By Eric Clarke
It has been clear since March that our industry needs to change how we deliver financial advice. A pivot to remote service and virtual client meetings is only the start of the evolution we need, not the end. I’ve heard no shortage of big ideas for new technology and processes that could get us there.
But who is out there trying these ideas? And which of them actually work?
I’m writing this column to answer those questions. Every week, I would like to show you some real examples of people using technology to grow their businesses and create a better client experience. Each example will involve one of the four main pillars of a tech-enabled fiduciary process: Prospect, attracting and winning new clients; Plan, creating financial plans that are immediately relevant for clients, Invest, choosing strategies that connect to a client’s unique goals; and Achieve, telling the story of your client’s success, uncovering new insights, and deepening relationships.
With me so far? Then let’s get to the businesses of finding new business.
The pandemic forced most businesses to completely rethink the way they attract new clients. In our industry, advisors have turned to automated campaign builders like Orion Market*r and other marketing solutions to orchestrate their digital outreach. But without an actual list of prospects to target, even the best content and most advanced distribution solutions can only do so much.
We’ve heard from many advisors in this position. They might never have needed to organize a digital list of potential clients, but they know they need to move quickly. At Orion, we often recommend digital prospecting databases like ZoomInfo as a starting point. Here’s why these databases have become potent companion technology for any digital marketing effort.
Essentially, digital prospecting databases use machine learning or other technology to gather and update contact information for businesses and their employees. Users can execute searches filtered for location, employer, job titles, or even more detailed information, like the industry-specific technology employed by each company. In short, advisors can quickly build a profile of their ideal prospect and see who matches it… and how to reach them. But what does that look like in practice?
Henry Schuck, the CEO of ZoomInfo, recently shared the example of TentCraft, a company selling tents for events. Months of lockdown and quarantine safety measures might have been a deathblow for TentCraft. But they used ZoomInfo to find the procurement people who desperately needed tents for emergency COVID-19 testing stations. The result: TentCraft enjoyed its best-ever revenue month.
Hopefully, advisors are able to see the potential of prospecting databases like this. Large employers near you have probably gone through seismic financial shifts. You could target business leaders who could use your help. Or, you could search all over the country to find people who don’t yet know you exist, but have needs you are uniquely suited to fill. Once your list is built, you can use an automated marketing platform to hit the ground running. This approach saves hours of legwork and research, not to mention the cost of hiring an in-house cadre of marketers at a time in which your firm might not have the resources for massive investments.
Firms in other industries are already using prospecting database tech to turn on a dime. ZoomInfo’s IPO, set in the middle of a COVID-ravaged market, shows just how valuable these tools can be, and much of an impact the right mix of technology can create for an advisor in an environment where the tried-and-true has gone out the window.
New business is out there, but you’ll never capture it if you don’t know where to find prospects, what they want, and how you’ll deliver to them.
Until next week…