When it comes to AI-augmented distribution, turning data on sales transactions, sales rep activity and marketing activity into actionable insights and next best actions is an area of investment for many asset managers and insurance firms.


ZS recently held a webinar to discuss the human aspects of AI-augmented distribution with expert panelists across analytics, sales and marketing operations and customer experience. Jason Brown moderated a discussion with ZS leaders Arun ShastriErin Liman and Pete Mehr, who shared their perspectives on implementing AI to enhance distribution systems in the asset management and insurance industries. The panel offered these best practices for getting started with AI:

  1. Think of the customer first: Each new AI capability should be tied to a business goal and a plan that will help customers (advisors, consultants, professional buyers, and ultimately, investors). Understand how the advisors’ and other customers’ experiences are impacted by AI, and if your efforts make their interactions with you easier.
  2. Build your capabilities: To enable AI-augmented distribution and deliver an optimized customer experience, companies must build and integrate six core capabilities:
    1. Data management: integrated sales, customer interactions and activity
    2. Promotional analytics: multichannel dashboards, preference segmentation, attribution modeling, mix optimization and sequencing
    3. Customer promotion strategy and optimization: integrated promotional planning, customer engagement journeys
    4. Orchestration: next best actions and field suggestions using real-time predictive, actionable insights
    5. Centralized sales and marketing operations: deploy call plans and tactical customer promotion plans
    6. Organizational change management
  3. Focus on change management: When it comes to implementing new technologies, in many cases, organizations fail because a common objective to rally around or the impetus for change isn’t clear. There’s also often uneasiness and a lack of trust that comes with working across organizational boundaries, or just colleagues who have not partnered before. To solve these issues, first focus on building strong leadership support, cross-functional buy-in, and mutual trust. Many roles in field sales, internal sales, channel marketers, product marketers, and middle management will need to change. Be considerate about what will change on a day-to-day basis and be open to taking feedback and refining the approach.

When AI is successfully implemented in the distribution system, customers are more engaged because they interact with firms in the channels they prefer, when they prefer to do so – and firms, meanwhile, typically see top-line sales increase by 2.5 to 5%. In the coming weeks, we’ll explore each of these sections in greater detail, and for more information, listen to the webinar.