With more than 150 financial services firms and 150,000+ financial advisors using our technology, we’re on a mission to develop new sales productivity tools and features that help close the gap between corporate and local advisor sales/marketing efforts. (See: Hearsay’s Winter ’18 Product Launch is Here)
So, we were thrilled to discover that Aite Group, a leading research and advisory firm also exclusively focused on financial services, recently released new, independent research that further validates our mission. The report, “Advisor Content Marketing and Sales Enablement: Empowering Connections,” outlines the major trends and drivers for advisor-focused marketing strategies across North American firms, based on an in-depth survey of 268 advisors. The report also details the advisor programs in place at several leading companies, including Ameriprise, MassMutual, Morgan Stanley, Northwestern Mutual, Putnam Investments, Raymond James and RBC.
Our senior director of product marketing, Sarah Pedersen, recently teamed up with Aite lead analyst and the report’s author, Isabella Fonseca, on a webcast that digs deeper into the challenges that sales and marketing teams are facing, and uncovers ways to turn these challenges into business-growing opportunities.
Watch the webcast: “Top Tech Trends Driving Advisor-Client Engagement” and/or view the full presentation below
Today’s reality, according to Sarah and Isabella:
- Broad, 1-to-many marketing is table stakes for advisors, but they’re too busy – and don’t have the expertise – to craft their own strategy
- Personal 1-to-1 client engagement is key to sales success, but advisors don’t have access to the communication channels – like texting – required in today’s digital-first world
- Important client engagement data is not tracked, which puts all sales and marketing efforts at risk
Based on the survey results, Aite notes the importance of making the distinction between content marketing – programs meant to create top-of-funnel awareness and content intelligence at a broad level – and lower-funnel sales enablement, which are high-touch, 1-to-1 activities that “help to create and deliver the appropriate type of content in the best format to engage with clients and prospects.”
Here, the key discussion points from the webcast:
1. One-to-Many Content Marketing is Table Stakes, But Advisors Are Too Busy
We all know that general awareness-building content marketing activities – such as maintaining a professional social media presence and having an updated company website – are a no-brainer in order to survive as a business. But according to Aite’s research, only 28 percent of advisors are actively engaged in marketing support/strategies; their time is being taken up by client referral strategies, leadership culture, practice management, pricing strategies and more.
What’s more, corporate marketing and sales teams have little, if any, visibility into what advisors are doing at the local level, resulting in a disjointed overall customer experience. The solution? Corporate teams need to reclaim one-to-many marketing programs and automate many of those actions, so that advisors can focus on what they do best.
2. One-to-One Engagement, Like Texting, is Key, But Advisors Don’t Have Access
Aite’s data shows that high-performing advisors – those who grew revenue by at least 5 percent over the last five years – rely more heavily on 1-to-1 communication methods, like texting, video calls and instant messaging, versus those who experienced little or no revenue growth.
Of particular interest, nearly half of high-performing advisors text for business; yet, at the same time, nearly 40 percent of all advisors surveyed say their firm doesn’t yet have texting functionality in place. Furthermore, advisors need the ability to automate the texting of common but client-specific messages, like annual review reminders – engagement opportunities that are crucial to client retention and to meet fiduciary interest requirements in a post-DOL world.
3. Important Engagement Data Is Not Tracked, Putting Sales and Marketing at Risk
When all pistons are firing, digitally enabled advisors are generating an enormous amount of rich client interaction data. But all the data in the world means nothing if it can’t be tracked and acted upon. According to Aite’s research, the median business-systems integration level at firms is at just 60 percent, illustrating the need for more investment in this critical area.
4. Next Steps
So what can sales and marketing teams do to help their advisors thrive in the digital age? Sarah and Isabella offered the following best practices:
- Offer a 1-to-many content strategy that is automated and efficient for advisors (“autopilot” + authenticity = win!)
- Improve productivity of 1-to-1 communications through channel enablement and matched use cases (i.e., DOL)
- Automate data capture for advisor-client engagement across channels (social media, advisor websites, texting, email)
- … Ensure all this is done compliantly, of course.
Here’s the full presentation that Sarah and Isabella shared:
- Top Tech Trends for Advisor-Client Engagement [Webcast]
- Advisor Content Marketing and Sales Enablement: Empowering Connections [Report]
- Optimize the Advisor Sales Funnel [Report]
- From Regulatory Compliance to Relationship Insights: Why Financial Services is Uniquely Positioned to Benefit From the Data Analytics Revolution