With the explosion of options for consumers and businesses, the financial services industry is more competitive than ever. As banks and credit unions innovate to thrive in today’s digital world – and the growing demand for personalized offers – bankers and advisors need to break through the clutter and communicate their offers effectively.
A better understanding of customer expectations and new technologies can help financial services professionals serve as trusted advisors, consistently providing on-target offers to build a consultative relationship. With these four tips, you can provide your financial services sales team with targeted content and information that closes deals:
- Know where customers are in the decision cycle: In years past, customers relied on bankers to walk them through their financial product options. Today, they may be 57 percent through a decision before your team members get an opportunity to make a pitch, according to CEB research. With a Sales Engagement Platform, your team can gain insight into where customers are in the decision cycle by tracking their interactions with your brand across all channels. This can help your banking professionals reach out to prospects at the right time, with information tailored to where they are in the buying journey.
- Upgrade your presentation tools: More and more meetings are now taking place online as web meetings. The last thing your team needs when trying to deliver a presentation to potential customers are technical difficulties or an inability to locate the right content. Make sure your team has a modern presentation toolkit that doesn’t require complex logins or software downloads – web meetings should be instantly accessible (unlike many of the old-school web conferencing tools). Lack of access to the right content during meetings – including in-person meetings – lengthens sales cycles by more than 60%, according to sales leaders surveyed by CSO Insights.
Find a presentation tool that can launch web-based meetings from popular email platforms like Outlook or Gmail, CRM solutions, and mobile devices. Also make sure your presentation solution lets you log all engagement activity to a CRM system like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics. That will provide the context you and your team need to prioritize leads and coach effectively.
- Ensure content is accessible: A recent research report from Aberdeen Group found that salespeople across various industries spend 400-plus hours each year looking for, creating and modifying content. That’s valuable time they could be spending with customers and prospects. And when team members create their own content, there’s a good chance they won’t follow company standards, which can dilute your institution’s brand. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to provide a rich content library (“single source of truth”) where team members can access assets like presentations, videos and web pages that allow them to answer prospect questions.
When you’re considering platforms that can deliver access to content, make sure you select one that is mobile-ready. A CSO Insights report finds that only 35% of salespeople have access to content on mobile devices. That’s a huge drawback given the 24/7 nature of today’s customer-facing roles and teams that are highly mobile. Make sure your people can access brand-standard content anytime, from anywhere.
- Enable personalized messaging. In everything from Amazon shopping carts to Netflix queues, consumers are accustomed to personalized offers and suggestions. Aberdeen Group research shows that salespeople who personalize presentations and videos have at least 30% higher win rates and lead conversion success than their peers. Look at solutions that enable true sales engagement rather than focusing on single-point tools – this allows financial professionals on your team to better personalize messaging and more deeply engage prospects. Aragon Research recently published a report titled Digitize the Sales Force: Leverage Sales Engagement Platforms to Gain a Competitive Advantage that has guidance on key steps to getting started with this new technology.
The way consumers and businesses consider choices and make decisions has changed. That’s true for every industry, including the financial services sector. And it means financial professionals have to adapt to new consumer expectations. By following these four tips, you can ensure that your team has the tools it needs to gain a competitive edge.
Michael Schultz leads Marketing and Business Development for ClearSlide. Prior to ClearSlide, he served as VP of Strategic Alliances at DocuSign. He has also held senior positions with other venture-backed and publicly traded companies, and previously worked as a strategy consultant at Anderson Consulting (now Accenture). Michael earned an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth and a BA in English from Tufts University.