Find a Devil's Advocate

Firms must resist the temptation to dive into institutional outreach without first laying the appropriate ground work. Managers can undoubtedly find marketing and sales resources who love their story enough to plow full steam ahead right along with them. These resources, whether internal or external, may encourage managers to jump in, feet first, with the assurance that this is possible, in less time and with less resources than imagined. Why? These resources want to believe it is possible too; they don’t want to focus on the risks because they are focused on the promise of institutional assets, the excellent story the manager has told and performance they have posted in the past. What these resources do know, however, presuming they are well established and experienced, is that the process of building a business, bringing an offering to market and gaining institutional market share is hard. Managers must be highly confident they have vetted all aspects of the business and value proposition; that they have all of their ducks in a row.

This moment belongs to the managers. It is their opportunity to take a pause; to think through their business, offering, commitment and desired client base. The market can and will wait. Experienced marketing and sales professionals will support this pause fully. In fact, they will insist on it. Firms will benefit from identifying a devil’’s advocate, whether a potential advisory board member, an interested colleague, or an outsourced marketing and sales partner, who can provide a series of likely market objections and other considerations regarding the firm’s offering and commitment.  This will ensure that firms are more prepared for what institutions might push back on, perhaps providing the opportunity to correct course before engaging the market.