The competitive nature of the financial services industry

In 2021, it was reported that 3 million Canadians plan to stop using a financial advisor and manage their own investments. 15.3% are seriously considering no longer working with a financial advisor and nearly half of Canadians may be struggling to come up with the money needed to invest with one. 

With each organization providing different interest rates and compelling offers, the financial services industry is more competitive than ever before. It isn’t only about building trust anymore, advisors have to build meaningful relationships!

But what does that really mean? 

Being transparent? Truly listening to the client’s needs? Mailing birthday cards? 

Most advisors already do this, so they must find a way to go above and beyond when building client relationships. This can be accomplished by collecting customer information and making sure that advisors have a complete and unified view of the customer’s profile. 

Empowering advisors starts with providing them with the information they need to create a human-to-human connection. 

In this article, we’ll cover the current state of the financial services industry, the common challenges, and how humanizing the advisory approach can help organizations overcome these challenges with the help of technology.

Surpass the competition by empowering advisors

A recent study of over 61,000 employees found that working from home causes workers to become more siloed in how they communicateAlso, online meetings created a disconnect between advisors and their clients.

But interestingly enough, 34% of advisors are expecting video calls to be their preferred way to reach clients, pandemic or not. 

It’s the advisor’s job to make sure that this disconnect isn’t felt by customers, especially if we consider the 3 million Canadians that are planning to stop working with an advisor. 

So what does that mean for the financial services industry? 

It means that now, more than ever, different business units need to collaborate in order to share relevant information with each other. By doing this, they will empower their advisors with the power of centralized information. 

To put it simply, organizations need to invest in technologies that allow different client-facing roles to communicate with each other.

Here’s an example of a fictional client named Rachel Adams: 

Usually, this type of information is fragmented. This means that bankers, insurers, and advisors only hold information that is “relevant” to the service they provide. 

But what if every business unit shared the same view? 

Salesforce’s industry-specific solution allows different business units to access relevant data points in order to have meaningful conversations.

Watch this 1-minute demo for a preview of what a unified view looks like 👇

Even if the various business units are using the same solution, the main issue remains that they are all using different instances that aren’t connected in any way. Meaning that one company might have 5 profiles for the same customer and that the data one department might have is not communicated to other departments.

What a missed opportunity… because this information might be relevant to all!

When we think of the relationships that advisors need to build, it makes sense that they should be able to have a complete view of a customer’s profile and life events before calling them it allows them to personalize each conversation and better assess which products are relevant to them. 

By using this approach, every single employee can humanize their approach by starting the conversation like this: 

  • How is your knee? Does it still hurt when you walk? 
  • How is Sophie doing? She must be under a lot of pressure since it’s the end of the semester. 

All of a sudden, advisors, mortgage brokers, and other service providers within the organization can connect on a human-to-human basis and build one-to-one relationships with each customer. 

A human conversation holds emotions.
Emotional conversations build trust.
Trust increases customer retention.  

Furthermore, as mentioned in the example above, Rachel is 6 months pregnant. Therefore, her advisor could easily set a reminder to suggest an RESP product. As you can notice, this type of solution allows advisors to increase customer lifetime value (CLV) and increase the commission they make on each investment portfolio. 

In addition to building meaningful relationships, financial advisors must perform in a very regulated industry and onboard new clients through repetitive tasks to maintain compliance. But what if these tasks could be automated? 

It would deliver 2 main benefits:

  1. Make sure that regulations are respected throughout all departments to reduce mistakes and liabilities.
  2. Provide advisors with more free time to build relationships with their customers and focus on growing their client’s portfolios.

Automating these workflows creates a standard process for client onboarding, whether it’s for insurance, wealth management, mortgages, or other services.

In a recent discussion with Pierre-Luc Morneau, Wealth Advisor at National Bank Financial with over 20 years of experience, he mentions how Financial Services Cloud has helped increase efficiency and offer a better service:

Customers trust advisors with their goals, dreams, and lifelong plans, so they’re expecting to be given the best customer experience across all departments without having to repeat themselves all the time. 

In the next section, we’ll discuss how this solution can also help increase the effectiveness of an overall marketing strategy.

Increase engagement by humanizing marketing efforts

Yes, Financial Services Cloud does enhance the advisor’s experience as it’s specifically designed for the industry. 

But… 

What about marketing teams? They could easily use the data that is collected by advisors or other users to run personalized campaigns.

Source: Salesforce

As you can notice, only 12% of financial services marketers are considered to be high performers.

That’s because they understand the importance of: 

  • Creating a single source of truth
  • Humanizing their messages across any marketing channel
  • Having access to cloud solutions that allows them to use customer data that is collected by different departments

Financial advisors build trust with clients by making them feel understood. Could you imagine how powerful it would be if marketing messages did that as well? 

Remember Rachel?  

Here’s an example to help you picture how marketing teams can use the customer data from Financial Services Cloud to create a targeted campaign. 

Rachel could be added to a list of clients who fit her profile. Marketers within an organization can start educating members of that list about the benefits of RESP products.   

This kind of personalization would be impossible if the marketing department didn’t have access to this type of customer data.

In 2021, 88% of marketers said that their biggest driver in personalization is to deliver a better customer experience.

In the next section, we’ll cover how to encourage advisors, marketers, and other users to adopt Financial Services Cloud.

Change management

Change isn’t easy, and implementing new technology is particularly difficult. People tend to dislike change unless they perceive it as personally beneficial. 

The real challenge is to encourage all advisors and marketers to adopt this new solution. In other words, the adoption is more important than the technology itself! 

As Craig Larson, our Vice President of Client Solutions would say:

Technology without adoption is like having a Ferrari in your driveway without knowing how to drive it.

Here are the essential steps for a successful digital transformation: 

  • Having leadership buy-in. 
  • Define your WHY. What business objective are you trying to achieve? 
  • Find a Salesforce partner that understands the financial services industry to help you plan your digital transformation. 
  • Find a team within your organization that embraces change and make them a part of your digital transformation project. 
  • Having clean customer data.

Some advisors won’t necessarily adopt it right away, which is why it is crucial to form a change management team that can spread the word about how useful the new solution is. 

In the next section, we’ll compare Sales Cloud to Financial Services Cloud.

Main benefits of Financial Services Cloud

In 2021, it was reported that 91% of financial institutions are actively using cloud services or plan to do so over the next six to nine months — double the rate of only four years ago.

Should financial institutions upgrade to Financial Services Cloud if they’re currently using Sales cloud? 

Sales Cloud has been Salesforce’s core product for a long time, but when it comes to meeting the needs of the Financial Services industry, this product requires heavy customization. 

Heavy customization leads to unnecessary implementation and maintenance charges.

Financial Services Cloud takes into consideration the many regulations and processes of the industry. In other words, the regulations are the foundational piece of the solution.

But how is it directly helping you?

Here are the results seen by RBC Wealth Management ever since they implemented Financial Services Cloud:

Source: Salesforce

The industry is rapidly changing and financial institutions must stay ahead of the curve in order to remain competitive in today’s market.

To access this full case study conducted by Salesforce, click here

To wrap up

When’s the last time you heard someone say, “We’ve always done it this way”?

It was probably said with good intention because it’s generally synonymous with “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

But think about this… 

Netflix did not kill Blockbuster. Late fees did. Technology by itself is not the disruptor. Not being customer-centric is the biggest threat to any business. 

This translates to: companies that stay static, don’t succeed. 

Financial Services Cloud allows your organization to evolve from regulation-centric to customer-centric without having to worry about repetitive compliance tasks. 

If you’re not sure how to get started, ask us anything by leaving a comment in the box below 👇