PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 38
growing your practice / RFPs
A Customized Approach
As plan sponsors rely more heavily on RFPs, they also vet
the responses more thoroughly to find advisers that really
understand their business and can offer true value to plan
participants. This means that, for qualified leads, advisers
need to differentiate their service offerings, customize their
RFPs to the needs of the sponsor and illustrate how they can
help the plan sponsor meet its objectives.
anymore, " says Middleton, whose firm's RFP business typically
focuses on retirement plan prospects with plan assets of
about $600 million. " Organizations are becoming much more
sophisticated in the way they evaluate the RFP, so the quality
of responses has to grow with that. If you're not customizing
it or doing something to elevate your value proposition, you're
not going to make it through the screening process. "
Plus, having a transparent and focused RFP can
" Cutting and pasting responses just isn't going to cut it minimize future problems or miscommunications during
In the Finals,
Flexibility Is Key
WHILE some organizations have returned to " business as usual " and expect
advisers to meet them in person for final presentations, others still prefer
virtual meetings. More than half of plan sponsors surveyed by John Hancock
in 2020 said, because virtual meetings had proven effective, they planned to
keep them in the mix going forward.
Chris Donnelly of SageView Advisory Group says quarterly meetings have
slowly begun shifting back to in-person, so he hopes prospect presentations will
follow suit. Still, advisers need the flexibility to present whichever way a client
prefers. While there are benefits, such as travel-time and expense saving, to
virtual meetings, there are drawbacks as well.
Even after two years of practice, remote finals remain more challenging than
in-person presentations, says Greg Middleton of CAPTRUST, as presenters must
be facile with Zoom, Microsoft Teams or whatever platform the sponsor prefers.
Plus, they have to handle lag time or connectivity issues that can disrupt the
presentation. " You want to be able to navigate the content, the resources and
the technology and not have any technical issues, " Middleton says.
At SageView, prepping for online meetings requires significantly more
practice than in-person meetings did. The firm has experienced teams that
have worked together for a long time, allowing them to read each other's body
language and present cohesively as a team during in-person meetings.
" They have to practice conveying that same cohesiveness when they're
individually on a screen working from different offices, " Donnelly says. " So
we have more practice sessions where folks do presentations to internal
teammates in a virtual setting, so they can understand how people react on a
video platform. "
Donnelly adds, " Even when all of the technology works perfectly, it is still
harder to make personalized connections through a computer screen than
when everyone is in the same room. "
Virtual presentations have some advantages, though, including being able
to more seamlessly use multimedia, Middleton notes. " If you're presenting on
a screen, you can transition to a pitch book, a client deliverable sample or a
video, " he says. " Or you can bring in additional subject-matter experts to further
convey or explain the issues that are relevant. That's a tremendous opportunity,
because with virtual presentations, that expert could be in Dallas at 9, Florida
at 10 and California at 11. "
Even for clients that have shifted to in-person finals, there remains a
recognition that further communication will take place online. " You have to
find more ways to engage prospects via a virtual environment and create a
connection online, because that's where many opportunities ultimately are
now, " Middleton says. -BB
the onboarding process if an advisory
firm does win the business. Besides
reaching out directly to the plan
sponsor to learn what it wants, Johnson
Financial Group does its own research
into the plan sponsor, looking at its
Form 5500 filings and any other public
records to ascertain more about the
plan, Almstedt says.
That includes analyzing what the
adviser can glean about the plan's
unique needs and specific goals, and
looking for ways to hit those targets.
" We're trying to respond to the questions
behind the questions, " Almstedt
says. " So we're tailoring our offerings,
for example, to whether this is a client
with one work site that wants someone
to do an in-person benefits orientation
or a client that's spread over several
states and relying on virtual communication
and education. "
At CAPTRUST, there is a dedicated
team of 11 business development and
sales enablement professionals looking
through the details of every RFP before
submission. That teams completes 90%
of a typical RFP; the adviser provides
the other 10%, which is specific and
unique to the opportunity.
" Plan sponsors are using the RFP
to look for reasons to exclude you, "
" It's a screening
process. So, you cannot leave in the
wrong prospect's name or exceed the
page limit or email it in a minute past
the deadline. "
Recognizing that plan sponsors
often see the RFP process as a
methodical means of collecting
evidence that they performed due
diligence in the hiring process is also
an opportunity to give plan sponsors
what they need, Almstedt says.
" Don't just sell to the plan sponsors;
help them document their decisions
with meaningful responses
beyond the asked questions, " he says.
38 | planadviser.com March-April 2022
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANADVISER - March/April 2022
A Digital Divide
The Prospects of Staying Virtual
Another Retention Tool
Is It Time to Let Go?
The Evolving Use of RFPs
Best Interest Reasons For a Rollover
Guaranteed Lifetime Income
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C1
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - FC1
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - FC2
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C2
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 1
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PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 3
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 4
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PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 15
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PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 17
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - A Digital Divide
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 19
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 20
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 21
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 22
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 23
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Staying Power
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 25
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 26
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 27
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 28
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 29
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - The Prospects of Staying Virtual
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 31
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Another Retention Tool
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 33
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Is It Time to Let Go?
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 35
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - The Evolving Use of RFPs
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 37
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 38
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Best Interest Reasons For a Rollover
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Guaranteed Lifetime Income
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C3
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C4