Business Intelligence: Bulls-Eye!

Business Intelligence Bulls EyeAt our Fall Roundtable, SalesPage representatives and members of our client community discussed some trends in the asset management industry, as well as some common challenges. Although we’ll be providing our clients with a complete event summary, we wanted to share a few key takeaways here.

So what were some of the trends that came up at the Roundtable? Almost without fail, our clients said they were turning their marketing strategy upside down. This might sound drastic, but bear with me—it all makes sense.

Traditionally, many asset management firms engaged in blast marketing—spraying their messages far and wide to as many advisors as they could reach. This was often done indiscriminately. Even though the messages were solid and the product was good, the message was often ineffective because it didn’t hit the right, targeted audience. Even when advisors received a message that should have resonated with them, they had received so many other messages that weren’t appropriate that they tended to ignore the relevant ones. Without careful audience selection, messages weren’t hitting the mark. And that meant that sales weren’t soaring.

Companies were spending time, energy and money in sending out strong messages scattershot, to a broad audience with whom they couldn’t really connect.

But now, in an almost seismic shift, many in the industry are committed to using logic and intelligence to first understand their targets before actively engaging with them. Companies are using Business Intelligence (BI) to do significant homework up front; they are looking at their data with an eagle eye before beginning campaigns. A company might analyze data to identify the most likely candidates for a particular fund category: perhaps this means looking for those who have made certain purchases recently, and who are in a particular age group or income category, and who hold a minimum amount of assets. After doing the crucial up-front work, a company can send the right message to those who meet a specific set of criteria. By identifying and screening contacts in this way, a company can be sure that they are engaging with the right audience, in the right way.

There was universal recognition that in order to sell products, you really need to hit the right audience.

So the shift, in a nutshell, is that asset management companies are committed to intelligent marketing. They recognize the need to present the right message to the right audience. Our clients are taking steps to give their wholesalers the best possible tools: they are looking at the data on hand so they can provide the most promising leads. Wholesalers who work from a strategic list—compiled for them, based on current and historical information—have a much greater probability of success. They’re able to connect with confidence and hit the mark.

Asset managers’ shift in marketing strategies directly impacts how internal and external wholesaler activities are handled. Our clients are more invested than ever before in gaining an advantage in lead distribution and in qualifying leads. As a consequence, sales targeting, third-party data integration, and BI are crucial pieces in their race to provide sales and marketing teams with timely, accurate, and actionable data.

Here’s a peek at some of the ways our clients are handling this shift, as well as some insight into how SalesPage can help.

Sales Targeting

Asset managers are focused on finding and targeting advisors in an effective manner. During our Roundtable, SalesPage clients had an opportunity to share successes they’ve had with sales targeting. One firm’s 4-step methodology garnered a lot of interest.

  1. Establish clear goals. Those goals might be to cross-sell and to increase market share: whatever the goals are, state them clearly, communicate them directly, and make sure everyone is aware of what they are.
  2. Develop algorithms—based on multiple data sources—to score advisors. This particular firm uses SalesPage to integrate and maintain most of the data used for scoring; the information analyzed often includes production data, information from third parties, and digital data from websites and marketing and e-mail systems.
  3. Deliver usable, continually updated, “pre-crunched” data to sales and marketing teams. It’s vital to provide this information so that it meets the needs of all users—for instance, so that it’s as easily retrieved by those using mobile devices as by those who use desktop computers.
  4. Promote acceptance and buy-in of the company’s wholesaler business plans, at the wholesaler level. Encouraging wholesalers to get behind this initiative and to dive in wholeheartedly is key. The company provides the tools—such as a finely honed target list, based on score—and tracks wholesaler activity (compensating wholesalers accordingly), while the wholesalers provide the heart.

The firm using this approach continually assesses their progress as they refine their algorithms and their marketing strategy. The goal is to provide their sales and marketing teams with the very best information. That information empowers wholesalers to reach out to the right advisors, so they can engage in conversations that matter. In turn, the advisors benefit by receiving the most up-to-date and relevant information so that they can best serve their clients.

Integration

SalesPage and our clients are big proponents of integration—whether that means integrating with systems central to distribution management, or bringing third-party data into SalesPage, or both.

Many firms in our client community already integrate data into SalesPage, while others are making plans to do so. Why use SalesPage to do this? We have an established track record of deploying successful integration strategies for our clients. We are the best in the business at accurately bringing in data from third-party providers—including Local Market Share (LMS) feeds, provided by Market Metrics—and from other in-house systems, populating SalesPage with actionable data that can help to inform the sales process. SalesPage is flexible and agnostic when it comes to integrating with different sources and systems: our applications function well in any environment.

Clients are also preparing to leverage data from providers who specialize in e-mail marketing (such as Silverpop and HubSpot), marketing automation utilities (Pardot, Aprimo, and Eloqua, as examples), and rep-facing websites. All these efforts are directed to providing sales people with useful business intelligence in SalesPage. Besides forming new integration points, SalesPage is focused on improving current integrations to deliver data in the best, most usable, and most digestible format.

Business Intelligence (BI)

Incorporating Business Intelligence—BI—into your data system is a little bit like spinning straw into gold. I’m not talking about the fairy tale part of the story, but rather about the idea that you can start out with something that has a certain value on its own (straw), and then carefully apply a particular strategy and toolset (the spinning process, as well as the spinning wheel), to progress to the point where you have something very valuable (gold) in your hands.

While turning straw into gold is pretty far-fetched, what about taking volumes of ordinary data and turning it into information that can directly impact your bottom line? That’s not a fairy tale—that’s something that SalesPage can help with. Let me tell you how.

In the world of asset management, there’s an ever-increasing demand for more significant information:  people want the best, most valuable facts and figures they can get—and who can blame them? As the need for useful information grows, there’s a corresponding need for better, more powerful tools that can deliver BI to those who will put it to good use.

At the Roundtable, there were many, many conversations about BI, both from an operational point of view (the spinning process) and from a software point of view (the spinning wheel). Some clients use third-party software tools (such as Tableau and Oracle BI, or even home-grown toolsets). Some have a team dedicated to BI, and some are exploring ways in which they can establish new resources (or shift existing resources) to handle their BI needs. But consistently, people were in agreement that whether they brought BI data into SalesPage from outside sources, or are analyzing data from within the SalesPage solution, SalesPage has the expertise to slice, dice, arrange, display, store and make use of that data.

SalesPage solutions contain robust toolsets to assist clients with their BI strategies—from the business analytics module to the segmentation toolset. And of course we’ve frequently integrated output from third-party tools into SalesPage. Whatever the BI needs are, SalesPage is fully engaged and is able to handle the details involved in delivering business intelligence to our clients.

Looking Forward

We’re looking forward to hosting the next Spring Roundtable at our Kalamazoo headquarters in April, 2015. As always, we appreciate our client community for participating in these events; the value-add they bring is immeasurable.

Call me, or your SalesPage representative, to find out more about how we can help you put these, or other concepts to work in your environment.