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Sales & Marketing Best Practices: 9 Insights From 30+ Successful RIA Firms

For investment advisory firms, success hinges on a multitude of factors. The landscape is ever-evolving, with new challenges and opportunities at every turn. It's a dynamic arena where firms constantly seek to optimize the formula that nurtures relationships and drives growth.

We've spent years working with some of the industry's largest and fastest-growing RIA firms. During that time, we’ve identified 9 best practices found at high-growth firms. In this article, we share what we’ve learned in hopes that it will help your firm in the coming year.

Best Practice 1 – Clearly Defining Audience and Service Levels
One of the key differentiators separating firms that achieve elite results from the rest of the industry is having a detailed understanding of their target audience and a rock-solid articulation of the services and service levels offered to them. A crystal-clear picture of who they serve and how they serve them is foundational for teams at successful firms.  It enables them to coalesce around critical activities that build relationships and trust.

Best Practice 2 - Setting and Tracking Growth Objectives
Having a clear roadmap for growth is not just a good idea—it's essential. It's like setting sail on a voyage; you need a destination in mind and a way to track your progress as you navigate the ever-changing waters. Successful firms identify and track key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with their objectives, such as the percentage growth rate of the firm year-over-year, number of new prospects, client acquisition rate, or cost of new client acquisition. 

Best Practice 3 – Having a Well-Defined Sales Process

Successful investment advisory firms have defined the process to turn potential clients into satisfied, long-term partners. A well-defined sales process bridges client acquisition efforts and builds crucial relationships. Having clearly identified roles and expectations for each team member at every step along the client acquisition process is a differentiator. Being deliberate about creating a structured, efficient, and client-centric journey creates a powerful engine for a firm's growth.

Best Practice 4 – Identifying and Incentivizing Business Development
Firms with above-average growth rates have recognized that clearly identifying and empowering specific individuals on the team to connect with potential clients, build relationships, and drive growth is vital to the firm's success.  Defining clear roles and responsibilities for each team member and having a well-structured rewards and recognition system are critical components to motivating and incentivizing the team.

Best Practice 5 – Equipping The Team with Compelling Collateral
In a competitive landscape, what sets firms apart is the ability to communicate their unique value and differentiators to potential clients effectively.  Successful investment advisory firms recognize the importance of equipping the team with professionally designed branded materials and digital assets to communicate the firm's story and unique selling points.  

Best Practice 6 – Building the Right Infrastructure
Firms that build the proper infrastructure to manage prospects and clients efficiently and effectively scale growth significantly faster.  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are the linchpin of that infrastructure.  However, it is only as valuable as the data put into it.  Firms that have developed a culture of conducting thorough data gathering, consolidating, and centralizing everything in a CRM can take a more targeted approach to filtering and personalizing how they engage prospects and clients more meaningfully.

Best Practice 7 – Nurturing growth
Not every prospect who engages with a firm is ready to commit immediately. Many need time to evaluate their options, build trust, and ensure that the firm meets their needs.  Successful firms have a well-defined process for nurturing prospects who don't join immediately, building trust and credibility. A dedicated nurturing program maintains open lines of communication and can yield impressive long-term results in client acquisition.

Best Practice 8 – Events as a Catalyst for Growth
Events can serve as a powerful catalyst for growth and client acquisition.  However, successful events are not just about what happens during the gathering.  Successful firms are deliberate about the strategic focus that leads prospects to attend and what happens after the event is over to maximize the value via post-event outreach.

Best Practice 9 – The Deliberate Outreach for Digital Leads
In today's digital age, investment advisory firms can't afford to ignore the potential of online platforms. Digital leads and social connections are invaluable assets in the quest for growth.  Successful firms recognize the importance of cultivating relationships through social media and strategically reaching out to digital leads to expand the firm's reach and establish trust with prospects. A deliberate and systematic effort to cultivate digital leads provides a powerful complement to other business development efforts.

We hope this article has given you some things to think about as it relates to your growth objectives. If you want help talking through your options, we invite you to connect with our team.


Craig Hall

Craig Hall is founder and president of Marketing Wiz, a financial marketing firm specializing in the independent wealth management space.


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