CRM Business Process
June 17, 2013
Lessen Compliance Headaches and Avoid Hefty Regulatory Fines with Customer Effective: Wealth Management CRM
The financial services CRM consulting practice of Customer Effective has been on top of the surge in compliance-related issues for years now, including going back to the inception of Dodd Frank. Many of our past commentaries and blog contributions to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community have stressed the importance of maintaining the data integrity of client records and preserving all client correspondence to comply with heightened regulatory scrutiny. During the first half of this year, there have been numerous stories emerging from Wall Street in which independent broker/dealers have received large multi-million dollar fines from FINRA for failure to adequately capture client email communication and produce required client documentation to regulators. Thus, I wanted to take some time to demonstrate how CRM can help B/Ds improve the tracking and retention of client e-mail and document delivery to tighten their internal controls and facilitate greater compliance.
May 08, 2013
Health Plan providers are working hard, not only to change the products they offer but the way they go to market. Because of Healthcare Reform, they will now have increased exposure to an entirely new market of consumers that previously didn’t exist. What is going to motivate and retain customers? Products? Price? Wellness Benefits? Coverage of Pre-Existing Conditions? Disease Management Programs?
April 17, 2013
Time and time again, firms voice the desire to deploy CRM to attain a more unified and 360-degree view of their clients and prospects, to collaborate and deliver more consistent service levels, and ultimately improve financial and business performance. Without real-time access to centralized, holistic, and accurate customer data in a leading CRM platform, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, industry laggards have little chance of ascending the ranks and transforming themselves into an upper echelon firm. The true value of CRM does extend beyond comprehensive data capture and accessibility, though. While not as often cited, CRM’s ability to track and report on employee performance is a huge benefit and strategic driver for leveraging CRM data.
April 15, 2013
Along with a Starbucks, it is pretty much guaranteed that there are multiple bank branches on every corner in the metropolitan areas across the country. Depending on what part of the U.S. you’re in, the bank brands will differ, but it’s nearly impossible to not run into them in central business districts. A Wall Street Journal article from earlier this month focuses on this topic and points out that the number of bank branches in the U.S. has actually doubled over the past thirty years. Expanding beyond downtowns and affluent areas, banks have done a good job of strategically targeting the next high growth area in their community footprints. The WSJ notes that banks also expanded into poor areas as they received encouragement to do so from the government due to the passed legislation of the Community Reinvestment Act in the 1970s. Such significant growth of the bank branch network has resulted in the banking sector experiencing a decline in new branches merely three times over the past 77 years according to the FDIC. Today’s environment is a different story, however, as the industry is in the midst of a monumental transition to less branches being built and operated.
April 11, 2013
Customer Relationship Management is a concept that has been around for over a decade. And the irony is it all boils down to common sense. It is all about building, nurturing and harnessing relationships. Take this simple concept. Say you lost touch with a good friend that you grew up with and randomly run into them at a coffee shop. What does that conversation sound like? Maybe initially a little awkward because you feel guilty that you have not made the effort to keep in touch. It
will probably start out with generic small talk and overall pleasantries such as, Where do you live? Do you have a family? What do you do?
You may leave that encounter and revisit the conversation in your head. You think to yourself, “Wow, we used to be the best of friends and now I barely know what is going on in their life”. It feels uncomfortable and distant so you make a commitment to stay in better touch. You pick up the phone and schedule lunch with them. Before you know it, you are telling stories, reminiscing and laughing about old times. You instantly realize everything you have in common and why you were drawn into a relationship to begin with.
How is the above situation different from any real world business scenario? Companies are made up of people, just like you and I. They have likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies, children, spouses, friends and
family. People don’t leave those things at the door when they go to work. People usually display their personal lives within their professional world by decorating their offices with photographs and mementos. After all, we spend more time at work than any where else so why not surround yourself with the things that make you happy and inspire you.
When engaging a new client, you are also interacting with a person. Initial conversations may seem high-level and artificial until you begin to establish common ground. Of course the primary objective is to ensure the company goals and strategies are aligned but the real payoff is connecting with the individual. However, this requires investment. You need to build a rapport but more importantly trust and credibility. This type of relationship is not built over night but rather by displaying consistent, genuine interest over time. You know that famous saying “It’s easier to keep a customer than to go out and find a new one?” Well the reality is people do business with people and more importantly with people they know and trust.
This may sound overly simple. If I make an effort to be observant, comment on a couple of photos on their office wall, my job becomes easy. It is much deeper than that. The real key to mastering the skill of building and maintaining relationships is being genuine. Be interested, listen, care
but most importantly be authentic. Noone likes a phony!
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a tool to harness all of that knowledge around companies, people and the relationships you have with them. Your sales team may have a very strong relationship with your client but what about the rest of your organization? Relationship Management is a core competency
you want to spread throughout your organizational culture. The call center representative should provide the same level of personalized service as the VP of Sales. Clients should expect to receive a consistent experience no matter who they encounter.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows the ability to capture each and every customer interaction. This information is invaluable. It allows the company to be proactive vs. reactive. It allows them to be more targeted with segmentation by measuring Marketing activities. As a relationship evolves with clients the focus typically shifts to providing increased thought leadership. This includes inviting them to participate in the conversation with other experts through various channels (webinars, trade shows and conferences). Who attends which event provides additional insight for your organization to understand what relevant content and messaging is valuable and resonating in the marketplace.
Knowledge is power. Use the data from your CRM system to differentiate your business, to stay current and relevant. Most importantly remember this is an on-going investment so stay engaged, interested and top of mind. This will ensure your clients never question why they began doing
business with you in the first place.
April 09, 2013
My prior blog referenced the “CRM in Customer Service: Insights into Action” report from the Aberdeen Group and touched on how leveraging CRM can lead to significant productivity and performance gains for organizations. I wanted to expand upon that blog because that particular Aberdeen report is action-packed with statistical findings that illuminate the advantages of having a CRM system in place, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM. As Aberdeen notes:
“CRM alone will not resolve all organizational ills. However, the organizations that implement CRM have shown improved results in key metrics impacting both customer and organizational profitability.”
March 29, 2013
Gartner recently revealed that CRM has emerged as the number one priority for application software spending in 2013 and 2014. Besides CRM, ERP and office productivity tools rounded out the top three. The fact that CRM has vaulted past ERP and is projected to drive IT enterprise investments in upcoming years makes sense for many reasons:
February 19, 2013
After another strong start to the year, Customer Effective’s financial services practice is experiencing exponential growth. Throughout the nation, leading national, regional, and community financial institutions are leveraging Customer Effective: Banking, the premier bank-focused Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution available in the marketplace today, to transform their banking cultures into more of a client-centric operating model and improve productivity and performance. Overall, Customer Effective: Banking empowers Executive Management, Market Presidents, Branch Managers, Bankers, and support staff by providing the following functionality:
- Comprehensive views of consumer and business client and prospect relationships due to available integration with a multitude of Bank data systems.
- Real-time performance results at the Bank, Territory, Market, Branch, and individual Account Officer level.
- Loan and deposit opportunity pipeline management.
- Targeted marketing campaign creation and profitability success charting.
- External lead source ratings and employee generated referral outcome tracking.
February 18, 2013
Four feet 8.5 inches. Not exactly a number that rolls off the tongue but a significant one none the less. It represents the distance between two railroad tracks on modern railways across the USA. The story goes that its width was handed down from the original makers of trams that were pulled by horses around England. It’s only real significance was that when a buggy was pulled down the tracks, the rails needed to be far enough apart that the team of two horses that was charged with this task could do so without catching a hoof on one of the tracks. To determine the optimal distance, the inventor of the tram lined up the two largest horses, measure the distance between there outer hooves and voila… four feet eight and half inches! Today, The US railroad industry includes about 560 railroads with combined annual revenue of about $60 billion and over a quarter million miles of track and, dare I say, all because of the largest horse’s rear end the inventor could find!
Now you might be asking what this has to do with your implementation of Dynamics CRM. There is an important lesson to be learned about what we can do when looking to change how effective or efficient our organization can become if we are able to change what we do by looking at why we do what we do currently without the constraints of “this is the way we have always done it”. In the world of railroads, changing the width of track could have huge benefits. Perhaps we could employ smaller locomotives as modern technology has been able to create machines that are far more powerful than their predecessors at a reduced size, smaller gauge would mean less metal required and iron is certainly not cheap. Tunnels and bridges could be built with less material as could the ties used to bind the tracks together. Of course doing so would be very expensive so changing the size is not feasible but fortunately, the “tracks” that many businesses run on are far less extensive and expensive to replace.
I have been in a number of requirements gathering meetings where the list of systems and processes for how a business is currently run is listed and discussed and it is ubiquitous how few people know the real “why” behind the “what” that they do. Often they have processes to create records in a database solely to generate a report that is no longer read or data is captured that is no longer relevant.
Our job as consultants is to take a long look at how a business currently runs and to not only replicate that process in a new technology, but to refine it to let that new technology drive the business in ways that have yet to been discovered. We come in to see things “outside of the box” and add perspective as well as to help implement a software product. I like to think that a consultant is striving to leave a company with a better knowledge of the clients business than many of the people that work there!
This endeavor is most successful when client works hand in hand in this effort to really look at not only how to replicate what they have now but also to enhance it in ways that were not possible in the past. Keep the following in mind as you decide who
to partner with be it implementing CRM or any other enterprise wide software. Are you being asked the “why” behind the “what”? Is the process getting the same amount of emphasis as the product? Are you being challenged to defend the status
Let any implementation, and especially your CRM implementation be your opportunity to check the gauge of your tracks. Make sure that the decisions made in the past are still valid in today. Allow every assumption to be questioned and take a deep look to make sure you are not investing in a software system that merely duplicates what you do today without examining how it can be improved.
February 15, 2013
Many people know the story behind the Post-It Note. In short, a chemist at 3M inadvertently invented a low tack adhesive in his quest to create a super strong adhesive. After five years of trying to promote his adhesive within 3M, a colleague thought it might be perfect for holding his bookmark in his hymnal. Fast forward to today and we see that this little idea, temporarily sticking a piece of paper to another object, has turned into one of the most prevalent office supplies in business today. This use of a product beyond its initial intention drives so many of the products we see today and can also be found in an implementation of Dynamics CRM.
By far, the greatest initial pull to implement CRM revolves around the efficient tracking of both the sales cycle and the marketing of products to customers. In that space, it can bring both of those facets of a business into focus and can truly drive both increased sales and market penetration. But wait, what if we took a lesson from the Post-It note and applied it to our CRM system?
I was talking to a client one day about the arduous task they had of onboarding new employees. Many hours were spent with all of the required paperwork, office assignment and the numerous other tasks it took to just get someone in a position to actually do work.
Onboarding employees involves many different departments and people.
- IT/IS will be involved in procuring the appropriate technology and services
- Facilities has to find a place for them to sit
- HR has responsibility for seeing that corporate expectations are set (where to park, what to wear, etc.) and shat benefit elections are defined
- Training will want to make sure they are proficient in the technologies or products of the company
- Finance needs to have all of the required tax and deposit information
- Legal may need NDAs or non-compete documents
And likely others have to have some input before the new employee can “get down to business”.
Not only are there a lot of tasks that need to be performed but many are order-dependent. After all,it doesn’t do much good to have a computer and monitor waiting for a new employee if he has yet to be assigned a place to sit!
Dynamics CRM excels at streamlining just his kind of process. With its extensive list of activities, the ability to customize them or create your own, and a workflow engine that can manage the appropriate distribution and timing of the required events, onboarding should be able to be managed like a well- oiled machine. The tasks could be started prior to the new hires first day with an email sent to IT to get their computer ordered and ready. Facilities would be contacted to procure the work space.
HR and legal would be alerted to have the required documents prepared and ready to go and so on. After each step is completed, the system would be updated and the HR person could log into CRM and see exactly where the person was in the onboarding process. After the new hire started, training would be assigned they could update their status as they progress through the program. This would not only show where they are, but also better prepare the next department for their part. You could even have CRM create appointments on the calendar of the supervisor for their quarterly or bi-annual reviews.
The process would provide consistency and metrics to determine what could be changed to increase efficiency and to measure the effectiveness of the efforts put into this all too important function inherent in all organizations. The options are limitless when you really start to look at it!
There are other “unintended uses” of the investment you have made in Dynamics CRM and this is but a taste of what’s out there when you put aside the “CRM is for sales and marketing” mentality and really grasp the power that you have to transform how your business operates.
They sky really is the limit.
February 12, 2013
With the ever-increasing wave of regulation facing Investment Banks, many are looking to restructure their practices to become more lean, agile, and capital-conscious. As compliance and regulatory costs rise, the banks are under intense pressure to reduce their operating costs and become more efficient. Often, the lines of business at investment banks are siloed, and as a result, they fall victim to lack of cross-practice communication and duplicated, incorrect, or stale data. Having an accurate and centralized data hub, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, can really enhance employee productivity and serve as a collaborative intelligence tool for deal teams, admin and operations support personnel, and executive leadership. Focused on providing next generation and scalable CRM solutions for Capital Markets firms, Customer Effective offers an Investment Banking-tailored accelerator version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM that is available in Outlook, over the web, and via mobile devices. Able to integrate with third party data sources including CapIQ and InsideView, among others, this leading-edge CRM platform provides the following features and benefits for Investment Banks:
February 07, 2013
Identify Untapped Opportunities, Hidden Risks, and Shady Characters with Customer Effective: Banking
As the leading innovator in CRM solutions for financial institutions, Customer Effective offers the Customer Effective: Banking CRM platform, which is built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and caters to the distinct industry needs of Retail, Commercial, and Community Banks. While many banks focused mainly on account transactions in the past, industry leaders are now adopting more of a client-centric strategy with the help of CRM. Specifically, the Customer Effective: Banking CRM solution provides enterprise-wide access to client interaction history, unique preferences, family members, net worth, demographic data, and real-time performance dashboards, such as the Pipeline Opportunity sample below.
December 12, 2012
Clients reveal key information during every interaction with your company. Thus, it is crucial that firms accurately, consistently, and efficiently collect, store, and internally share this data. Ultimately, the objective is to develop a single and integrated 360-degree view of all client activity in such a way that this rich data is centrally located and available to all levels of the organization, regardless of the channel. Implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM and improving your business processes to be more streamlined, transparent, and easier to execute for all employees is the best way to achieve the holy grail of the comprehensive 360-degree view. Having one updated and universal client, prospect, or partner profile helps firms better relate to their customers and stakeholders on a deeper, personal level. The keen insights derived from the 360-degree view allow marketing, sales, and service teams to have a more solid understanding of their clients’ desires and preferences. Therefore, employees across various departments find it much easier to provide a differentiated, first-class level of service and improve client satisfaction. Plus, this newfound collaborative knowledge empowers staff to identify more cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Since they can more effectively target and offer more appropriate and value-added products and services with enterprise CRM, firms can significantly reduce marketing costs and not only identify more profitable clients, but also acquire them in shorter time. In the end, the 360-degree client view in CRM gives users quality data they can confidently act on to connect or reconnect with customers and better serve them to maximize lifetime client value.
December 11, 2012
As companies look to grow market share or enter new markets, they often hire new staff. Many times, though, the addition of more personnel does not always lead to more work getting done overall, less workload for others, enhanced client service, or better territory coverage. The reason for these unanticipated, unintended, and unfortunate consequences is that firms’ technology infrastructure or lack thereof is impeding employee productivity and progress as the organization grows. In particular, companies without a leading-edge CRM system in place experience significant challenges when onboarding new employees. After all, learning a new role and a new organizational hierarchy and culture can be hard enough in itself. Complicating matters, a new hire without CRM is going to struggle to get up to speed quickly, regardless if she was brought on due to a new role or division being created, a firm experiencing enormous growth, or a department undergoing high turnover.
December 10, 2012
Banks are always looking to expand and improve their client base. Personal Bankers, Financial Consultants, Business Bankers, and Loan Officers are always in search of high net worth individuals and business owners while Private Bankers covet ultra-high net worth families. Without a clear picture of a client’s total assets and liabilities, Banks will find it difficult to adequately serve and grow relationships with their customers.
Though Banks may employ Relationship Managers to quarterback the relationship with their clients, there may be a time when a client interacts with the Bank on their own. For instance, imagine the case of a client with a multi-million dollar net worth who happens to own numerous businesses and have multiple deposit and loan accounts opened with a Bank. One Saturday, he decides to respond to an offer he received on a travel rewards credit card because he knows he will be traveling a lot in the near future. So the client calls in to apply for the card. Much to his chagrin, however, the client is rejected for the card due to having too low of a credit score. Oops! As a result, the client becomes livid, yells at the call rep, leaves a wicked voicemail for his Banker, and closes half of his deposit accounts and pays off all of his loans on the following Monday. Ouch! It turns out his credit score had indeed declined years ago as he used some leverage to grow a few of his companies. Recently, though, his credit has improved and he does after all have multi-million dollar deposit and loan holdings with the Bank. The probably here, nevertheless, is that the credit card call center rep did not know the extent of his other existing relationships with the Bank. If the rep had access to such information, which can be easily be brought in from multiple core banking systems into Microsoft Dynamics CRM and viewed by all Bank employees as seen in the example below, this crisis could have been averted.
December 05, 2012
Without a doubt, the investment banking sector is faced with higher fixed costs, lowered ROE expectations, scarce funding, and declining demand. A tighter and more invasive regulatory environment and tougher capital requirements are definitely casting a shadow on the industry. Complicating matters is that rogue or random spreadsheets and data silos still abound and firms too often find themselves to be data rich and information poor. As a result, many middle-market and bulge bracket investment banks still run the risk of having their M&A advisory, capital markets, and restructuring practices falling behind to the competition. On the other hand, the investment banks that are able to successfully press ahead in such a challenging landscape are the ones that are committed to improving their operational efficiencies and their level of client service. These two imperatives really go hand in hand. At the heart of the matter is optimizing cross-departmental communication and collaboration on critical deal valuations, company financials, due diligence follow-up, capital raising efforts, and client onboarding tasks, regardless of the geographic location of deal team members. Thus, it is essential that investment bankers can see their peers’ completed and scheduled appointments and calls with clients, potential investors, deal influencers, and strategic partners to avoid possible duplication.
December 03, 2012
Today, we live in an era where trust in Banks is extremely low. The majority of Banks were not the main offenders during the financial meltdown of 2008. As a result of a few bad apples, though, the whole Banking industry has suffered. More stringent regulations have arrived and the end of new rules is nowhere in sight. Heading into 2013, leading Retail, Commercial, and Community Banks with fortress balance sheets, innovative and broad product lines, and welcoming, client-centric staff are still adapting and trying to restore their brand image. Due to so many prestigious financial institutions getting their reputations tarnished, droves of consumers and businesses are re-evaluating their relationships with their Banks. Along those lines, when one thinks of the primary reasons that customers decide to leave their Bank, the following probably immediately come to mind:
- excessive fees on deposit accounts
- too high interest rates on loans
- poor quality of advice
- limited product offerings lacking sophistication and depth
- inconvenient branch or ATM locations
- bad reputation in the public eye
According to Capgemini, though, it turns out that the number one reason consumers switch Banks is due to the low quality of service they receive as seen below.
Source: 2011 Retail Banking Voice of the Customer Survey, Capgemini
Evidently, client service in the Banking arena trumps all. High-quality service combined with recurring positive Banking experiences across the plethora of channels available leads to higher client retention. Moreover, exceeding heightened client expectations and consistently delivering great service better positions Banks to rebuild or solidify the trust of their clientele and expand relationships with top-tier clients.
As Banks continue to navigate challenging economic and regulatory conditions and demanding clients, Customer Effective, the three-time defending Microsoft Dynamics CRM East Region Partner of the Year, is here to help. Our Customer Effective: Banking Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution, which is customized to the unique needs of Banks and Credit Unions, will be showcased prior to the Christmas holidays. We will be hosting a webinar at 2pm Eastern Time on December 20th entitled “How Customer Effective: Banking helps Banks Identify, Retain, and Delight Today's Changing Customer.”
Click here to register and join us to learn more!
Automated workflows in CRM are the core of an investment advisor’s service model. Throughout the years, workflows embedded in the Customer Effective: FinServ solution built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform have helped many wealth management firms develop enduring and scalable practices. Whether it is streamlining and automating processes, such as onboarding new clients, opening new accounts, rebalancing allocations, executing ACAT transfers, scheduling and conducting portfolio review meetings, or raising cash for distribution requests, CRM workflows are certainly an enabler of productivity and growth for financial advisors. Overall, the Customer Effective: FinServ CRM system serves as the hub of the advisory practice, and its pre-built wealth management industry-focused custom workflows enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness. Advisory sales and service teams experience the following benefits without having to hire additional staff:
November 28, 2012
Competitive intelligence is usually cited as a primary concern for CEOs, but many companies still struggle with the concept. Often, competitor tracking is difficult because the current method of doing so is decentralized and inefficient. The actual reasons a client relationship is won or lost is not always known. It is usually easier to know why a deal is won as opposed to why it is lost. Even if these won/lost reasons are known by the main point of contact, they typically are not shared with others or referenced for future use. Sales and service personnel may assert that they just don’t have a certain system dedicated to capturing this type of competitor and won/lost analysis. Some may contend that the information is already noted in a separate system and they just do not feel like sharing it again. Others may claim that it just takes too long to notate these reasons.
November 27, 2012
In today’s competitive and often crowded marketplace, it is essential to make your clients feel valued and appreciated so that they constantly return for repeat business. Understanding a prospect’s unique needs and effectively fulfilling those needs in a personalized fashion can lead to a lifelong customer. Trying to provide such a “Wow” level of service can be extremely difficult for employees, especially if they do not have a CRM system to guide and empower them to make informed business decisions. In particular, firms with departments completely walled off from one another will find it nearly impossible to deliver differentiated and superior client service. With no or limited insight on a client’s last interaction with the firm, employees just cannot go the extra mile when working with a customer. Overall, firms that do not implement CRM strategy and CRM technology investments into their overall growth and client retention strategies exhibit the following characteristics:
November 09, 2012
Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps industry leaders craft and maintain a clear view of their clients, from the initial contact to the first purchase and onward to any post-sales activity. Regardless of how complex their current sales processes are, CRM is intuitive, fast, and flexible enough to streamline and automate the way the sales and marketing teams develop, forecast, and track new business opportunities and plan and execute marketing and product launch campaigns. Having a centralized and clearer picture of relationships with clients, prospects, and partners and more visibility into business goals, current pursuits, product gaps, buying history, and purchasing preferences, allows sales reps and sales management to:
November 07, 2012
Retail and institutional units of investment management firms need maximum focus in order to manage the complex and evolving relationships between wholesalers, home offices, institutional investors, direct plan sponsors, and institutional consultants. To do so, asset managers need to gather, retain, and share knowledge in a centralized location of clients, prospects, and referral sources across the globe.
Front, middle, and back office operations for all channels must seamlessly connect in order to streamline the exchange of actionable relationship data. If key information is scattered across multiple disparate systems and spreadsheets, too much time will be spent on administrative tasks and searching for data. As a result, sales-related activity will decline, inter- and intra-departmental collaboration will be more difficult and time-consuming, and operational risks will soar. To avoid these counterproductive results, many money managers are investing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM to have it serve as the hub of their integrated technology platform.
October 31, 2012
Forbes recently shared research from Gartner on the current state of CRM technology. Being that proven and leading CRM solutions, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, help improve client acquisition, retention, and loyalty, in route to increasing corporate profits, it is not surprising that the continued growth and popularity of CRM software was highlighted by Gartner.
- Last year alone, CRM spending rose by 13%.
- Enterprise CRM software investments across the globe are projected to increase from $12.9B in 2012 to $18.4B in 2016.
- “CRM” is forecasted to be one of the three most searched terms on www.gartner.com.
If you are an Executive that is still trying to justify whether or not to invest in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, keep the following in mind:
October 26, 2012
Last month, I had the opportunity to visit with many customers and partners of Customer Effective at our annual Customer Conference. It was great to catch up with clients and hear how CRM has helped them drastically improve revenue, efficiency, and client satisfaction. These customers understand and embrace the strategic value of CRM technology, specifically Microsoft Dynamics CRM. They recognize that it is a business imperative to have Microsoft Dynamics CRM in place in order for them to successfully execute their customer-centric cultural transformation and strategic initiatives. Unlike many of their competitors, these organizations do not believe they can fully achieve their CRM objectives merely by investing in and implementing a CRM technology solution in which they attempt to replicate inefficient business processes. Instead, these firms, with the help of Customer Effective, have relentlessly focused on actually redesigning and automating common customer-facing processes, including marketing campaign execution, prospecting outreach programs, lead conversion, account management, and service inquiry tracking, based on the unique needs of their client base, industry customer experience trends, and corporate growth and productivity goals. As a result of Customer Effective’s partnership and consultative expertise in the examination, re-engineering, and ongoing evaluation of many key front office processes and management performance metrics, these large enterprise customers have attained executive sponsorship and now have a blueprint in place not just for their CRM deployment, but also their CRM journey. Effectively, at the heart of the roadmap is Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which truly has become the enabler and driver of their overall corporate performance.
October 19, 2012
Many organizations at first are excited to receive RFPs or RFIs because they know they have an interested prospect and the potential to close a deal. However, the act of collaborating and responding to the RFPs can be quite painful and time-consuming, especially if a firm does not have stored content and templates in place to more efficiently search and respond to common, yet complex and lengthy questions. Though a firm may successfully scramble to return the RFP, there is still no guarantee that it will win the business. In particular, asset management firms are typically flooded with RFP requests on retail, institutional, and alternative investment products. In many cases, the name of the interested party may not be disclosed to the asset manager until it has been thoroughly screened for possible conflicts of interest and deemed to be suitable enough from an investment strategy and performance perspective. Often, the prospective shareholder may not even be revealed until well after the initial RFP stage and into the semi-finals or finals. Due to the RFP’s tight deadlines, extremely long, detailed questions, and numerous named and unnamed stakeholders, asset managers do struggle at times to effectively track, prioritize, and monitor the progress of the RFPs they receive.
October 02, 2012
Over the summer, Schwab Advisor Services surveyed over 1,600 Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) concerning how they are utilizing CRM technology in their business operations. Poll results demonstrate that RIAs have significant room for improvement in how they leverage CRM. For instance, key findings include:
- Merely 5.8% feel that they are maximizing the full value and potential of their firm’s CRM data.
- Only 17.9% affirm that their firm’s use of CRM deserves a stellar grade of “A.”
- Just 61.3% leverage CRM to prep and distribute client updates and notifications.
- Only 57.8% utilize CRM for automatic task assignment and progress tracking.
As the Schwab press release states, “Advisors are barely scratching the surface when it comes to putting CRM to work for their businesses to streamline processes, increase efficiencies and deliver higher levels of client service and satisfaction.” After all, proven and scalable CRM systems, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, provide so much more than just basic Contact Management.
September 28, 2012
Better Connect and Cultivate Deeper Relationships with Out-of-Touch Investors with Microsoft Dynamics CRM
InvestmentNews recently shared research from Franklin Templeton that reveals that individual investors are not aware of the bull run that has been going on in the equity markets for the past forty-three months. Since the market bottom in March 2009, stocks have earned a cumulative return greater than 100%. Apparently, investors have failed to notice and participate in this impressive stock comeback because they are distracted by prevalent negative economic news that the media and politicians constantly remind them of, including slow growth, high unemployment, and the weak housing market. Moreover, these investors just cannot overcome their bad memories of the beating they took in 2008 in which the S&P 500 declined by almost 40%. Franklin Templeton’s survey to 1,000 individual investors returned the following results concerning the current state of investor psychology:
- 66% asserted the S&P 500 was down in 2009 (it actually gained 26.5% that year).
- 48% thought the S&P 500 was down in 2010 (it actually gained 15.1% that year).
- 53% believed that the S&P 500 was down in 2011 (it actually gained 2.1% that year).
Based on these responses, it is no surprise that close to $170 billion has been withdrawn from equity mutual funds over the past three years. Instead, these investors are choosing to park their money in cash equivalent funds and money market funds, which are earning historically low interest rates that are not even keeping up with inflation. Once again, investors are missing out as the S&P 500 is up almost 18% year-to-date as of 9/21/12 per Morningstar. Of course, the traditionally volatile month of October is right around the corner and there are still a few months left in the year in which anything can happen. Nevertheless, clients will continue to miss out on solid equity returns should they remain so risk-averse and conservative.
September 25, 2012
In my last post on the Customer Effective blog, I highlighted how Microsoft Dynamics CRM can aid firms in the area of tracking internal employee referrals, particularly in the Retail Banking arena. Regardless of whether a referral is uncovered by an employee, sent from an existing client, or delivered by an external partner, referrals are the lifeblood of one’s business. Any time one receives a referral, it is easier to develop trust and confidence with the Prospect. As a result, the sales cycle is frequently shorter and sales acquisition costs are typically lower. So today, I wanted to expand upon the topic of referrals and further share how CRM can help financial institutions better track and rate the quality of leads they receive from external partners.
Retail Bank branches and Wealth Management firms often strive to build a strong stable of referral sources in their local communities. For instance, financial advisors and bankers tend to partner up with CPAs, attorneys, estate planners, and insurance agents in their area in order to develop a vast network of referral sources. Usually, the intent of these partnerships is for both sides to send and receive referrals. The banker may send the CPA a lead, such as a business owner that is looking for tax advice; in turn, the CPA will then send the banker a Prospect company looking for better business banking expertise. In all of these cases, it is important to nurture relationships with the key referral sources in order to uncover more opportunities and prevent the sales pipeline from becoming dry. By leveraging CRM as an external partner referral tracking tool, Banks and Financial Advisory firms are able to analyze the main sources of their deals, see which referral sources are contributing most to their profitability, and determine which third-party advisors are also influencing the financial decision-making of their clientele. Top lead sources, most active referral sources by role, top third-party deal influencers, and the leading external advisor referral sources in one’s community can all be captured in CRM via the sample Lead Sourcing Dashboard below.
CRM’s robust referral tracking capabilities also can benefit Institutional Money Managers, Investment Banks, and Private Equity firms. For example, Institutional Consultants can be linked to multiple opportunities, investment funds, and companies. Moreover, these consulting firms and contacts can be rated and segmented based on the quality and profitability of leads they are providing and on their degree of influence on certain accounts and pursuits. As seen in the sample Consultant Performance Snapshot below, CRM real-time Dashboards make it very easy to see who is recommending one’s firm/services and who is not. Based on these insights, financial firms can then identify and target which consultants they need to actively contact and forge deeper relationships with in order to be considered for more deals and mandates going forward.
Having worked with many leading firms in the financial services industry, Customer Effective has tailored enterprise Banking and Capital Markets-focused CRM solutions to help facilitate the tracking of strategic referral sources and account influencers. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to hear more about how we can help you grow your referral sources and improve your overall financial performance. More background information on our custom solutions for the financial services space is also available at: http://www.customereffective.com/solutions/customereffective-finserv?ref=learn.
September 10, 2012
Elevate Your Efficiency and Boost Sales by Automating your Referral Tracking Process with Microsoft CRM
Firms are always looking for ways to generate more referrals for their sales reps. Sales management and marketing executives, in particular, are always working hard to forge relationships with strategic partners and external referral sources to send them more leads. Additionally, companies are always trying to figure out more effective ways to encourage front-line, client-facing employees to identify possible leads for one of their sales colleagues to follow-up with and further qualify. For instance, in the Banking industry, Tellers and CSRs are often rewarded for uncovering a referral to pass on to a Relationship Banker, Investment Specialist, or Loan Officer. As an example, the Teller may learn in friendly conversation at the Teller window that one of their frequent visiting customers is about to buy a house. Thus, the Teller suggests and gets the customer to agree to receive a call from the local Mortgage Officer concerning mortgage rates and to submit a loan application. While many firms share the need to track internal referrals, they often struggle in keeping track of the referral entries and outcomes. This blog post will touch on some of the core challenges that companies have with referrals and how Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help automate the referral tracking and reporting process.
August 27, 2012
Today, Retail Bank and Credit Union customers spend less time in the branch than ever before. The lack of personal face to face interactions with the assigned Account Officer does make it difficult for the Banker to gage the true satisfaction level of clients and to position oneself effectively to offer other appropriate financial solutions. Some may argue that the Relationship Banker should be doing a better job of leveraging his Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform to plan his day more effectively, be more proactive in reaching clients, and scheduling account reviews. However, the fact of the matter is that clients sometimes choose to focus on their finances after traditional business hours. They value their convenience and personal freedom of being able to utilize a Bank’s call center or to conduct their banking online from their home or over their mobile device. Moreover, they cherish having the ability to use any of the closest branches, ATMs, or drive-thrus whenever and wherever it makes sense if they are running errands or traveling the country. Some, of course, still routinely come into their neighborhood branch. However, for those that typically do not interact with branch banking staff, how are you supposed to know when they may not be entirely happy with the overall state of their banking relationship?