14.5 Internal Wholesaler Predictions

What changes lie ahead for the internal wholesaler?

Here’s the writing on the wall as I see it as internals embark on their journey (an excerpt from my article in Ignites):

.5.   All internals will get even better looking.

1.  The job of the internal will continue to become more complex. Advisors aren’t answering their phones so internals need a broader skill set simply to gain access. New competencies to connect with advisors include:

  • Crafting emails and voicemails that get replies.
  • Creativity with social media– especially LinkedIn– to promote awareness, referrals and inbound calls.
  • Adapting the sales process to reflect how the advisor buying process as has changed.

2.  Advisors will continue to reduce the number of internals they work with.  Internals who can’t ditch the pitch will be at risk; Those who dare to do it differently and embrace  change will have a higher probability of success.

3.  Advisors will be increasingly resistant to being sold. Internals who can quickly screen out advisors not currently in the buying mode (and make it ok for them not to buy now) will have more time to spend on more qualified prospects.

4.  Internals will need to prepare for each call at warp speed.  Advisors expect them to familiar with who they are and how they do business via Google, profiles on LinkedIn, personal websites, and databases such as Meridian IQ. High quality CRM input will become a competitive advantage in meeting advisors’ demand for customized conversations.

5.  The ability to identify non-product needs will become front and center of the internals’ personal value proposition.  Drip rotations will be counterproductive unless each drip is flavored with a customized non-product value add.

6.  ‘Dumbing it down’ will be more powerful selling skill than showcasing technical expertise with many advisors.

7.  Vocal acting skills will play a larger role.  How messaging is delivered–intonation, speed, inflection–will rival content.

8.  Outcome metrics, especially around productivity and length of sales cycle (not dials or talk time) will become mainstream with the top players.  Best practices in how internals and externals work together (formal agreements about time blocking, admin tasks etc.) will play a big role in driving these metrics.

9.  Internals will have less discretion over who they call and work with. Better data, digital marketing and predictive analytics will drive campaign lists and help internals fish in stocked ponds.

10. Sales administrative groups will surface to support multiple externals and hybrids and free up internals from non-sales activities.

11. Career internal positions will start to become viable and lose today’s stigma.  All roads will not lead to the external position and compensation for highly skilled, seasoned internals will increase.  More and more firms will carve out particular areas that internals own and get paid on.

12. Hybrid positions will continue to grow as firms recognize this role (when done right) can dramatically increase productivity.  To retain highly skilled career hybrids, average compensation will need to increase and will be more than offset by an increase in sales.

13. Specialists with advanced certifications will be added on the inside to support more complex product sets.

14. Advanced psychological skills will enter the sales process such as recognizing language pattern preferences and behavioral cues to shorten the sales cycle and tap into the emotional element of the buying process.

Success will require internals to embrace behavioral change and redefine their roles and skill sets.

That said, this last prediction is sobering:  Many firms will continue to neglect the development needs of sales desk managers to help their internals execute well on the above predictions.

Firms that believe sales managers should ‘just know’ how to achieve behavioral change will struggle. Firms that provide the developmental support to help their leaders manage these complex changes will make it easier for both internals and sales desk managers to succeed.

What did I miss?