Portrait of Heidi S.

A look at Internal Sales in the Financial Advisor Services division

We recently sat down with Heidi Spilotros, who leads the Broker-Dealer Internal Sales team in the Financial Advisor Services (FAS) division at Vanguard. In this blog, she highlights key components of her role, the broad impact FAS has on our advisors and personal investors, as well as advice for candidates who may be considering applying for an opportunity on her team.

Why did you become a Vanguard crew member?

I have been in sales my entire 24-year career and I have been in financial services sales in one form or another for most of that time. One of the biggest draws for me coming to Vanguard was the culture, and what I mean by that is the focus on collaboration and crew. There was a positive collegiality that I felt when I came here. Many of the environments I have experienced have been male-dominated and highly competitive, and without a willingness to share information or help others. The inclusive nature of Vanguard came through in the interview process. Every single person I met really wanted to ensure I was a culture fit who could help strengthen the collaborative, collegial environment where all voices are heard, everyone is encouraged to bring his or her best ideas to the table, and everyone wins together. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really believe it at first, but after being here for 18 months, it’s true. I have a great team that cares for each other, promotes a sense of belonging, and iterates with one another on everything, even when we dissent and disagree. No feelings are hurt because it’s all in the spirit of trying to do what’s right for our clients and what’s right for Vanguard.

How does your team directly contribute to the client experience and doing what is right by our investors?

It is important for our sales force in FAS to always keep the end client, investors, top of mind, even though we deal directly with Financial Advisors. We have to understand both the Advisors’ business as well as the client perspective, which can get complicated at times. But when you think about the impact you have if you effectively communicate our mission and offer to the Advisors, and help them achieve the goals they have for their clients, it’s really something. One advisor can reach hundreds of clients, so if we set them up for success, a multitude of investors benefit. For every generation our sales team can touch and every subsequent generation of advisors they teach and train, the impact can be exponential. In FAS, we want to make sure that everyone has the best chance for investment success.

How is the sales organization in FAS evolving?

There is a transformation underway called distribution enablement and it is exactly as it sounds. It is a variety of tools, processes and resources that will help our sales people be more effective. There are ways in which we can approach the market more efficiently and a variety of enablement tools, technology and techniques that will allow us to do so.

We are starting to deploy these tools, and one example I’ll share is around our ability to deal with sales opportunities. Our teams haven’t previously been able to answer key questions that would allow one to determine and track success measures. With this new methodology centered on gathering information and involving all players to make better-informed decisions, we now have a shared language and approach that will help us accomplish our goals in a more streamlined way. Going forward, we need to ask ourselves the following questions: How do we go to market with something unique? How do we see more clients? How do we see them more often and further our relationships?

What are you looking for in a candidate to join the FAS sales team?

The first thing I would say is that sales is one of those words that can be viewed in a variety of ways. Sometimes people can be intimidated. What sales really means, especially in FAS at Vanguard, is that you are able to make connections with people. Are you curious? Are you interested in uncovering what an advisor’s business is all about? If you’re curious, love building relationships, and enjoy solving problems, this could really be a great path for you. Sales is one of the most fascinating professions as it is truly filled with philosophical conversation using psychology and human behavior to understand why people make the decisions they do and how you might be able to influence and guide them to a mutually beneficial outcome. Ultimately, this is all about empathetically navigating a conversation in order to identify what’s most important to that person. When asking our sales folks what the best part of their day is, more often than not, they’ll say it’s when they have had great client interactions with financial advisors and brought value to the relationship.

Interested in a career in Sales? Please click here to view available opportunities.

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