Sales and marketing are the two sides of the same coin. They both aim at educating prospects, bringing in new clients while making sure that you continue to delight your current ones. When a business is just starting out, the same people typically perform both sales and marketing tasks and the line between the two can start to blur.
But how does this work in a hedge fund?
According to our investor and fund manager survey “Making it Big”, one of the first roles that a fund looks to fill, is that of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Traditionally, they are responsible for all the operations that aim to increase revenue. This typically includes investor relations, sales and marketing tasks, so it’s hard to distinguish which one of these approaches is the best way forward.
Once upon a time, raising capital was all about networking, sales, and secrecy was considered to be good marketing! But this is not the case anymore.
Marketing now plays a hugely important role in fundraising activities. “The internet has shifted power from sellers to buyers” sounds true and today’s investor is more likely to have conducted their own research before ever communicating with a sales representative. Today, marketing makes up a bigger proportion of the buying journey, but it still needs to work seamlessly with a sales to deliver a first-class customer experience.
How has this shift affected the asset management industry?
1. Investors are better informed
What does this mean? Online databases, your website and word of mouth are some of the first touchpoints for your prospects to find information about you.
What can you do? In this highly regulated industry, you have to find a way to provide them with the information they can’t acquire by themselves. A web portal can help.
2. Investors bypass you early in the sale process
What does this mean? Investors are trying to answer their own questions to save time, and minimise contact with salespeople. With 300 emails/day in their inbox, who can blame them?
What can you do? Keep sharing interesting and insightful articles about your strategy, the markets, and your approach. You are in this for a reason and with a different perspective, so you need to tell investors what that reason is.
3. Investors expect customisation and personalisation
What does this mean? Buyers want personalised experiences. They want you to understand exactly where they are in their journey, and where they’re experiencing pain. They want a solution that’s tailor-made to their issues.
What can you do? Find a way to understand the most relevant conversation to have with a prospect. Is it time to discuss bringing them on board? Or would a casual conversation about their goals and what’s happening in the markets be more relevant? An analytical and data-driven approach can be the solution.
4. Investors expect you to keep the romance alive
What does this mean? Customers expect premier treatment, long after you’ve closed the deal. According to Harvard Business Review, it can be anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.
What can you do? Two words. Delight them. Find the best way to serve them, personalise your reports, and provide them with the ability to self-serve the information they need.
Finally, no matter where your customer is in their buyer’s journey, follow up with care. HubSpot has some great advice on expert-level sales follow up. The bottom line is:
“Sales take time, especially big ticket deals. Much of the sales process hinges on where the prospect is in their buying journey, and there’s no real way to know with 100% certainty.”
In the buying process, you may not hold all the power anymore, but you still hold tremendous value as a trusted advisor and consultant. Power has shifted to the buyer’s side, but there is plenty of opportunity if you’re willing to adapt.
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