Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™ (1 of 9): Align Your Team on Vision & Smart Goals

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2018 FA Smart Book

Market Success

Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™

We recently published the 2018 Edition of the Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™, 2018 Edition  This resource is a comprehensive guide to help financial advisors build a strategy-led, systematic growth program with 9 proven strategies. The goal is to help advisors:

  • Increase Volume: Generate More Visits & Inquiries
  • Increase Client Value: Get Better Qualified Inquiries
  • Increase Velocity: Increase your Conversion Rate
  • Increase AUM and Revenue: Optimize Engagement for AUM growth and Revenue Impact.

[Strategy 1 of 9] Align Your Team on a Vision & Smart Goals 

We are surprised how many advisors we work with have not clarified a vision or established clear revenue goals and metrics to achieve them. Having a vision and game plan for growth is important for financial advisors to thrive in a challenging marketplace. The Smart Book™ outlines how you can achieve more predictable and sustainable revenue growth by establishing a Revenue Architecture that fits your firm. The key is to commit to a systematic sales and marketing process by following the 9 proven strategies to guide your approach.

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77% of B2B marketers are NOT making their numbers! Why?

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77 Percent

77 Percent

Many so-called “Revenue Marketers” are writing checks that their companies simply can’t cash! According to a recent study by HubSpot, only 23% of marketers are exceeding their revenue goals. Yet, Revenue Marketing has become a ubiquitous concept and is getting tons of hype in today’s market. And rightfully so. No question – it’s the “holy grail” of today’s senior stakeholders.

Here’s the problem—all the verbiage around it was generated by companies and people deeply invested in its success. These include companies that are predominantly staffed by marketing automation technologists and solutions engineers, who are actually software people, not demand marketers. And all the talk isn’t limited to the marketing operations and automation folks who are making claims. There are also many strategic consulting firms and agencies that do the same, but they don’t have enough experience as practitioners to execute on the very recommendations they are prescribing to clients.

Don’t get me wrong, the modern marketing technology stack forms the most powerful marketing enablement toolkit I’ve witnessed in a nearly 25-year career. But it’s just that…an enablement toolkit. It’s a partial solution. You ALSO need effective buyer engagement strategy and execution or the monetization of your marketing investments won’t even come close to its potential.

Quite simply, revenue marketing can work—when (and only when) it’s driven by a worthy buyer engagement strategy. But the primary challenge, which we address in our new eBook entitled Exposed. The False Promises of Revenue Marketing., is all the confusion, misinterpretation and general lack of understanding that exists around revenue marketing and the buyer engagement strategies that are essential to its success.

These points of confusion include:

  • The fundamental deficit in buyer understanding that is killing marketing performance at most companies
  • What’s wrong with persona development
  • How messaging is largely missing the mark
  • Why most B2B content is lousy as it’s “domain-centric,” not “engagement-focused”
  • How most marketers are focused on all the wrong metrics
  • Why so very few marketers are capable of aligning all the requisite elements of a high-performance buyer engagement strategy

In the eBook we highlight these critical elements (and many more) that are too frequently being ignored, simply misunderstood or not fully embraced, but that are vital for true revenue marketing. In it we address 9 foundational principles that when used as a roadmap for marketing automation and social media propagation are the surest way to develop a sound buyer engagement strategy that transforms you into a true rock star of revenue marketing.

Download a copy of the eBook to discover 9 ways to exponentially increase leads, conversion, pipeline velocity and revenue impact:

 

 

Three Reasons to Audit Your Sales Messaging

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Office

Improving the quality and completeness of sales messages delivers hard ROI. Here are three reasons you should review the content your sales teams are using and take a diagnostic approach to assess the effectiveness of your sales messaging:

Office

Three Reasons to Audit Your Sales Messaging:

1) Reduce the time required for achieving channel effectiveness: 

  • Channel effectiveness occurs when the average salesperson can cost effectively close the sale. Eventually the sales channels [and customers] will learn the value of the differential being offered, but while the market is still learning these values, the effectiveness of the sales channels is reduced. It is difficult to close the sale when the customer doesn’t know the value of the differential being offered, and the sales channels has not been provided with the values, calibration, and evidence needed to convince them.

2) Increase sales capacity

  • Sales capacity is the number of salespeople [or outlets] that are effectively selling your products and solutions. Retail uses a term “self ware” to refer to products that are sitting on the shelf but aren’t being bought. Having salespeople that are expected to sell the product but can’t/don’t is the channel equivalent of shelfware. Frequently this occurs when the skill required to sell the product exceeds the skill available in the channel. So the top 10% of the salespeople can sell the product, but the average salesperson can’t. Poor quality sales messaging is frequently the cause of product shelfware.

3) Reduces the cost of sales

  • Improved messaging increases the close rate and reduces the number of sales calls required to do so because the customer value being offered is clear and with evidence.

Use a diagnostic process for more consistent implementation

  1. Review the “top 10” sales messaging deficiencies to see if the issues are identified.
  2. Check the material being sent to sales people –  before it is sent!
  3. Use a checklist to ensure the quality and completeness of the information being provided.

Make certain your content and messaging is sufficient for the average salesperson to cost effectively close the sale. Would you like a copy of the checklist? Check out the 9 Sales Enablement Content Imperatives.

Here is another article by Bud: 10 Message Deficiencies.  Contact us to schedule a discussion.

This is a guest post by Bud Hyler – a member of the Revenue Architects’ expert network.

What Amazon means for Whole Foods’ core values (and how it’s connected to the Washington Post)

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In 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post. (Granted, he bought it personally instead of via Amazon, but it’s still relevant to the Amazon/Whole Foods story.) At the time, the paper was facing a steady decline and staff layoffs, as most newspapers were, and its online presence was stagnant. Bezos got involved with the business side and its technology—no surprise there—and he didn’t interfere with editorial direction.

Nieman Lab has a transcript from an interview with a Post staffer who talked about the bots they now use to help run the business, deliver news, provide information for stories, and even automate the writing of basic stories. The content management system they built works so well that other news outlets license it from them. And there’s an energy in the Post’s reporting that I haven’t seen in a long time. This is cool stuff.

Web traffic doubled and 1,200 stories are posted per day—500 of them original— outpacing their competitors, including The New York Times.

I think Bezos’s game plan for the Post hints at how Amazon will manage its new supermarket chain.

Refocusing on consumers

Bezos has told staff at the Post to “focus on the reader.” Whole Foods could stand to remember its core shoppers, those consumers who are drawn to Whole Foods’ core values. Some long-time fans feel that the chain has catered too much to a broad market and made less visible their adherence to the core values of environmental protection and support for organic farming. The New York Times wrote about this worry 10 years ago, when Whole Foods had become a “mega-chain” of 303 stores (which has now grown to 431), with “gelato stands, chocolate fountains and pizza counters.”

Legions of shoppers live within proximity of Whole Foods stores but have an aversion to their prices. Clearly, Whole Foods has tried to cater to this audience but delivered mixed messages. They have alternately highlighted the reasonable prices of their store brand items while also creating high-quality, indulgent offerings for those who are indifferent to prices. That juxtaposition has made it hard for shoppers to believe the low-price message.

I believe Amazon will re-focus on Whole Foods’ core values, making noticeable changes in its product assortment to win back true believers who have become alienated. At the same time, they will look closely at the offerings geared toward consumers looking for a more general grocery offering. Can they offer delicious food while respecting the company’s core values, at reasonable prices?  And without a doubt, Amazon will reinvent the supply chain — more on that soon — and Whole Foods’ IRMA system, the back-end technology that is universally despised, not unlike the back-end systems at most supermarkets.

How should Whole Foods’ suppliers position themselves for the changes that are bound to happen?

Understanding Spam in Email Marketing

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email spam

This is a guest post with a backgrounder on Spam and eMail tactics.

email spam

Email spam, or junk mail, is sending and receiving unsolicited messages via email. While most spam messages are actually untargeted promotional emails, a percentage of junk emails also contain disguised links to familiar websites, but which are actually phishing attempts, or host malware meant to infect your computer system. Junk email can also contain scripts or executable file attachments which can then brick your computer, spy on you, or fill your browsers with adware.

Email spam has a long history, first appearing in the 90s, when botnets, which are practically networks of infected computers, began sending unsolicited emails to thousands of people present on their lists. Regardless that since the Internet became a reality, junk email was prohibited, it still represents a practice today. Email spam stands against the ethical principles of email marketing and can often be classified as unsolicited bulk email, which is mail sent in large quantities, or unsolicited commercial emails. Read more

Better Salespeople Need Less Sales Enablement Content

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Bad Sales Guy

Generating revenue and winning customers requires a balance of good content and confident sales. Design your sales enablement content around what your medium-skilled salespeople need.

Bad Sales Guy

Your top salespeople have sufficient confidence and sales skill that they don’t need a lot of content to be successful in their sales efforts. However an average salesperson with less confidence and less sales skill will require much more content.  Top sales people usually need less content because they are able to develop a greater level of customer relationship and trust.

One of the responsibilities of sales management is to specify the content requirements that sufficiently augments the sales skills of the average salesperson so that revenue is successfully generated.

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RIAs: What Your Ideal Client Wants | Fiduciary Financial Advisor

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Fiduciary Standard for Financial Advisors

A prospective client may assume that a financial advisor, when giving advice, is acting in their best interest.

Fiduciary Standard for Financial Advisors

Indeed this prospective client may have heard the word FIDUCIARY Financial Advisor bandied about by talking heads and journalists in the financial media and that is now a Rule of Law.  For an independent fee-only Financial Advisor (RIA), being a fiduciary will matter a great deal to your ideal client and can be a key if not prerequisite selling point. But they may not grasp the full meaning and intent.

Positioned right, being a fiduciary can be a major point of differentiation from broker/dealers claiming to be financial advisors, but who are associated with vertically integrated brokerage firms that sell products with ‘hidden fees’.

One advisor quoted in the article in a recent New York Times article said  “The fiduciary rule ultimately comes down to the fact that some people are making a lot of money at the expense of other people who have no idea how much their adviser is getting paid.”  A video from a large independent advisor, compares butchers and nutritionists.  Butchers push meat. Nutritionists advise you what to eat, because they have the best interests of the client at heart.  The latter is the fiduciary.  A Revenue Architects client says, “the professional fiduciary is expected to perform and advise you based on your best interests, even if it comes into conflict with the advisor’s own interests.”

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The secret information inside UPC barcodes

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Some people believe all Universal Product Codes (UPCs) contain the number 666, representing the number of the beast or the anti-Christ.

Snopes cites the relevant Bible verse: “No one could buy or sell unless he had this mark, that is, the beast’s name or the number that stands for his name” (Revelation 13:17-18).

In a story on UPCs and this theory, The New Republic quotes from Revelation, which discusses the End Times:

“He forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark in his right hand or in his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.” What is that number? “Let he that has wisdom count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”

As interesting as this sounds, it stems from a misinterpretation of the bars that appear on UPCs. They were interpreted to read as 666. But in reality they are just separating marks or guide bars, which look like the bars that represent sixes but are slightly different and have no numeric meaning.

Scanners read the width of the bars and the gaps between the bars in a UPC to convert them into a number that represents the product.

I’ll describe the UPC-A version of the barcode, which is used in the United States for most retail products. Other types of barcodes exist for some product categories, like books, and in countries outside the United States.

Number system digit: This number determines the product’s category.

  • 0, 1, 6, 7, 8: Most products
  • 2: Products sold by variable weight, such as produce and meat; determined by individual retailers or warehouses
  • 3: Pharmaceuticals sold by National Drug Code (NDC) number
  • 4: For retailer use; indicates loyalty cards or store coupons
  • 5: Coupons
  • 9: Reserved

Manufacturer code: This set of five numbers is assigned to a manufacturer by GS1, a nonprofit that governs the assignment of U.S. UPCs.

Product code: The manufacturer determines this set of five numbers; it can be any code the manufacturer desires.

Check digit: This number is determined by a formula. The scanner calculates this formula on its own and then checks against the numbers it scanned to determine whether it scanned the correct digits. If there was an error—say, due to a smudge on the package—the check digit won’t match, and the product will scan with an error.

Note that the information conveyed only identifies the manufacturer and the product.  No pricing or other information is provided. At a retail location, the register will look up the product information and cross-reference it to find the right price or any other information. There are no series of sixes or any other information included in a UPC that can somehow personally identify a shopper. Furthermore, these codes have not been affixed to people, as some have feared.

Some other notes and resources:

1. Using UPCs in syndicated data like Nielsen and IRI: I usually look for the 10 digits represented by the manufacturer code plus the product code. Most U.S. products that I’ve worked with start with a zero as the number system digit, and those leading zeroes are omitted by Nielsen and IRI. There have been a few instances where I have worked with products that contain a non-zero number system digit, and one must be careful to include those digits when searching.

2. If you need to obtain UPCs for your products, talk with GS1. There are some UPC resellers who can sell single UPCs, but that will make it hard to do business with anyone but the smallest of retailers.

3. Wikihow has a good tutorial on UPCs, and Keyence can help you decipher the bars in case you don’t trust the numbers printed below them.