Advisors: Six Steps to Creating a Business Development Culture
Firms that want their advisors to develop new business must create a firm culture that makes generating sales a way of life for the entire firm. In the majority of advisory firms, the founder is the primary rainmaker. He or she seems to have this innate ability or magical powers to create rain out of hay. For far too long they have been the primary source of new business and the entire firm has grown up around them in support of their rainmaker role.
Many firm owners that I talk with share stories of frustration when it comes to getting their advisory staff to take on the vital role of developing new business. They think the answers lies in the compensation structure; however, I believe it takes more than a clever compensation plan to build a successful business development culture. The answer lies in implementing these key strategies.
- Make business development a part of everything the firm does, and something that is the responsibility and part of the job description of every person in the firm. Developing activity based goals such as the # of phone calls/meetings, and the # of referrals will help to drive action and create accountability. Activities drive results, and results such as new clients and net new assets can be measured and rewarded.
- Hire people with the characteristics and traits associated with successful sales professionals. The most successful sales people, in virtually any industry, possess the following traits and characteristics; relentlessly persistent, possess a strong goal orientation, are inquisitive and demonstrate attentive listening skills, are passionate and enthusiastic about their industry and product offering, and always take responsibility for their results. I would challenge that these qualities are not trainable and that your best tactic is to hire individuals who possess some if not all of these attributes.
- Train and coach your sales team and arm them with the right messaging so they can be successful in finding new clients. I recommend the rainmaker(s) in the firm take on this important function or hire a sales & marketing manager with a proven track record of success as a “player coach” for the firm.
- Champion the business development cause. The leaders of the firm must communicate new business goals and report the progress that is being made towards achieving quarterly, semi-annual, and annual goals. Make sure everyone knows the firm's business development plan and their role within that plan.
- Invest in the right organizational structure, and the tools and resources that support the business development process. Ask yourself what has been done to free up your advisors so they can spend more time working with client referrals and prospects? If your organizational structure does not provide your advisors with leverage and they are spending all of their time servicing existing clients, how much time can they realistically commit to developing new business? To be successful advisors need to allocate time everyday to business development activities.
- Reward and recognize the behaviors and outcomes that support your business development culture. Your compensation plans should recognize activity and reward results. Some tips to consider when incenting business development; only pay for clients that fit within your defined target, consider a hurdle or stepped incentives, meaning set a target for expected new business development and do not pay an incentive unless that target is hit. Make sure you align the actual timing of the payments with the timing of the contribution. Model out the plan to confirm that the business can sustain the payouts over time. Remember a firm that successfully creates a culture of business development won't have to rely on a few rainmakers to support the entire firm. Instead, each member of the firm, from the receptionist to the partners, can contribute their unique skills and insights to constantly improve existing client relationships and cultivate new ones.
Rosie the Robot, Amazon, and the Future of RAAI
Written by: Travis Briggs, CEO at ROBO Global US
It’s tough to find a kid out there who hasn’t dreamed about robots. Long before artificial intelligence existed in the real world, the idea of a non-human entity that could act and think like a human has been rooted in our imaginations. According to Greek legends, Cadmus turned dragon teeth into soldiers, Hephaestus fabricated tables that could “walk” on their own three legs, and Talos, perhaps the original “Tin Man,” defended Crete. Of course, in our own times, modern storytellers have added hundreds of new examples to the mix. Many of us grew up watching Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons. As we got older, the stories got more sophisticated. “Hal” in 2001: A Space Odyssey was soon followed by R2-D2 and C-3PO in the original Star Wars trilogy. RoboCop, Interstellar, and Ex Machina are just a few of the recent additions to the list.
Maybe it’s because these stories are such a part of our culture that few people realize just how far robotics has advanced today—and that artificial intelligence is anything but a futuristic fantasy. Ask anyone outside the industry how modern-day robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are used in the real world, and the answers are usually pretty generic. Surgical robots. Self-driving cars. Amazon’s Alexa. What remains a mystery to most is the immense and fast-growing role the combination of robotics automation and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”), plays in nearly every aspect of our everyday lives.
Today, shopping online is something most of us take for granted, and yet eCommerce is still in its relative infancy. Despite double-digit growth in the past four years, only 8% of total retail spending is currently done online. That number is growing every day. Business headlines in July announced that Amazon was on a hiring spree to add another 50K fulfillment employees to its already massive workforce. While that certainly reflects the shift from brick-and-mortar to web-based retail, it doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what this growth means for the technology and application firms that deliver the RAAI tools required to support the momentum of eCommerce. In 2017, only 5% of the warehouses that fuel eCommerce are even partially automated. This means that to keep up with demand, the application of RAAI will have to accelerate—and fast. In fact, RAAI is a key driver of success for top e-retailers like Amazon, Apple, and Wal-Mart as they strive to meet the explosion in online sales.
From an investor’s perspective, this fast-growing demand for robotics, automation and artificial intelligence is a promising opportunity—especially in logistics automation that includes the tools and technologies that drive efficiencies across complex retail supply chains. Considering the fact that four of the top ten supply chain automation players were acquired in the past three years, it’s clear that the industry is transforming rapidly. Amazon’s introduction of Prime delivery (which itself requires incredibly sophisticated logistics operations) was only made possible by its 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems, the pioneer of autonomous mobile robots for warehouses and supply chains. Amazon recently upped the ante yet again with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market, which not only adds 450 warehouses to its immense logistics network, but is also expected to be a game-changer for the online grocery retail industry.
Clearly Amazon isn’t the only major driver of innovation in logistics automation. It’s just the largest, at least for the moment. It’s no wonder that many RAAI companies have outperformed the S&P500 in the past three years. And while some investors have worried that the RAAI movement is at risk of creating its own tech bubble, the growth of eCommerce is showing no signs of reaching a peak. In fact, if the online retail industry comes even close to achieving the growth predicted—of doubling to an amazing $4 trillion by 2020—it’s likely that logistics automation is still in the early stages of adoption. For best-of-breed players in every area of logistics automation, from equipment, software, and services to supply chain automation technology providers, the potential for growth is tremendous.
How can investors take advantage of the growth in robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence?
One simple way to track the performance of these markets is through the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index. The logistics subsector currently accounts for around 9% of the index and is the best performing subsector since its inception. The index includes leading players in every area of RAAI, including material handling systems, automated storage and retrieval systems, enterprise asset intelligence, and supply chain management software across a wide range of geographies and market capitalizations. Our index is research based and we apply quality filters to identify the best high growth companies that enable this infrastructure and technology that is driving the revolution in the retail and distribution world.
When I was a kid, I may have dreamed of having a Rosie the Robot of my own to help do my chores, but I certainly had no idea how her 21st century successors would revolutionize how we shop, where we shop, and even how we receive what we buy - often via delivery to our doorstep on the very same day. Of course, the use of RAAI is by no means limited to eCommerce. It’s driving transformative change in nearly every industry. But when it comes to enabling the logistics automation required to support a level of growth rarely seen in any industry, RAAI has a lot of legs to stand on—even if those “legs” are anything but human.
To learn more, download A Look Into Logistics Automation, our July 2017 whitepaper on the evolution and opportunity of logistics automation.
The ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index and the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation UCITS Index (the “Indices”) are the property of ROBO who have contracted with Solactive AG to calculate and maintain the Indices. Past performance of an index is not a guarantee of future results. It is not intended that anything stated above should be construed as an offer or invitation to buy or sell any investment in any Investment Fund or other investment vehicle referred to in this website, or for potential investors to engage in any investment activity.
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