Financial Professionals: Drive Growth in 2021 with a Digital Strategy
Identify the Right Processes and Tools to Exceed Your Goals This Year
From massive enterprise corporations to one-person shops, financial service professionals have a tremendous opportunity for growth in 2021. By harnessing the power of a sound, thorough digital strategy, any financial professional can make significant strides this year.
4 Ways Financial Professionals Can Improve Their Digital Strategies
Financial service professionals who hope to have lasting, sustainable success in 2021—and beyond—need to know their customers. (Note, this isn’t specific to the financial sector. Deep customer knowledge and engagement have become essential to every business.)
It isn’t enough, though, just to identify these existing and potential customers and to catalog them in a software tool. Financial professionals today need to know customers at a deeper level, and they need to have a more thorough, strategic, and outlined process in place to engage with them.
As you’re making kickoff plans for 2021, ask yourself these questions:
- Who are you targeting this year? Why?
- What is your core focus?
- How do you plan to engage with your customers? How frequently?
- How are you going to provide customers with value?
- How are you going to educate and inform them (while also complying with industry-specific regulations)?
Write Out Your Plan
When it comes to process planning and business strategy, the financial services sector tends to be a more mature, advanced industry. A lot of these businesses think and talk through necessary changes to approach and strategy. Where they often fall down is in one foundational step. They don’t write their plans down.
It might seem like a small thing, but actually writing out the elements of your digital strategy helps you finalize processes, identifies still-existing gaps, and ensures everyone is on the same page about underlying strategy and logistics.
Write out details and steps for the following important questions:
- How are we going to prospect?
- How do we deal with warm leads?
- Are we using an account-based approach?
- Do we have alignment between marketing and sales? How are we going to deliver on that?
A lot of financial professionals shy away from sales technology because they assume it has to be expensive, burdensome, and complex. Yes, there are comprehensive, sophisticated solutions available, such as artificial intelligence, but there are also foundational solutions to increase time management, to improve customer engagement, and more.
You don’t have to start with the most advanced option. (In fact, that’s rarely the best course of action.) Instead, start small, and then build and scale over time as you’re seeing positive results and return on your initial investment.
Think of your progress as a road map. Where are you today, and where do you ultimately want to go? You can’t just jump between those two destinations; you need to take a step-by-step approach. Companies that see the best adoption rates, successful integration, and forward progress are those that embrace this “crawl, walk, run” approach.
Just because you’ve reached a certain level of success as a financial professional doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve your processes and mind-set in 2021. Whether you’re a small, medium, or large organization, foundational problems can still exist. Larger companies often just have the resources to gloss over those issues.
For significant growth this year, no matter the size of your company, it’s imperative to carefully examine your digital strategy and to assess whether you’re getting the best out of your sales tech stack.
Sales Technology Tools For Financial Service Professionals
Part of what makes sales technology selection, integration, and adoption so difficult is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Even within the same vertical or industry, the right tool set is going to vary from company to company. Your best chance at success is by implementing a thorough digital strategy before you ever select any specific sales technology tool.
That being said, there are some foundational solutions across industries that can prove valuable. This includes things like e-signature and contract management resources.
There are also categories of solutions that tend to be good fits for financial professionals, and that includes the following:
A portal is essentially a repository of information, tools, and other assets. In the sales arena, it’s designed to better assist salespeople in closing more deals in less time. These tools range widely in functionality and sophistication. The right solution for your financial service team depends on your goals, priorities, objectives, capabilities to implement, and budget.
Keep in mind that some of these portal solutions do require foundational elements, such as a CRM; others are standalone solutions.
Possible Sales Tech Solutions:
- Journey Sales
Arguably the biggest player in this space but requires Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365.
A standalone solution in the portal space.
A sales enablement tool that has new functionality in the portal space.
Learning Management Software (LMS)
Learning management software (LMS) is an application that allows companies to administer, to document, and to track the delivery of various educational courses, including training material. LMS can be particularly helpful for larger companies that have the infrastructure to require and to deliver these kinds of programs. In the “crawl, walk, run” scenario, this solution falls on the more sophisticated end.
Possible Sales Tech Solutions:
- SAP Litmos
- Absorb LMS
- Accord LMS
Prospect or Customer Engagement Resources
Prospect and customer engagement is a broad term that covers any solution meant to manage, to analyze, and to improve the customer journey. Because that covers a lot of ground, prospect engagement tools can be problematic for many companies. Businesses find they only need or use a small percentage of the software’s functionality but are paying for the whole (and often costly) solution. This significantly reduces return on investment. Be mindful of this when assessing your options. Is the gold standard with every possible tool and resource necessary for your company? Or is there a less comprehensive solution that still addresses your needs—at a fraction of the cost?
Possible Sales Tech Solutions:
Conversation intelligence software records and transcribes sales calls. This allows those important client- and prospect-facing conversations to be analyzed by keyword and topic. It provides high-level insight into your selling process and allows you to identify what’s successful and ineffective when dealing with a particular segment of prospects or clients. Like AI or some other solutions, this is a fairly sophisticated tool. Ensure you have the capabilities, buy-in, and infrastructure to implement it effectively.
Possible Sales Tech Solutions:
Why Sales Technology Is Essential to Your 2021 Digital Strategy
A thought-out, strategic digital strategy can benefit any company moving into 2021, but it has five particular benefits for the financial vertical:
Stand Out in a Crowded Space
A few select giants used to dominate the financial services industry. Today, there are thousands of small, independent firms. In a crowded space, differentiating yourself from your competitors is more important than ever, and that edge can be acquired through thoughtful, strategic sales tech selection and adoption.
Overcome a Bad Reputation
Those in the space know that acquiring clients in the financial services sector can be a numbers game, but they’re battling against an increasingly bad reputation. Financial professionals simply don’t have the respect they once did—from customers or senior leadership—and that makes their job an even steeper climb. With the right sales technology, though, you can better identify and engage with your clients, provide real value and insight, save yourself time, and more. All this can help you overcome preconceived notions by delivering on promised value.
Improve Time Management
Whether you’re a stock broker, a financial advisor, or an insurance broker, there’s one consistent fact about financial professionals: there’s never enough time. When you’re as busy as you can be, time management is incredibly important. From small to midsize to large organizations, choosing the right sales technology tools can help automate and streamline certain processes and eliminate needlessly wasted time.
Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader
More and more, financial professionals are looking to put out content that educates prospects and establishes them as thought leaders in the industry. Finance is highly regulated, so this presents a series of challenges, but the right sales technology tools can help facilitate creating and sharing this valuable insight to existing or potential customers.
Enhance Customer Experience
From the largest firm to the smallest company, financial professionals need to be cognizant of how they’re driving customer experience. When it comes to their money, customers often want data at a moment’s notice. You need to be able to quickly and effectively provide that information. This largely comes back to having an appropriate CRM and the tools that allow you to quickly analyze that information.
The right sales technology stack is going to provide financial professionals with concrete value. That value could be anything from enhanced return on investment to more time and resources. Whatever the benefit, the stack needs to be selected with the right strategy, mind-set, and processes in place. Otherwise, it quickly leads to poor adoption, failed integration, and wasted resources. If you’re looking for a way to save yourself this time and frustration, discover what our consultative services can do for you. With us, you get a trusted, knowledgeable partner who can learn your business and its challenges and provide customized, cost-effective advice.
For more information about sales technology for the financial service industry register for our upcoming webinar “Creating a Digital Strategy to Drive Growth in the Financial Service Industry”