MOUNTAIN PEAK FINANCIAL, INC.

Branding, web design, email marketing, event planning, content, strategy & analysis

BACKGROUND

Mountain Peak Financial, Inc. is a financial advising firm that specializes in retirement planning and serves the greater San Gabriel Valley and Coachella Valley areas. The sole financial advisor and owner Charles Ragonese started the practice in 1992 and it has greatly evolved since then.

After completing a strategic analysis of the company for my senior capstone project at the University of San Francisco and winning 3rd place in the strategic management competition, I joined the company in August 2015 as the first marketing director.

 

Up until that point, all marketing was handled by third-party marketing organizations. I quickly realized that having multiple middle-men for our marketing was holding us back from having a fully developed brand identity and from integrating that identity throughout all of our marketing. In addition, a lack of operational efficiency was preventing the company from serving clients as best as possible. My first steps in this position were to take the majority of our marketing in-house and to define and implement operational processes. 

PRIMARY STRATEGIC ISSUES & SOLUTIONS 

The company's primary goal was to increase annual premium production from $4 million to $7 million.

For 10 years (2004 - 2014), the company remained at a steady $4 million in premium production​ and didn't have the budget to spend on more marketing. The average 10 new clients annually were primarily referrals from existing clients. After implementing the solutions below, our new annual average since 2015 has been $6.5 million.

 

 Issue #1: No lead generation campaigns were in place

  •  Solution: Organize monthly public seminars on retirement planning

    • Outcome: Of the total people who scheduled appointments with us from these seminars over the last three years, 32% became new clients, resulting in 51% of business.

Issue #2: Existing clients did not have us manage their entire portfolios, demonstrating a lack of communication and understanding of what we offer, and potentially a lack of trust.

  • Solution 1: Clearly define who Mountain Peak Financial, Inc. is and what we do, and communicate this with clients via our website, blog, and email newsletters. Create sales materials for use at seminars and prospective client meetings to demonstrate transparency and show potential clients who we are from the very beginning.

  • Solution 2: In order see our clients more frequently throughout the year while providing additional value, I created a quarterly educational workshop series called "View From the Top" that covers various topics related to retirement planning, and hosted 2-3 client appreciation events annually, such as breakfasts, baseball game outings, and wine tastings. 

  • Solution 3: In order to better deliver on our promise to our clients as retirement planners, I established a system for annual account review meetings, which went beyond reviewing their accounts to learning about their lives and interests and providing them with additional resources. 

    • Outcome: Annual referrals from existing clients increased by 50%, and repeat business from existing clients increased by 45%. 

Issue #3: Human capital was not being properly utilized, resulting in much of the easy but time-consuming tasks falling on the advisor's shoulders, cutting into time spent with clients.

  • Solution: Hire an office administrator who could take on more responsibilities and take the lead in account servicing work, freeing up the advisor to meet with more clients. 

    • Outcome: As we held more public seminars, 5 extra hours on average per week could be dedicated to prospective client "discovery" appointments. 

Issue #4: A lack of operational efficiency contributed to disorganization in the sales process.

  • Solution: Facilitated the use of the company's first CRM and created workflows for the sales process.

    • Outcome: Less time spent searching paper files for important client information. Workflows ensured that each step of our sales process was being completed. 

BRAND STYLE GUIDE

(shows samples of web and print materials)

COMPANY BOOK

(sales material used at the end of 1st appointments, in order to encourage prospects to schedule a 2nd appointment. 95% of prospects who have a 2nd appointment become clients. I created this in response to the high percentage of prospects who would not schedule a 2nd appointment. Implemented mid-August, it is too soon to measure the results, but feedback has been very positive!)

SALES PROCESS

financial advisor-specifc sales process, broken into 3 parts - before we meet leads at an event, after we meet them, and when they become clients. 

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