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The ‘Digital Wholesaler’ is Poised to Transform Distribution

By John Gulino

Ask yourself a few questions:

    • Is your internal/external wholesaling model winning you volumes of new business with RIAs?

    • Is that model enabling you to reduce your distribution costs year after year?

    • Is your ability to get quality face-to-face meetings with top RIAs more effective than ever?

Most asset managers today readily acknowledge that the traditional method of growing AUM with a wholesaler-intensive distribution model is not only expensive, its proving to be less effective than ever before. What has happened?

Buyer Behavior Changed

It is hard to pinpoint exactly when, but at some time along the internet’s lifecycle, consumers became confident searching online for answers to their questions without the need for personal interaction. As search engine algorithms continued to evolve, online search became the fast and convenient way to research, evaluate, compare and ultimately, make buying decisions. In fact, according to research from industry leading CRM provider, Hubspot, today:

“People are 65% of the way

through the sales process before

they ever talk to a salesperson.”

It’s no different from your own personal efforts to explore and make a decision to purchase new wireless headphones on Amazon as it is an investment advisor’s choice to research and identify a new low-volatility mutual fund to use in client portfolios. Buying decisions today occur on the other side of a website visit, Google search or social media post.

Enter the Digital Wholesaler

So, if RIAs prefer to interact with asset managers digitally – and research supports the fact they do – then how should asset managers adapt and transition their long-standing distribution structures to meet this need? It begins with this important understanding: The digital wholesaler is not intended to replace the traditional wholesaler. Rather, they are designed to enhance and make the (internal/external) wholesalers’ work more relevant, responsive, and necessary.

What is Digital Wholesaling?

Digital Wholesaling is aligning your sales and marketing efforts to the way that your prospects and clients make decisions today.  It combines three important elements in order to execute it effectively:

  • Strategy- The Inbound Method

  • Technology- the right technology stack that automates and creates efficiency in your sales and marketing plan

  • Training- A shift in your team's mindset so that you can effectively execute this new strategy and use your new technology stack. It begins with education and alignment for sales and marketing to obtain optimal results

If that sounds daunting, know that it is not. Many asset managers have already begun the migration toward a digital wholesaling model and are experiencing the benefits of what it can do. Just consider, the digital wholesaler:

  • Works 24/7

  • Is proving to be remarkably cost-effective

  • Is easily scalable across different channels

  • Identifies and prioritizes the best prospects to pursue

  • Organizes and manages your sales process

  • Helps you develop and sustain the types of relationships RIAs prefer

This may help illustrate the functions of a traditional wholesaler and those that the digital wholesaler now automates and executes.

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On the left hand side, in a traditional sales model, the salesperson is involved in every step of the sales process from identifying and qualifying a prospect all the way through due diligence and closing.  When you implement a Digital Sales strategy, two things happen:

  1. You align your sales process with how people actually make decisions in today’s digital world where access to information is at our fingertips.

  2. As a salesperson, you are able to focus on only those activities with truly qualified leads that have shown consistent interest in your solutions. Better focus. Better efficiency. Better execution.

The digital wholesaling platform is designed to meet the needs of today’s RIA on their terms, with timely, relevant insights when, where and how they prefer those to be available. The digital wholesaler is patient, undeterred, selfless, and only concerned about attracting and converting your most coveted RIAs.

Perhaps it is time for you to discover what the digital wholesaler can do for your firm. In our next post, we will discuss how asset managers are making this new strategy come to life with a strategy called Inbound.

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Topics: Digital Marketing Inbound Marketing Buyers Journey Digital Wholesaling

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