Maximizing Sales Force Effectiveness for Wealth Managers

Sven Kuonen, Nuno Neves Cordeiro


The Sales Force, and Relationship Managers (RMs) in particular, are the foundation of Wealth Management and as such, maximizing RMs’ client-facing time is essential for ensuring the adequate delivery of a Wealth Manager’s proposition, higher client activation and, ultimately, higher RM productivity in terms of client loads.

RM’s client-facing time is relatively limited, typically representing only 20-30% of total available time (40% for top-performing Wealth Managers) and has been under pressure due to the myriad of regulatory changes affecting the sector.

Furthermore, client-facing time is not used in the most effective manner to optimize revenue generation. This is due to the fact that across key performance areas, 1 RMs realize trade-offs 2 which place revenues at risk and create opportunity costs.

Whilst the root causes of RMs limited client-facing time and its effectiveness vary between Wealth Managers, there are recurring pain points that we have observed (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Selected recurring Sales Force Effectiveness pain points (overlay on Alpha’s Sales Force Effectiveness framework)

Whilst there are numerous challenges faced by Wealth Managers in respect of their sales force, there are also valuable growth opportunities. By addressing challenges proactively and effectively through Sales Force Effectiveness initiatives, Wealth Managers can drive significant top and bottom line revenue pickup.


Sales Force Effectiveness initiatives should focus on increasing both RMs’ client-facing time and their commercial and financial effectiveness through the use of several key levers (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Areas of focus of Sales Force Effectiveness initiatives (emphasis on ‘Increase effectiveness of RMs’ client-facing time’)

Whilst the usefulness of these levers depends on the specific context of each Wealth Manager, from our experience, there are three levers that consistently and positively enhance sales effectiveness:

  1. Defining a coherent sales culture within ‘People & Culture’ – entailing the structuring and positioning of the firm on a set of foundational dimensions to ensure consistent sales practices and alignment of each RM under an overarching sales strategy.
  2. Learning from top-performers within ‘Processes & Techniques’ – entailing the identification and systemization of best practices observed across the broader RM population, to re-define ‘ways of working’ and achieve convergence towards effective sales activities.
  3. Leveraging technology within ‘Technology & Tools’ – entailing the development of analytical models and tools (potentially leveraging advanced analytics and Artificial Intelligence), to augment RMs through insights on opportunities and risks in their book of business.

Though the internal diagnosis of a Wealth Manager’s performance and its root-causes are key to identify improvements along the aforementioned levers, it is equally important to develop external views on ‘what good looks like’, based on market’s best-practices  to quickly identify improvements without ‘re-inventing the wheel’.

Ultimately, improving Sales Force Effectiveness is about identifying, redesigning and optimizing the most relevant levers within the design principles of a well-defined sales culture.


Further to working on the relevant levers, Wealth Managers need to continuously engage and collaborate with their people as the success of Sales Force Effectiveness initiatives is equally predicated on effectively managing change across a multitude of stakeholders.

When carried out successfully, initiatives addressing Sales Force Effectiveness yield a significant payoff generating a revenue pickup of 5 to 10% (in the short-term) evidently depending on the starting point and the scope of levers available. Given the typical investment needed, these initiatives are likely to carry a ROI of 20-30%.

How can Alpha help?

We have extensive experience in successfully enhancing Sales Force Effectiveness for our Wealth Management clients. We would be happy to discuss any challenges your organization may be facing and share relevant insights on how those challenges can be addressed. To get in touch, contact us here.

1. E.g., Prospect acquisition, client activation and development, sales of products and services, pricing, client retention.

2. E.g., 100% of RMs underperforming peers by ~34% in ~54% of client acquisition levers such as pipeline management, prospect conversion, account opening, capturing assets, investing assets, selling and pricing solutions.

About the Authors

Sven Kuonen
Director, Asset and Wealth Management

Sven is a Director at Alpha Switzerland and heads the Wealth Management and Private Banking activities in Switzerland. Sven is also responsible for the Zurich Office of Alpha FMC. Sven has more than 15 years of experience as a management consultant in the financial services industry and has mainly worked for and with Swiss, German, and Middle Eastern Wealth Managers and Private Banks. Sven advises his clients along the whole value chain from (digital) strategy, business model innovation, advisory model definition and, ultimately, operating model definition and implementation. Furthermore, Sven helps his clients modernize their client and product base and to improve their cost and process efficiency.

Nuno Neves Cordeiro
Former Director, Asset and Wealth Management

Nuno is a former Director at Alpha where he was the Global Head of Artificial Intelligence. Nuno has more than 20 years of professional experience, 15 of which focus on Wealth and Asset Management both as an industry practitioner and as a management consultant. While leveraging Artificial Intelligence as a methodological tool, Nuno's work focused on topline growth topics namely on decisions regarding markets and booking-center strategies, segmentation and segments strategies, enhancement and differentiating of value propositions, optimization of coverage models, and digital, strategic and tactical pricing. Nuno has worked with a variety of player types globally with an emphasis on Western Europe, Middle East, APAC, and South America.