It Takes Four: the Foundation of Stronger Advisor Engagement

Do you have the right foundation for advisor engagement?

We break down the resources and systems that asset management firms need for effective advisor engagement into four categories: 


  1. Brand: Do our firm’s brand positioning, visual communications and branded channels provide a communications platform for advisor engagement?
  2. People: Are our organization and talent prepared to effectively engage advisors across the end-to-end advisor lifecycle?
  3. Processes: Are we executing a closed-loop process to engage advisors across the end-to-end advisor lifecycle?
  4. Technology: Does our solution include the right “stack” of revenue technologies including digital channels, marketing automation, salesforce automation, data management and business intelligence/analytics?


These four resource categories make up what we call a “revenue system”. They form the foundation for advisor engagement and sustainable revenue execution. These resources need to be in place at a sufficient level of maturity to enable revenue teams to attract, nurture, deepen and expand advisor relationships and convert asset management sales.  Yet few asset management firms have the right mix of capabilities across these categories. Brand channels and communications, messaging and voice are often not competitively distinguished and consistently communicated. The organization and talent approach is often siloed, creating disjointed advisor engagement for self-directed advisors and revenue processes are not “closed-loop” where marketing activities and programs are tracked through sales, informing what’s working and how to re-shape program tactics. Finally, technology systems are often not fully integrated, thereby resulting in poor data quality and less-than-ideal automation effectiveness.

Today’s advisor lifecycle experience is fluid and self-directed. Messages and experiences must be consistently delivered across marketing and sales. Leaders recognize that marketing and sales teams come together to manage non-linear advisor journeys. So, what are the resources required for an effective revenue system?

We break down resources into a checklist of four systems categories for world class advisor engagement.



Pervasive experiences, impressions and visual communications that reinforce a differentiated position.

  • Consistent brand identity and visual communications including logo design, tone and imagery colors embodied in a consistent brand standard
  • Brand enablement of 3rd party distribution and direct channels including digital and direct.
  • The digital presence across web and social media – with consistent copy, content and visual identity


Organization and talent that bring a holistic understanding of the integrated front office and teamwork.

  • Revenue-first organization that puts advisor experience first
  • Collaborative culture
  • Innovation focus
  • Technology and digital savvy
  • Recruiting and talent development
  • Metrics and incentives to reinforce the right behaviors


A continuous closed-loop process that eliminates “marketing” and “sales”  language in favor of a revenue-focused approach and process.

  • A closed-loop process that recognizes the continuous and non-linear engagement of today’s financial advisors, teams and influencer communities
  • Embracing the concepts of equitable exchange and permission marketing to deliver value in exchange for value
  • Orchestration of advisor engagement strategies for high profile/high value accounts
  • Closed-loop tracking and intelligence about what is working and not working across the lifecycle engagement model
  • Enabling content and resources that support real time aadvisor engagement and that addresses true persona needs and pain points.



Marketing and technology stack that includes applications for marketing, sales and data management.

  • Channel Platforms (web, social advertising, PR)
  • Marketing Automation & Tools
  • Sales Force Automation
  • Data Management
  • Business Intelligence Analytics


Note: the author of this post is indebted to the work of Keith Sullivan in his comprehensive guidebook, “Exposed: The False Promises of Revenue Marketing and the deep insights he provides into the 9 principles of buyer engagement.

This post addresses the 9th and final Principle.

Are Financial Advisors Immune to Inbound Marketing?

In recent years, Digital marketers have invested in “inbound marketing” techniques including SEO, social media, content marketing and PR in order to modernize their marketing mix and attract new customers. However, these techniques alone do not drive significant revenue. This outcome is causing considerable consternation among executives over their annual spending on potentially under-performing marketing channels.

The question is, how can digital marketers revive revenue generation by connecting new inbound marketing methods with more traditional outbound marketing efforts?

Closed Loop Marketing

Utilize a “Closed-loop” Sales and Marketing process

The limitation of inbound marketing is that it cedes too much initiative to financial advisors who, as we know, are over-scheduled and faced with competing demands on their time.  Waiting for an advisor to identify that they have a portfolio problem and/or hoping they’ll google terms that land them on your website (or see one of your LinkedIn updates) is a very passive revenue generation system! It must be paired with a rather traditional marketing methodology that connects your marketing strategy to your efforts in a rational, closed-loop process that connects Marketing efforts and integrates with Sales activities. The goal is to establish end-to-end, full-funnel campaign performance using a “fail-fast” iterative approach and data-driven methodology.

Marketing Communication Strategy

Creating a closed-loop Sales and Marketing process

The process aligns marketing and sales in a continuous engagement profile.

Who we talk to:

Activate existing advisor personas, which may only exist in strategy documents, using a lead scoring and grading system to put them to work. Modern Marketing Automation systems provide digital marketers with tools to measure potential advisor profitability (lead grading) along with advisor interests (lead scoring) based on your firm’s criteria. This process will provide Marketing and Sales with clarity on which advisor prospects need to be nurtured and which advisors are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) ready for Sales to review and accept.

What they need:

Asset Management digital marketers know the common challenges facing financial advisors.

Common Financial Advisor Challenges:

  • Differentiating themselves from their competitors
  • Justifying their fees and navigating an accelerated shift from commission-based to fee-based accounts
  • Growing their client base
  • Adapting their behavior, digital tools and agenda to their clients’ way of life

Analyze your financial advisor customer segments and identify their urgent and visible problems. Let’s use an example. Iet’s imagine your best advisors are nearing retirement themselves and may be thinking about selling their book in the next few years. How does their need impact what you say and how you say it?

What we say:

Too many asset managers still have materials and digital properties that read as a brochure about their firm. Rather than utilize an “inside-out” approach, start with an empathetic approach to increase the relevancy of your messaging. Using our advisor retiring example, we’ve studied the copy, design, voice and tone used by vendors that assist advisors in selling their practice (e.g. Succession Link  and FP Transitions) and we’ve adopted this style for our specific customer segment.

How we talk to them:

Now, finally, you re-introduce inbound marketing into the picture. Our closed-loop process has allowed us to identify and measure our ideal, ready-to-be-nurtured audience of advisors. You understand their challenges, and you have several hypotheses as to what messaging they will find relevant – in other words, you know what to say to engage them. It’s time to implement marketing channel tactics by determining the type, sequence of timing for deployment of integrated demand engagement programs. Remember, digital engagement is enabled by a complex technology stack. Websites that are effective in lead development and advisor engagement depend on a range of tools and processes that consume, generate and share data. And while this revenue systems layer underpins advisor engagement, the visual experience advisors have remains as important as ever. Good marketing still depends upon good design.

This leads one to question “How can I measure results?”