The Client Situation
Coaching financial advisors can be a rewarding and profitable business model if you do three things very well: make financial advisors aware of your brand, communicate your value proposition effectively and convincingly and build life-long relationships with those advisors. This is a tried and true success formula that is much easier said than done.
CEG Worldwide, the number one coaching organization for financial advisors, had the distinction of being the best kept secret in their industry. The company had realized a great deal of success and garnered a stellar reputation with their clients. The impact of their coaching programs was undeniable. Not only did financial advisors improve service to clients who became raving fans, advisors also significantly increased personal income and quality of life.
CEG Worldwide realized many favorable business conditions that predisposed them for rapid growth. With more than 400,000 financial advisors available to be coached, there was no lack of opportunity. Company leaders had carefully hand-picked top talent from the financial services industry. Leaders had built an impressive infrastructure that allowed them to serve clients nationally so geography was not an issue.
CEG Worldwide was poised for exponential growth. But it always seemed just out of reach, which was very frustrating for company leaders. Several challenges held them back.
One of the biggest challenges was communicating a complex value proposition. CEG Worldwide’s flagship coaching program, called Breaking Through, asked financial advisors to make a one-year commitment to coaching and a lot of changes to their practices. The coaching program was also priced at the high-end of the market, which meant that financial advisors had to really believe in the program to make the commitment of time and money.
Another challenge was defining a brand identity that communicated the value proposition succinctly. CEG Worldwide had experimented with a number of concepts. They had developed ads that showed elite athletes being coached. But none of the concepts seemed to resonate with advisors and mapping the concepts across all sales tools had lead to consistency issues. Because the brand identity was inconsistent, consultants who persuaded advisors to join programs found it difficult to achieve consistent results.
CEG Worldwide was masterful in content marketing. They had developed books, white papers, articles, newsletters and speaking engagements. But the company struggled to see how these various programs yielded leads who became good long-term clients. With substantial investments in content marketing, the company needed visibility into how content marketing programs were impacting the sales funnel.
But probably the most significant challenge of all was figuring out the best way to foster long-term relationships with financial advisors that delivered value and impact to them and ongoing revenue streams to CEG. While the company had developed a program to follow the year-long Breaking Through coaching program, it had low enrollment.
CEG Worldwide’s CEO, John Bowen, saw an article and then a video from Randy Shattuck and was intrigued. After an email exchange and phone conversation, Randy and John met to discuss how they might work together to achieve objectives.
The Shattuck Group’s Recommendations
Randy Shattuck interviewed the senior management team at CEG Worldwide and took the time to understand the business goals, opportunities and challenges that mattered to them. After performing a SWOT analysis, Randy came back to the team with several recommendations:
- Shore up brand identity by making it the primary communicator of a complex value proposition.
- Clearly define the features and benefits of all coaching programs and build consistent messaging around each.
- Deploy a new set of sales tools so that the brand identity and value proposition resonate with advisors.
- Retain the services of The Shattuck Group to help achieve longer-term strategic objectives.
With these initial projects defined, The Shattuck Group got to work.
The Service Package
CEG Worldwide and The Shattuck Group entered into a multi-year relationship that included these services.
- Brand identity
- Messaging and storytelling
- ontent marketing
- Marketing automation optimization
One of The Shattuck Group’s first tasks was to develop a brand identity that succinctly and quickly communicated a very complex and multi-faceted value proposition. To accomplish this, we took two steps. First, we clearly defined and articulated the value proposition of CEG Worldwide as a company and for each service. Second, we brainstormed “big ideas” that visually embodied the value proposition.
To define the value propositions, we analyzed several previous engagements where CEG Worldwide had delivered tremendous value and impact to clients. We interviewed around 20 top clients and carefully noted the specific language they used to talk about their experience in the coaching programs. We looked for recurring themes in how they described their outcomes. We then synthesized these down to just a few key statements and shared them with CEG Worldwide executives.
With value propositions defined, we brainstormed the best way to represent them visually. The communication of a value proposition through visuals is something we call the “big idea.” A big idea is a simple and concise visual motif that says everything that need be said. We developed 3 big idea concepts: the race, the focus and the bridge.
To ensure all of these concepts were extensible enough to be ready for deployment across all necessary sales tools, we built out three large ad boards. Each ad board contained a mock brochure, a mock client testimonial, a full-page advertisement, a website homepage and supporting page, a PowerPoint splash page and supporting content page and an HTML email template. We presented all 3 ad boards to the senior team who readily chose the bridge as their preferred motif.
Messaging and storytelling
With the brand identity ready to be deployed, we then built out messages for each service and the company overall. While many professional service companies will build messages for individual sales tools on an as-needed or ad-hoc basis, we take a different approach.
We began by defining the major areas where messages needed to be defined. This included messages about the company, messages for each service and stories for individual executives to deliver in videos and at meetings. We developed a core messaging repository which would allow for rapid deployment of messages to tools such as web pages, brochures, speeches and PowerPoint presentations.
Within just a few months, we helped the company institute a new brand identity and new messages that were consistent across every point of exposure to the brand. More importantly, the sales tools were effective and persuasive, substantially increasing the productivity of consultants.
We next turned our attention to content marketing. We helped company leaders rationalize the types of media that would be most effective with financial advisors. We also helped develop a budget and framework of production for webinars, articles, videos, white papers and other media. We also worked closely with senior executives to define an editorial calendar of major topics to address. With more than a dozen people working on various elements of the content marketing program, the editorial calendar helped unite everyone on the same page and ensured consistent and repeatable results.
Marketing automation optimization
Randy Shattuck and John Bowen began to dig deep into the data generated from content marketing efforts. What they discovered is that there was not nearly enough valuable data from which to make important decisions. John then made a bold decision to invest in marketing automation. The Shattuck Group supported this decision and immediately began defining the client experience in the sales funnel and through the website.
The Shattuck Group, working closely with company executives, re-defined how users of the company website could be brought through the sales funnel more effectively and consistently. Based on these analyses, The Shattuck Group developed new visuals and a new flow for entry points to the site.
The Client Results
CEG Worldwide is a thriving and growing professional services company that is well on its way to realizing its full potential. Consultants now find it quite easy to communicate the complex value propositions of specific programs. The sales tools and messages have enabled them to persuade hundreds of financial advisors to enroll in coaching programs.
The content marketing programs are thriving. CEG Worldwide conducts weekly webinars, produces blog posts consistently and deploys email newsletters to thousands of prospective clients. Best of all, the marketing automation system allows CEG Worldwide consultants to see how prospective clients are engaging with the content so sales conversations can be focused.
But the biggest improvement is likely to one specific program called Roundtable. This program is the mastermind group that financial advisors can join after graduating from Breaking Through, the year-long coaching program. Roundtable has created very long-term relationships with financial advisors through CEG Worldwide’s commitment to life-long learning and growth. Most importantly, the program has grown from just a handful of financial advisors to almost 200, representing nearly 1000% growth.
John Bowen says of The Shattuck Group: “they have been a key partner in helping us position and grow our firm. Their creativity, camaraderie and commitment to excellence have been a real asset to our organization.”