Top 5 takeaways from 2024 Hearsay Summit

Top 5 takeaways from 2024 Hearsay Summit

2024 Hearsay Summit convened an impressive group of executives, compliance leaders, program managers, and marketers from 60 leading asset management; wealth management; property and casualty; life insurance; and banking firms for three glorious spring days in New York City. Among them were thought leaders and industry executives from New York Life, BlackRock, J.P. Morgan Chase, Mass Mutual, Oppenheimer, and Ameriprise Financial.

From the main stage to breakouts, there were a handful of themes that captivated attendees.

During the closing session, our stellar event MCs—Director of Solutions Consulting Devin Stevens and Senior Customer Success Manager Elizabeth Vasconez—took the stage one last time to spotlight these popular topics for our event’s top five takeaways. 

Takeaway #1: We’re just scratching the surface of the power of AI

​​Executives agreed that AI can help advisors build personalization at scale, overcome writer’s block—and, most importantly, focus on what they love to do most: Consult with and provide expert service to their clients.

AI can catalyze better outreach for the field, and there are many ways to use it:

  • Strategically, AI can help scale personalized content, optimize tone and length, and remix content to develop more assets more quickly. 
  • Functionally, AI can be used to help plan and publish recommended content that is likely to perform well, provide sentiment and intent analysis, serve as a virtual delegate, and enrich other tools. 

But, in a highly regulated industry like financial services—it’s critical that AI be deployed vigilantly.

At Hearsay, our in-house AI committee is tasked with staying up to date on changes to ensure that we’re using AI ethically and responsibly. This group communicates with our engineering team as they incorporate powerful AI functions and features into our platform, allowing firms to rely on compliance workflows to safely test productivity-boosting capabilities. 

Takeaway #2: Regulatory challenges present growth opportunities

Within the industry, regulatory concerns remain elevated. Recent enforcement actions have highlighted that internal communications are just as important to retain as external—and in addition to FINRA and the SEC, two agencies not specific to financial services (the DOJ and FTC) recently stated expectations that firms will retain texts. This has spurred more firms to adopt Hearsay Relate—a compliant texting tool purpose-built to support financial services organizations.

While implementing a tool like Relate for compliant texting—firms will often discover an untapped treasure trove of outreach opportunities that become strong business drivers. For example, the convenience factor of compliant texting makes communication more efficient. Not only is texting an ideal channel to safely support speedy service, it also strengthens client retention and boosts field productivity.

As Edie DePhillips, the SVP Sales Operation Excellence at Wells Fargo, said, it’s up to you to find the wins for your field—whether it’s fewer applications, speed to lead, etc. It’s important to deliver and showcase tangible value (e.g., efficiency, volume, time savings) and embed compliance safeguards into places your team already operates from (your CRM, for example) to drive steady adoption. 

Takeaway #3: Next-gen advisors can’t build business the same way they did in the past

Times have changed, people have changed, and to be successful—firms and financial services professionals have to adapt. That means communicating on your client’s preferred channels. It also means having different conversations than you used to have.

Today, the average consumer has relationships with between 8-20 finserv firms, and as David Chubak said, old-school “door knocking has been replaced with ‘digital door knocking.’” When you think about how people find community now, it’s by searching online, asking friends on social networks, and scrolling potential solutions before going to bed at night. To help the field meet today’s consumers where they are, leaders must encourage agents and advisors to use social platforms to develop a strong professional identity. 

In addition, clients demand (and are willing to pay extra for) personalized advice. But how do you make relationships more personal? Meghan McCartan, the Chief Marketing Officer at Hightower Advisors, says, “Advisors are becoming more like life coaches. Connect not just on finances but on hobbies like gardening and skiing and life events like supporting aging parents. Find common ground by sharing a wider lens to create personal relationships.”

Takeaway #4: Success comes from turning great salespeople into great marketers

Giving your team the tools and training they need to be great marketers is imperative for driving growth. Agents and advisors who consistently surface new leads are then given the opportunity to be great salespeople. Throughout our sessions and panels, we heard about the different ways firms are accomplishing this.

Todd Slawson, the Director of FA Platform Development at Wells Fargo Advisors, reminded attendees that their teams are in competition, but it’s a friendly competition—and encouraged leaders to stoke that fire. He said, “If you tell an advisor that they rank 11,782 out of 13,000 advisors, they get competitive. Monitor what the top third does, measure their success, and use what you learn to help the last third improve.”

Also, make your advisors your biggest advocates. Laura Hajducek, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Marketing at New York Life, said, “Advisors trust themselves. If we put the voice of the field back in front of them, that cuts through with a lot more effectiveness.”  

Furthermore, to get the field comfortable with change, we must tap into what motivates them. Meghan McCartan, the Chief Marketing Officer at Hightower Advisors, said, “Most are very successful small business owners… If you show them how change will help them grow, make things easier, and maximize their time, that will get them excited. Connect the why to the behavior change.”

Amy Hu, the CMO at New York Life, summed it up beautifully when she said, “It’s simplicity that they're looking for at the end of the day because they want to spend their time talking to people.”

Takeaway #5: Third-party content is a hidden gem for advisor differentiation

One way for agents and advisors to become stronger sellers and marketers is to build a social identity as a trusted thought leader. Adding original comments to posts featuring curated third-party content helps social sellers develop a unique, authentic social presence—and can also dramatically improve social engagement.

Our 2024 Content Study data revealed that the total number of engagements dipped in 2023 even though daily active users are up across networks. What does that mean? More people are seeing content - they’re just engaging less. So, how did this impact Hearsay Social programs?

Individuals who post original content on social generate 10x stronger engagement than those who rely solely on marketing-provided content. Also, field teams are publishing more educational content than promotional content—underscoring the importance of monitoring trends and consistently collaborating with the field. 

Laura Hajducek of New York Life, sets her team up for success by catering to every level of social seller. She says, “Our advisors have strong support from the NYL brand, and they can lean into it when they want or need to. Combining that while also showcasing personal brand and expertise (specialization) sets the foundation to build relationships.”

The true drivers of social engagement are personality and authenticity. Data continues to show that the more personal the content, the better the engagement. Learn how to achieve social selling success in 2024 and beyond in our seventh annual Financial Services Social Selling Content Study

It was tough to narrow the top takeaways down to five, but we believe each of these will play a big role in helping firms achieve success in 2024.

Closing the books on 2024 Hearsay Summit

It was our absolute privilege to host leaders from some of the most influential wealth management, banking, asset management, P&C, and life insurance companies in the world in New York City. It’s incredible to gather so many innovators together and to witness ‘aha’ moments throughout the week.

We can’t wait to see how you use what you learned, and we’re already looking forward to doing it all again next year!

Jessica Cates
Jessica is a content creator and strategist dedicated to publishing engaging content across Hearsay's corporate channels. The Gilbert, Arizona-based mom of two loves to tackle a blinking cursor on a blank page – and as a former Nebraskan, is totally down with the southwest's interpretation of winter.

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