So far this year, most of the world has faced a challenging macroeconomy. Inflation is still climbing in the United States while wages continue to increase and unemployment remains at historic lows. While more and more economists believe a recession is on the horizon, no one can predict how severe it will be.
In addition to the fragile economy, financial services firms are dealing with new and changing regulations, a significant increase in the number of financial products over the past decade along with more complex offerings. As a result, marketing and client-facing teams are at maximum capacity and struggling to do more without additional staff and resources.
If the financial services industry learned anything from the last major recession in 2009, it’s that the firms that were able to pivot quickly and take a proactive approach to drive revenue were in the best position to ride out the storm.
DOING MORE WITH LESS
In financial services, the ability to drive revenue involves a myriad of factors, including a deep understanding of the rapidly changing market landscape, a focus on key initiatives, and maximizing efficiency and productivity. Business development and marketing teams are stretched to capacity balancing higher workloads with resource constraints.
So what can help drive revenue given the constraints of the current environment?
Consider a revenue enablement platform that improves efficiency and streamlines processes. The ideal enablement platform will unite your marketing, enablement, and sales functions to save valuable time that could be spent building customer relationships and driving strategic initiatives. With the powerful impact enablement has to drive business outcomes, it’s important to carefully consider your options.
AN EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
An industry-leading enablement tool can help provide a strong customer experience by supporting client-facing teams with consistent messaging and quick access to the most impactful materials. And by providing reps with the opportunity to create personalized content. According to a 2021 study by McKinsey & Company, 71% of buyers today expect to have a personalized experience.
The recently released Forrester report, The Forrester Wave™: Sales Content Solutions, Q4 2022, reviewed sales content solution providers (their category for sales enablement) and identified the 11 most significant providers, including Highspot, who was named a leader and which received a top ranking in the current offering category. The report noted that top solutions should feature native integrations, be easy to implement and use, and feature strong content management capabilities with meaningful insights.
When evaluating providers, consider how quickly client-facing teams will be able to find the content they need when they need it. You should also explore whether onboarding and training is integrated in the platform and whether you will have analytics and insights across the platform so you can pivot quickly if necessary. Finally, are you looking at a unified, natively built platform or a patched-together platform as a result of multiple acquisitions? Keep in mind that with enablement platforms built from multiple acquisitions, you can generally expect more complex and longer release timelines.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important functionalities for financial services firms.
ESTABLISH RULES AROUND CONTENT
Developing and managing content is a critical need for most organizations, but, according to recent Highspot research, 70% of content developed goes unused. Financial services firms, which are so highly regulated, have an even greater need for a single location for their content. By organizing and managing content via a central platform, you can ensure reps always use the latest content that meets brand guidelines and has up-to-date disclosures vs. pulling outdated documents from their hard drive. What’s key to driving usage is a tool with highly advanced search capabilities to help financial professionals easily find and access the content they need from within their workflows.
A content governance strategy establishes rules around how content is published, maintained, and shared. Financial services firms should look for a platform that includes tools to enforce these policies, including access controls, approval workflows, and the ability to review usage stats. This helps ensure that client-facing teams only use content approved for their geographic location and specific role and that what they select to use is the best choice for every customer engagement.
Also important is giving your teams structured guidance. For example, your reps get specifics on what they should Know, Say, Show, and Do for rollouts, campaigns, and strategic initiatives through the Highspot platform. This can help you go to market faster and ensure messaging and execution is consistent.
PROTECT CUSTOMER DATA
Protecting customer data and privacy are complex but critical considerations for the financial services industry. Look for an enterprise-grade platform that can scale with your organization and has processes and practices in place to ensure the data remains private, secure, and compliant. Additionally, multinational organizations should ensure the enablement platform they select supports global data protection along with local privacy laws and regulations.
EMPOWER TEAMS WITH INTEGRATED TRAINING
Enabling your teams with the right content and guidance is a great start, but effective training will help your teams close more deals and lead to a higher level of rep engagement.
Look for a platform that provides integrated training through different modalities, including videos, self-directed lessons, quizzes, and live courses. By empowering your teams with the knowledge they need, you will see quick adoption of new skills, increased confidence, and more consistent performance.
MEASURE EFFECTIVENESS AND REP PERFORMANCE
According to GLG research commissioned by Highspot, less than one-third of financial services firms surveyed report they can measure the impact of customer-facing employee training and only half say they can measure the impact of the content they produce. Provide your management team with the analytics they need to guide reps and reinforce knowledge. With the right tools, team leaders have visibility into rep performance not only at the group level but also at the individual level. By identifying the behaviors of top performers, you can use the knowledge to coach and develop more top performers.
A platform that has robust analytics lets you measure how effective your enablement program is and can allow you to quickly and easily report on the results you are delivering across your firm. You should be able to measure content usage, increased productivity, training, and coaching progress, along with success rates for strategic growth initiatives. Look for an enablement tool that provides broad, at-a-glance insights along with more granular reporting.
Finally, think about the importance of seamless integrations, which are critical to fast implementation and platform adoption and usage. Choose a tool that natively integrates with a CRM, like Salesforce, and that aligns seamlessly with your business workflows and existing technology and processes.
Understand how your organization will be supported during and after implementation. Review the rollout timeline and look for a firm that will provide white-glove service during the entire process and remain a trusted partner long after. Learn how the relationship with the vendor will evolve post-implementation, and what they will do to ensure success, including delivering on your goals for user adoption, ease of use, and ROI.
As financial services firms prioritize improving productivity and enhancing the client experience, interest in enablement solutions continues to grow. In fact, in a recent GLG survey, over half the financial services firms surveyed reported they are already using a sales enablement platform, and a third are actively considering one.
Looking at the next steps, we recommend starting with a solid understanding of your organization’s requirements, challenges, and strategic objectives. That will position you well–regardless of headwinds on the horizon–to evaluate the best solution to drive productivity and revenue at your firm for years to come. Visit our Financial Services page to learn more about Highspot or read The Forrester Wave™: Sales Content Solutions, Q4 2022, for a broad overview of enablement industry leaders as you research the right platform for your organization.