May 22, 2017
In the past few months, we’ve seen a big uptick in inquiries from financial services firms, including life insurance. They are becoming much more focused on sales enablement automation and sales enablement in general. At the same time, sales enablement automation vendors are highlighting their successes with financial services companies. Based on discussions with practitioners, financial services firms should keep in mind a few key challenges as they tackle better enabling their sellers:
- Agents and advisors are both sellers. Many financial services organizations seem reluctant to use the terms “sales” or “sellers” when talking about those who sell to customers. This often slows awareness and understanding of how sales enablement automation can help them leverage content, better engage with customers, and ensure that sellers play by the rules in a highly regulated industry. The same applies to independent advisors. They are business partners — another part of the channel — and need the same kind of sales enablement, especially because they may also sell competitive offerings.
- Managing seller-focused content in a highly regulated environment is complicated. Financial firms have dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of content creators. Those creators cover a wide range of content including promotional, marketing, and reporting. Some content, such as investment updates, require tightly controlled processes for creating and updating frequently. All of that content creation takes place in an environment where a strong need for tightly controlled processes exists to create, produce, and manage how sellers can and should use content.
- The lines are blurred between B2C and B2B for financial services. Highly considered purchases for investment and insurance blur the line between the usual concepts of B2C and B2B. Sellers often have customer portfolios that range from institutional investors to companies offering employees 401(k)s and other investment plans, high-net-worth individuals, and small businesses. Many firms also sell to hundreds of thousands of independent financial advisers. Sellers in financial services need to hone their consultative skills, build a high degree of trust, and use the right content at the right time.
For financial services B2B marketers looking to better enable sellers: Forrester’s research on sales enablement is for you. Take a look at reports by myself and Mary Shea and set up an inquiry or two to explore how sales enablement can help your sellers no matter what name they go by.
And for a very focused view of the rapidly evolving timing for the US Department Of Labor’s conflict-of-interest fiduciary rule and how it can be the springboard to digital transformation for financial services, take a look at recent reports for eBusiness and channel strategy professionals by Senior Analyst Davis Janowski.