Business Development Leaders From White Glove, Docupace And Berthel Fisher Describe Organic Growth Initiatives For 2023 Through Uncertain Markets
It feels like only yesterday that we rang in the new year. Now we are quickly approaching the close of a first quarter that foreshadows a year likely to contain as much economic uncertainty and market volatility as 2022.
Wealth management firms have increasingly shifted focus from acquisitions to organic growth, driving greater operational synergies across different areas of their business and generating enhanced cost savings. At the same time, third-party solutions providers are revisiting their offerings to ensure they are aligned with the current needs of client firms and their financial advisors.
Both solutions providers and wealth managers are finding organic growth opportunities in the current landscape and to explore this trend we brought together three senior business development leaders from differing industry spaces – one martech firm, one workflow automation firm and one family of wealth management and other financial services businesses – to discuss their forward strategies for the balance of 2023.
Our Panel Of Business Development Executives
We spoke with the following business development leaders:
- Gary Bailey, Executive Vice President, Head of Sales at marketing services provider White Glove, which provides lead generation, lead nurturing and client engagement solutions
- Michael Vossler, Chief Revenue Officer at Docupace, a solutions provider focused on digitizing and automating operations in the financial advice and investment industry
- Paige Swartzendruber, Senior Vice President Business Development, Berthel Fisher Companies, a family of firms encompassing $9.8 billion in assets under management and 380 financial advisors
We asked each of them the following question:
Given the market volatility and economic uncertainty that has characterized the first quarter of 2023 to date, where do you see the greatest opportunities for driving organic growth for your firm for the balance of this year?
Their responses are here:
Gary Bailey, EVP, Head of Sales, White Glove
We are in an industry where demand is high when the feeling of financial stability is low. As a marketing company for financial advisors and insurance agents, we endeavor to amplify the message that financial advisors can help alleviate financial anxiety and stress about financial futures by assisting with planning today.
We’ve seen registrations and attendance surge at our financial workshops on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, market uncertainty and geopolitical factors. A financial advisor or agent waiting for clients to seek out their services is going to see business leads diminish and competitors succeed.
Through the pandemic, White Glove developed ways for our clients (financial advisors and agents) to remain in public view. We achieved this through in-person events including educational seminars. We also provided virtual live or rebroadcasted webinars.
Technology now provides many platforms to reach broader audiences and people have become more comfortable with virtual opportunities. Geography is no longer a barrier, so we strive to offer effective, multifaceted growth strategies throughout the year to reach beyond physical limitations.
Michael Vossler, Chief Revenue Officer, Docupace
I’m lucky enough to have been doing this for a long time, so market downturns and volatility are “old friends” we haven’t seen in a while. Tough questions come to sales leaders in up and down market cycles. Being able to identify the buyer’s needs – especially pain points – and connecting those needs with best capabilities remains our consistent mission, whatever the big picture circumstances might be.
In this case, broader uncertainties are pushing many leaders to take a hard look at their business, their expenses and their upside potential, with a greater emphasis on organic growth. And this is a trend that plays to our strengths at Docupace. Over 95% of Docupace enterprise clients tell us that the Docupace Platform is a critical technology for their business.
Right now, organic growth is coming from two primary sources – expanded industry channels and current clients adding additional solutions, both areas where we have augmented offerings to help support our clients across the wealth management space. For example, we launched a new Productivity Suite for RIAs in December 2022 and we’ve seen astounding interest from the marketplace in response.
Another great example is our rollout of a new enterprise engagement model for our digital client data gathering tool, PreciseFP, late last year. PreciseFP’s always been a crowd-pleaser for financial planners – this new model just aligns with how larger RIA enterprises function.
Moreover, because we’ve built, acquired through M&A and otherwise brought in several new partnerships, we have further expanded our offerings, positioning us to have even deeper and more meaningful dialogue with clients who are seeking additional solutions that drive further value for their businesses.
Paige Swartzendruber, SVP Business Development of Berthel Fisher Companies
Without question, market and economic conditions today seem very different from big picture circumstances from just a year or two earlier. However, because our strategy has historically been based on organic growth versus being a roll-up consolidator, we remain consistent and long-term in where we see forward opportunities.
With business development efforts, we remain focused on three things: First, spotlighting our value proposition and the value proposition offered by our financial professionals. The biggest question I get from our professionals is, how do I gather new leads in a very competitive marketplace?
With so many systems and social media automation platforms, it can be hard for them to figure out where their money spend will go the farthest. I recently hired someone to help our reps with this scenario. Having been a rep myself over the years, I understand the busy daily lives financial professionals have taking care of clients.
By having someone in-house, we can help FPs decide which services make the most sense for their situation. This will help continue to drive the organic growth we have seen the last several years.
The second area is training and developing younger talent. Clearly, succession planning is a hot topic for anyone in this industry. With an increasingly aging advisor population, it’s important to find ways to attract young people into this very important profession. We are working to connect young people with seasoned reps to mentor them into the business.
Third, we are helping financial professionals develop and implement outsourcing that drives growth, their ability to deliver an exceptional service experience to their clients and cost savings.
Our message is simple: What are you doing with your time – working to gather assets, or sitting at your computer trading accounts? I firmly believe that financial professionals should not sell themselves on low fees. They are worth the fees they collect, and they should go out there and share what they can do with others. Financial professionals are in the business of helping people, so if they outsource non-client-facing daily work, how many more people can they help?
Janeesa Hollingshead, Executive Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at email@example.com