A Whodunit for Fund Managers

Piecing together clues to solve a mystery has a certain appeal - especially when the dramatic reveal shows that we were right. The same process of piecing together clues and evidence can be used to help Increase your AUM. Rest assured, it doesn't require stakeouts, wiretaps and a reluctant ex-partner in the police department. In fact, you could be finding highly interested investors with about the same effort as it took to find this article.

Like any mystery, identifying the right investors for your fund boils down to figuring out "who did it". The "it" in this case is interacting with information that you have set out (website pages, blog posts, e-mails, etc.). The "who" is the most important part: gaining the identity of those individuals so that you can quickly reach out to them while you already have their attention - thus making the very best use of your most precious resource: time.

The key to this approach is assembling a sequence of seemingly unrelated events into a chain that identifies a highly qualified lead. It starts with distributing information to people you think may have an interest in your fund - maybe because of experience, or sector, or strategy. You're probably already emailing them some information - a monthly performance summary, a quarterly portfolio review, an occasional thought piece - and you may even be tracking those touches to see how many people are actually opening the emails. And that's a very good start. But simply knowing how many of your emails were opened doesn't tell you anything about those individuals (what did they do once it was open? Did they click on any links you had included? Which ones? How many times?) Without that added level of information, just knowing that someone opened an email doesn't give you much insight into their investment interests, goals, or timing.

A person who opens your email must be at least a little bit interested in what you have to say. Someone who opens the email and clicks on a link (maybe to "read more" or to follow a link back to your home page) is obviously a little more interested. Someone who has done both of those things for the last three times you sent an email might be considered very interested. If you use short videos on your website or embedded in your emails - and you know that a particular prospect has watched 3 of them, and forwarded the last one on to a colleague - then you very likely have an extremely interested individual that should receive a call from you right away.

Tagging those individuals, tracking visitors to your website, monitoring email responses, knowing who watched which videos and for how long isn't easy - nor is updating a database of all those prospects in varying stages of readiness. The good news is that there are a number of tools on the market that automate large parts of this data-intensive process. The even better news is that they're not terribly expensive.

Part of a broad technology category generally referred to as 'marketing automation', these applications typically include a contact manager, an email platform, reporting tools, and most importantly, the logic that sifts through large amounts of website traffic, email data and video interactions to calculate a 'score' for each prospect.

That score is what separates the wheat from the chaff - it's what lets you know which prospects should get a call right now. Which ones are still worth reaching out to, though maybe not with as much urgency as the first group. And which ones still need time to warm up.

That warming up - or 'lead nurturing' - can be done automatically by your marketing automation platform. Based on business rules that you put in place, different kinds of messages can be generated based on particular actions taken by a prospect. After a visit to your website a person might receive an email containing an invitation to sign up for your monthly updates. A person who reads 3 or more articles might get a link to a video with more of the same kind of information. A 'digital deck' with even more granular information might automatically follow 24 hours later.

Most of the scenarios, responses and conditions you can imagine can be managed by a marketing automation tool. Once it ‘learns’ your individual sales process it can tee up high-scoring prospects that are ready for your attention - and free up time to devote to them by taking over your routine marketing communications to the relatively large number of prospects that aren't [yet] as interested. The speed and consistency of automated campaigns will make your existing communication process more efficient, allowing you more time to focus on the message without worrying about the medium. You might even pick up enough time to grab a good mystery novel from Amazon.

(SPOILER ALERT: You may not realize it, but just by selecting to read particular articles in a newsletter like this you’re generating valuable information. When we see which types of articles are interesting for you we can tailor future newsletters to contain more of that information.)

(SECOND SPOILER ALERT: In the whodunit genre, you’re generally safe to assume that Reynolds the butler did it.)