Posted March 29, 2017 by Matthew Fronczke
Most of us can agree that the intermediary distribution landscape is in a state of transition. Up is down, left is right. “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!” OK, so maybe it’s not that crazy, but we know that selling products (mutual funds, ETFs, and so on) is changing and national sales organizations are facing new challenges in how to best service and engage with financial advisors.
In the face of mounting margins pressure, slashing budgets, and increasing difficulty in getting in front of and influencing advisors, national sales teams are re-evaluating how they structure, staff, and deploy their salespeople. Internal wholesalers have always played an important role in advisor engagement. However, as the market evolves, the internal must evolve as well. While time and experience in the field are necessary to reach maximum proficiency, the ability for internals to manage relationships and drive sales now is necessary for the modern distribution environment.
One of the chief challenges for sales organizations is partnering with advisors across various firms and channels in a scalable manner. Current logic would lead us to believe that the more advisors you serve and the better those relationships become, the more field wholesalers would be required. We know that’s not necessarily the case as modern day advisor behaviors and preferences indicate that sales team can nurture a strong relationship without being at the front door (so to speak).
Skilled internal sales using digital engagement tools to their advantage can add tremendous value at reduced costs. This is where the evolution of the internal gets interesting. No longer is the internal relegated to scheduling, prospecting and generating “hot” leads. The modern day internal – with the right training and skill set – is fully capable of managing a subset of advisor relationships with similar goals and expectations as externals.
A robust advisor segmentation effort reduces much of the prospecting and “hot” lead efforts, which means internals can focus on more time selling and managing relationships. The segmentation modeling required to achieve this is not without effort but any effort in doing so will be paid off handsomely with sales efficiencies. The result: internals, hybrids and digital (“external”) wholesalers are essentially all the same position.
In the past, the internal desk was seen as a deep pool of potential candidates to move into a field sales role or another team (National Account, CPM, Investment Management, etc.) based on skills and interest. Moving forward it would be wise to consider how less senior internals can achieve strong career trajectory within the sales organizations without the next step being a field position.
Retaining talent within the internal team is essential to maximizing coverage and unlocking access to financial advisors. Talented individuals capable of meeting increasing advisor demands and expectations better enable sales teams to overcome the challenges of not being physically in certain territories. Many sales teams are already well-positioned to move to this model, but it first requires re-thinking how sales resources are deployed to maximize sales at the lowest possible costs. Segmentation and the advancement of the internal are steps in the right direction.
For more detail on our research and recommendations on tackling the current distribution challenges please contact me with your questions.
categories: internal & hybrid wholesaling, roundtable/events, advisor segmentation, national sales manager, wholesaler compensation
The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of DST Systems, Inc. or its affiliates, subsidiaries, joint ventures, officers, directors, or management.
Your browser does not support iframes.