The First Rule Of Crm For Financial Services

The First Rule of​ CRM for Financial Services
The Consumer's Perspective
Let's take a​ look from the consumer's perspective .​
Financial illiteracy is​ alive and well, especially with baby boomers .​
Next, throw in​ brand confusion—the convergence in​ financial services has produced new players, company names, and products .​
Everybody is​ now playing in​ everybody else's backyard .​
Insert the media's frequent coverage on retirement planning and increased advertising dollars being spent targeting the confused generation .​
Now, throw in​ the fact that there is​ widespread incoherence around what the term financial planner even means .​
At its best, this situation is​ overwhelming to​ prospects, current clients, and maybe even your employees .​
At its worst, people are sticking their heads in​ the sand and saying, leave me alone!
Marketing financial products and services has always been an​ information and relationship sale .​
You are in​ the personal finance education business, whether you like it​ or​ not .​
And it's not nearly as​ sexy as​ the ad agencies make it​ seem .​
No matter how many sailboats, moonlight beaches, or​ mansions your advertising agency plasters in​ print and on the airways, selling financial services and products makes prospects and clients deal with issues with which many are uncomfortable .​
It is​ no wonder that selling financial services demands a​ set of​ tools that moves far beyond the info dump and plethora of​ brochures that dominate the industry.
The Financial Firm's Perspective
Let's now take a​ look from the financial firms' perspective .​
Mergers and acquisitions have been in​ full throttle .​
Corporate identities are still being created .​
Not only is​ there more competition, but it's possible that the more serious competitors are residing within your own company .​
CRM is​ slowly permeating the lexicon of​ the financial world .​
Yet, with a​ few notable exceptions, financial firms lag far behind industries like retailing and airlines in​ data mining, making it​ almost impossible today to​ build a​ single integrated view of​ their customers.
On either side of​ the spectrum, change is​ the dominant theme .​
So given the current state of​ affairs, how do you execute a​ CRM strategy that promotes cross selling and up selling? How can you increase the chances that your CRM strategy will stick? Here are some of​ the best conditions for selling: When the sales force has complete access to​ a​ particular customer's need or​ near-term future needs.
When the sales force knows and understands what cross selling and up selling mean in​ your firm.
When staff, partners, and suppliers work together to​ deliver what is​ promised.
When leadership teams agree on how to​ lead the transformation necessary to​ change culture, structures, systems, metrics, and behaviors to​ promote cross selling.
The Softer Side of​ CRM
All of​ the above conditions require more than technology solutions and product knowledge to​ execute .​
They require the softer side of​ the CRM equation: relationship building with customers, prospects, your boss, your peers, other departments, partners, and suppliers .​
If you want to​ solve the business challenge of​ cross selling and up selling, you'll need to: Build trust .​
For financial planners, brokers or​ agents, that might require working with prospects in​ new ways .​
For corporate or​ home office staff, that might include building bridges with other departments or​ field staff .​
Develop a​ network of​ helpful relationships that will act as​ oil for the CRM machine .​
Research shows that the more helpful relationships there are, the more information is​ willingly shared .​
For financial planners, brokers or​ agents, that might mean prospecting in​ new ways .​
For corporate or​ home office staff, it​ might mean articulating and agreeing on a​ practical policy of​ real-time knowledge and information sharing .​
Build crucial social currency both with customers and with people inside the organization .​
The core of​ any social or​ economic relationship is​ trust .​
It's all about influencing others to​ take action in​ the direction we want them to​ go.
It's a​ Process
Relationship building is​ a​ process of​ trust building .​
It is​ also an​ iterative process .​
It is​ a​ process of​ layering...the relationship starts at​ arm's length, then grows more intimate as​ the trust builds, passing little tests along the way .​
This applies to​ all relationships—with customers, employees, peers, partners, and even competitors .​
Your internal experts in​ technology, marketing, corporate identity, operations, and sales must grow to​ learn how to​ be content experts in​ the business of​ relationship building .​
In today's environment, CRM is​ screaming for experts on relationship building .​
Managing customer relationships can only happen after they've been properly built.
One word of​ caution for financial services firms as​ they march forward to​ the CRM tune: don't worry so much about selling the features and benefits of​ your products .​
You're already really good at​ that .​
Start worrying about how you can build relationships with your customers and prospects in​ new and different ways that will allow for cross selling and up selling .​
Remember the aphorism: a​ sure sign of​ insanity is​ doing the same old thing while expecting new and different results.
Originally published by , a​ service from Front Line Solutions, ©1998-2018

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