Advisors, distributor relationships, consultants, and institutions continue to place high value on the experience they have with their asset management firm partners. The experience these clients have plays an important role in acquiring, retaining, and growing assets under management (AUM).
Given that backdrop, asset management firms continue to rethink how they engage with their clients, recognizing the need for a more coordinated and comprehensive approach to client communications across sales, national accounts, marketing, product, investment and client service teams.
Most firms are challenged with delivering a personalized client experiences in a scalable and measured way. For most asset management firms, generating more leads isn’t the priority. Targeting pre-identified, high potential client relationships, with personalized experiences, that align to their preferences, is the priority.
With this in mind, an account-based marketing (ABM) approach is likely to be the most effective marketing strategy for asset management firms who are looking to prioritize distributor relationships, serving as a great way to drive closer alignment between marketing and national accounts to influence new opportunities.
ABM is a B2B marketing strategy that uses a suite of tools and processes to create personalized campaigns for target accounts. So, instead of a single campaign with many targets, you can create multiple campaigns, each targeting just one account (or a highly targeted group of accounts). As part of this strategy, firms look to marketing automation as the foundation for automating, scaling, and tracking the effectiveness of their ABM strategy.
Let’s dive into how asset management marketers can leverage marketing automation to execute an ABM strategy in 4 steps.
Step 1: Identify the right accounts
The first step in building an account-based marketing program is to identify the accounts you want to target in your marketing program.
Before you identify the accounts and clusters of accounts, start by centralizing of all your marketing, sales, and service data in your CRM. Run an assessment. What accounts are you working with? Do you have duplicates you need to clean up? Once your customer database is clean. Enrich the database with 3rd party firmographic data (ex: organization size, location, AUM, etc.) and publicly available investment data.
Now that your data is aggregated in your CRM, you’re ready for analysis. We recommend using an analytics solution to help. Start by identifying key attributes. Who are your best clients – by type, location, and AUM? Let’s say a majority of your AUM are concentrated in U.S. wealth management firms with $50 Billion plus in AUM.
Next, evaluate each firm to determine if it’s worth running an ABM strategy targeting those accounts. Ask yourself: What’s your AUM potential by firm? What are the product gaps? Based on market opportunity and your firm’s expertise, let’s say you narrow your initial focus to your U.S. National Retail Accounts for your first ABM campaign.
Using marketing automation, segment your data and make sure that you have all the relevant stakeholders included. Use dynamic lists to automatically segment your key accounts and contacts within those accounts based on pre-defined parameters. You can then use these lists to build targeted marketing campaigns.
Step 2: Improve Customer Engagement
Now that you’ve identified the segments and key accounts you want to go after, you’re ready to plan your ABM campaigns. We’d suggest thinking about building your ABM campaigns in 3 tiers:
- 1 to Many: U.S. National Retail Accounts
- 1 to Few: U.S. Broker-Dealers
- 1 to 1: Fultz & Newman Wealth management
When executing ABM programs you’ll likely leverage the same channels you already use today to target these accounts, but with technology to deliver more personalization at scale.
Let’s say that your firm is about to launch new ESG-focused ETFs, and you want to target your U.S. National Retail Accounts and more specifically, U.S. Broker-Dealers with these new products. Let’s look at how we could target your U.S. National Retail Accounts across a variety of channels as part of a fully integrated marketing campaign using an ABM approach:
- Ads: After you build an ad campaign that positions your ESG funds to your U.S. National Retail Accounts list, you can leverage a digital advertising platform to target advisors at those specific accounts across search, display, and social media. This allows you to optimize your digital advertising spend by only putting your ads in front of your top target accounts and advisors, rather than paying to advertise to anyone who happens to search for a keyword.
- Email: Target your U.S. Broker/Dealer dynamic list with an email nurture campaign. Send a series of emails to firm relationships, illustrating how your new product helps address client demands for investments focused on sustainability. Personalize the copy and images in these emails for the specific accounts (ex: Fultz & Newman Wealth Management) using dynamic content (ex: dynamically update the email to include the account’s logo).
- Web: Leverage dynamic content across your website to personalize content. For example, when a U.S. National Retail Account visits your sustainable investing page, automatically update the messaging and images to be tailored for your U.S. National Retail Accounts business accounts.
- Direct Mail: Send your Fultz & Newman Wealth Management Relationship management team contacts a succulent with their company’s logo on the pot including a “handwritten” note from your firm’s chief investment officer and head of distribution. Include a call to action driving that contact to your sustainable investing landing page.
- Events: Plan a sustainable investing dinner event for your U.S. Broker-Dealer Relationship management contacts leverage marketing automation to automate the invitation and follow up process with nurture programs.
Step 3: Align Sales & Marketing
As you are executing your ABM campaigns in the market, you want to ensure your marketing and national accounts team is tightly aligned. Having transparency across marketing and national accounts is essential to delivering a connected client experience.
Start by aggregating all of your marketing and national account data in your CRM, offering complete visibility across your national account team, marketing, product, investment and client service teams. Then with marketing automation you can take the alignment between marketing and your national accounts team to the next level by empowering your national accounts counterparts with marketing insights. Let’s look at a few example of how marketing automation can help.
- Account & Firm Insights: Provide national accounts with full visibility into how your accounts and their client relationships are engaging. With embedded account and customer analytics, see engagement trends, what types of content and campaigns an account is most interested in, and what emails or digital assets an individual has engaged with.
- AI-Powered Scoring – Empower national accounts with AI-powered scoring to identify the contacts that will be most inclined to consider the product for optimal shelf space
- Real-Time Alerts: Notify national account managers the moment a contact from one of their firms opens an email or goes on your website, allowing them to engage at the moment of interest.
- Sales-Driven Campaigns: Empower national accounts to run their own 1:1, 1:many, and nurture campaigns leveraging customizable, marketing curated, pre-approved emails.
Empowering national accounts with marketing insights allows them to act at the moment of interest, with a personalized, relevant engagement. This alignment allows your firm to capitalize on all the great engagement your prospects are having your with your marketing campaigns and turn those engagements into shelf space opportunities, and ultimately AUM.
Step 4: Measure & Optimize Campaign Performance
The last step to launching your upcoming ABM campaign is to measure and optimize campaign performance. Leverage analytics dashboards that update with the insights you need in real-time, allowing you to measure and optimize early and often.
To start, apply your standard KPIs (campaign ROI, conversion rates, etc.) to your various target audiences:
- 1 to Many: U.S. National Retail Accounts
- 1 to Few: U.S.. Broker Dealers
- 1 to 1: Fultz & Newman Wealth Management
Measure: What does campaign attribution look like at Fultz & Newman Wealth Management? What does stakeholder engagement look like within the account? What is the cumulative AUM and what is the AUM by advisor? How do these KPIs compare to other U.S. Broker-Dealers and to your broader U.S. National Retail Accounts population?
No need to re-invent the wheel when you start measuring your ABM campaigns. The key here is getting more granular with your measurement. See what’s working and what’s not working within your highest potential accounts.
Does account-based marketing sound like the strategy for your firm? Check out these resources if you want to learn more: