ARK Global, LLC. Access + Research + Knowledge

The Devil You Know: Prospect and Channel Management

Looking to expand market share? Here are a few rules for the road in defining target markets and managing prospects:

CHANNELS FIRST

When the goal is sales, it is quite common for firms to seek to market broadly across channels and market segments without enough consideration of the trends, requirements and processes representative of each channel (think RIAs, FO/MFOs, Consultants, Fund of Funds, Emerging Manager of Manager Programs, Platforms and Public & Private Pensions, for example). Take the time to define each channel the firm is marketing to or considering marketing to. Create a matrix with the firm’s best estimation of the channel’s profile including:

  • Channel size and scope
  • Typical prospect
  • Channel expectations
  • Most common product structures utilized
  • Trends related to terms, asset classes and priorities

 

Once each channel matrix is complete, rank order the channels in terms of prioritization for the firm. Finally, define both an expected asset growth level from the channel over the next 3-5 years, and the resource(s) the firm will commit to pursuing the channel over this same time period.

PROSPECTS SECOND

Prospects fall into channels. Firms that can be efficient about identifying and targeting key channels for which they are a better fit are more likely to find interested prospects. However, channels are still broad categories and prospects will differ greatly. Three key pieces of information will improve efficiency and reduce the risk of pushing too hard on a poor fit:

(1) whether the prospect utilizes a consultant
(2) the prospect’s current research priorities
(3) the prospect’s investment criteria

The prospect’s investment criteria is certainly the most critical piece of information as it is less likely to change nor to be ‘swayed’ by a great story and numbers, particularly among the institutional investor population where mandate guidelines are generally strictly applied. Be sure to note the answers to these questions in the firm’s database/prospect tracking tool to ensure that all members of the team understand the prospect’s profile. Once completed, prioritize the channels and prospects within them and get marketing!

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