The MFWire
Manage Email Alerts | Sponsorships | About MFWire | Who We Are

Subscribe to MFWire.com's News Alerts [click]

Rating:NICSA Keynote: Bob Cunha Explains How to Kick Up Sales With Big Data Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, September 20, 2013

NICSA Keynote: Bob Cunha Explains How to Kick Up Sales With Big Data

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

The final keynote presentation of the NICSA General Membership Meeting in Boston was devoted to mutual fund sales, and Big Data.

In short, fund firms need to find ways to use Big Data to promote success in the tried and true face-to-face strategies of fund sales, according to Bob Cunha, managing director for marketing and distribution strategy at Eaton Vance.

To make his point, Cunha, who was previously with sales data provider Market Metrics, outlined for the audience the well-tested and timeless daily schedule for most mutual fund wholesalers.

Behold. The wholesaler wakes up in the morning, gets into the car and drives to an advisor office. He or she says hello to the receptionist and asks about the kids. Then into the advisor's to talk about [Input name of relevant local sports team] for five minutes. Then some general conversations about clients and what they've been wanting.

Finally, the advisor asks, "What can you do for me?", and then the sales begin.

Afterwards, vague plans about dinner or drinks or maybe a ballgame, and then, perhaps, the advisor maybe drops some tickets in a week, or a month, or maybe never.

This model is tried and true, according to Cunha, in the mutual fund industry, which he described as "basically an old-fashioned business." It is viable, it is important, and more than that, it is fundamental to any kind of sucess in mutual fund sales, he said.

It is also under threat, Cunha warned.

First off, it is expensive. Cunha estimated that on average, one wholesaler costs a fund firm $1 million. That includes compensation and bonus, internal sales support, infrastructure and other resources.

"Ultimately the threat is that those folk are expensive. Very expensive. And the loyalty of advisors is declining. Advisors are more analytical in nature," he told the audience.

Moreover, Cunha said, "the effectiveness of that old-fashioned business model has declined." Folks who walk into offices and talk about client interests and make plans about ballgames "need to be smarter about what they do."

Being smarter about sales involves finding better ways to use the wealth of data available about advisors to help sales people target the right people with whom to talk, and say the right things while having those conversations.

To illustrate, Cunha broke down the how the regional hierarchy works for his firm. Eaton breaks down the U.S. into 70 regions with roughly 3,000 advisors each. The firm probably has data for roughly half of these advisors, or 1,500. Maybe half of these, or 750, have bought products from the firm at some time.

At best, the wholesaler for that region has time in the year to meet with 300 advisors.

"The challenge is, if you can only see a tenth [of the people in your territory], let's make sure it is the right tenth," Cunha said.

Targeting the right tenth involves three areas of data:
  • 1. Advisor profiling and targeting. In short, getting all the info possible on the advisor and what he or she needs.
  • 2. Activity tracking. In short, getting all the info possible on how and where they do business.
  • 3. Evaluation. In short, how the heck do you use this information to decide whether this advisor is a good target?

    The problem though, Cunha warned, is that there is a lot of data to work with. There is total sales opportunity info you can get from a variety of data vendors. There are financial publication sources like the Barron's top 1,000 list. There are a variety of other third-party lists, including those from broker-dealers and advisor networks.

    There is also the personal sales history contained in the brain of your sales person, who has been gathering and analyzing this qualitative data for years.

    If you hit the sales person with too much raw data, Cunha said, your sales person's head is just going to explode in the parking lot before he or she ever gets a chance to get into the advisor's office. [He actually had a little cartoon video graphic of an exploding wholesaler noggin explosion. Very dramatic.] Or just as bad, he or she is just going to ignore the data.

    Cunha outlined for the audience his firm's four general steps for using big data to help sales people, without leading to noggin destruction.

    STEP 1: Establish Clear Goals. Most firms, Cunha said, have a very simple goal with regards to sales: sell more stuff. Having something a little more precise can make a big difference, he said.

    When his firm conducted research on advisor needs, they noticed that advisors wanted for their clients products that provided income and yield; helped them manage volatility, and address increasing tax issues.

    In response, Cunha said, his firm came up with two clear, nuanced goals: increase market share in each of these three client need areas and seize upon related cross-selling opportunities.

    For each of those goals, Eaton then figures out how each individual sales person, and the department as a whole, addresses these sales goals.

    STEP 2: Gather Relevant Data, and Develop Algorithms That Make This Data Useful

    Of course, the firm has to gather all the data available, from sales activity to email and website traffic, and so on but that data doesn't help unless the firm can figure out algorithms to score this data to come up with actionable wisdom, Cunha said.

    Developing these algorithms to scour this ocean of data is as much a factor of business strategy decisions as it is a factor of technical wizardry, Cunha said.

    STEP 3: Get the Actionable Wisdom to the Sales People

    At the end of the day, all of this wizardry must produce very straightforward sales wisdom, who to talk to and what to talk about, Cunha said.

    Some sales people might want to drill down on the technical details. Fine, Cunha said, give them the opportunity to do so. But if they don't want it, don't drown them in it, he said.

    Also let them access the data however they want to access it: via iPad or tablet, via cellphone, or via old-fashioned paper print outs.

    STEP 4: Set Up Contact Objectives

    Now you have the data, you have to decide how to follow up with it. How may times do you see a particular target face-to-face? How often by phone or email, and so on. You set up precise strategies and objectives for making this data count.

    None of this is easy, Cunha warned, and will likely be a multi-year effort.

    "This is a life's work, it doesn't happen overnight," he said.

    The challenges are legion, he said: dealing with data integrity, developing and refining the algorithms and building the infrastructure to deliver the data. Changing the behavior of your sales people to seize upon these insights may be the hardest challenge of all, he said.

    "Changing human behavior may be one of the biggest challenges of them all," he said.  

    Stay ahead of the news ... Sign up for our email alerts now

  • 0.0
     Do You Recommend This Story?

    GO TO: MFWire
    Return to Top
     News Archives
    2022: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2021: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2020: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2019: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2018: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2017: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2016: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2015: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2014: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2013: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2012: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2011: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2010: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2009: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2008: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2007: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2006: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2005: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2004: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2003: Q4Q3Q2Q1
    2002: Q4Q3Q2Q1
     Subscribe via RSS:
    Raw XML
    Add to My Yahoo!
    follow us in feedly

    1. Director Discussion Series - Open Forum via Zoom, September 29
    2. IMEA roundtable - Portfolio Construction, September 29
    3. MMI webinar - The Future of Marketing is Changing ... Are You Ready?, September 29
    4. IDC Speaker Series - A Conversation with Roger Ferguson, October 3
    5. IDC webinar - A Conversation with Roger Ferguson, Jr., October 3
    6. 5th annual Expect Miracles Atlantic Coast Classic, October 3
    7. Nicsa Fearless Leadership Symposium, Oct 6-7
    8. 7th Annual FUSE Forum, October 6
    9. 2022 ICI Securities Law Developments Conference - day 1, October 11
    10. MFDF Director Discussion Series - Open Forum (San Francisco), October 12
    11. 2022 ICI Securities Law Developments Conference - day 2, October 13
    12. MFDF In Focus: ESG Data Requirements - What Directors Need to Know, October 19
    13. 2022 MMI Annual Conference, Oct 19-21
    14. 2022 IDC Fund Directors Conference, Oct 24-26
    15. 18th annual Expect Miracles Wine & Spirits Event, October 27
    16. Buford Capital Securities Litigation Symposium, November 1
    17. IMEA All-Council Fall Summit, Nov 2-3
    18. Nicsa 2022 General Membership Meeting, Nov 2-3
    19. Tiburon CEO Summit XLIII, Nov 7-9
    20. 2022 ICI Tech Summit, Nov 8-9
    21. UCITS & AIFMD for U.S. Managers - New York, Nov 8-9
    22. 2022 MMI Distribution Leadership Forum, Nov 9-10
    23. MFDF Asset Management Industry Update and Director Governance Trends, November 10
    24. 3rd Annual ETFGI Global ETFs Insights Summit - United States, Nov 15-16
    25. 2022 MMI Alternative Investments Forum, November 16
    26. MFDF webinar - Mutual Fund CCO Compensation: The MPI Annual Survey Update, November 16

    ©All rights reserved to InvestmentWires, Inc. 1997-2022
    14 Wall Street | 20th Floor | New York, NY 10005 | P: 212-331-8968 | F: 212-331-8998
    Privacy Policy :: Terms of Use