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How do you make client segmentation more than a check-the-box exercise?

Bryan Powell, Senior Director, Practice Management, discusses how an effective client segmentation strategy can help you build meaningful connections with clients, increase your team’s efficiency, and drive the growth of your practice.

Bryan Powell, PCC, CPBA, CPMA

Bryan Powell, PCC, CPBA, CPMA

Senior Director, Practice Management

Nov 9, 2023
6 minute read

Key takeaways:

  • Many advisory firms attempt to provide the same level of service to all clients, but this approach can put undue pressure on the team.
  • An effective client segmentation framework enables you to adjust your communication style to create a deeper bond with top clients, something that cannot be achieved through a one-size-fits-all model.
  • In addition to personalized service, your segmentation model can help you allocate resources more efficiently and improve the return on investment1 of your marketing and communication efforts.

In my nine-plus years as a practice management coach and consultant, client segmentation is a topic that has come up on nearly every occasion when working with successful advisory teams. When the topic arises, the reactions vary from excitement in figuring out a consistent process to a look of dread that says, “Why are we doing this again?”

Reactions aside, on most occasions the team has either attempted to adopt a client segmentation model and failed, or they are attempting to serve all their clients in the same way, which can cause anxiety over trying to be everything to everyone. Sound familiar?

A successful client segmentation model has the potential to deliver a return on investment (ROI) of your team’s time and energy and provide a consistent avenue of growth for your practice. If you’re part of an advisory team that has yet to figure out the right segmentation model, following are three reasons to implement a strategy that can elevate your ability to provide a level of service that creates an emotional connection with your top clients.

1. Personalized service

As I mentioned above, a lot of advisors have a mindset of wanting to serve all clients in the same manner. While this sort of altruism is admirable, you must ask yourself whether this approach will allow you to personalize your services to the needs of your clients. Will a one-size-fits-all service model cater to the uniqueness of the clients in the highest segment of your book? It’s also important to consider how attempting to serve each client in the same capacity, regardless of the value the client provides to the practice, might put undue pressure on the team.

Stop for a minute and think about the companies you’re a raving fan of. What do they do to exceed your expectations? Chances are, they find ways to make you feel emotionally connected. And that’s the ultimate goal of a client segmentation model: to enable you to adjust your communication style to create a deeper bond with your top clients.

At your next team meeting, ask the following questions to the members of your team and get curious:

  • What do we do to understand the uniqueness of our top clientele?
  • How can we provide a consistent client experience regardless of who our client speaks with?
  • What can we do to personalize our service offering to connect emotionally to our clients?

2. Efficient allocation of resources

The second driver of implementing an effective client segmentation framework is to ensure you are using your resources appropriately. When working with advisory teams, one of the first comments that usually comes up is how busy everyone is day to day. The question is, what can you do to support each other so you can be more efficient with your time and energy?

Your client segmentation model should be designed to give you and the members of your team clarity, direction, and intentionality around everything they do. Teams that operate at an optimal level of performance understand how they spend their time each day and where it will be most effective. Without a strategic segmentation model, the team will be spread thin, you will not be able to spend time with your top clientele, and your service will suffer as you fall into a “check-the-box” mentality to get through the day.

To deliver a truly “WOW” experience, there needs to be a structure in place that gives every member of the team clarity on what success looks like in supporting clients at the highest level. The segmentation model you implement can lead to deeper discussions and meaningful interactions that create ambassadors for your team and help drive growth for your practice.

Spend time with the members of your team to address the following questions:

  • How would an effective segmentation model assist us in allocating resources properly?
  • What can we do to hold each other accountable to how and where we spend our time?
  • What commitments can we make as a team to support a successful implementation?

3. Targeted marketing and communication

Another goal of a client segmentation model is to help you determine the ROI you’re generating from the service you provide to clients. How are your marketing and communication efforts being received by your audience? Are you able to quantify the results?

When working with advisory teams, I raise these questions so the team can start thinking about how they can deliver impactful information to their intended audience rather than blasting out the same messaging to everyone.

An effective segmentation model can create simple steps for determining which audiences your team’s marketing and communication efforts will resonate with most so you can customize your approach and enhance the results. Being intentional in the specific types of clients you target enables you to track where you’re seeing the biggest results so you can use that objective information as a blueprint for the future.

Review the approach the team is currently implementing in terms of marketing and communication and ask:

  • How could we be more intentional with our efforts?
  • What steps can we take to ensure we are making the most of our marketing budget?
  • How will we measure the ROI of our time and energy in the growth of our practice?

Client segmentation is a topic every advisor has heard of or has experience in implementing. Yet, only the top teams have figured out how to institute an approach that allows them to achieve the three goals outlined above: Providing valued clients with personalized service that creates an emotional connection, enabling team members to use their time efficiently, making the most of the practice’s marketing and communication efforts.

Should you need assistance in implementing a client segmentation model that provides clarity, focus, and intention, reach out to your local Janus Henderson Director. Our specialists can support your efforts to instill a framework that gives you the ability to WOW your clients while developing consistency within the team so everyone is aligned in their commitment to building long-lasting relationships.

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