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How Salesforce supports delivering better customer experiences for midsize banks

Most mid-sized commercial banks typically offer much more than just traditional loan and deposit products – they’re a one stop shop for all your financial needs. More and more banks have increased their focus on ancillary lines of business such as wealth/investment management, insurance, credit cards, and other non-traditional products. These services often provide steady and diversified streams of revenue for the bank while minimizing the risk of their retail and business customers going elsewhere to establish other banking related relationships.

However, a common challenge banks face by offering these ‘other services’ is that they are not well supported by the bank’s core platform and tend to evolve into standalone systems and data for each line of business, creating organizational silos. Navigating these silos tends to be frustrating for customers, resulting in a disjointed and negative experience. The customers expect to work with a single, unified institution, but they are unable speak with someone who understands the full scope of their current relationship with the bank or their future needs.

So as banks are looking to provide a better experience for their customers, how are they using technology to achieve these goals, ultimately providing employees with a complete view of the customer relationship to better service customers and sell products? They have turned to the platform to deliver a single view of the customer relationship and key customer insights across the enterprise.

Enabling your customer experience vision requires a technology platform underpinned with well-established enterprise-wide processes. Having a consistent way of doing things is equally as important as a unified platform. Each line of business needs to be able to talk apples to apples when it comes to important processes like sales and servicing, regardless of technology platform. For instance, an organization can create common pipeline stages and sales best practices for engaging with customers. A common understanding of the sales process together with greater transparency into the organization’s pipeline facilitates a higher level of coordination, and enables the sharing of information and solution development that better aligns with a customer’s needs. For many organizations, creating a culture of ‘hunting in packs’, rather than having business lines pursue customers and opportunities individually, has proven to be more rewarding to the overall relationship profitability. From a customer’s perspective, the bank is developing comprehensive solutions and advising on complimentary products and services while providing some room for negotiation.

To deliver a single view of the bank’s customers, data integration with critical bank applications is also a key requirement for a successful Salesforce implementation. The following are the most likely areas of integration and deliver the most value to the customer and the bank:

  1. Bank’s Core operating system: batch integration of vital customer and account details where information doesn’t change quickly, and real-time data integration to support ever-changing information like account balances, transaction inquiries, customer remarks or to conduct service related transactions such as add remarks to an account, link accounts for transfer or transferring of funds. Additional end user efficiencies can also be achieved with interoperability capabilities with the core for reducing sign-on and searches for information not readily available in Salesforce.To deliver a single view of the bank’s customers, data integration with critical bank applications is also a key requirement for a successful Salesforce implementation. The following are the most likely areas of integration and deliver the most value to the customer and the bank:
  2. Data mart or warehouse: to consolidate customer data across accounting systems and provide a layer by which to create holistic views and data cleansing for delivery into Salesforce
  3. Loan Origination Systems: to create a consolidated view of the pipeline without redundant data entry and to standardize how in- progress loans align with enterprise pipeline stages – ability to talk apples to apples.
  4. Marketing Analytics or MCIF:  to deliver foundational analytics about customers and actionable insights in the form of potential next best products for customers – and cross-sell opportunities for the front line staff. At a minimum, these solutions are being leveraged to provide the front line bankers with talking points that help drive conversations around sales and/or outdated or undocumented data that the bank needs to better serve the customers.

Building towards that elusive 360-degree view of the customer and delivering those insights to the front-line staff, where it is most needed for customer interactions, are key benefits of implementing an enterprise-wide CRM solution like Salesforce. Having a more complete view of the customer - including what products they have today, what relationships exist, and what interactions have taken place in the past – allows a banker to use the information they have to better support the selling to or servicing of that customer.

In addition, an enterprise-wide CRM initiative puts the entire bank on a single platform. This platform allows sharing of the same key data and insights, thereby increasing the sales team’s effectiveness through collaboration around the same data, which supports the ‘hunt in packs’ mentality. A sales team working together across lines of business to develop comprehensive solutions ultimately delivers a more complete and consistent experience for the customer and helps banks eliminate individual employees trying to nibble at what could be a small piece of the overall pie. This type of collaboration only occurs when the entire bank, not just individual teams, is looking at a single view of the customer and has transparency into the customer’s pipeline and interactions.

Using Salesforce at an enterprise level helps facilitate the breakdown of previously created silos and increases the sharing of information across business lines. Its flexible security features enable the bank to define the level and granularity of information they wish to be shared across the enterprise while respecting inherently confidential and regulatory required controls. An enterprise-wide Salesforce implementation bridges the gap that the core banking platform cannot, and unifies the bank as a single entity and a trusted financial advisor.

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