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How to Choose the Best Sales CRM for Your Financial Services Organization

In this blog post, you'll learn how to achieve the next level of customer engagement with the best CRM for financial services organizations.

9 min read

Petr Agulin

Petr Agulin

Nov 02, 2020

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How to Choose the Best Sales CRM for Your Financial Services Organization

Globalization and technology advancements have put companies in a highly competitive environment. This is especially true in the financial sector. Thanks to rapid automation of business processes, deep integration between systems, digital banking, and flexible commercial offerings, consumers can now easily manage financial services and products from several organizations at once; for instance, they can get a mortgage from their credit union, a personal loan from a local bank and credit cards from several multinational corporations. As a result, people have become very selective in their choice of service providers.

To stay profitable and healthy in this competitive climate, financial institutions need to increase their focus on customer-centric service. By delivering timely consulting and meeting the individual needs of each client, organizations can attract customers and build long-term partnerships. For example, the overwhelming majority of clients need support to navigate the complexity of modern financial products; by providing the information a client needs when they need it, a financial institution delivers concrete value and rises above the competition. Under these conditions, financial organizations need a customer relationship management (CRM) solution more than ever. Indeed, a CRM tool is a must in any customer-centric industry.

The right CRM solution can help a financial institution not only automate the process of providing a particular commercial product or service, but also significantly expand useful interactions with its customer base to build trust and loyalty. The global customer relationship management market was valued at $40.2 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.2% from 2020 to 2027. According to Grand View Research, about 91% of companies with more than 10 employees have already deployed a CRM system, thanks to benefits like lower marketing costs and increased profits without staff expansion. The ROI for CRM tools speaks for itself: Nucleus Research reports that every dollar spent on CRM implementation returns as much as $8.71 in sales revenue.

Benefits of CRM technology for your financial services company

360-degree view of each client

Financial institutions strive to know as much as possible about their potential customers and existing clients. Today, that means gleaning information from a variety of sources, including not just financial applications but social networks, telephony, video chats, and more. Modern CRM systems integrate with a variety of other systems to collect and consolidate all that data into a single, maximally complete customer profile. With this deep understanding of each customer’s needs and preferences, you can easily align particular products with each customer’s financial goals and capabilities — creating a personalized offering that is more likely to be purchased.

Faster and more efficient business processes

CRMs provide functionality for different customer service specialists while enabling everyone to quickly access a client’s profile when necessary. For instance, call center operators can update a customer’s data in real time using CRM forms, and when the customer visits a local bank branch, the customer service manager can see the records of their interactions with the call center. By ensuring that everyone has a holistic understanding of each client’s situation, CRMs help both sides avoid unnecessary communication and duplication of effort. Since all customer data is available via centralized CRM interfaces, employees do not need to waste time searching for important information in emails or in other corporate systems. Moreover, the CRM eliminates repetitive administrative tasks, so employees spend less time searching for data and more time developing customer relationships. Better process management and actionable insights CRM systems allow you to create a variety of sales processes for each product or service. This makes it possible to manage the processes separately and to analyze each of them more deeply. Built-in capabilities typically include collecting and analyzing customer data, recording requests, monitoring employees’ work, and standardizing customer service operations. Some CRMs offer API that enable you to manage additional critical business processes. Quality data analysis is particularly useful. With good analytics, managers gain a clear understanding of how to optimize the processes inside and around the sales funnel, how to flexibly adjust to the needs of clients, and how to plan the most successful sales strategies in a rapidly changing environment. Indeed, the customer data accumulated in your CRM system is an essential part of your company’s intellectual capital.

Data security

Because CRM platforms store valuable client information, including personal financial data, preferences, and behavior patterns, they are an appealing target for cybercriminals, who can use exfiltrated data to steal funds. In fact, CRM systems are attacked quite often, and successful attacks can lead to extensive losses and even the termination of the business. The security measures built into CRM systems are not usually sufficient to provide full protection, but this is true for most business applications. To ensure an appropriate level of data security, a CRM for financial institutions must offer multi-layered protection. One key ingredient is limiting data access based on segregation of duties (SoD) principles through role-based access control (RBAC). Others include monitoring of user behavior and alerting on suspicious activity, such as attempts to download a customer database or read through a large number of records in a database.

Additional useful CRM functionality for the financial sector

Modern CRM systems can streamline a wide variety of tasks: automating business processes, organizing marketing activities, tracking and analyzing deals, forecasting sales, and more. While each organization should choose the CRM system that aligns with their specific needs, here are the most valuable additional features that you should consider when evaluating a CRM for financial institutions.

Integration with telephony

Today, it is almost impossible to imagine a CRM system without integrated telephony, because it is critical to high-quality customer service. Each incoming customer call is automatically identified and routed directly to the manager assigned to that client, and the client’s profile is displayed for the manager. This process facilitates personalized communication, such as greeting the person by name and taking into account their individual preferences, needs, and goals, which drives customer satisfaction and loyalty while reducing employee effort. It also saves the client a great deal of time, since they do not need to wait for a free specialist or navigate a complex phone menu. If a customer calls from a phone number not yet in the system, the connected telephony enables you to bind the fresh contact with the desired card in a couple of clicks. CRMs can also register lost calls, so you can reach back out when clients did not get through or the conversation was cut off. They can also record conversations, which allows the client manager to listen again for the information they missed and enables you to evaluate the work of your staff and help resolve any disputes with clients.

Integration with billing

Financial companies need to provide their employees with quick access to the information they need to complete transactions and issue invoices for services provided. The best CRM for financial services can be integrated with billing systems to automate that work. Employees get instant access to data about customer payments, service status, and account balances, as well as information on fines imposed, payment delays, and recalculations. Without that kind of integration, effective and efficient billing in the financial sector is nearly impossible today.

Integration with CBS

Integration between the CRM and core banking systems (CBS) is essential for financial institutions. It enables the CRM to automatically transfer client profile data and some transactional data, including data about deposits, loans, and credits, into your core banking system. This kind of integration helps financial institutions achieve compliance with strict government standards, and supports standard regulatory accounting and reporting processes.

Scoring

A CRM is an excellent assistant in one of the most fundamental processes in the financial sector: borrower assessment. Accurate scoring is essential to reducing the risk of financial losses, but rating customers manually, especially for small loan amounts, is too expensive. Integrating your CRM with scoring technologies can significantly reduce the number of problematic contracts and loan defaults — while actually streamlining the lending process. The system registers and verifies the applications, makes preliminary calculations of risk, and submits the information to the underwriter for a decision. All employees involved in the process — from the credit managers who make the initial client calls to managers and underwriters — can see the status at each stage of the process. Tracking and verifying the applications becomes transparent, which empowers you to reduce errors and the risk of late payments and defaults.

Debt handling

Even the most conscientious clients can forget to make a payment. Financial organizations need to have a smart system to remind and warn clients to avoid long-term delays. Of course, this process needs automation. A CRM can automatically notify customers about the date and amount of upcoming payments. Plus, if there are any deviations from the payment schedule, the system notifies the credit manager, who can contact the borrower and help them get back on track.

Analytics

We briefly described the benefits of analytics above, but let’s dive into the specifics of how a CRM can help your financial institution correct its strategy in a timely manner and make better managerial decisions. Using a CRM, you can effectively analyze the work of your employees at each stage of a business process, using both detailed reports and visuals like graphs and diagrams. For instance, you can compare the number and size of the transactions each sales rep handled, the number of tasks they performed (calls, mailings, meetings, processed requests, prepared offers), and the number of leads they generated. With this information, you can identify issues with your processes and coach individual employees to improve their performance.

Similarly, you can analyze your customer base across different dimensions and create custom dashboards to drive business strategy. For example, you can discover which customers bring you the most money, which products are most popular, what factors influence purchasing activity, and at what stages you are losing customers. You could even see which cities bring the most customers and return on investment in advertising, and where the results are fairly poor.

The best CRM for financial services is a worthy investment

Many financial services companies do not know their customers well, which cripples their ability to satisfy them and stay competitive in the market. Investing in the best CRM for financial services can be transformative and turn around your customer engagement process. A CRM can help you improve customer service, automate marketing and sales tasks, enable effective analytics to improve corporate business processes and achieve regulatory compliance. As a result, you can not only increase sales but enhance customer satisfaction to ensure long-term client retention.

Curious about how you can scale your financial services business with a perfectly balanced CRM solution? We invite you to explore the Inperium Sales CRM solution.

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