents is incredible.
Last but not least, congratulations to the winners of our inaugural Hearsay Awards – Ameriprise, American Family Insurance, and New York Life – for their outstanding industry leadership and incredible partnership as we execute on the Advisor Cloud vision.
Thanks for a spectacular few days together. Here’s to the Advisor Cloud and selling, marketing, and complying like it’s 2017!


Clara Shih

A pioneer in the social media industry, Clara developed the first social business application in 2007. Her latest book, The Social Business Imperative, is a Wall Street Journal-featured bestseller. She is a member of the Starbucks board of directors.

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