How often do you get to meet your annual sales target-- six weeks ahead of schedule?
That's what the sales folk at Highland Capital
did in the third week of November.
"Everybody had blanched at the number at the beginning of the year. It was somewhat of a stretch goal at the time, but we've beaten it, with six weeks to go," Highland's national sales manager Robin Thompson
recently told MFWire
The milestone is the result of a process started earlier this year
, which included the hiring of 13 sales folk
and a marketing director in October
. It will continue next year with with plans to hire roughly 14 more sales folk
Thompson explained to MFWire
that Highland now has 15 external wholesalers, and about 8 internal wholesalers. He plans to hire roughly two more sales people in the first quarter.
"We'd like to get to more of a one-to-one relationship between internal and external," he said.
Thompson's growing sales team is going to focus on nine key targets, including trustodians such as Schwab
. His team will also work with the major RIA players as well as select regionals and independents.
An important part of this strategy: Highland's salespeople are not channelized. Being channel-agnostic gives sales folk flexibility when covering a region, according to Thompson, allowing sales people to pay attention to everyone. Also, Thompson said, working with everyone gives sales folk the ability to gather all of the best practices, all the information that can be offered to clients, all the best practices. Collecting ideas from all the top producers gives Highland sales folk valuable resources to offer advisors who want a different perspective on their businesses, leading to some very valuable sales meetings.
"If you are channelized, that is more challenging to do. If you are across all channels, you are able to bring the most innovative ideas, the best ideas from across the market." he said.
Another important goal for early 2014, developing more value-add education resources to advisors, such as tools for helping advisors understand how to fit alts within their portfolios. Highland already offers such tools as educational materials addressing the subject of succession planning within a practice, but the firm plans to unveil several more such tools next year.
"There is clearly a need for education. We are working on a number of tools that we plan to implement soon," he said.
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