Published on March 12, 2020 by Nivesh Shankar
“Fast-evolving”, “rapidly advancing” and “quickly evolving” are terms that are not usually associated with the financial industry – until now. Asset management companies (AMCs) now realise that they need to be strategically aware and technologically advanced to respond to client expectations. With changing investor preferences, stringent regulations and intense competition driving tectonic shifts in the asset management industry, technology-led disruptions have become par for the course, ultimately dictating how clients interact with their asset managers.
While these aspects are important to judge performance, marketing teams are also driven by an additional metric that is pivotal to their functioning – improving the client’s overall experience. The core function of the marketing team is to ensure that the sales team is enabled with the most relevant marketing collateral to help acquire new clients and retain existing ones. Even though this sounds simple, firms face multiple challenges when it comes to sharing the information seamlessly and synchronising the sales and marketing functions.
So how does the marketing team ensure that the sales team can quickly access up-to-date, customised collateral that fits the client’s needs?
Although most of today’s sales-enablement products are relatively new, there are even newer technologies that continue to try to capture the market, learning from past mistakes and deficiencies of the older ones. Seismic has made strong inroads into the financial industry, capturing several large clients, to become one of the most-sought-after technologies in the space.
I have bought the tool… What next?
While the idea behind Seismic sounds great in theory, AMCs face challenges when it comes to making the best use of the tool. The underlying issue does not lie with Seismic itself, but rather in the ease of use and the bandwidth constraints surrounding the maintenance and use of the tool.
Some challenges faced by clients using Seismic have been at the initial phase, when all the existing content has to be prepared for migration onto Seismic. AMCs need to figure out what the best way would be to migrate to the new technology in a manner that minimises disruption to their existing workflow and processes
What is the best way to facilitate a smooth transition to Seismic and ensure the tool is being used to its full potential?
While the preparation involved for transition may seem daunting and a mammoth task, it always helps to stay well ahead of the curve. Depending on the setup of the team and the nature of the work, companies have a few options to choose from.
Manage using in-house resources
This option would best suit companies with underutilised resources or with the budget required to hire new resources for the specific task of transition. However, considering the cost-sensitive nature of the industry, most companies do not have this luxury. Moreover, the additional challenge, in most cases, is that existing resources lack expertise in the use of Seismic and are unaware of the nuances involved in the transition process. There is a learning curve involved, which usually leads to a longer transition phase.
Hire external consultants
This model works best for companies with a stable work force (minimal attrition) or that have a strong documentation process to help with knowledge retention. From our experience, once external consultants complete the transition, attrition usually takes a toll on knowledge retention, and Seismic ends up being used as a repository.
An alternative route?
Is there a “holy grail” in terms of the best transition process that addresses all these multiple challenges? The ideal option is for in-house resources to quickly understand Seismic, efficiently transfer all content to the tool and then train the relevant personnel to ensure that the new tool is used to its full potential. However, considering that most companies operate a lean ship and have bandwidth and cost constraints, this option has some rather obvious practical challenges.
So let us take a step back and return to the crux of the matter – as a client, is it really a smart move to dedicate the bandwidth of an experienced resource away from his core work to set up Seismic? While Seismic has some great features, the bottom line is that it is simply a tool that brings efficiency to a process that already works but faces a few challenges. It is important that companies ensure their resources continue to focus on their core assets that help bring in new sales
At Acuity Knowledge Partners, we have worked with clients to help them successfully migrate towards Seismic and use the tool efficiently. During the transition phase, we liaise with multiple stakeholders and advise them on what the best approach would be to ensure a smooth transition. We are also experienced in taking on existing Seismic setups and maintaining them. We also help add value by providing the flexibility of using our in-house automations, macros and reporting tools along with the functionalities of Seismic – bringing together the best of both worlds.
We believe the new decade will be about meeting client expectations, evolving along with technological advancements, and sales and marketing teams would need to be as nimble as possible to face this challenge. While there may not be a sudden structural shift in the way AMCs operate, there is a noticeable affinity towards technological solutions within the sales-enablement space. AMCs are well past the wait-and-watch phase and would now have to make well-thought-out decisions to use tech-driven solutions to help align their marketing and sales teams. No transition is simple, and this phase will appear daunting at the onset. However, carefully evaluating a company’s environment, a healthy dose of prudence and making the right execution choices could help organisations stave off some of the blind spots and accomplish a successful transition – and ultimately synchronise the sales and marketing functions.
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About the Author
Nivesh is a Finance and Economics postgraduate with over 7 years of total work experience. He has experience in the capital markets domain, with exposure to investment banking, commentary writing, performance reporting, client reporting, and preparing RFPs/DDQs for mutual funds and ETFs. Nivesh is currently Delivery Manager at Acuity Knowledge Partners, preparing, maintaining, and updating fund marketing material and client reports, such as factsheets, presentations, and brochures. Prior to this, he was Analyst at an investment banking firm, where he was responsible for equity/sector research and company valuations.
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