Last fall, I attended Dreamforce with a mission to review the state of CRM in Banking, and thus, immersed myself into all things Financial Services throughout the week. What I found was similar to what we wrote about last year and in 2016. Banks are still addressing the same overall types of challenges: building modern platforms to use the data in their legacy systems and building a culture of digital customer-centricity.
Many banks are working on implementing a CRM strategy that will bring them up to speed with industry leaders, so we are starting to see a spectrum of maturity across the industry. While every organization has its unique nuances, there are always leaders and laggards in the climb to maturity. What we found was that banks leading the CRM and technology charge are focusing on three key areas: Organizational Readiness, Customer Ownership, and Relationship Management (yes – the low tech one!).
Banks who are leading in the CRM and tech spaces have spent time defining their strategy and gaining buy-in across their organization. This is so important because it allows the organization to finally march in the same direction. From there, getting help in executing the vision becomes possible.
The need for a strategy is paramount. This is a fundamental step that was mentioned in nearly every success story at Dreamforce and is always relevant as we roadmap transformational projects with our clients. Furthermore, the success stories of course mentioned technology, but also culture components as well. Leaders who realized that their organization was on a bank-wide culture journey commonly cited that realization as key to their success.
At West Monroe, our team’s philosophy is that any large-scale implementation should be driven from a "North Star," which is a concise vision that includes both technology and culture components. We’re going to focus the rest of this post on the culture side of things and get into the technical side in part two of this series.
As has been the case for several years, due to stiff competition and changing regulation in the industry, banks are being forced to adapt to their market and are doing so by investing heavily in customer-centricity. Our research shows customer-centricity is heavily impacted by employee culture and we heard some real life success stories around this at Dreamforce. In a session with Citibank, they discussed an organizational change where they created a Director of Digital Banking, who was empowered within the organization by an agreed-upon vision. They created a new team and got the line-level help from across the organization by building an “Innovation and Transformation Center.” The banks who are most successful at incorporating culture change into their strategy have dedicated teams executing on it.
Dreamforce lesson number one: “At a bank, everybody owns the customer, and nobody owns them.”
This was actually the punchline to a joke about data ownership in Salesforce, but the point is well made. In high-touch banks, the answer could be a wealth manager, personal banker, customer advisor – the list goes on. The right strategy will provide business alignment around the customer.
During our workshops with clients, we will ask the ownership question. Many responses follow a description of internal team structures, or product silos, maybe geographic territories or perhaps some recent merger/acquisition history. This is all what we’d call “insider perspective.” To develop the ownership strategy – you must ask:
How do our customers experience our organization today?
How do we want them to experience it in the future?
We believe having a consistent and firm-wide vision for customer ownership is a key first step in the CRM journey and it involves looking at your bank through the eyes of your customers. Unfortunately, this isn’t a Salesforce feature that you just switch on - it requires some upfront legwork by the bank. Banking occupies a unique industry position, as the majority operate both B2B and B2C customer models, and personalized experiences are now expected. On the B2B side, every experienced banker knows that relationships carry the day. As a B2C player, banks need to appeal to the masses while also providing that personalized service, a unique challenge for CRM systems until quite recently. Succeeding at both can be difficult but aligning your vision to that of your customers will bring your customer ownership strategy into focus.
In more than a few banks, the “secret sauce” of their success relies on great Relationship Managers (RM). This is the same “secret sauce” in CRM, as it turns out! Numerous Dreamforce presenters reflected on their banks' relationship-driven cultures as a positive contributor to success.
Trailblazers who have gone through a transformation wave are still providing the personalized, high-touch experience of an RM, but are now leveraging rich contextual CRM data about a customer’s relationship with the entire bank to build even stronger relationships. This means that behind the RM is a cross-channel team who has all the same information, ready to jump in at a moment’s notice. This also allows the organization use data to identify client patterns and facilitate a “warm” connection based on the information provided.
It’s worth noting that not all organizations are ready to adopt this type of change wholesale, but the last bit of advice from Dreamforce presenters was to “start anywhere and don’t be afraid to fail.” Salesforce has taken some difficulty out of the technology dimension – allowing attention to be paid to people and culture. Our recommended approach is to first lay a solid foundation by investing in employee engagement to gain internal buy-in. Have discussions to define customer ownership and decide how data can be used to deliver an elevated customer experience.
In part two of this series, we will focus on ways that banks can begin to move the needle, including some pragmatic ways that they can begin the journey using Salesforce Financial Services Cloud.