Social Selling in the Financial World
When more than three related events happen in a short period there may be a trend going on! In the past two weeks I have found clients talking about social selling and also been reading on how social media is impacting on investment managers. here’s what I am seeing and hearing!
Event 1: Let’s start with a great piece in FTfm, the weekly fund management section in the Financial Times. The key messages are that a few players are making really positive use of social media but most are not capitalising on its power. There is a nervousness about compliant messaging and a uncertainty about how to use social media. It cites boutique fund manager Woodford using social media as their prime channel for communicating with end investors and the community of “Bogleheads” that have grown around Vanguard and founder Jack Bogle. It quotes James Cardew of Schroders who says that “social media may on a two or three year view become the dominant marketing channel for asset managers”. The piece focuses on communicating with individual investors but I’d also challenge you to think about how you communicate with investment advisors, trustees, CFOs and other professionals.
Event 2: A coffee just by St Paul’s with the head of distribution of a leading fund manager. We talked about the way his distribution team could be keeping in contact with their key decision makers in a light touch way (see my video on being the first person your client calls), but also how they could lift the conversation from product pushing to raising issues of investment strategy and the underlying business challenges. Yes there was a concern about non-compliant messaging but we began to explore how close co-operation with marketing and a judicious use of LinkedIn Sales Navigator could generate a very powerful campaign.
Event 3: A sandwich lunch by Bank with a training professional who described how his business has transformed from traditional sales approaches to focussing almost entirely on social selling. My own view is that the real power of social selling is when it integrates into innovative sales processes but there is no doubt that this is a hot topic.
Event 4: An afternoon meeting with a long-standing contact with a wide-ranging financial services career. I have worked with him in private equity and in commercial and corporate banking. He is now heading an operational transformation programme in a life assurance subsidiary. Although he had looked at how the business is using social media for contact with private clients we worked together on how the tools and techniques could be applied in the corporate environment ad in communicating with the financial advice community.
Event 5: In a meeting with a leading European ETF player social selling came up as one of the key new skill areas needed for competitiveness (alongside client-centricity and B2B customer experience in the sales process).
Event 6: Just before the ETF meeting I was meeting with a highly experienced European Head of L&D in the non-life insurance sector. Again there came the recognition. “This is really interesting. We need to work this much better into the way we handle client relationships”.
Six encounters in as many working days! maybe this is happening because I’m focussed on social selling but it’s not just me talking about it. People want to hear about it, to think about it and to act on it.