Drive Efficient Client Relationships

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1 whitepaper Drive Efficient Client Relationships Using CRM To Focus on Clients and Generate Lasting Value

2 WHITEPAPER drive efficient client relationships 2 about In an industry with decreasing product differentiation and increasing client sophistication, financial services firms are facing an uphill battle to make themselves and their products stand apart from the competition. However, by employing a customer centric business strategy that focuses on your customers needs and preferences, your organization can begin to move ahead of competitors facing the same pressures. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the technology that will enable your employees to do just that. CRM is more than building contacts and managing address books: it s about building relationships and understanding and growing customer value a key goal for many financial services firms. In the six years that the Pivotal CRM team has been deploying CRM solutions across more than 120 financial services firms, we ve seen our customers succeed through a combination of focusing on clients instead of products and services, adapting processes and technology to support this new focus, and making cultural changes in their organizations as a foundation from which to transform their businesses. Based on the experiences of real-world financial services customers, this business paper provides general guidelines to help other financial services companies navigate through all of the changes required to transform into a client-focused organization. While not an exhaustive discussion of how to succeed with CRM, this set of guidelines will provide you with a starting point to guide your research as you consider how to deal with similar challenges.

3 WHITEPAPER drive efficient client relationships 3 Challenges Facing Financial Services Financial services firms in private banking, commercial banking, investment banking, asset management, retail banking, and even insurance face intensifying challenges today that are causing a great deal of pain. Their markets are mature and continue to consolidate, translating into an abundance of choice for banking clients. And product differentiation is decreasing, leaving institutions to compete on price or find other valueadded services offerings. Switching from one provider to another is getting easier every day, so client retention has become a serious issue for most financial institutions. If you give clients what they want, they ll be more likely to stay with you longer. But first, you need to find out exactly what it is that they want. All banks offer virtually the same products, and differentiating these products any further is getting difficult, despite niche marketing efforts. And with banks selling insurance, insurance companies selling mutual funds, and planners selling anything, the landscape is becoming more and more confusing from a client s perspective; the clients are left asking themselves which product is really the best one for me? In addition to market challenges, many banks are also experiencing internal challenges: lost crossselling opportunities, retention of corporate memory, lack of immediate visibility and tracking in business units, or easily identifying clients with large spheres of influence, just to name a few. In addition, banks often sell in silos, meaning their clients purchase a product or service from one department, and another product or service from a different department. Multiple Silos Are Frustrating Clients One institution often has multiple touch points with the same client meeting with advisors, transacting in branches, interacting with call centers, and interacting over the web, just to name a few. One result of these multiple touch points is inconsistent and frustrating experiences for the client if the information isn t consolidated into one central source. A second result is that banks are missing out on valuable crossselling opportunities, and the potential to grow each client s lifetime value. Who s really winning here? And how much longer will clients tolerate multiple touch points within the same organization, inconsistent levels of service, and the need to provide redundant information during every interaction? Clients Are Becoming More Sophisticated Not only are clients communicating with several channels, they are also becoming more sophisticated in their financial knowledge. As more information becomes available to clients each year in books, on television, and over the Internet, clients are now willing and able to do their own research and, consequently, their expectations are rising. In addition, non-competitive rates, both on the lending and investment sides of the business, have indirectly trained clients to shop around. Without a deep relationship, even if clients are satisfied with your service, they ll drop you in a heartbeat if they can get a better deal across the street. Looking for the best deal is now ingrained in both individual and commercial accounts; they ll often compare offerings from two or three banks and go with the best offer. The Solution: Focusing on Your Clients Financial services firms like yours are fighting to attract new clients every day. Consider shifting the focus from attracting

4 WHITEPAPER drive efficient client relationships 4 new clients to working with the clients you already have. This will allow you to expand the depth of your interactions with them. One way to truly differentiate your business from competitors is to build stronger, deeper relationships with your clients. By understanding these deep relationships within your current client base, you will not only sell more into them, but also grow your customer base in the future. Competing on Price or Products is Not Enough Competing on price, though tempting, isn t a long-term solution. That s not to say that you don t need to offer competitive rates, but rather have them be just one part of the offering. In private banking, for example, clients main concerns are high levels of service and personal attention, whereas product and pricing are secondary. Betting on transaction volume is also an uncertain game. You may acquire new clients this way, but they ll be off again whenever they find a better offer. What about the ones you lose? How long can you keep this up? As for products, do you really offer anything that is unique? If so, how long will it be before the competition comes up with something similar? A Relentless Focus on Clients is Imperative What is the competitive advantage now, especially in such an intensely competitive market? The relationship and the interactions you have with each client fast becomes the key to your success. Financial services organizations can and should focus on the client to drive top line revenue and bottom line results; this requires a company-wide shift in focus to the client experience. When you really think about it, the relationships your organization builds with your clients are the only things within your control. No one can take these relationships away from you, unless you give them the opportunity. At the end of each day, relationships between people your employees and your clients are what keep you in business. Better client management is now essential. The only things within your control are the relationships your organization builds with your clients. No one can take these relationships away from you, unless you give them the opportunity. At the end of each day, relationships between people your employees and your clients are what keep you in business. What this means is that everything your organization does, from updating processes to implementing incentive programs needs to drive towards a positive customer experience. Call center agents, in-branch representatives, account managers, and fund managers all need to focus on meeting the customer s needs, instead of simply processing the next transaction. A strong client base is critical to business success, and doing business with people you trust and understand is more predictable, efficient, and profitable than doing business with uncommitted strangers. Client loyalty drives business success and can lead to referral business. For example, capital market firms rely heavily on their reputation and track record for referrals. Consistently high retention can create tremendous competitive advantage, boost employee morale, and produce unexpected bonuses in productivity and growth. Conversely, persistent defection means that former clients people convinced your organization offers inferior value will eventually outnumber your loyal clients and dominate the perception of your organization in the marketplace as a whole. When that moment arrives, no amount of advertising, public relations, or ingenious marketing will prop up pricing, new-client acquisitions, or your organization s reputation.

5 WHITEPAPER drive efficient client relationships 5 In all lines of financial services, the results are missed opportunities and lost revenue. Give your clients what they want, how they want it, when they want it, and make it easy for them to deal with you. Become an expert on what matters most to them. Make it easy for clients to choose the channel that s right for them whether it s online, telephone, face-toface, or branch banking. Compete based on service, not solely on offering products that are essentially the same as what your competitors are selling. Service is king, and service leads to long-term benefits for everyone. Offer multiple products and services to each single client. That is, offer a solution: a selection of the right products and services designed to suit them. Relationships Are the Key to Creating Creating a positive client experience also ties directly to the perceived value of each interaction. By offering value to your customer and ensuring that they stay with your organization will help to ensure maximized wallet share. This requires collaboration within the organization. But herein lays the challenge. From commercial banking to wealth management, each part of a financial services organization operates somewhat independently. While this has a lot to do with regulatory constraints, banks can become more integrated by focusing on client experience and ensuring that each touch point is consistent. If you re easy to do business with and conduct business according to your clients preferences, you ll attract more clients, retain them, and benefit from their increased loyalty. Creating value for clients, rather than focusing solely on profit, is a process that lies at the core of all successful enterprises. As an effect, client loyalty reliably measures whether or not a company has delivered superior value: clients either come back for more or they go elsewhere. As a cause, loyalty initiates a series of economic effects that flow through the business, such as: Revenues and market share grow as the best clients are attracted to the company, building repeat sales and referrals. Sustainable growth enables the company to attract and retain the best employees, such as the top fund sales management for asset management firms. Long-term employees learn how to reduce costs and improve quality, which further enriches the client value proposition and increases productivity. Increasing productivity coupled with the increasing efficiency of dealing with loyal clients generates the kind of cost advantage that is very difficult for competitors to match. Before starting any initiative, from an organizational perspective, it is imperative to understand how you want your firm to work with, service, and sell to your current clients. CRM is simply the tool that enables and supports business initiatives and processes. A critical factor in shifting to a client focus over the long term is changing the culture throughout your organization to support it no easy task. This type of transformation begins with a commitment to change the way your organization functions as a business. Consider the needs of a discount brokerage firm. The business is built around cost-effective trading for the firm s clients; the business requirement is to build processes that support serving clients in the most cost effective manner possible.

6 WHITEPAPER drive efficient client relationships 6 Now compare that to a financial planner, dealing with high net-worth individuals, who needs to serve their clients in a completely different manner. Like any project that is both strategic and ambitious, a CRM project can seem overwhelming at first. Thorough research precedes each and every successful CRM implementation. Our customers have found that breaking down CRM projects into several small, achievable steps makes the projects more manageable. Do Your Research Identify Your Strengths By taking a good look at your organization from inside out and from outside in, you will begin to develop a clear picture of it. Put yourself in your customers shoes: what does service from your organization look like? Would you be happy with the current processes? Consider how you are serving existing customers and attracting new customers. Are your advisors missing opportunities by not pursuing them? Identify The Gaps Compare where your organization is today and where you d like it to be in the future. Most likely there are gaps. What do you need to do to move forward? It is important to first understand what is ultimately driving the need for change. What is the overall business strategy? What are the drivers that will direct any changes to processes and requirements? The strategies of different groups within your organization need to be in line so that changes to one do not adversely impact the other. For example, in financial services, if sales is trying to reduce costs and streamline their processes, how will this impact the way clients are serviced? Is their a gap between what these two units are trying to achieve? Set Your Corporate Objectives Think about where you would like your organization to be. If what you see in the mirror isn t quite what you had in mind, take the leap and imagine a best case scenario. Imagine understanding which clients are your most profitable and ensuring that you maximize the value of these top-tier clients. Or imagine having your lenders access one central location for client information, rather than scanning through multiple systems before every sales call. Brainstorm to see what might be possible. Set CRM Goals Once you ve done your research, the next step in preparing for a successful CRM implementation is to determine your goals. Aim for goals that will support a long-term vision. Rather than planning one or two years in advance, broaden the scope and look further to ensure that your short-term goals and your long-term goals line up. Our customers have found that looking three years, five years, even ten years into the future has helped them explain to their leadership the impact they expect their CRM projects to have. Once those longer term goals are set, the best approach is to take incremental steps with CRM that will get you there. Rather than having a singular, ultimate CRM success goal, satisfy the short-term milestones that ensure your longer term vision is met. Although your CRM goals will be unique to your business, here are some goals set by several of our financial services customers prior to their CRM implementations, to jump starting your thinking. They set out to: Deepen Client Relationships. Your ultimate goal could be to deepen the relationships you have with all your clients by getting to know them, their needs, their wants, their preferences, their spheres of influence, and so on the basics of effective relationship building in private banking, for example. What is common sense, however, is not always common practice. Don t hesitate to put what appears to be an obvious goal on your list. The day may come when you and your colleagues need a gentle reminder. Learn From Your Clients. Although it s important to provide your clients with all the information they need, your

7 WHITEPAPER drive efficient client relationships 7 clients also represent a wealth of information useful to your organization. If you design a feedback loop into your CRM system to capture what s working and what s not from your clients perspectives, you ll have a head start in determining how to continue to serve them better. Create a Distinctive, Competitive Image. In an industry with little product differentiation, what sets you apart from your competitors is the relationships you have with your clients, employees, and partners. One of your goals in commercial banking could be to create a distinctive brand that helps your clients readily recognize who you are, what benefits you offer, and what kind of experience they ll likely have when dealing with you for all their commercial needs. Maximize Marketing ROI. Traditionally, the marketing net in financial services has been cast widely. By profiling your clients, campaigns to targeted groups who are likely to hold the greatest profit potential can be executed for any offer. The result? Highly targeted offers reach the right people and organizations ensuring your marketing dollars are spent in the best way. Establish a Foundation for Growth. A final goal could be to use CRM, and all of the above goals, to set the foundation for the sustainable and high quality growth of your organization. This is probably already one of your goals. Think of it from a new angle by including it in your CRM project. Business Strategy & Drivers One of the biggest obstacles facing CRM projects is getting a clear understanding of the underlying business strategy. Examining what the organization s business strategies are and what drives them should direct any change within the business. By knowing that an increase to the return on capital by 3% is the main goal, for example, every process change needs to map back to that goal. Re-engineer Your Processes Once you have determined how your employees interact with your clients and what makes the best client experience, the processes that support each interaction need to be examined. Simply put, reengineer customer facing processes before implementing CRM. Transforming the way you do business so that you re focused on client needs will run wide and deep, and it will take time. Look at every business practice to make sure it is in line with your new focus. Use best practices in everything you do. If another company in another industry has figured out how to do something effectively, borrow from them. Why recreate existing solutions from scratch? Address sales, marketing, and services processes early to ensure that they will flow seamlessly. For consistency, you can standardize and share effective processes throughout your entire organization; consistent processes are also easier to measure. Enable Processes With Technology CRM technology is one of the most effective tools you can use to make the transformation to becoming a client-focused organization. While any organization can benefit from CRM, financial services firms are particularly suited to reaping the rewards of CRM because their multiple, complex layers of client interactions contain the potential to develop and nurture lifetime value out of client relationships. Armed with the knowledge of how best to service your clients and what processes are needed to do so, you can now start to prepare your organization as much as you can. This will help your organization figure out what they really need from their CRM solution, and minimize the gap between business strategies and IT strategies. Too many companies buy first and learn later that they should have waited to determine what they really needed.

8 WHITEPAPER drive efficient client relationships 8 That isn t to say that changes cannot be made later. By implementing a CRM system with a flexible and scaleable architecture, you can ensure that as your business needs grow, your CRM system will continue to perform. Ensure that the breadth and depth of the system is consistent with your needs. Apply the underlying technology that will help you accomplish your unique goals. Data accuracy is crucial. Do whatever it takes to scrub your data in advance of a CRM implementation. As you can imagine, this will take a lot of time and effort for your IT staff, but it s well worth the effort. Bring together all of your client data into one comprehensive database; this will require connecting disparate, legacy databases throughout your organization. While this is a huge undertaking, the results far outweigh the effort. Having all client information accessible over time is the whole point of CRM; the value created will greatly exceed the efforts you put into making it happen. Link your CRM system to all the other systems that your employees use regularly, such as and scheduling applications. This way, your employees will be more likely to incorporate CRM into their day-to-day activities. You can t expect anyone to open one application for , open another application for their calendar, and open a third application to access client data. It is imperative to connect all your organization s data and make it as accessible as possible. Take into consideration the internal governance procedures, and understand how this will impact your schedule. Most importantly, align your IT and internal auditing side with the business side of your organization not the other way around. Many companies believe they can fit their processes to a technology solution after the fact. Unfortunately, there are CRM vendors who believe this as well. In our experience, and in our customers experiences, business needs to take priority. Determine what your business needs are first, and then choose the solution that is most closely aligned to those needs. Integrate Client Information In order to truly know your clients, give all employees the same, holistic view of the client. If everyone has the same 360 degree view, they ll become aware of the current issues, needs, and successes clients have had. Share appropriate information across business units. Consolidate your client information in one central place, so employees can focus on managing the relationships with clients instead of having to fight the lack of sufficient and accurate client information. Even though, from a regulatory perspective, all information cannot be accessed across business units, it is important to understand that a client does business elsewhere in your organization. Metrics can be added to indicate to other business units that a particular client is ranked as top tier. Integrate front-office information the interactions your employees have with your clients with back-office systems and transactional data. Your employees will be able to see both the transactions and the interactions associated with a particular client simultaneously. Finally, segment, or profile, your client base, so you can begin to understand the potential of each client s lifetime value. That way, you can provide the right level of service based on the segment they represent. Your marketing efforts can now be targeted to ensure that these highest value one-to-one touches are directed to the right clients. Relationships aren t all equal. With the right information, your employees will be able to see a client s potential immediately without having to dig for it, or worse give up trying. Put Your People First Building and managing all of the long-term relationships connected to your business will become even more relevant in the future than it has been in the past. Improving relationships is about creating partnerships in which stakeholders clients, employees, partners, investors share in the value they help to create.

9 WHITEPAPER drive efficient client relationships 9 In service-based businesses today, the learning curve of individual employees has a profound effect on both revenues and costs. It grows out of the cumulative decisionmaking experience an employee builds over time through relationships with clients, partners, and fellow employees. The relevant driver of an organization s learning potential is how long individual employees have interacted with specific customers, vendors, and fellow employees. Companies don t learn; individuals do, and their learning takes time. Determine what information your employees need to work smarter. Train them well and often, and you will recognize the difference. Plan for both initial and continual education for all employees. Don t just teach them how to use the CRM system, teach them to work in teams and support one another; teach them client service skills and professional selling techniques. Encourage innovation, collaboration, and input from employees and capture their feedback. When you introduce a new system, people will immediately come up with ways to improve it. Capture these ideas as they arise, and work together with your staff to help evolve the system. Determine the needs of your clients, starting with doing your best to understand all segments of your client base. What will make them more successful? Identify how focused you are on client care and the improvements you would like to make at the individual and business account level; provide a forum for client feedback. Create specialized teams to help serve each client, rather than having a linear or one-to-one relationship with clients. Teams that are connected to each other and have access to the right information when they need it are able to anticipate what a client needs and when. Make Cultural Changes A critical factor in shifting to a client focus over the long term is changing the culture throughout your organization to support it no easy task. This type of transformation begins with a commitment to change the way your organization functions as a business. Start to recognize the value inherent in each of your clients and in each group of clients, and what this value means to your organization. Motivate and compensate your employees to find solutions for your clients, as opposed to merely processing transactions for them. Compensation, for example, is one area that has been used successfully alone or in conjunction with new processes and systems to support change. Help your employees to become accountable for client satisfaction and loyalty. Accountability is difficult to establish you ll need both time and patience as you nurture a culture of accountability throughout your organization. The results, however, can be tremendous. Manage Costs Early and Often Address budgets early and often, both in advance of and during the implementation, so you can plan for and achieve zero cost overruns. There s nothing worse than having to find more money during an incomplete project. Our customers typically plan well ahead for the resources they ll need, whereas other organizations experience cost overruns of over 10 to 25 per cent, due to lack of planning. Also keep in mind that if you choose the right solution, implementation does not have to cost more than the software itself. You may have heard of companies spending two to three to six times the cost of software for the implementation. This is the result of both selecting software and making decisions prematurely.

10 WHITEPAPER drive efficient client relationships 10 Measure Results Continuously When you implement new solutions, you need to track their effectiveness precisely, using accurate rates of client flow and turnover. As you ve probably heard before, you can t manage what you can t measure. Determine what you want to measure in advance, so you ll have the information you need in place. The only practical way to shift your business to a client focus is to carefully define and track defection rates, and then make sure your organization has the tools and training it needs to analyze failures and improve results continuously. One thing to keep in mind as you measure is to always revisit the strategy. Has it shifted? When the business strategy and business drivers start to change, the processes in place need to support that change, which will impact results measurement. By implementing a fluid system that allows you to make changes as your processes and requirements evolve, you can ensure continuous results. Succeeding with CRM Let s assume that you ve done your research, set your goals, and identified strategies that will help you before, during, and after the implementation of your CRM system. Many of the steps you ve taken will indeed translate to your success. Is there anything else you can do? Yes. What follows here are some additional guidelines independent of technology that have emerged from the successful CRM implementations of our financial services customers. Not all of these guidelines will necessarily be relevant to your organization (and many are quite difficult to accomplish), but they re compelling recommendations nonetheless. Here are many of our customers guiding principles: Focus on what you do best. Many of our customers claim that success in CRM comes down to focusing on what you re good at, and making sure you re the best at it. Before you create any new products to survive an increasingly competitive market, take an honest look at how you can be the best with the few products you already know your clients want to buy from you. Don t try to be everything to everybody. Become a solutions provider. If you want your clients to trust you and choose you, you have to understand them. To create long-term relationships, it s necessary to move beyond being a transaction seller to becoming a solutions provider. If you want your clients to trust you and choose you, you have to understand them. To create long-term relationships, it s necessary to move beyond being a transaction seller to becoming a solutions provider. Recognize that CRM is a company strategy. Recognize that this shift to becoming a relationship business is a company strategy, not an IT strategy. To deepen relationships, you have to delve into the way your organization functions and interacts with clients to make significant, long-term changes. Establish a CRM culture. If you think of people first, before technology, you will be able to create an environment where your employees want to change, where they expect and want tools that will help them to understand and work with clients more effectively. Be inclusive by giving everyone across your entire organization access to the CRM system. And don t forget to honestly assess your employees readiness for change. Get commitment from leadership and front line employees. Changing a culture is an evolution, so it won t happen overnight. But you can get started right away by encouraging commitment from your leadership and from the front lines. Both top-down and bottom-up commitment, which takes time to build, is crucial to your success.

11 WHITEPAPER drive efficient client relationships 11 Implement in phases. Implement your CRM project in phases. Don t try to do everything at once or you ll overwhelm everyone involved. Phases help you keep an eye on your costs, and they give your employees time to adjust to the changes incrementally. If you stick to clearlydefined phases, you ll be able to avoid the scope creep common in so many projects, and stay focused on your goals and resources. Launch with pizzazz. Launch your CRM project with style. Give it a theme, generate anticipation, get people involved, and most importantly make it visible to your employees. If you demonstrate how your new system fits into the big picture of where your business is headed and what the benefits are, your employees will be more likely to embrace that forward movement. Celebrate your successes. Be sure to show your employees how important a client focus is to your organization by celebrating your ongoing successes. Keep them informed of all the benefits of CRM as your organization experiences them, such as how you re improving relationship depth, increasing your understanding of clients, creating more cross-selling opportunities, increasing productivity per employee, increasing your top and bottom line, and increasing client loyalty. The Last Word Wherever you are in the Financial Services industry, the messages in this paper are ones that you ve likely heard before. Obvious as these messages may seem, however, it s still a challenge for asset management firms to make life easier for their high value advisors. It s still a challenge for private and commercial banks to know what they need to know about their clients and when; it s still a challenge for investment banks to manage their book of business most efficiently. Even more, much of the business world still ignores these messages with increasing frequency. The tendency to regard short-term profit as the primary business objective often overrides the ability of companies to create long-term value for customers. An emphasis on growth by means of slick marketing and massive newcustomer acquisition has become the norm for many. But while the ideas are not new, the principles on which successful financial services companies those with longterm, loyal clients base their success make more than common sense. They make money more money in the long run than the opportunistic short-term strategies we see everyday. By focusing on clients and concentrating on creating value and partnership with all of their stakeholders, our financial services customers have learned through experience that partnership builds incentive, which builds value and loyalty. Their clients, employees, and partners continue to generate profit, growth, and lasting value, while their competition lags further behind. Our customers have demonstrated that CRM can be successful. If they can do it, you can too. More than 9,000 customers around the world rely on us to give them a competitive edge. By providing innovative, industry-driven enterprise application software, Aptean helps businesses to satisfy their customers, operate most efficiently, and stay at the forefront of their industry. For more information, visit: Copyright Aptean All rights reserved.

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