One of the key findings in the recent Banking Royal Commission revolved around the loss of trust in the financial services industry.
Perhaps the level of trust in financial services was not always high? Regardless, the Royal Commission has ensured that all participants have been fairly or unfairly impacted from a trust perspective. This loss of trust is widespread, covering a very broad financial services industry – from banks and fund managers through to the advisors, planners and brokers.
The Royal Commission findings have put customer centricity at the very top of its recommendations. So the question is, why in the financial service industries, has customer centricity not previously flourished? Is it because of a lack of competition across the top tier of the banking and funds management segments of the industry? Is it the conditioning of the advisor segment to be reliant on upfront and trailing commissions? And where do advice and sales and distribution start and finish?
No matter what the answers to the above questions might be, the future state of the financial services industry will see customers at the centre of, in particular, advisory and broker businesses. This blog suggests that the adoption of an inbound marketing framework, that changes the conversation from selling to helping is one possible key to rebuilding trust back into financial service businesses.
What is inbound marketing and how can it help financial services firms?
Inbound Marketing is a human centered framework that helps you attract clients with content that’s designed to useful in their lives – helping you attract qualified prospective clients and then convert them into leads and ultimately clients. The simplicity of this framework is its strength, because sitting at the heart of it is your client, not your P&L. And while your P&L is important, it shouldn’t be the starting point.
The overarching aim of Inbound is to make marketing human again. This is your chance to stop marketing like you are selling and transition to an approach like you might converse with your friends and neighbours - developing relationships built on mutual trust that are forged by care in the form of being helpful, useful and engaging. You might argue that trust is limited to your personal network and while this is true it does not provide the scale your financial services business requires to succeed in today’s market. Sustainable success requires you to scale beyond your ‘rolodex’! The opportunity exists to improve your scalable business by converting your website from a pre-shop experience into prospecting and lead generating asset.
Attracting clients & candidates
Building trust is the key to your success. After all, you are looking after your client’s finances or part thereof. And as the saying goes, trust is hard earned and easily lost. In the attraction phase of the inbound framework, you are communicating with people who you’ve never met before. This requires lots of ‘giving’ and very little ‘getting’. However, over time, if you are consistently publishing useful and helpful content, when and where your clients want it, you will be on your way to the ultimate trusted advisor status. The payback from the content you publish that addresses your client’s needs (like blogs, videos, general advice, updates, white papers etc) is that you will attract qualified prospects because they are drawn to the useful and helpful nature of what you are saying.
Fast track your client nurturing
It’s one thing to work on attracting the right prospects, it’s another thing to generate leads. Think of it, as a process of moving from freezing to warm, therefore nurturing is required to help prospects move from cold to warm. Nurturing allows your consultants to focus on their clients With Marketing technologies like HubSpot we can automate personalised email communications that builds on the rapport and trust established in the attraction phase. These automated and personalised communications should contain call to actions, which encourage clients to exchange information for the helpful content you are providing. Nurturing will also ensure clients understand how your services offer a solution for their needs before they pick up the phone.
Turn sales into a helping function
Clients hate being called at a time that’s inconvenient to them. They hate it when a well meaning sales person is talking about things they already know. Inbound marketing and sales aims to avoid these actions, which detract from the trust building process. By using smart technology your sales consultants or BDMs can contact prospective clients when they undertake certain lead indicating actions on your website or email communications. Your sales consultant is armed with the knowledge of the customer’s behaviour and can tailor their conversation to one that is value adding and trust building providing mutual value for both seller and buyer.
Delight your current client base
Inbound marketing for financial services is not just for new clients. You can also use the principles to continue to build trust and engagement with existing clients. Your clients are open to a non-transactional relationship with you. By segmenting your client database you can deliver content like events, webinars and surveys that addresses and informs for their changing needs, even encouraging cross sell and up sell opportunities when appropriate.
Use marketing technology like HubSpot to implement Inbound for financial services
Inbound is all about your customer or client. Putting them at the epicentre for all that you do. This makes sense right? We’ve been told this since for…EVER! Another great reason to reinforce this philosophy is that customer focused content ensures that your content gains authority over time. Google and search engines rank higher content that is helpful and useful – in other words customer centric. So how do you manage all the digital marketing tactics that go to make up your inbound marketing strategy? That’s where marketing tech stacks like HubSpot make a world of difference. HubSpot CRM will segment and manage your client database, provide the content marketing tools for blogging, email and more to manage your marketing and sales funnel. With all the tools and reports in the one place.
Customers hate being sold to, however they do love to buy. Inbound marketing is a great framework to empower the customer with the resources to resolve their needs and in doing so can re build trust for financial services firms. However, it requires a dedication to serving client needs first and foremost. This understanding should be based on the insights you gather from every client interaction and the research you conduct. It requires consistency of effort based off an understanding of your client’s journey. Inbound is like JFK once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. If we replace the word country for the word client, then we have the beginnings of trust being rebuilt.