Asset Managers increasingly turn to a powerful strategy to grow AUM
In our last post we introduced the concept of the Digital Wholesaler and how we are seeing this emerging model reshape the traditional wholesaling structure that asset management firms have counted on for years to grow AUM. Companies that have embraced digital wholesaling recognize that distribution models are still reliant on cold calls, email blasts and rare in-person meetings are proving to be increasingly ineffective and more expensive each year.
Digital wholesaling is built on a proven methodology called Inbound that has helped many of the largest companies in the world adapt to the behavioral changes in the way we all make buying decisions today. So, what exactly is Inbound?
“Inbound is the strategy for how you grow your business in a world where people make decisions differently than they did ten years ago.”
– John Gulino, CEO GK3 Capital
THE INBOUND METHOD
Asset management firms who have embraced and executed Inbound programs successfully understand these three essential truths:
- You must have a clear, defined profile of who your perfect customer is. In the vernacular of Inbound, that is called a persona, which is defined as a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
- You must understand the process your persona goes through in order to make a final decision. Again, in Inbound language, this process is called the buyer’s journey, which your persona typically moves through in linear phases to become aware of, to consider and to decide on buying a product or service. (More on this later).
- You must create and execute a content strategy that aligns with your persona at each stage of his or her journey. A content strategy is the disciplined process of creating and distributing content to meets your prospect where they are in their decision-making process and helps answers the questions they have.
THE ROAD TO DECISION
What makes Inbound so powerful is that it demands you put yourself and your company in the shoes of your prospect. You need to know what their problems and challenges are so that you can respond appropriately. And you need to recognize the questions your prospect is asking and solutions they are seeking will be different as they move through the buyer’s journey. Here is an illustration of what an advisor’s journey might look like:
Hopefully, you can see that by being in a position to provide timely and relevant responses at any stage your persona is in, you have a greater likelihood of nurturing the relationship to the point where your persona decides to work with you!
THE INBOUND METHODOLOGY
Understanding your persona’s decision-making process is imperative to the success of your overall strategy. As an asset manager trying to build trust with your target audience, who is researching solutions to their problems (for example, “how do I generate income outside the bond market?”) you’ll need a roadmap for how to make that happen. Inbound is the methodology used to build that roadmap - it starts with learning how to attract your prospects regardless of where they are in the decision making process, converting them into a known lead with appropriate content, nurturing that lead until they’re ready to become an investor, and finally, continuing to educate them once they’re a client so that they continue to invest and ultimately refer other advisors to you and your products.
You can attract prospects, regardless of where they are in their decision-making process by reaching them at the right time, with the right content. In addition to old methods of attracting, you must utilize digital tactics, such as:
- Content Marketing
- Social Media
This is the moment when your visitor takes a desired action, it can be anything from clicking a button, filling out a form or booking a meeting with your sales team. These are all facilitated by:
- Calls to action
- Context appropriate content
- Landing pages
- Optimized thank you pages
The tactics of greatest value here are those that allow you to nurture the relationship and further develop trust so that a qualified lead becomes a client, those tactics are:
- Marketing automation
- Lead scoring
- CRM integration
It might be easy to assume that once you have a new client your work is complete, but the last step of the process enables you to deepen this new client relationship to a point where they are comfortable in referring you to others. You will do this with the ongoing use of:
- Social Media
MONTHS OR DAYS?
You might be asking, “Using this Inbound process, how long does it generally take for a prospect to become a client?” The answer? It depends. An investment advisor searching for a replacement manager in a certain asset class could need months to develop enough trust with you to select your firm, and that is assuming you are executing your strategy well. On the other hand, an advisor might be in the decision stage of his journey and simply needs to conduct his due diligence in comparing your solution with one or two others. That decision could happen in just a few days.
The important thing to keep in mind here is that a prospect can enter your sphere of opportunity at any stage. The good news is that Inbound allows you to engage with that prospect wherever they are in the process.
Obviously, there is a lot more to this revolutionary approach to distribution than we have highlighted in this post. You can find additional resources here that may help with your own discovery. Or feel free to contact us directly at 609-388-7200 if you would like to learn more about how GK3 Capital has helped other asset managers make the leap from traditional to digital wholesaling.
In our next post, we will look at another essential aspect of digital wholesaling: the technologies that drive the Inbound Methodology and how they are seamlessly integrated to make the client prospecting and conversion process so effective.