Management – how to get results
It's both what you do and the way that you do it that get results.
The market continues to be difficult for many financial services firms. Financial markets are directionless, fixed costs are up, and I doubt the budget helped anyone in financial services, or the wider service sector, at all. Whilst there are pockets of significant growth, a number of industries are in the same boat and the investors or the risk takers needed to drive an economy forwards are in short supply. It seems that in their effort to beat inflation, politicians have forgotten the need to keep focused on growth and the longer-term vision of what we want the UK to be. However, amongst the backdrop of challenging times, there are always some firms in every market outperforming their peers.
We work across the key functions of financial services firms and through the specialisms of our Consultants we get a good insight into why. Our asset management sales and more generalist marketing practice (which has seen an upturn in activity of late) will often see two firms with differing asset raising paths. Of course, fund performance can vary greatly in asset management, and investment styles of course matter, but in more homogenous markets like wealth management it is particularly interesting to see why some firms grow and others don’t. Firms with strong infrastructure teams are able to scale at ease, but it’s in sales and marketing where top line growth is generated. In the outperforming firms we meet, they have two things in common: process and proactive marketing.
All professionals sit somewhere on the scale of doing things instinctively and being process driven (sometimes described as unconscious competence and conscious competence). For time immemorial, it’s been a well-known error in all industries to promote the highest performing “practioner” into a management role, and often with poor outcomes. In a peer group of ten, these individuals will often be a top performer, and it’s imperative to retain them. Sometimes their achievements can look effortless. Yet, whilst on the surface it may all appear natural, they will probably be following some sort of process. The problem comes if they are promoted to a management role and can’t actually explain how they do it. There are of course top performers who can explain, simply, their methodology and these individuals are worth their weight in gold. They can scale their knowledge and expertise across a whole sales team, magnifying their impact. Of course, in sales management roles, there is no requirement to appoint a top performer. We can all think of many football analogies where a great manager wasn’t a great player. However, regardless of who you appoint, you need to appoint someone who can unpick the winning strategies and document and implement them across the team. The more the process can be understood and effectively implemented, the less the individual talent matters. By not having to look for exceptional every time, your hiring options are increased, and it makes entering new markets easier and accelerates performance in a more consistent manner.
Sales and marketing also need to work hand in hand with each other with a constant feedback loop. At its most sophisticated, marketing should constantly refine strategies to provide more tailored leads, and in greater volume. However, the most important thing with marketing is that it’s actually done, and done regularly. You would be surprised how many firms actually do little to no marketing, relying instead on referrals. You can of course build a great boutique business in this way, but firms who we see consistently grow have a marketing programme, which, to a certain extent, delivers predictable results throughout the year.
The old saying “build it and they will come” worked in a boom market, but in more subdued times firms who start with proactive marketing and process driven sales before adding in extra infrastructure often succeed.
About Fram Professionals
Fram Professionals focuses on placing office professionals in dynamic, innovative, or venture-backed firms in the London – Oxbridge “golden triangle”. We focus on mid-to-senior permanent hires across key functions such as finance, sales & marketing, legal, and management positions.
Contact us on [email protected] or call 01525 864 372 for an informal chat about our services.
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