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Asset Managers

Three Audiences New Asset Managers Need to Understand

Are you an asset manager that’s new to offering your products through financial advisors and the broker-dealer network?

In this article, we’ll talk about the various audiences you’ll be targeting, so you can get a good understanding of who’s who as you enter a new distribution channel.

Due Diligence Officers and Home Office Personnel

Let’s start with due diligence officers and home office personnel at broker-dealers and RIA firms. This group is at the top of the hierarchy. If we think about it flowing from the very top, where more information is allowed, down to the bottom, where less is.

Think about this group as the gatekeepers, with your goal of getting a selling agreement. You are sharing more information on the offering with them than you would with advisors or investors. This could be your track record, detailed financials, and pieces of information that you typically wouldn’t push down beyond them to advisors and investors.

Once you have the selling agreement in place, don’t forget the nurture. A mistake we often see asset managers make is to get the selling agreement and have established a relationship with a due diligence officer, but then they let communication taper off.

It’s important to continue to give updates on your offering. If you are a commercial real estate firm, for example, give updates on properties that you’re buying, or distributions you’re making to investors. It becomes a public relations effort in some ways, to keep due diligence officers/home office personnel updated. When they understand what you’re doing, they can continue to support your offering and positively influence future selling agreements with your firm.

Financial Advisors & RIAs

The next audience is financial advisors and RIAs. With this group, your goal is to always make it simple. We are in a world of complicated financial investment products. Make sure financial advisors and RIAs easily understand what you do.

An example we like to use is industrial real estate equals Amazon packages. Boil down what you do to reflect a lifestyle trend or an everyday topic so advisors will understand easily and feel confident about presenting your investment product to their investors.

Like with due diligence officers, continue to update advisors on your offerings, progress, changes, distributions and activity. They appreciate staying informed – especially when it comes to answering client questions. No one like to be caught off guard.

Investors

The third audience is investors – prospective investors as well as investors that end up investing in your fund. With prospective investors, your conduit to them is going to be through financial advisors and RIAs for the most part. You will produce materials that can be used with the end investor, but you’re going to rely on financial advisors to communicate that information to them.

Again, simplicity is so important because we all know we have really short attention spans. Even though we might be analytical people and some investors could be accredited investors or high net worth individuals, keeping it simple is key so they understand your offering quickly and easily.

Once investors are in your fund, make sure you’re communicating regularly with them, so again, they understand what’s happening. Build trust by keeping them updated.

We’ve covered the key audiences you’ll be communicating with as you work with broker-dealers and RIAs:

  • Due diligence/home office personnel
  • Financial advisors
  • Prospective investors, and the investors in your fund

Need Help Communicating with Your Audiences?

If you need help understanding your audiences or better communicating with them, contact Marketing Intent. We’re happy to help.

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Asset Managers

Why a Marketing Firm Can Help Bolster Your Marketing Team

Is your marketing team underwater? Have you been struggling to find quality candidates to fill positions?

An outside marketing firm can help bolster your marketing team in three key areas: strategy, execution, and training junior or new employees.

Strategy and the Planning Process

Let’s start with strategy. The strategy and planning process is the foundation of your marketing activities. We see our clients struggle with putting plans in place, having the time and energy to dedicate to developing their strategy and understanding how to effectively move forward.

In thinking about how an outside firm can help, a qualified marketing firm that’s familiar with your industry is going to be able to come in, look at what you’re doing and understand it quickly. They will get up to speed on what you offer, who you’re targeting, and identify ways to help you fill the gaps in your strategy.

Those gaps can either be the communication between sales and marketing – which is pretty common in our industry – gaps in your story, or even gaps in the materials that you are putting together to help educate advisors on your offerings. An outside marketing firm can help you develop a strategy to better tackle that communication.

Put a Plan in Place

Next, let’s talk about execution. A strategy is worthless unless there’s a plan in place to make it a reality. Once you have a strategy in place, a qualified marketing firm can manage all the pieces, moving tactical marketing and deliverables forward. They will ensure everything’s happening on time and in the correct sequence to make your marketing successful.

Training Junior and New Employees

Let’s talk about an area that a lot of people overlook as far as where a qualified marketing firm can be beneficial to your team – training junior or new employees. We all know in the financial services industry how complicated marketing is – SEC regulations, FINRA requirements, what compliance is looking for, how selling agreements work or the numerous audiences we’re targeting. An outside marketing firm can be key to helping new or junior employees understand the industry, shorten their learning curve, as well as build their confidence.

We’ve talked about how an outside marketing firm can help with strategy, making that strategy a reality through solid planning and project management, as well as help you educate junior or new employees on the financial services industry and how it works.

CONTACT US FOR MARKETING HELP

If you need any help with bolstering your marketing team, contact Marketing Intent. We’d be happy to help in any of these areas.

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Asset Managers

Alternative Investments: From Friends & Family to Reg D Private Placements

Let’s talk about ways to help your offering stand out with financial advisors, how to sync your sales and marketing efforts and how your PPM can help develop advisors’ trust.

Simplicity and a Good Story

Standing out among the growing number of alternative investment offerings can be difficult. We see many firms dive deep into the jargon of their asset classes to try to explain investment offerings to advisors. And their eyes glaze over.  Simplicity and a good story is the key to helping advisors quickly grasp what you’re doing and why.

For example:

  • Industrial buildings = Amazon packages
  • Farmland = the need for food
  • Residential = solving the housing crisis

Sync Marketing & Sales

Once you have your simple story down, it’s time to make sure that your marketing and sales efforts are synced up. I know this can be a sensitive topic for people, because of the battle that marketing and sales can have. 

It is really important for us to re-think marketing and sales and how they can help each other be successful with a feedback loop. Whether it’s sales getting feedback on what’s resonating with advisors, what a common objection is, or how something should be explained, marketing can help answer those questions for advisors and help engage them for the sales team. 

This can often result in more warm leads and conversations that lead to capital being raised. 

Use Your PPM to Build Trust

Once those conversations start leading to capital raising, the next most important thing to do is develop trust with advisors. We don’t often think of the PPM as being a marketing tool, but it needs to be updated continually. Especially depending on how rigid your law firm is on what you can say with or without it being updated in the PPM. For example, if you’ve acquired properties and you haven’t updated your PPM, you may not be able to discuss them with advisors. That looks like a communication gap from their standpoint, versus you being proactive and letting them know what’s happening with your offering. 

Updating your PPM can provide advisors with what they need to give their clients updates –and to continue to present your offering and raise capital for it. Get ahead of the curve and think about how you can regularly update your PPM so you can get updates out to advisors and continue to develop their trust.

To recap…

  • Simplify your sales story. Think about your asset class and what it means to advisors and how it translates –to sync up your marketing and sales efforts, because it is really important for them to have open communication and have a feedback loop. 
  • Plan for your PPM to be updated regularly. This enables you to get information out to advisors quickly, which helps develop trust.

CONTACT US FOR MARKETING HELP

If you need help maximizing your marketing to raise capital, contact Marketing Intent. We have deep experience in the financial services and the alternative investments space. 

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Asset Managers

5 Ways to Make Your Website Advisor & Investor Friendly

What’s one of the first things you do when you’re considering giving a company your business? You check out their online presence, often starting with their website.

Financial advisors and investors are no different. They analyze the information you provide and the impression your website makes to form an opinion on your integrity, your experience and if they can trust you with their money and to deliver your stated investment objectives.

Like much of marketing in the financial services, alternative investments and commercial real estate space, it doesn’t require a long and costly marketing effort to improve your firm’s website to better speak to your target audience.

Start by focusing on these key areas:

  1. Explain what you do. Use straight-forward, jargon-free language so advisors and investors understand quickly and don’t have to Google investment topics to boil it down for themselves.
  2. Tell the story of your asset class/product. What everyday trend, product or lifestyle is at the foundation of your asset class or product? Focus on it for a memorable investment thesis.
  3. Describe the problems you solve for advisors and investors. Again, simple language is best. And describe the “how” of your solutions to differentiate from your competitors.
  4. Outline your track record. Whether your firm has a long history or you have a new fund, make sure your track record includes key points of experience and accomplishments from across the management team.
  5. Feature your management team. Humanize your brand by providing bios and photos of key members of your management team. A large part of why advisors and investors choose an investment and asset manager is due to its people.

Need help repositioning your website in a timely and cost-efficient way?

Contact us to set up a time to chat about how we can help.

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Asset Managers

Is Marketing Ready for a Hybrid Sales Model?

The sales process changed tremendously this year as wholesalers learned to build relationships and trust with advisors remotely.

As the pandemic continues so will virtual sales, with many firms planning to adopt a hybrid sales model even when our lives return to normal. Which means marketing has to change too.

A Marketing Metamorphosis

Marketing has started taking a bigger role at the front end of the sales process. According to Discovery Data, advisors now make it 57% of the way through the buying process before they engage with someone from your firm. With less involvement from a wholesaler at the critical early stages of the sales process, marketing has to morph its approach to attract advisors and keep them engaged.

Attract Attention

Think about how your firm can get noticed in the sea of product sponsors marketing to the same advisors you are. Competing products typically offer the same or similar portfolio benefits yours do.

Make a positive first impression by ditching your product pitch and focusing on how you can help advisors do their job. What problem do you solve for their clients?

Keep your messaging clear and brief. Give advisors key information so they engage with your firm.

Create a Positive Experience

Once marketers have successfully attracted advisors’ attention, it’s important to focus on creating a positive experience. Much of which centers around your website. Use it to make a powerful impression on advisors – not simply as a place to post your latest marketing material.

Evaluate your site to make sure it’s easy to quickly understand what your firm does without jargon. And create a clear information path for advisors. This is particularly important when your website is designed to appeal to multiple audiences.

Check to be sure your site functions properly with all links and PDFs current. An outdated website can give a negative impression of your firm’s ability to provide ongoing updates to advisors and their clients.

Build Trust

Part of marketing’s job is to build trust and credibility with advisors in the digital realm. Provide the opportunity for them to learn about your management team and track record.

Show advisors you’re interested in them beyond an investment. Educate them. Deliver thoughtful and meaningful insights to help them make the right choice for their clients. Act as their partner in building their business and serving their clients.

We’ll Help You Differentiate Your Firm

You can differentiate your firm by creating a positive advisor experience. Schedule a time to learn how to start that process with website improvements.

Move advisors from researching your firm to investing in it.

Schedule a time for more information.

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Asset Managers

Marketing & Sales Alignment: Small Adjustments for Optimal Capital Raising

When I was young, I remember my dad mowing the lawn. At times, the mower would barely start and other times, it would sputter and choke. Dad would take the mower into the garage, make a couple of adjustments and get right back out to finish the lawn.

Capital raising works much the same way. At times it feels like the engine is sputtering and about to stall. When capital raising goals aren’t being met, part of, if not the entire problem in my experience, has been a disconnect between sales and marketing.

The Cost of Misalignment

Marketing and sales misalignment costs businesses a significant amount of money in both capital raising and revenue each year. It’s cited as one of the top reasons for declines or stagnation from year to year.

On a morale level, when marketing and sales aren’t aligned, team members from both departments feel like their work is underappreciated and wasted. This makes it difficult for them to generate inspired and quality work – and contributes to inefficiencies between and within both departments.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Small Adjustments Make a Big Difference

Making small changes to how sales and marketing are aligned and focused can make a big difference. It doesn’t take a major overhaul or expensive software to sync the teams up. Below are three adjustments you can make now to start aligning marketing and sales.

  1. Communicate. While sales and marketing teams interact with each other daily, they often don’t really communicate. I’ve seen firsthand how improved communication can make a significant difference in sales results.
  2. Focus, focus, focus. On the right clients and their needs. Which type of advisors or firms are being targeted? Why? What are you trying to communicate? Why? What information do clients need? Why?
  3. Align goals & share rewards. Keep both teams moving north toward common and well-communicated goals. Structure rewards so both marketing and sales share in success.

Position your firm for stronger capital raising.

For a confidential conversation about how we can help, schedule a time.

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Asset Managers

Nothing Happens Until Something is Sold: Marketing’s New Role in the Sales Process

Alternative investment product sponsors deeply understand the truth of “nothing happens until something is sold” as they rebuild their selling groups and base of advisors with each new offering.

In today’s world of major market disruptions, public health issues and personal distractions, the job of wholesalers to gain or even maintain advisor mindshare and raise capital can be more difficult than usual. By taking on a new role in the sales process, marketing can help strengthen advisor relationships and contribute to capital raising efforts.

Marketing’s Old Role

Before we talk about marketing’s new role in helping the sales team, let’s take a look at the role marketing departments often play at alternative investment product sponsors.

They fulfill orders. Sales leads the charge and tells marketing what they need. And marketing produces it – no questions asked. After all, sales knows what they need, right? 

Wrong…and right. When sales requests a specific marketing tool, they have identified a gap in information either for themselves, or more importantly, for advisors. When sales translates that gap into a particular marketing tool vs. sharing the why behind the request, marketing doesn’t have the opportunity to explore and develop the best solution.

This is not an ill intention of the sales team – but rather an extension of who they are. They are idea people, people-people, problem solvers, and capital raisers.

And it’s not ill-intended on the side of marketing either. Oftentimes, marketing teams are not resourced with the time or experience to dig further into the root of the sales request, so they simply fulfill it and move on. Over time though, this approach can further strap marketing teams for resources as their load of ongoing, one-off marketing pieces to update grows, leaving even less time to plan strategic marketing programs.

Marketing’s New Role

In its new role, marketing works collaboratively with sales to understand the advisor’s experience and improve it, removing friction points and helping sales build stronger relationships. Marketing often makes the first – and most critical – impression of the firm on advisors. They control how easy it is for advisors to get information, the timeliness and consistency of critical updates, and the translation of a product into stories that resonate with both advisors and their clients. 

How Does Marketing Move into Its New Role?

The first step in marketing assuming a strong and prominent role in the sales process is to gain a deep understanding of advisors, their challenges, successes and perceptions/opinions of product sponsors.

Marketing can gather some of this information by meeting with both internal and external wholesalers, but it’s critical for them to also have firsthand experience with advisors, sitting in on sales calls and meetings.

Then, marketing can evaluate the experience they create for advisors. How easy or hard is it for advisors to build a relationship with the firm and do business with you? And how easy or hard is it for wholesalers to develop strong relationships with advisors?

With the rough spots identified, marketing can develop plans and programs for a smoother and more streamlined advisor experience.

Where Should Marketing Start?

While marketing works on a longer-term plan to move into a more strategic role focused on partnering with sales and refining the advisor experience, there are steps they can take to start heading down that path immediately.

  1. Communicate with sales. Let them know about the new role marketing is starting to take to better serve advisors, to become a more collaborative partner to sales, and to help raise more capital.
  2. Tap into sales knowledge. Until marketing can get a firsthand understanding of advisors, tap into the knowledge of the sales team on the advisor experience. Oftentimes friction points for the sales team will also be friction points for advisors. Focus on the top three to start creating a more positive experience for advisors.
  3. Ask why. When sales requests a particular marketing piece, seek more information to uncover the problem sales is trying to solve. Consider the problem and what the best marketing solution is to improve the advisor experience around the issue.
  4. Reduce materials. Take a hard look at all the pieces marketing maintains and discuss with sales to determine if any can be eliminated or combined.

The experience an advisor has with your firm can be the difference between never offering your products and becoming a loyal producer. Marketing plays a critical role in making sure the advisor experience is streamlined, positive and positioned to bring in capital.

Need help evaluating the experience your marketing team is creating for advisors?

Set up a time to chat about how we can help.

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Asset Managers

7 Ways to Stay in Front of Distribution Partners When Your Offering is Dark

Just because your offering has been suspended doesn’t mean communication with your distribution partners should stop.

In fact, it’s a perfect time to showcase your commitment to your partnership by continuing communications with both home office contacts and advisors.

Home Office Contacts

Like everyone, your home office contacts have had to adjust to the virtual work environment. And their resources are being used to keep up with their investment offerings, monitor results, determine how Reg BI applies, and continue to provide advisors with the alternative investments their clients want.

Sounds like a big job. So how can you make life easier for your home office contacts? How can you best serve their needs?

  1. Provide market updates/articles that pertain to your industry sector. Introduce them with a couple bullet points on why you thought your contact would find the information interesting.
  2. Communicate news on your offering early and transparently. Outline changes and updates rather than simply forwarding a link to a press release or filing.
  3. Ask permission to communicate with advisors. You may be inclined to reach out to advisors like you always have and ask your home office contacts for forgiveness later if they frown on your communications. Instead, use the opportunity to strengthen your relationship. Develop a communication plan for input/approval to let your distribution partners know you’re operating with them and their financial advisors in mind. While it’s tempting to skip a plan and submit one-off communications instead, a plan shows a more thoughtful and partner-centric approach.
44% of advisors find communicating effectively with clients during volatile markets stressful.* How can you help?

Advisors

Consider advisor communications from their point of view – not yours. What are they struggling with? What’s their daily environment look like? How can you simply help them – even if it doesn’t immediately result in them dropping a ticket? Remember, those firms and wholesalers who focus on relationship building in uncertain times are the ones that will be top of mind for advisors when things settle down.

  1. Help advisors communicate with their clients. Provide talking points to give advisors a reason to call their clients with an update on their investment in your product. Remind them of any client-approved email templates or materials you have available. Or offer to speak on a client conference call or webinar to provide a market update on your sector.
  2. Make finding answers to common questions easy. Replace a product pitch call with a tour of your firm’s website to show advisors where to find key information (e.g., distributions, performance, portfolio). Encourage them to bookmark important pages. Maximize your time by scheduling a website tour webinar for your entire territory.
  3. Educate advisors. An educated advisor is your best customer. Think about where their knowledge gaps are today. Where can you help educate them on how various alternative investments compare, about industry trends, or even why your offering is dark and the criteria your firm is striving for to bring it back online.
  4. Reach out to centers of influence. Expand your reach by connecting with centers of influence at your distribution partners. How can you help field leaders, super OSJs or complex managers provide their advisors with valuable educational content? Position yourself as a resource to help their advisors navigate topics like market fundamentals, investment product comparisons or recent investor trends.

*Study: The War on Stress, 2019, Financial Planning Association, Janus Henderson Investors, Investopedia.

Want more information on strengthening your distribution partner relationship? Contact us today.