This is the second in a series of thought leadership articles that will examine three critical areas that need to be addressed to revolutionize the wholesaler role.
The Right Tech Puts the Spotlight on Wholesaler Value to Advisors
Financial advisors have outgrown the old school product push mentality and taken on the new mantel of client consultant—offering high-quality advice on how their clients can best meet a wide range of life and financial goals.
That change has caused an upheaval in the traditional advisor-wholesaler relationship. Advisors are no longer interested in wholesalers who can’t help them add value for their clients.
They can easily obtain product information they need from web sites or even employ third party portfolio services. They have little time and low interest in meeting with every wholesaler who calls with an invite to a product presentation.
This means wholesalers themselves have to evolve their approach to their role in order to attract advisor attention. Wholesalers are now transforming from distributors of their company’s products into tech-enabled business consultants that advisors want to work with.
The key to realizing the full potential of this new wholesaler role is to identify and leverage technology to increase efficiencies and provide even more value to advisors. The question, then, is what kinds of tools should make up a wholesaler’s technology stack and what they do for the wholesaler?
Digital wholesaler technology
There are two cornerstone technologies that are key to the wholesaler’s transformation into a tech-enabled business consultant to their advisors:
The foundation of the wholesaler tech stack is a tailor-made CRM which will automate processes and systematize relationship management, sales and marketing. They centralize all advisor data in one location and enable wholesalers to consistently, effectively and easily manage their activities.
2. Portfolio construction platforms
Portfolio construction products are sales acceleration platforms that feature guided investment product positioning and analytics. They enable wholesalers to offer portfolio design as a value-added service to their advisors—helping them serve their clients better.
Three ways these technologies can optimize the wholesaler’s new role
The integration of tailor-made CRM and portfolio construction tools helps wholesalers attract advisor attention and position their products in an advisor’s book of business in three ways:
1. Offer a value-added service to advisors
In order to transform into the tech-enabled business consultant that advisors want to work with, wholesalers need to become true portfolio construction experts. Portfolio construction tools give wholesalers the expertise needed to offer portfolio design as a value-added service—creating a compelling reason for advisors to work with them.
Using portfolio construction and CRM tools will:
- Help advisors enhance the quality of their portfolios and better meet client needs, which is a great way to increase advisor confidence
- Demonstrate the wholesaler’s expertise, build trust and deepen relationships
- Manage the implementation of value-added service more effectively
- Build the wholesaler’s brand in their advisor community so they become known as a go-to resource for portfolio design
2. Create efficiencies
Integrating a tailor-made CRM and portfolio construction tool will save wholesalers time, reduce headaches and improve their effectiveness. These tools enable wholesalers to:
- Automate workflows
- Create investment planning sheets, plus marketing and compliance reports automatically
- Reduce headaches by preserving audit trails to demonstrate compliance.
- Save time and effort spent on low-value tasks by integrating CRM and portfolio analysis to reduce manual data entry
- Manage activity – so you don’t have worry about missing important tasks, meetings or calls
- Centralize client data in one location for easy access
3. Increase sales
Using these integrated tools will also boost productivity. They will enable wholesalers to consistently position their company’s products in an advisor’s book of business. They allow wholesalers to:
- Analyze current portfolios or model portfolios
- Analyze comprehensive data sets to identify portfolio weaknesses
- Recommend replacement products
- Conduct historical hypothetical comparisons which demonstrate the real advantage of replacing products
- Generate professional proposals containing plain English descriptions of the benefits of the recommendation based on statistics
- Provide advisors with their own advisor version of the portfolio design tool; not only does this provide value but it helps advisors provide even better service to their client
Business intelligence reporting will show wholesalers what advisors are doing with the tool. Reports will show if advisors in a region are comparing a product against the competition and it is a stronger solution. If advisors are not yet selling it to their clients, the wholesaler has an opportunity to make them aware of the popularity of the solution and the reasons why it would be a good fit.
Putting it all together
Although there are radical changes underway in the wholesaler world, the future is bright for those who evolve into the tech-enabled business consultant advisors want to work with.
They will be able to offer value-added services that have significant impact on advisor practices. They will build expertise and trust—and they will be seen, not as product promoters but true partners in the growth of their advisor’s practice.