Thanks in part to a new automated recruiting tool offered by his independent broker-dealer Cetera Financial Group, Scott Pulkrabek, senior vice president of business development at Legacy Advisor Network in Madison, Wis., says his firm has added 14 new people to its 40-person operation in less than a year.

“I push the button and it’s gone. It’s fantastic,” Pulkrabek says of the emails he sends out every three weeks to roughly 3,400 advisors in Wisconsin through the tool, known as Connect2Clients or C2C. “I’m not creative in writing and I don’t want to send [marketing emails] to compliance. I’d rather have them created for me.” Legacy is part of the Cetera Financial Group firm Cetera Advisor Networks.

At a time when recruiting is down across the independent broker-dealer space, Cetera Financial Group has added 247 net new advisors nationwide between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2013, according to Susan Theder, Cetera’s chief marketing officer.

The strong numbers, according to Theder, are the result of a combination of innovative recruiting efforts like Connect2Clients which can warm up cold leads for recruiters whose job is explaining Cetera to prospects.

ADVISORS' NEEDS

“It’s been a tougher year than most for recruiting,” she says, “but the firms that are seeing success are those that are addressing the needs of advisors.”

In addition to Connect2Clients, in May Cetera launched an advertising campaign called “Truth Is” aimed at letting advisors know it understands the risks and challenges associated with switching to a new broker-dealer.

At the same time, it has been running a program that provides dedicated one-on-one marketing support, coaching and resources to the leaders of its ensemble, regional offices and offices of supervisory jurisdiction to help with recruiting. Those who participate in the Partnership in Recruiting program receive customized marketing plans, tailored to their specific characteristics and recruiting goals, along with the resources needed to execute their plans, Theder says.

The program begins with an initial consultation with recruiting and marketing experts from Cetera’s home office and it continues with ongoing support, according to a release from the company. In the initial phase, Cetera helps regional leaders develop their recruiting strategy, which can then be packaged within a comprehensive suite of tools. According to Cetera, the tools include:

  • Customized recruiting-focused marketing materials – including videos – with the option of using individual branding.
  • Hands-on website development assistance including optimization of technology, strategic content development and design.
  • A library of white papers and other thought leadership content on topics that can be customized with an individual brand.
  • Assistance with electronic marketing across the entire selling cycle from lead generation to customized drip-marketing campaigns.
  • Public relations support.

NEW RECRUITING HIRES

To further bulk up its recruiting abilities out of its home office, Cetera says it has more than doubled its business development teams this year.

Cetera Advisors, one of the four Cetera network firms, recently hired Blake McCrary as director of new business development to lead the firm’s East Coast recruiting. McCrary was formerly senior director of business development at Cambridge Investment Research. McCrary joins two more new senior recruiters, Jessie Austermann and Nathan Akers.

Cetera Advisor Networks recently brought on Al McIntee as senior vice president of business development. McIntee expanded his team with two new recruiters and Cetera veterans, Bryan Casserly and Scott Accamando. 

The company also says it has begun offering more support to advisors who are transitioning to Cetera. This includes free marketing support for one year, custom client communications and business coaching.

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