Four Thought Provoking Questions About Sales Data

By Nicsa posted 12-13-2022 10:55 AM


In the asset management industry, harnessing data correctly helps distribution teams boost productivity and improve client engagement, among other benefits. Leaders from Franklin Templeton, Allspring Global Investments, and Morgan Stanley took a deep dive into this topic during a recent session at Nicsa’s GMM moderated by Ben Doob, Head of Market Intelligence at ISS.


Doob asked four thought-provoking questions:


  1. How are firms prioritizing data acquisition?

For John Miller, Investment Strategies Consultant at Allspring Global Investments, the goal is to acquire datasets that cover an advisor's needs in a holistic manner. But before prioritizing what's next, he recommends reviewing existing data.


"Allspring places a significant priority on industry data when it comes to setting and creating our sales strategy across all levels of our distribution," Miller said. "While we're always thinking about what's next, there are many insights to be derived and actions to take using the data we have today. We all have those data packs that are sitting on our shelves collecting dust."


Jennifer Ball, Head of US Marketing at Franklin Templeton, said data acquisition priorities and decisions should be rooted in objectives. "That might be a strategic objective that we have, or it could be something that's far more tactical, and those things shift over time," Ball said. "It also comes down to ROI — focusing resources on the things that will move the dial for you the most."


  1. How do you drive data consumption?

“Ultimately, it's about finding balance," Miller said. "Take a collaborative approach with the market intelligence group and the wholesaler because in many cases, the wholesaler can provide more insight on the advisor than the data can."


Mark Smith, Executive Director, Head of Distribution Intelligence at Morgan Stanley, agreed that collaboration is critical, adding that asset managers with the most data usage success often foster strong partnerships between home office and field sales. He's even seen asset managers achieve results by creating wholesaler advisory boards.


"Select roughly five individuals that gravitate toward data," he said. "These are generally individuals in the field who grew up with data. Get them to communicate with your BI team about what they need and what they'd like to see. That goes a long way in terms of in usage of data and insights."


  1. How much should you be investing in predictive analytics?

"We've taken a few steps back in the last couple of years with respect to any kind of predictive modeling or even algorithm usage," Ball said. "Aside from some pretty simple models, we've been focused on getting the data right, because if it’s not, you can't use it for predictive modeling."


Miller said Allspring partners with Broadridge on buying propensity scores. "I think we're scratching the surface there," he said. "But I also think that predictability with data doesn't always have to correlate with data science."


"What I mean by that is sometimes we look for predictable indicators that might be outside the box," Miller continued. "One example would be getting a list of advisors who are going through an in-house practice management program. Data tells us that those advisors tend to act once the program is completed. If we can access those types of lists, we can make sure that we're the first phone call and that we're in front of the sale. "


  1. How are you integrating and using data to drive business outcomes?

Miller said Allspring is working to expand its centers of influence (COI) specialist model to encourage better engagement with their clients’ leadership and open doors from the inside. The firm’s goal is to boost collaboration between those in market intelligence, data analytics, and wholesale, fostering more synergy between the groups.


"My last piece of advice is to share success stories," he said. "If you have a situation where data combined with the relationship with the wholesaler had ultimately resulted in closing a sale, I think sharing that helps with overall buy-in."


Ball said Franklin Templeton is working to maximize data across all sources to benefit segmentation and ensure that the roles marketing and sales and national accounts play across different segments are clear.


"In terms of advice, focus on the business objective first and collaborate around that," she said. "In addition, the importance of socialization, sharing successes, and change management cannot be underestimated. Historically, we've had success with early adopters; using their feedback helps us refine our approach and allows the rest of the team to see the benefits."


Smith's final advice: Don't overthink it. "Remember that we're in the third inning. It's a long ball game; take small steps and get quick wins."


For a full replay of this session, employees of registered firms can visit Nicsa’s 2022 General Membership Meeting website. 


May contain forward-looking statements subject to various uncertainties. Personal views and observations of individuals contained herein are as of the date of the live event or written material and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nicsa or its member organizations. Nothing herein is intended to be or should be construed as legal advice. Contact your own counsel in order to obtain legal advice regarding these or any other matters. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation of best practices.