Five Key Aspects of a Great Pitchbook Automation Tool
By Noel Rodolfo
Pitchbooks are a hot topic for investment management firms these days. The number of inquiries we’ve received about our pitchbook automation software has tripled year over year — we find that very telling.
It’s no secret that marketing is in a huge state of flux right now, no matter what industry you’re in. A key driver of this uncertainty is the plethora of marketing communication and automation options. Never before in history have marketers had so much technology available to work with and so many communication channels to manage.
In a recent blog post, we discussed the impact of the fintech boom and how it’s affecting financial services marketing roles. As the line between marketing and IT becomes increasingly blurred, marketers assume the additional responsibility of recommending key technologies.
Just last week, we met with an executive from a major investment management firm who hit the nail on the head when she said, “The firms who figure out the best ways to leverage technology are going to win.” What many firms are figuring out is that enabling their sales teams with a pitchbook automation tool can provide a key competitive advantage. The trick is finding the right tool — and that’s not a simple task.
As a product manager, the majority of my days are spent talking with clients about their challenges and needs and then planning enhancements to our application to ensure it is best in class. If you’re currently evaluating pitchbook automation technology for your investment management firm, here are a few key indicators of a great tool:
It leverages your customer and product data in a smart and adaptable way
Marketers understand that the best sales presentations are customer-centric. They present solutions (products) based on a customer’s unique needs – ideally referencing the customer’s specific circumstances.
Pitchbook automation software should offer data-driven intelligence that pivots around the client or prospect’s unique data points and your firm’s investment product profiles. To construct the best pitch, the tool should intelligently recommend static and data-driven slides based on your customer information and product data. For instance, is this a retail or institution client? What is the customer’s risk tolerance? What products (mutual funds, ETFs, SMAs) are you recommending? How does this recommendation relate to the rest of their investment strategies? If the tool is properly integrated with CRM and PIM tools, it makes the sales person’s job easy. Pitchbooks can be constructed quickly with all the right information, right when they need it.
Related Resource: Perfecting the Pitchbook Whitepaper
It integrates with existing sales tools
Sales organizations are among the most challenging to implement technology for. The combination of their innate impatience and lack of desire to change their methods has unraveled many an effort to provide them with supporting technology. There is a real art to deploying technology to this team and seeing a high adoption rate. We find that firms have much better success when they setup single sign-on and an integrated usage experience so that the new system feels like a natural extension to the existing sales platform (CRM, SharePoint, etc.). A well thought-out presentation automation solution should embrace this and include well-formed integration hooks.
It is a flexible enough to fit your unique needs (Uses a “hybrid” or “semi-custom” approach)
No two investment management firms are the same. So, how can a one-size-fits-all pitchbook solution be successful? It really can’t. Out-of-the-box presentation management applications are typically very rigid, forcing you to change your processes to suit them. We find that most investment managers already have a good presentation management process in place; they just need the technology solution to back it up. When your existing process is enhanced with a good tech solution, you can more effectively leverage your data and scale your marketing efforts. Simply put: don’t reinvent the wheel. A great pitchbook automation tool should sit in the background and amplify your efforts, not attempt to take center stage.
On the flipside, it’s also a good idea to avoid one-off custom solutions. Custom applications are very costly and difficult to maintain. Also, the developer may well disappear onto other projects (or entirely) leaving you to go begging for support and enhancements. Unless you have a lot of time and money to pour into the project, it’s not a good idea.
It’s my recommendation to go with a product-based application that offers a high-level of configuration. You’ll receive the benefits of regular product updates and enhancements while enjoying customized user interfaces and workflow tools.
Related Resource: Build vs. Buy Guide for Financial Content and Data Automation
It has sophisticated compliance controls
Because sales presentations are a key area of concern for compliance teams, the pitchbook tool must have thorough disclosure management capabilities as well as strong material control and audit features. For example, it should intelligently insert disclosures based on the slides that appear in the final presentation (taking both product and client information into consideration).
The pitchbook tool should also have routing and workflow capabilities that can adapt to the firm’s specific requirements. For instance, certain slides or groups of slides might trigger a required approval. It’s common for Alternative Investments slide groups to trigger an approval workflow before the presentation can be released.
In addition, the pitchbook solution should be able to enforce business rules that require specific slides to be grouped together, specific ordering of slides, or slides that must be included in certain situations.
It was built for the investment industry, by a company that understands the investment industry
This is an important point that is sometimes overlooked. Make sure that the company who built the pitchbook solution has proven experience in the financial services field; better yet, in investment management. That way, you can be sure the application was engineered with special attention to your reporting data, compliance concerns, content management, and production needs.
There are nuances to the way investment management firms operate. If you are working with a vendor that truly understands this industry, that is added value to the product you’re purchasing. The vendor should have a deep understanding of your complex communication needs on a large scale and be able to suggest and provide solutions for how this fits into your firm’s overall content management and communication strategy.
Last, but certainly not least, a financial services technology vendor understands privacy and security concerns and has already has the infrastructure and procedures in place.
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From the Blog:Q&A Discussion: Blending Marketing Customization & Compliance in Financial Sales
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From the Blog:The State of Sales and Marketing Alignment in Investment Management