In this year of the coronavirus, the Kalamazoo-based company SalesPage has seen something out of the ordinary for these strange and stifled times: growth.
The technology and data company serves asset managers whose investment products make up 401Ks and retirement funds. In 2020, the company acquired two firms — SalesStation, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based data company, and Clarity Compliance, a platform that monitors funds for policy violation. It thereby expanded SalesPage’s services and tightened its foothold as a niche company that offers everything from software solutions to data analysis in the realm of asset management.
But if the name SalesPage doesn’t ring any bells for you, you’re not alone. “We always joke that nobody knows us,” SalesPage President and CEO Aric Faber says with a good-natured laugh.
Here since the ’80s
While SalesPage has a long history in Kalamazoo, going back to the early ’80s, its work with global investment banking companies such as Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan in larger cities like New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C., has ensured that many local residents are unaware of SalesPage’s existence.
The company started as a small technology company that provided software solutions for mutual fund companies. It evolved when Web-based technology became more prevalent, providing data analytics along with software solutions for asset managers.
Over Zoom, Faber explains that in the financial services world there are approximately 1,000 investment firms creating investment products for about 350,000 individual financial advisors to sell to buyers. SalesPage, he says, works with those investment firms, using data to help narrow down which of those 350,000 advisors can best sell the investment firms’ products and to whom those products are most relevant.
“They don’t want to waste time going after 350,000 advisors when maybe 20,000 will be really good to sell their products,” Faber says. “Connecting those dots in the data is where we got started.”
To put it in more accessible terms, Ana Evans, director of marketing at SalesPage, uses a coffee analogy: “You go to different coffee shops. You buy a coffee. How does Starbucks figure out how they can get your market share and have you come to Starbucks more than Biggby? So they’re gathering intelligence about where you go, what you’re doing. Asset managers are doing the same thing. At SalesPage, we help them bring all of that data together, clean it up, organize it, run analytics on it so they can have better intelligence to distribute more effectively. We’re providing them software solutions, services, data itself, a combination of things.”
Although SalesPage was able to transition from its space in the collaborative offices at the Foundry and into the virtual world of Zoom meetings relatively smoothly, Covid-19 restrictions have affected the way that its clients do business, further complicating a challenging field.
“The financial services business and that buying and selling used to be very personal,” Faber says, harking back to the days when financial advisors took their clients to golf courses or out for a steak dinner. “Our clients would sell the same way. It would all be in-person, it’d be personal relationships. In the Covid world, we all have to operate remotely.”
That shift away from personal relationships into digital connections has made accurate and actionable data that much more pivotal for the company’s clients, and it’s something SalesPage has been providing for more than two decades.
When one of the company’s clients lands a Zoom meeting with a potential buyer, “that Zoom meeting is more effective,” Evans explains. “They already have the intelligence to know who they’re talking to and what that person’s looking for.”
All in all, it’s objectively dry stuff. No Wolf of Wall Street antics here.
All about the team
In fact, spend any amount of time speaking with Evans and Faber and you’ll walk away knowing they have a passion for teamwork and community.
“‘The team, the team, the team. It’s all about the team,’” Faber says, adding that those words are literally on the wall of his office. They come from an iconic locker room speech given by University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler in 1983 before the Wolverines went on to win against longtime rivals, the Ohio State Buckeyes.
When Faber joined SalesPage in 2006, the company was heavily focused on streamlining and perfecting the services it offered. By 2013, Faber shifted focus to bringing in strong leadership to grow the company beyond its niche.
And grow it did. In 2013, SalesPage had 25 employees. Today, it has 70 and expects to add more.
“When you have good people you can lean on, smart, talented people left and right, when you can rely on people, it’s amazing what can be created,” Faber says.
To Faber, success and growth for SalesPage means success and growth for Kalamazoo. Throughout recent years, the data and technology company has focused heavily on recruiting from Kalamazoo-area colleges.
“We want to provide a great opportunity for folks to stick around,” Faber says. “We’ve realized that we’ve helped by being in our local communities. We’re having a bigger impact.”
Aside from providing job opportunities, SalesPage encourages employees, especially those in leadership roles, to be involved in local charities and to be thinking about the community in general. And with Covid-19 affecting so many local businesses and restaurants, Faber and his team members have been looking for ways to spend more money within the community as often as they can, he says.
“We do recognize how fortunate we’ve been, and we’re thankful for our team members because it’s their expertise,” Evans says. “But one of the key things we wanted to invest more time in is how we’re giving back to our community.”