The financial services sector is in full digital transformation and catching up with some of the more dynamic industries. A set of macro-economic and demographic influences makes change inevitable. Consumer trends like eCommerce, more stringent regulations such as GDPR, and the growing globalisation are changing the way clients act – and impacting the way financial services firms need to be run. SalesWings, a lead intent profiling solution for financial services companies running on Salesforce, spoke with Cloud and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) expert David Derrier from European Salesforce consulting firm Nexell about how financial services companies can go about change.SalesWings: David, at Nexell you are helping financial services firms digitize various aspects of their sales process with the Salesforce.com platform. What is the current state of the industry in the area of digitization?
David Derrier: “Although things are changing quickly, the Financial Services industry can still be considered an “old-fashioned” sector. Many of the organizations are still working with Excel sheets and rely on manual, time consuming processes. As they are fully focused on compiling information and delivering reports in a highly regulated environment, they have little time to take a step back and optimize their way of working: streamlining their procedures, develop a true Key Account Management strategy, better target communications, etc. It’s fair to say that those who are making a move can get true competitive advantages.”
“Financial services firms who tackle digital transformation early on, can gain a real competitive advantage.” @nexell #finserv Click to tweet
SalesWings: What are some of the key challenges that financial services firms are facing in regards to transforming and modernizing their existing process?
David Derrier: “The good old “Relationship Manager Style” is disappearing: most of the interactions are done remotely, clients can book transactions on their own or access documentation online. The Y generation is also known as the zapping generation, and customer loyalty is not as strong as it was before. The game has changed and the ratio of power has changed as well. Digitization makes things easier and quicker for the clients, but it also makes the playground more volatile. More potential comes with more competition worldwide. FinTech companies need more responsiveness and transparency to access the right information in real time and meet client’s expectations. In addition to that, regulations are always more restrictive – be it general (GDPR) or specific to the industry (FINMA, FATCA, etc.) – and Financial Services companies do not have other options but to comply and adapt their data management processes.”
SalesWings: Which process enhancements are “low hanging fruits” when it comes to getting started with a digital transformation of the global customer relationship management?
David Derrier: “Value-adding processes are the key. Streamlining and automating everything that your clients would not pay for (basic database management, internal KPIs, etc.), and focus on your actual services and sources of revenue (assets evaluation, portfolio trends, etc.). This is also a way of empowering your staff members as they would spend more time with your prospects / clients rather than on your systems.
Another important aspect – that is not necessarily obvious to everyone – is data quality. By implementing a modern, secure, and compliant CRM tool, you will also need to clean / qualify your existing database. As soon as you have a clean database, you can immediately exploit it and target mailings and communications, which will also boost your marketing effectiveness.”
SalesWings: What is GDPR, in a nutshell, and how does it impact the current digitization efforts of financial services firms? Is it a show-stopper?
David Derrier: “GDPR is a European legal framework that came into force in May 2018. Its primary purpose is to protect an individual’s data by regulating their collection, use and transmission. This regulation does not only concern client data, but also data relating to applicants, employees, donors, partners, etc. Everyone is affected. And the Swiss Financial Services industry is not in an easy situation. They do work with individuals and companies, in and outside of Europe, and do manage personal data, send email communications, etc. If a company is not compliant, it can be sued and fined (up to 4% of their yearly turnover). There is no room for uncertainty and companies need to know what kind of data they collect, how they work with this data, and who has access to it. Hiding and waiting is definitely not an option. And it is definitely not a show stopper, but digitization is the only way to manage GDPR correctly.”
SalesWings: What is a good first step for sales and marketing managers when tackling such a transformation, and what support tools (methodologies, steps, process) do you recommend?
David Derrier: “One of the key things in the FinServ industry is the KYC concept (Know Your Clients), which aims at compiling all sort of regulatory information (passport number, source of wealth, risk appetite, etc.) to ensure both parties can work together. Apart from the compliance process usually managed by a dedicated team, Sales & Marketing should also apply the same principles and know their clients better to identify / qualify business opportunities more effectively and work closer to the Marketing team to target communications more accurately. Historically, Marketing teams in FinServ had a support role more than a strategic role, and were mainly driven by Sales who had to plan roadshows or other field activities. Now things are changing and Marketing teams are gaining power and influence in the industry. There is no perfect methodology to follow, and the best one will be the one that works for a specific company. The important is to keep processes and methodologies on top of your priorities, as they would define how your company operates.”
“Marketing teams in Financial Services firms have traditionally had a support role, rather than a strategic role. This needs to change.” @nexell #finserv Click to tweet
SalesWings: What role does technology play and what should financial services firms pay attention to when selecting technologies to match their needs?
David Derrier: “I would say that technology is obsolete without processes and procedures. Like a sports car that would be useless if you do not have a map to know how to get where you want. Technologies and solutions for FinServ should be secure, reliable, customizable and scalable. Secure because Financial, personal data are very sensitive. Reliable because business never stops and users should be able to access data anytime anywhere. Customizable because although most of the needs are similar, each company has some specificities. Finally scalable, as the aim of each organization is to grow and firms cannot change from one system to another every 2 years because it is not powerful enough. Technology should serve the business, but technology should not limit the potential of a business.”
SalesWings: Salesforce provides a large set of technologies to implement customized processes; why is Nexell betting on Salesforce as opposed to other CRM solutions when it comes to customer relationship management and digital marketing?
David Derrier: “Historically Nexell worked with several solutions, but step by step got specialized in the Salesforce ecosystem. There were several reasons for that. First of all, the fact that Salesforce bets on Cloud technologies was a great motivation for the future. Then, considering the subscription-based model of Salesforce and the core features that were available to all clients, this solution was the perfect fit for any kind of organization, from the one-man show to the big multinational company. Finally, the flexibility of the platform and the ease to customize it were obviously a great competitive advantage to meet any kind of requirement, from basic CRM needs to very complex business processes. Lastly, Salesforce has a large eco-system, whether it’s development tools to stay flexible, integrated partner solutions such as your website tracking and lead scoring add-on Saleswings, or knowledgable online communities. These are all factors relevant towards the overall success of a technology implementation.”
SalesWings: Nexell is using SalesWings in combination with a third party email marketing service and Salesforce. What is Saleswings doing for you, and in what situations is SalesWings a good fit for financial services firms seeking to accelerate their sales cycles and pipeline?
David Derrier: “In our industry, many companies could be a potential customer for us, which makes it hard to prioritize our sales and marketing actions. We have a large number of leads and not enough time nor resources to qualify them and identify relevant opportunities. SalesWings enables us to understand when a company is evaluating suppliers – like us – by notifying us when they visit our website. It tracks how our leads interact with our email campaigns and sales emails, making it easy to focus on the best leads. Particularly interesting are the automated notifications which help us act proactively in due time and shorten our response times to sales-ready leads. The same is crucial for FinServ firms: they push a lot of content (factsheets, reports, etc.) to their client base but have trouble assessing ROI on content, or analyze which leads are most interested, and in what service. Having the right content and technology to sell is not enough. You also need to engage prospects at the right time. SalesWings is doing a good job here.”
David Derrier is Regional Manager at Nexell, the 1st Salesforce Partner in Europe since 2002. David is a Salesforce-certified CRM expert and public speaker with a background in B2B Sales and Marketing. David has worked extensively in the Finserv industry over the past years, helping organizations of all sizes on their way to digitization and GDPR compliance.