Financial advisors are an amazingly difficult prospect to engage. They are incredibly busy and already have a wealth of resources available to them; in fact, it may be fair to ask if they even need to engage with wholesalers? That’s why we say the best way to convert financial advisors to customers is to build your marketing automation program around them.

Lead generation starts with effective segmentation

Before focusing on key strategies, Sales and Marketing must have defined a set of engagement personas and customer segments. Marketing has worked with personas for at least a decade, but only since the advent of marketing automation software have engagement personas become empowered and brought to life.

Defining financial advisor segments for lead generation

Creating clarity with Sales is a two-step process:
  1. Lead scoring – a measure of how active a financial advisor is on your digital properties
  2. Lead grading – a measure of how profitable the financial advisor is likely to be


Advisor Marketing Focus


While it may take several iterations to get lead scoring and grading optimized, the process should be fruitful for Sales and Marketing. It crystallizes Marketing and Sales perspectives around which advisors are most profitable and which digital behaviors are believed to be most relevant to a sale. Some marketing automation vendors have one score that represents profitability and interest. However, being able to separate advisor behaviors from profitability factors simplifies discussions by clarifying customer segments by profitability as seen in the above graphic. As an example, Pardot applies a numerical value for an advisor’s lead score and a letter grade (A-F) for an advisor’s expected profitability.

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Many management experts remind us to find the most important element to manage and stay focused on it! What is that “one thing” for increasing revenue?

I would argue that most important factor is the difference in the amount of revenue produced by the top sales person compared to the average salesperson during the first years of a product’s introduction.

Frequently for new differentiated products the “top 10 percent” salespeople will sell more than 2x or 3x the amount that the average salesperson sells. The early sales are critical for gaining market share for new products while the differentiation is high.  Over time, as the market and the other salespeople learn more about the product and the customer value delivered, the size of the revenue gap will decrease…but by then the competitors will have started to catch up also and the differentiating advantage decreases.

What does the average salesperson learn after the introduction and a couple of sales cycles that enables them to increase the amount of revenue produced, approaching closer to the sales levels of the top salespeople? If the firm provided that information earlier, would the average salesperson be able to produce higher sales levels earlier? The answer is yes!

Firms really can’t get much more revenue out of the “top 10%” salespeople, and trying to save the “bottom 10%” is a waste of time. But we can provide the information needed by the average salesperson to impact their revenue production by almost 2X.

In recent years, Digital marketers have invested in “inbound marketing” techniques including SEO, social media, content marketing and PR in order to modernize their marketing mix and attract new customers. However, these techniques alone do not drive significant revenue. This outcome is causing considerable consternation among executives over their annual spending on potentially under-performing marketing channels.

The question is, how can digital marketers revive revenue generation by connecting new inbound marketing methods with more traditional outbound marketing efforts?

Closed Loop Marketing

Utilize a “Closed-loop” Sales and Marketing process

The limitation of inbound marketing is that it cedes too much initiative to financial advisors who, as we know, are over-scheduled and faced with competing demands on their time.  Waiting for an advisor to identify that they have a portfolio problem and/or hoping they’ll google terms that land them on your website (or see one of your LinkedIn updates) is a very passive revenue generation system! It must be paired with a rather traditional marketing methodology that connects your marketing strategy to your efforts in a rational, closed-loop process that connects Marketing efforts and integrates with Sales activities. The goal is to establish end-to-end, full-funnel campaign performance using a “fail-fast” iterative approach and data-driven methodology.

Marketing Communication Strategy

Creating a closed-loop Sales and Marketing process

The process aligns marketing and sales in a continuous engagement profile.

Who we talk to:

Activate existing advisor personas, which may only exist in strategy documents, using a lead scoring and grading system to put them to work. Modern Marketing Automation systems provide digital marketers with tools to measure potential advisor profitability (lead grading) along with advisor interests (lead scoring) based on your firm’s criteria. This process will provide Marketing and Sales with clarity on which advisor prospects need to be nurtured and which advisors are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) ready for Sales to review and accept.

What they need:

Asset Management digital marketers know the common challenges facing financial advisors.

Common Financial Advisor Challenges:

  • Differentiating themselves from their competitors
  • Justifying their fees and navigating an accelerated shift from commission-based to fee-based accounts
  • Growing their client base
  • Adapting their behavior, digital tools and agenda to their clients’ way of life

Analyze your financial advisor customer segments and identify their urgent and visible problems. Let’s use an example. Iet’s imagine your best advisors are nearing retirement themselves and may be thinking about selling their book in the next few years. How does their need impact what you say and how you say it?

What we say:

Too many asset managers still have materials and digital properties that read as a brochure about their firm. Rather than utilize an “inside-out” approach, start with an empathetic approach to increase the relevancy of your messaging. Using our advisor retiring example, we’ve studied the copy, design, voice and tone used by vendors that assist advisors in selling their practice (e.g. Succession Link  and FP Transitions) and we’ve adopted this style for our specific customer segment.

How we talk to them:

Now, finally, you re-introduce inbound marketing into the picture. Our closed-loop process has allowed us to identify and measure our ideal, ready-to-be-nurtured audience of advisors. You understand their challenges, and you have several hypotheses as to what messaging they will find relevant – in other words, you know what to say to engage them. It’s time to implement marketing channel tactics by determining the type, sequence of timing for deployment of integrated demand engagement programs. Remember, digital engagement is enabled by a complex technology stack. Websites that are effective in lead development and advisor engagement depend on a range of tools and processes that consume, generate and share data. And while this revenue systems layer underpins advisor engagement, the visual experience advisors have remains as important as ever. Good marketing still depends upon good design.

This leads one to question “How can I measure results?”