In financial services, an efficient sales process is important, but sales effectiveness is even more valuable.
Your customer-facing reps have to trudge through system after system to respond to customers or prepare for customer calls. They simply can’t win in a competitive environment where firms are arming their reps with next-generation sales enablement platforms. Whether your company gains or loses market share will depend on how effective you make your brokers, agents, and reps – not how efficient (more calls), but how effective (better calls, higher value content).
Currently, the financial services industry is plagued with inefficiencies and ineffective selling practices. Sales representatives work with different information trapped in separate silos, missing the complete view of the customer. Companies with limited views of their customers are unable to maximize relationships, and in turn, end up leaving significant money on the table or losing high-value customers. Like a leaky faucet, these systems seem to work fine, but are a massive drain on enterprise value.
The most successful financial services firms are those with the deepest and most relevant actionable insights into their customers, operations, investments, risks and market trends. But gaining actionable insight takes more than focusing on structured data alone. Today's business breakthroughs require once-unimaginable combinations of structured data (account and transaction information, market and actuarial data), and unstructured content (such as documents, websites, wikis, email, call center logs, social media).
Why has the goal of a 360-degree view of the customer been such a feverishly pursued goal since the dawn of digital information? It’s because that enables superior levels of customer acquisition and retention, and increases the overall value of customers as well as a company’s value in the marketplace. To achieve this view, transactional and historical data must be included, but so should feelings, concerns and preferences, expressed in customer communications made directly with the company and online.
This approach requires a comprehensive unified information access platform that offers the maximum possible flexibility in integrating, linking and presenting all types of information, including structured data and unstructured content. Users also benefit greatly from dynamic, real-time recommendations, for more rapid and productive discovery of relevant information. They can also pivot their navigation between facets, exploring different investment approaches, recommendations, ideas, risk profiles, asset allocation models, etc., without having to perform the time-intensive and laborious manual processes that characterizes today’s sales research and preparation tasks.
This is Holy Grail stuff. And it’s being built right now, bringing together massive amounts of customer information no matter where it comes from, where it lives, or what form it takes, tying all the knowledge together to create a customer experience that is different from other brands and prioritizing new revenue opportunities. The next-generation sales enablement platform has fast, complete access to information for more proactive customer relationship management that maximizes customer acquisition; shortens the length of sales cycle and improves sales productivity by reducing research and prep time; and increases revenue per customer and wallet share through a better ability to market tailored products and services to meet specific customer needs.
A 360-degree view of the customer used to mean seeing all of Joe’s accounts. Then the 360-degree circle expanded to mean seeing all the accounts in Joe’s household. But the true 360-degree view, the one being built today, expands the circle to encompass everything.
Julio Gomez is general manager of financial services at Attivio (www.attivio.com).
Edited by Stefania Viscusi