According to recent study by PWC “Sink or Swim. Why Wealth Management can’t afford to miss the digital wave”, Wealth Management is the last industry to adopt established digital best practices in their Sales & Marketing efforts.
It doesn’t have to be like this. By following the playbook established across a wide range of regulated and non-regulated industries, within 90 days a Wealth Management firm can have their Advisors & Sales teams using social & digital channels to find prospects, build relationships & sell. These processes are well documented and publicly available in places such as LinkedIN Social Selling University. (#SocialSelling)
To summarize the 5 steps in Wealth Manager activation playbook:
- Objectives (Clarify & Align on business objectives)
- Personal Branding (Build program strategy around people’s Personal Branding)
- Recruiting (Recruit key stakeholders to participate in journey (Execs & Compliance))
- Establish the Centre (Drive the initiative from the centre (CMO or central Marketing))
- Technology (Leverage technology to enable, manage & measure impact)
We have provided some preliminary information on each area below. If you have questions or would like some help building a plan for your firm please feel free to contact me or any member of the itracMarketer team.
STEP 1 = Clarify & Align on business objectives
We highly recommend starting this process by setting clear and realistic business objectives with your executives. Your Digital activation objectives for your Advisors & Sales people fall into 2 distinct streams with different benefits and types of metrics for each:
Direct Sales Impact
- Helping sales people & advisors grow business faster & more efficiently
- Increase in AUM, leads, cross-selling vs current baselines
Enterprise Marketing Value generated by “on-behalf of people” program
- Improve customer experience (NPS) by providing modern ways to interact with company & advisors (email / social)
- New digital communication asset for CMO (ability to send content out to followers of your employees)
- ROI increase as response rates increase from person vs brand (6-8x higher)
- Media Value generated by sending content to employees followers (free impressions)
STEP 2 = Build program strategy around Personal Branding
According to recent study by Harris interactive, 42% of people have googled a business contact before deciding to do business with them, and 45% of people who did decided NOT to do business based on what they found. Given the competitive and personal nature of Wealth Management industry, managing how your Advisors appear in digital channel is no longer option, it’s vital to their success.
Wikipedia defines Personal Branding as “the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual”. Goal of a personal branding strategy is to help each of your people manage the perception of them and by association your firm. What do people who read their blog, see their LinkedIN profile or receive their emails think of them & your firm? Do they want to do business with them & your firm? Do the individuals and your firm have the knowledge and expertise they value?
Activating someone’s personal branding has 3 stages of progress:
- Decide what you want to be known for (person and firm)
- Set up your digital presence to reflect your branding (social, web/blog, email)
- Deliver on your branding everyday (share content, comment, offer advice, connect with experts)
If you are interested in learning more about the impact of personal branding, here is a great article from Forbes.
STEP 3 = Recruit key stakeholders to participate in Activation journey
The biggest acceleration tip I can share based on my experience leading Digital at several large companies, is involve key stakeholders in the program from the beginning and build advocacy. Let them learn about the opportunity with you and see the early successes first hand, internal word of mouth is very powerful.
For Wealth Management firms there are a couple of key groups you’d want to recruit:
- CEO, Senior Executives & Thought leaders
- Compliance & Legal
CEO’s, executives and thought leaders generally have strong industry profiles, personal brands and healthy egos. In my experience, they admire peers who are doing digital activation well, and embrace the idea of having their personal brands brought to life in digital channel.
The participation of powerful leaders within your organization helps you recruit the next group, Compliance & Legal. Having the CEO eager to get started turns the conversation from “can we do this” to “how do we do this safely in next 90 days”, a distinction that will save you months of time and energy.
Having executives experience the impact of the program first hand increases their advocacy across company. As their peers and media reach out to compliment them on their digital activities, and ask follow-up questions to opinions they’ve shared, the initiative will pick up momentum. Executive activation inspires and gives permission for other groups to jump into the program.
Advisors & Sales people as key revenue generators, also need to be included early to ensure your program is connected to driving business impact. We’d recommend starting with a small group of Socially Savvy advisors eager to help show their peers the power of digital for finding, connecting & building profitable relationships.
STEP 4 = Drive the initiative from the centre
Change is hard. Asking advisors and their leaders to take the time to learn something new, then change how they spend their time will be a challenge. Having executive funding for a small central team to drive activation at the individual advisor level will increase your chance of success exponentially. This team will start by doing the work for the advisors, coaching them to eventually begin doing it themselves as they see the value for time spent payback.
This type of a program is much more effective if done in a coordinated, synergist manner across the Enterprise. Due to the need for support with content, technology & insights at individual level, providing a limited set of activities from the centre enables field teams to see benefits in much shorter period. When individual or small groups try to do it themselves, they lose the synergy of sharing the work and programs are much less effective.
Key to success for digital Lead Generation & Nurturing programs is regular sending of relevant & high value content via email & social. Managing publishing from the centre ensures each advisor provides their audience with this high value stream of communications with prospects, but saves them 1-2hrs / week finding and sending emails / social posts themselves.
We’d recommend a small central team of 3-6 people supporting program across the enterprise:
- Executive advocacy & activation (1-2 people to manage programs for 10-40 execs)
- Training & Coaching of each advisor (1-2 people)
- Content Library (1-2 people)
- Performance measurement (1-2 analysts)
- Technology enabler (Enterprise Saas license)
STEP 5 = Leverage technology to Enable, Manage & Measure Impact
Partners like itracMarketer provide a cloud based (Saas) technology platform required to quickly bring these programs to life in a cost effective manner with minimal IT support. These technology platforms provide all the tools required for marketing teams to efficiently manage content sharing across multiple digital channels on behalf of all the individual Advisors, while enforcing publishing governance to satisfy communication regulations from FINRA, IIROC & CASL.
If your internal team is already stretched too thin, partner like itracMarketer also provide the program design, activation & management services to help you to get into market quickly. Our approach at itracMarketer is to help you launch and run program for 6-12 months, prove the value to organization so you can bring the program in-house when you are ready.
So there you have it….5 simple steps to get your Wealth Managers up and running on their digital channels inside 90 days. We are always here to answer questions or provide help if you need it.
Brendan Kenalty is one of the founders of itracMarketer and a digital marketing pioneer. An award winning Digital & Social Marketing leader with +20 years experience driving transformation, innovation & revenue impact across broad range of industries, startups & global brands, Brendan is currently our Chief Marketing Officer.