Six Marketing Best Practices for Fund Managers
The underlying challenge of fund marketing is based on the significant and growing imbalance between supply and demand. There are far too many funds seeking the time and attention of a very limited universe of investors. This means funds must be creative and persistent to get noticed by the right investors, and then be flawless in how they build relationships with investors over time. To gain some insights from professional investors, we interviewed Ole Rollag, the founder and CEO of London-based Murano, a firm that's in the business of helping their client funds identify investors and allocators with an interest in speaking with them. Every day, Murano's analysts talk directly to scores of global institutional investors to gain real-time insights into their mandates.
Here are six best practices Ole suggests for fund managers looking to bolster asset growth: - Understand what your strengths are. It's surprising how many fund managers don't know what's special about their fund. Conduct rigorous research on your fund's competitive landscape, or risk embarrassment from an investor who knows it better than you do. Put your track record aside, and skip buzzwords like "robust risk management" or "institutional infrastructure." Instead, your pitch should focus on what an investor can get from your fund that's unavailable anywhere else. - Build a purposeful communication strategy. Your sales process must be designed to yield a very specific outcome from every 'contact point' with an investor. Otherwise, your communication will be perceived as noise, and greatly reduce investor interest in even having a conversation, much less a relationship. Everything that your fund does – before, during and following a direct interaction with an investor – is a strong reflection of your brand and professionalism, and has a profound influence on investor decision-making. - Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. This old expression, borrowed from the British military, also has a flip side: those who are well-prepared are typically the exception. Taking the time to customize a presentation with a few bespoke slides can distinguish your fund from most competitors that rely exclusively on a "one size fits all" approach. Considering that you're asking for a $50 million ticket that could generate $1 million in revenue for your fund, isn't this worth the time? - Emails don't work. Most fund managers hide behind emails, which makes it much easier for investors to ignore you. It doesn't matter if you email an investor before or after a call, but YOU MUST CALL! Always expect to be dumped into voicemail, which is another way that investors cull the herd and gain some control over their time. But if you're professionally persistent, investors will speak with you…if only to stop you from calling them. - Ditch the presentation when you're in a meeting. Most investors will have read your presentation before accepting a meeting. Going through the presentation again is a mind numbing process for any allocator. To earn a second meeting, provide a two-way conversation that involves listening as well as talking. It's OK to review a few "highlight" slides, but most of your meeting should demonstrate how you think and what you believe, and should validate why you should be trusted. - Manage the sales process. Don't expect investors to respond immediately (or ever) to your emails or follow up after a meeting. You're asking for their business, not the other way around. How you nurture the relationship through a disciplined sales process, and how you communicate your fund's 'brand' over time will have a significant bearing on an investor's decision-making process.