Financial advisers often ask if there is a single good piece of prospecting technology.
Until now, I have had to unequivocally respond, “No.”
But that may change if the lead generator MyNewFinancialAdvisor.com proves to be a success.
Some of you may recall our March 7 webcast, “New-Wave Prospecting for Advisers” , during which the site's founder, Frank Troise, skirted around the issue of how MNFA would mete out the leads it generated from site users. Well, let me tell you how they will do it.
First, a bit of background. When an individual visits MNFA, they are asked if they would like to see a sample financial, retirement or college financing plan, and are offered the option of creating their own plan for free.
The prospect — who MNFA thinks will be a mass-affluent baby boomer with between $250,000 and $3 million in investible assets — supplies personal data through an online questionnaire and report engine, which is powered by eMoney Advisor, a financial planning platform familiar to many advisers. The lead generation process starts when the user is offered an opportunity to be given help from a live financial adviser and is matched to an adviser who signs up with MNFA (think of it as a subscription-based referral network).
For advisers, the firm provides two lead platforms.
The basic monthly campaign subscription, at $100 per month, provides advisers and their prospects with a link to a free sample plan generator. This allows advisers to offer a free basic plan, which may lead to an engagement if the user decides he or she wants more help.
The second level is the “syndication” part of the platform, in which participating advisers make a commitment to purchase 50 leads for $5,000 over a 12-month period, based on criteria — ZIP code, demographics, etc. — that the adviser selects. In my opinion, this is the piece that holds the real potential, and this is where we get into how Mr. Troise apportions the leads.
(At this point I would encourage advisers to skip ahead a bit and view our slideshow on how the MNFA interface looks and works --- it is probably worth a few thousand words).
Basically, it's all a matter of first come, first served.
The first advisers to sign up for leads from individuals in a particular ZIP code or a demographic segment — or any other desired characteristic (small-business owners or doctors, for example) — will get the leads. Also up to the adviser is which of MNFA's marketing/advertising efforts, such as TV commercials during sporting events, they wish to take part in.
The technology of how the matching occurs after an individual fills out a basic plan is fascinating.
MNFA uses telephone marketing technology from RingRevenue Inc. to make it happen.
TWO SKILL SETS
“We have two skill sets here at RingRevenue: We have built systems that can handle up to a billion calls a year and we've applied the science of performance measurement to that,” said Robert Duva, the company's chief operations officer.
MNFA's campaign service uses RingRevenue's interface, which can be white-labeled for a specific adviser, and each adviser can set the prerequisites they are willing to pay for in terms of a client, he said.
Conversion rates in marketing efforts using a telephone interface are much higher (in the 30% to 50% range) than those using online e-forms (in the 1% to 3% range), Mr. Duva said.
A big part of how well the whole thing works will depend on how easily advisers master the RingRevenue interface, which I suspect is going to represent an entirely new thought process for most.
In it, advisers will be able to determine everything from the time of day they receive calls to the amount of investible assets they require of a prospect.
There also are several choices in terms of the type of process or campaign the adviser wants to participate in, and these continue to evolve, Mr. Troise said.
Kevin Bourke, a certified financial planner and founder of Bourke Wealth Management, which manages $50 million in assets, recently subscribed to the service.
“It's brilliant; MNFA has come up with something unique because advisers are looking for new ways to reach out to investors, and they have created a nationwide platform that has the capability of doing that,” he said.
“So often, we find things on the Internet have no value, but I've run their reports for my personal portfolio, and it ends up providing a fairly meaty plan,” Mr. Bourke said.
What I think will make the lead generation system work is RingRevenue's lead generation track record. Its experience indicates that if advisers are able to answer calls from leads within 30 minutes, they will see conversion rates of between 50% and 70%.
Technology to deliver that possibility of return, as well as measure the effectiveness of advertising in a particular medium or program, has never been available to advisers. It will be interesting to see how it works.
Related stories and slideshow:
For more information from MNFA themselves visit MyNewFinancialAdvisor.com online.
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