Every crisis in recent decades has brought us new insights and has shaken up the fund industry accordingly. But in today’s situation, where exogenous factors without historical patterns prevail, it makes it difficult to plan sales and marketing in asset management. Although the fund industry is in the fortunate position of being able to generate continuous income despite the crisis, albeit possibly at a reduced AuM level, it is difficult to plan on the professional and content-related orientation of sales, support, and marketing.
Since customer events, trade fairs, and meetings have been reduced to a minimum or are generally cancelled, it became necessary to develop digitization strategies. However, these make it more difficult to differentiate oneself from the market, because the technical possibilities and requirements, whether small or large investment companies, are identical everywhere. The creativity to offer something special to the public is limited and soon a saturation will arise due to the interchangeability of digital formats.
Besides, the question also arises as to whether it will be possible to successfully pitch for large tickets on the digitalization path. This will lead to consultants being even more involved in the decision-making processes on the customer side. Appropriate personnel capacities for RfPs and questionnaires must be maintained. To cope with the required flood of data in the 60-70 page questionnaires, many companies require professional data management in the form of a data warehouse to bring together a wide variety of data sources, including risk management, DPG data/GIPS® data, ESG data suppliers, rating agencies, benchmark providers, etc.
It remains to be seen to what extent a physical meeting is not relevant at the end of the selection process on the part of the consultants and the client.
In the area of sales and sales support, it must be emphasized that the expansion of pure sales staff for expansion strategies may come to a standstill and that in-house sales staff from the support department will actively process the numerous contacts from video and telephone conferences. Of these contacts, 70-90% may be digitally supplied and only 10-30% will have a physical sales contact.
But this also means that a completely new type of employee will be needed, who a) is hungry; b) is sociable; c) is eloquent and convincing on the phone; d) and has a higher level of basic technical training. These could be young savings bank or banking business economists with a few years of practical consulting experience who do not want to drive a BMW 5 Series right across Germany – as is the case with classic sales – but who wants to break out of the institutional shackles of the Volksbanks and savings banks. Whether this transmission will be the effective will, of course, depend decisively on the course of the pandemic and whether a “back to normal” as possible.
Thorsten Schrieber has many years of sales experience in asset management. He was responsible for sales at Credit Suisse Asset Management (Deutschland) GmbH, Zürich Investmentgesellschaft mbH, and Fidelity Brokerage Services. Between 2001 and 2007, he worked for DJE Kapital AG as well as DJE Investment S.A. as a board member for sales and marketing. After other activities in the field of real estate development in Italy and Austria, he was reappointed as a member of the management board in 2017 and in October 2018 as a member of the board of DJE Kapital AG. Thorsten Schrieber is responsible for sales (institutional, wholesale, retail), sales support as well as marketing and PR.