Most firms have multiple areas of expertise like sales, marketing and research. Unfortunately, in many cases these groups work in a vacuum, without input from or collaboration with other departments—it’s like a never-ending first date!
Picture fictional firm ABC Funds. The marketing department is developing stunning brochures, white papers, and a beautiful digital and print campaign on their large-cap fund. The sales team is "pounding the pavement" virtually, and despite doing their best to be team players, find themselves fielding question after question about the possibility of a trend that favors small-caps.
Entrepreneurial, as most sales folks are, a number of “home-made” sales tools are finding their way into the wholesalers’ bags. They’re doing the best they can with what they’ve got, but they’re not “feelin the love”.
The struggle is real.
While ABC Funds is a fictitious example, the struggle is real. Collaboration across departments is necessary to put the right tools in the hands of the sales team. Much like a loving relationship, there is sharing, learning, and give-and-take.
Regular meetings with portfolio management/research, sales and marketing along with feedback after sales calls can ensure that materials reflect current economic trends and concerns. No matter how much a firm may wish to “push” a particular product to attain an asset goal, the firm’s first duty is to meet the needs of the ultimate investor.
A good relationship requires communication.
Keep the love alive with constant communication, active listening, and sometimes compromise. Focusing solely on the needs of one versus the needs of another, or versus the relationship as a whole can lead to disastrous results. In our example, being prepared to help the advisor understand the historical ebbs and flows of small-cap performance or positioning large-cap alongside small as a diversification tool can demonstrate the wholesalers’ value as credible partners, not just salespeople.
Armed with the love of the team back at the home office, the wholesalers will be better equipped to close more deals. Investing in the relationship, sharing needs and wants, could lead to more relevant campaigns that could include white papers, social media posts, emails, webinars or podcasts hosted by the portfolio managers. Including conversations with key advisors or conducting informal research through the wholesalers can help identify the materials most worth spending your firm’s resources on.
"No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it. Make it a love song."
Firms with coordinated research, sales, and marketing efforts often see the best results – and certainly project the most professional image. These teams work together to develop solid plans designed to meet the goals of the firm.
To help your sales team succeed and win more business, show them a little more love this year. Open the lines of communication and find out what pains they and their clients are experiencing. Have your marketing folks participate in direct sales calls or use the pitchbook to make presentations themselves to the sales team. Give them the opportunity to learn first-hand what feels good, is effective or might be missing. Collaborate, converse, connect – and this Valentine’s Day, all will feel the love.