The First Step in Launching a Firm-wide Marketing Strategy

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I often hear from the owners of financial advisor firms that they are solely responsible for “rainmaking” activities and that they would like other advisors in the firm to be equally responsible for bringing in new business. But those other advisors are usually focused on servicing clients and less interested in business development. In order for a firm to grow and succeed beyond the owner’s capabilities, marketing and business development must become a company-wide responsibility.

The first step toward implementing a fully integrated firm-wide marketing strategy is to get all advisors to start contributing in some small way. Activity begets activity, so the key is to start the activity. I help advisors do this through a quarterly marketing activity plan (QMAP). This tool helps advisors set realistic goals and then tracks accountability on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

The QMAP is simple with the goal of getting advisors to participate in marketing activities by starting with the basics: referrals, networking, speaking engagements and writing.

Solo financial advisors can use the QMAP as their entire marketing plan.

Here are two preliminary steps to take before developing a QMAP.

Step 1: Analyze current client-acquisition trends

To set your advisors up for success, take advantage of your firm’s client acquisition strengths. Identify the lead sources for your clients. If you haven’t been tracking this, examine where your clients came from over the last six months. If you have acquired fewer than 10 clients in the last six months, examine the last 10 clients. Include how much in assets each client brought with him or her, and determine which sources have worked best for you (e.g., referrals from John Doe client, TD Ameritrade AdvisorDirect program, networking through ProVisors).

Understanding this information will give direction to your advisors on what has traditionally worked best. While these same strategies may not work for your advisors as they have worked for you, it is a good starting place.

Step 2: Identify time distribution

The purpose of the QMAP is to start generating activity. In order to set your activity goals, you need to know how much time you have for business development. Start by identifying what percentage of time is spent on management, servicing clients and business development. From there you can calculate how many hours a week you have to accomplish your activity goals. If an advisor is not currently spending any time in business development, a good starting goal would be 10% to 15%.

Once you know how much time you have, you can begin developing your QMAP.