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Fight the Friction!

Sales Process Development

Friction is anything that causes your 401(k) prospects to pause. Hesitate. Stop. By identifying any friction points early on and resolving them quickly, you can develop your business faster. 

Let’s turn your sales process into a well-oiled machine by remedying these seven areas of friction: 

  1. Prospecting 
  2. Scheduling
  3. Follow up 
  4. LinkedIn 
  5. Newsfeed
  6. Website 
  7. Blog 


Friction: Inconsistent marketing campaigns.  

Advisors admit that prospecting is the lifeblood of their business but also their Achilles’ heel. For many, the groundwork required to start a prospecting campaign is overwhelming. Where do I start? What’s working? Should I invest my own time or find a partner? 

Here’s an idea: If 70% of your new business introductions come from current clients and centers of influence, then start with your known relationships. 

Make sure you are connected with every client and COI on LinkedIn. Every time you post, your social network (i.e., all your clients and COIs) is reminded of the great work you do as a retirement plan advisor. 

To add fresh contacts to your prospecting campaigns, identify your ideal retirement plan prospects, then connect with their leadership team through LinkedIn. Aim to add two to four new connections a week. 


Friction: Too much effort to coordinate.

How many times have you been stuck in a calendar loop? You know—that back-and-forth volley of trying to find an opening on two hard-working professionals’ calendars at once. Business prospects typically are busy people. To save time for everyone, send a scheduling link. Here are two companies that are advisor compliance-friendly.

Both scheduling companies look at your calendar to find open windows and then offer those timeslots. The plan sponsor selects a date and time that works for them. A calendar invitation is generated, and conference call information is included. Ta-da! No more back and forth. 

Follow Up

Friction: Without reminders, the retirement plan gets pushed to the back burner. 

A retirement plan sale is a long and complex journey. With over 80% of sales happening between the 5th and 12th touchpoint,   how are you following up with prospects? If it’s a CRM reminder, honestly, how diligent are your efforts? It’s likely best to automate it. 

Compliance-friendly email marketing platforms include: 

Add your all contacts to your email campaigns. Tag your prospects as they enter the sales pipeline. Then let automation do the work for you.

Implement “set it and forget it” campaigns that are prepopulated, scheduled and triggered as your prospect advances through the sales process. 

Nurture your prospects with newsletters, plan sponsor guides, best practices, infographics, videos and other consistent touchpoints filled with relevant retirement plan content. Let automation do the work and communicate regularly with your contact list. Put this area of friction on autopilot.

PRO TIP: Include your open calendar link for easy scheduling. 


Friction: Instant validation or departure.

If you had two seconds to make an introduction, you’d want to present your best, right? Well, that is essentially how LinkedIn works, a place where prospects go to quickly research your credentials and experience. 

To enhance your LinkedIn profile, double check for:

  • Professional profile picture (less than 3 years old)
  • Background banner (usually scenery and/or with company logo)
  • No gray boxes (scroll through your profile and fill out any sections missing in Settings)
  • After a quick glance, people make a snap decision. They either leave your profile page or continue their due diligence about you (i.e., read your profile, visit your website, contact you). 


Friction: Plan sponsors are not 401(k) experts—that’s why they need you. Are you a source of knowledge for your clients? Of course, you are! 

Use your social media posts to inform your connections about current events (e.g., SCOTUS Northwestern decision), trends (e.g., ESG), news (e.g., retirement income illustration statements) and other relevant plan sponsor topics. 

When you share timely information, your network learns from your impressive newsfeed, and they gain confidence that you are the best retirement plan advisor for them. 

Read more commentary by Rebecca Hourihan here.


Friction: Website doesn’t have enough information about retirement plans, causing the prospect to become unsure about advisor capabilities.

Ever wonder how many referrals never reached out? When the majority of new business activities comes from referrals, and we know that most prospects research potential business partners in advance, it raises the question: Do you have a graveyard of missed opportunities? 

To enhance your website and online presence, here are few tips: 

  • Include a page that features your retirement plan services
  • Have an up-to-date blog 
  • Add a scheduling link to meet with you easily


Friction: Confidence or concern. 

About a third of all websites include a blog—it’s the third most visited page after the homepage and About Us. With a blog, visitors stay on your website nine times longer because they are engaged and entertained. And 71% of B2B buyers consume blog content during their buyer journey. 

An up-to-date blog shows site visitors that you’re aware of what’s happening in the retirement plan industry. This instills confidence across your prospect and client community. But if your blog is outdated, site visitors might wonder what has happened. Are you still in business? 

If you have an inactive blog (i.e., the last post is more than 2 years ago), then hide the page until you are ready to restart. It’s better to have no blog than something that doesn’t represent your brand and expertise well. 

PRO TIP: Repurpose your blog on social media and through email campaigns to triple your distribution. 


The retirement plan business is competitive, so it’s important to keep your prospects in motion by eliminating any friction. By smoothing out any bottlenecks, you will earn more qualified leads and bring on new business faster. 

Thanks for reading and Happy Marketing!

Rebecca Hourihan, AIF, PPC, is the founder and CMO of 401(k) Marketing, which she founded to assist qualified experts operate a professional business with professional marketing materials and ongoing awareness campaigns. This column originally appeared in the Spring issue of NAPA Net the Magazine