HSBC IS CHANGING HOW CLIENT-FACING TEAMS WORK TO INCREASE OPPORTUNITIES, WIN MORE BUSINESS, AND CONTINUE TO DRIVE GROWTH.
One of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations, HSBC serves around 40 million personal, wealth, and corporate customers in 63 countries and territories. Founded in 1865, its global network, access to high-growth markets, and balance sheet strength provide a solid platform for future growth.
Two years ago, the bank made several key strategic decisions around geographies, market sectors, products, and client base. Before fully moving into growth mode, they took a closer look at their customer coverage model to evaluate how they could best support their clients.
James Bickerton, Head of Client Development, Global Banking, HSBC, sat down with Robert Wahbe, CEO, Highspot, Inc. to learn more.
RW: TAKE ME BACK TO THE EARLY STAGES OF YOUR TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY. HOW DID IT BEGIN?
JB: In 2020, HSBC announced strategic plans around specific market sectors and products we wanted to compete in. At the same time, we evaluated our customer coverage model. The challenge we faced was making sure the coverage model was set up appropriately post-restructuring to generate capacity and facilitate growth through scale. At the time, we decided to make a substantial investment in how we support our clients while strengthening our policies and process around content.
We wanted to ensure the strategy we were pushing forward for Global Banking was fully aligned with HSBC’s overarching digital strategy rather than move on an independent path. We also wanted to use this opportunity to plug some gaps in our technology suite. Being data-driven in our decision-making, as well as maximizing intellectual capital through idea sharing, were key goals for us.
The good news is we’ve got fantastic bankers with deep expertise and many decades of experience supporting their clients. Our efforts were focused on enabling them, through technology and digital tools, to move faster and smarter.
RW: THAT SOUNDS LIKE A WELL-GROUNDED STRATEGY. HOW DID THE DIGITAL INITIATIVE COME INTO PLAY? AND HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON HIGHSPOT?
JB: We began by interviewing 70 of our largest clients in 2021. They noted the exceptional quality of our people, but also validated that the HSBC operating model wasn’t set up to help our teams serve our clients with ease. We also learned we did not put all the necessary information the bankers needed at their fingertips.
We also interviewed close to 500 bankers across the globe. We learned we have high-quality, fantastic teams, but they have to stretch to find what they need. Sometimes it’s luck, or being in the right place at the right time, that lets them find a highly successful case study launched a few months ago or a new idea to share with their clients. Another missing link was a tool to provide us with deep analytics on our clients’ transactions and related behavior. So we chose to invest heavily in a new analytics suite and in an enablement and content management platform.
We chose Highspot because we wanted a sales enablement platform that was highly flexible and able to integrate with our CRM. We also liked that Highspot had smart controls to govern content. Finally, we needed a future-proof platform that could scale with us.
RW: YOU MENTIONED THE INTEGRATION OF HIGHSPOT WITH YOUR CRM. CAN YOU ELABORATE?
JB: This was crucial. Today, we have 10,000 enablement tool users across roughly 44 markets, so this was a large-scale deployment. Kudos to your team for doing it in the space of six months. With such a large deployment you can’t just bolt something on the side; it has to be embedded into the team’s usual workflows. So we made sure the Highspot enablement platform feels, looks, and operates as part of our overall CRM platform. We’ve been working tirelessly to make sure Highspot is integrated not only with the bankers’ day-to-day processes but also with CRM pipeline activity. We wanted enablement to be part and parcel of our CRM as it was important to have a truly seamless experience for our client-facing teams. The other side, especially being in a highly regulated industry, is having strong governance capabilities as teams publish and share content.
RW: TELL ME MORE ABOUT THAT. WHAT GOVERNANCE CONTROLS DID YOU PUT IN PLACE TO SUPPORT A COMPLIANT ENVIRONMENT?
JB: Managing and controlling risk is critically important in financial services, and we did not want to remove any risk management when deploying the new enablement capabilities. A big shout out to your team at Highspot for moving mountains in the space of a few months to make sure we could get those necessary control reviews and the right implementation. It involves everything from how we deal with cybersecurity to customer-managed encryption keys to content approval flows that allow for multiple layers of checks and balances in approvals. Finally, for regulatory reasons, we needed to ensure we could administer the platform so that specific content is only accessible by certain bankers and only reaches specific customer segments.
RW: WHERE ARE YOU NOW ON THE JOURNEY? I KNOW IT’S STILL EARLY BUT TALK TO ME ABOUT THE TRENDS YOU ARE SEEING.
JB: We are seeing very positive trends already even though we just went live a few months ago. We’re seeing huge engagement and activity. Banker feedback has been very positive and our leadership is saying this is something we should have had all along. Now we need to lean in and make it work for the business. It’s really about bringing the content in at this juncture and less about the technology. We are building a community that’s starting to come to life, and I think that’s the key to unlock. We want to bring everyone on the platform, which will just build upon that continuous community aspect and foster the ability for bankers to learn from each other.
RW: AS WE WRAP UP, WHAT ARE SOME KEY LESSONS LEARNED?
JB: Bringing the business along the journey is a cliche, but this was by far the most important factor in our transformation. We brought in our bankers from the start and engaged our executives and other teams in the design and deployment. We purposely introduced a multi-dimensional approach to the engagement and took our stakeholders through the big principles to help them understand the larger choices we made, including partnerships like Highspot. Given the complex structure of our global organization, we had to be highly deliberate about engaging stakeholders in the journey.
We were also very agile from the start, which helped us go from a standing start to live in just under six months. We weren’t running this as a gigantic single engine, but instead had lots of small pods, which helped us stay nimble. In retrospect, what we could have done earlier is make sure the pods were talking to each other more, thinking about interdependencies, and communicating openly around what they were working on to share the impact of their efforts.
What we need to do now is spend more time talking about content management as we move past the technology. We need to change the narrative now to the content and we are very fortunate to have fantastic content producers. It’s important to begin the design work around the content strategy and architecture as early as possible to influence the platform setup from the get go.
Our partnership with Highspot has been fantastic. To drive success with an initiative like this on a global scale, you need to ensure your technology partners fully understand your vision, challenges, and needs. Ultimately, you need a partner that can deliver on aggressive timelines and be able to scale with you.
Highspot is excited to partner with HSBC to support their digital transformation. We look forward to scaling with them, supporting their content and governance requirements, and meeting their evolving enablement needs to help propel their growth and drive revenue.
For more information, visit our Financial Services page or read The Forrester Wave™: Sales Content Solutions, Q4 2022.