The Dakota Way begins with our Sales Philosophy
As a third party marketer, we believe every day is a great day to sell. Markets are up. Markets are down. It’s raining outside. It’s sunny outside. It doesn’t matter. We focus on what we can control. Every day is a great day to sell.
We believe in process. We believe sales is all about process. We believe that if you follow a proven process, good things happen over time.
We believe in an unconventional approach to sales and doing things other sales people don’t want to do. We believe in a team approach. We believe in a structure that is in the best interest of our Clients, not ourselves. We don’t over think it. We don’t assume what our buyer is going to say. We get out and meet with people that buy what we sell, tell an amazing story and then we listen. We focus on what we can control.
That is our philosophy. Every day is a great day to sell. Follow the process and focus on what you can control.
”We are always impressed when we walk into a meeting with Dakota. The prospects seem genuinely happy to see a member of the Dakota Team. We sense that a relationship has already been formed with the person on the other side of the table.”
~ Charlie Garland, Portfolio Manager for Hamlin Capital Management (Client since 2009)
Fundamental Principles of The Dakota Way
We have a core set of principles that we live by at Dakota. We believe the business of raising capital for investment strategies is very difficult. We believe every time you meet with a professional buyer and you present a strategy you are asking them to take career risk to recommend your strategy. It’s serious business and the process should be taken seriously.
We have built our team around a group of very high quality people that all buy into a system and a way of doing things. It’s all about focusing on what matters most and doing what matters most as often as you possibly can. Below are the three fundamental principles of how we work:
Know Who to Call On
Internally we describe our sales focus as “we grow apples and sell them to apple buyers. We don’t try and convince orange buyers to buy apples.” We are not in the convincing business.
Spending time calling on people who don’t buy your product is an exercise in futility. As simple as it sounds, many sales people don’t focus their efforts on selling to people who buy what they sell. They do meetings to do meetings, activity for activity sake. We don’t. We focus on calling on people who buy what we sell. It requires that you know your market and channels intimately.
Know What to Say
Be a master messenger. It is extremely difficult to get a meeting and then it’s very expensive to get into the office of a professional buyer. So, when you finally get the opportunity to meet with a professional buyer, the sales person must be able to tell a concise and compelling story about the strategy. The sales person must be able to create context quickly so the buyer can understand what they should be listening for. Most sales people wax on and on, moving their lips, but saying nothing and wasting both the time of the buyer and him or herself. We train very hard to be master messengers and to deliver a concise and compelling story. We spend an enormous amount of time, money and energy on training on the investment stories.
Have a Killer Follow-up System
Follow up is the key ingredient to sales success and this is where most sales people fall down. The difficult part for a Type-A sales person is that it is the least fun. The hunt is over. The meeting is done. No sale was made, yet. No immediate gratification. This is where almost most sales people struggle. Energetic, Type-A personalities can get meetings, but the same effort that applies to the hunt is not always the same skill that applies to the follow-up. We have built detailed processes to ensure we are excellent at the follow-up. We have created a culture that rewards the process not the result, which is why we are so outstanding at follow-up. We have created systems using Salesforce.com and all its capabilities to help us in the follow-up, monitoring our past activity and tracking of our opportunities.
We have proven that if you have a high quality product and you follow up, repeat and master the sales process above, good things will happen.
Dakota’s Structural Set-up
The elements below define exactly How we work with our Clients.
1. Completion of the
Our OnBoarding document covers every aspect of a relationship with a mutual fund, including: the sales plan, messaging, training, compliance, administration, reporting and communication. The OnBoarding document triggers all of the functional aspects of marketing and selling an investment strategy.
2. Assign an
Each investment strategy and firm we partner with is assigned an Account Manager who is responsible for ensuring we are executing the business and sales plan on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. They are responsible for communicating to our team each Monday the top 5 priorities for the Partner. They report progress to our Clients weekly and monthly. The Account Manager is in regular communication with our Clients, coordinating meetings, conference calls and travel.
3. Utilize an Account
Coverage Sales Model
Our sales model is different and focused on what is most effective for our Clients. We employ an account coverage model where each salesperson is responsible for a set of accounts. We are not segregated by channel or geography. Each sales team member has a set of accounts he is responsible for and they must have each fund we work with in a current sales cycle with a clear next step. This ensures that each Client’s business plan is being executed and that we have all key buyers covered in each channel we work in.
4. Use a Team-Based
We work and get compensated as a team. Each team member has their set of accounts they are responsible for, but all accounts can be called on my any team member when they are traveling to a particular city. Sharing of accounts is extremely helpful as it removes barriers within the team and gets all of our funds greater exposure. The team-based approach is in the best interests of our Clients.