Connect with us

Top Stories

SHARING IS CARING: MERGING MARKETING AND SALES

Marketing

Geoff Webb, VP of Strategy at PROS

 

In many companies, the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) often has the biggest IT budget. That might surprise you, but the reason is relatively straight-forward: in recent years there has been an immense investment in MarTech, and it’s made the discipline of marketing incredibly tech-heavy. So much so in fact, that marketing departments now spend more time working with dashboards, and AI-fueled analytics than almost any other part of the business.

In fact, this trend is accelerating. Gartner research into CMO budget spend in 2018 revealed that as many as 57 percent of CEOs are prepared to invest more in marketing.

While this huge focus on technology has armed CMOs with an incredible level of insight (including where your mouse goes on brands’ site, what kinds of content you read online, and so on), it has also resulted in a rather one-sided technology investment, especially for B2B financial services firms who are eager to demonstrate to their customers that they understand and care about them as individuals.

We think it’s time for perception surrounding ownership of the technology budget to adjust. While marketing departments may be happily sailing on an ocean of usable data, their colleagues in the sales department may be struggling to respond to an explosive change in buyer behaviour and expectations.

The reality is that today’s CROs (Chief Revenue Officers) are facing extraordinary pressure to transform their departments – especially in the face of a growing shift towards digital commerce models. Once upon a time, a sales executive could rely on experience, insight, and interpersonal skills to close a deal and keep the customer buying – but today, that’s a much more difficult task.

 

Geoff Webb

Growing sales by empowering sales

An increasing number of buyers are now moving away from the traditional model of calling up their sales rep and asking for a quote. Instead, they’re seeking the convenience of being able to buy online, without needing to pick up the phone, send an email, or – heaven forbid – meet in person. Simply put, for the day-to-day business of buying, purchasers want the speed and convenience of e-commerce. Yet studies also show that buyers want to know there will be a well-informed sales executive available at the end of the phone, should they need one.

Managing this shift from meeting in person to being mostly offline/sometimes in person isn’t easy, and requires sales professionals to be fully informed about their customers, have visibility into transactions as they’re occurring (should the customer need help) and be ready to provide insight and guidance.

The solution to supporting this change for the sales team lies – just as it did for the marketing team – in the deployment of technology. In the same way that MarTech has transformed marketing teams, sales departments need to adopt highly specialised technology that can help them to be more personalised, faster, more efficient, and ultimately capitalise on the increased number of leads.

When we look at where much of the investment in sales automation technology is currently, we see it at the operational level. As is stands, sales professionals can spend as little as 36 percent of their time actually selling, meaning they are dwindling away precious time and productivity on administrative tasks. However, there is a deeper need to be met for sales leadership, a more fundamental question as we shift towards more complex, multi-channel digital selling – how do I make my sales people not only more productive, but more informed?

 

Getting to know you

We’re now seeing the emergence of several next-generation sales technologies that are able to go beyond operational efficiency and provide the same degree of analytic-based insight to CROs that marketing technology provides to CMOs.

Top of the list are technologies that can enable more intelligent quoting for complex products (where configuration can be time-consuming and prone to expensive errors). Some good examples of this are products like heavy equipment or high-tech medical devices.

Arming sales executives with the tools they need in order to support these kinds of purchases can slash the time needed to respond correctly to a request. Studies show that delivering highly personalised responses to buyers not only increases win rates, but also increases the value of the sale. Customers are much more likely to pay more for something if they know that the product being offered is personalised to them and designed with their specific needs in mind. This includes the product itself, how it’s packaged, how it’s delivered and how it’s priced.

 

Aligning for the good of the business

Yet, all these changes are indicative of a more profound movement that looms on the horizon for financial services firms.

Aligning marketing and sales has long been a challenge that has vexed the c-suite. At its core, misalignments often arise from a lack of common understanding regarding the nature of their customers and the market needs. And these misalignments are expensive and disruptive, wasting time, effort, and opening cracks in customer satisfaction that agile competitors can exploit to steal market share.

But what if sales and marketing had a common, clear, and consistent understanding of their customers and their needs? What if, instead of arguing about messaging and focus, sales and marketing teams were completely aligned?

One of the keys to achieving this will be sharing the same big data lake and analytic/AI engine to give rise to a unified and common sense of the who, where, what, and how of customer engagement. This changes everything – because now the entire business becomes a single, focused unified force to deliver precisely what the customer needs, every day, with every interaction.

It might seem ironic that technologies such as big data, cloud platforms and AI will serve to transform the most ‘human’ aspects of financial services sales and marketing, yet this is exactly what’s starting to happen. What’s more, freed of disruptive disagreements about what customers want, businesses can finally start to align all their energy into delivering a customer experience that sets them apart.

The CMO is key in delivering customer experience, and while they may hold the majority of the tech budget today, we can expect to see them share that budget round the company in the coming months and years. Spreading the tech budget and switching to a hybrid sales model might bring cultural and organisations implications, but the financial rewards in doing so are there for all to see.

 

Top Stories

RISK VS REWARD: IS AI TAKING OVER?

Xavier Fernandes, Analytics Director at Metapraxis

A study by Oxford University academics into “The Future of Employment” in 2013 prompted apocalyptic headlines which stated that in the future 40% of jobs will be automated thanks to advancing technology.

The researchers subsequently claimed that the truth was in fact a little more prosaic; rather than facing complete automation, the research found that 40% of jobs faced some aspect of automation in their activity. So with new ‘AI processes a likely reality for almost half us, what does that mean for our current roles and should we be worried?

 

The fourth revolution?

The first industrial revolution saw machines replacing muscle, both human and animal. The second and third saw electrical power, mass production and computerisation revolutionise the job market. Now, with daily headlines of AI as an employment superpower, there is some concern that AI is bringing a fourth revolution, and with it, unknown circumstances.

This ‘fourth industrial revolution’ is defined by replacing brain power with machines. Our thinking capacity is what inherently sets us apart from other species, so it’s not surprising that any encroachment on it triggers some existential angst.

 

Xavier Fernandes

Evolve to reap the rewards

While many businesses still don’t fully understand the capabilities of AI, those who fear its development are, instead of embracing it, missing all the benefits that it can bring to the workplace. Businesses that utilise AI appropriately are seeing vast improvements across their entire value chain; better customer experience, reduced costs, and more insightful analysis to support management decisions.

AI is particularly useful for supporting tasks with repetitive activity, for example, performing financial checks and assessing large sets of data within financial services firms. AI performs particularly well within this context, spotting outliers before a human expert would notice them, allowing impending problems to be flagged and avoiding costly mistakes.

There is also an increasing focus on maximising customer lifetime value through the use of AI. Being able to predict existing customers’ needs as well as track trends in their financial circumstances is supercharging the old cross-selling approach with testable, predictable outcomes.

With potential benefits like these on offer, management teams of innovative financial services are increasingly relying on AI to help them with some of the heavy-lifting of analysis. Using advanced data capabilities and learned behaviours, AI analyses market trends to provide predictions of future performance. This insight is invaluable and allows management teams to change direction and  correct any problems accordingly. This offers a huge advantage over those that have not adopted such tools.

 

Supporting the workplace

Algorithms and AI are typically ‘smart’ at doing one, tightly-constrained task, but they can be less helpful with many of the activities that humans find straightforward. In most white-collar jobs, automation tends to replace certain tasks in the job, rather than the role in its entirety, as the need for human intelligence is still highly necessary. In particular, we still need human input to first challenge, and then synthesise, this information before taking action. Employees should therefore work with the business to proactively identify what areas of their role could be automated, so that they can focus on the areas that add real value to the business’ commercial goals.

Challenging AI is certainly still important. We know that algorithms can be much better than humans on certain, bounded tasks. However, many algorithms rely on existing data sets to build their understanding. As a result, when a business unit has ‘symptoms’ that fall outside of that body of knowledge, the algorithm may suggest the wrong course of action with costly results.

Indeed, even with plenty of data, algorithms will reflect any biases the data set contains. We’re seeing this with some legal sentencing algorithms where there is evidence that they are treating disadvantaged people more harshly. Getting the answers to why and how far we should trust our algorithms should therefore become an everyday part of any job affected by AI.

Rather than depending entirely on AI for all decisions, workers should be taking all these new, AI-generated insights and using them to complement the human decision-making process. No manager of a complex business ever has enough time to sieve through all the analysis available, but with AI driven algorithms able to flag up any issues and indicate where action needs to be taken, we may find that we have some AI ’colleagues’ who will cover our backs and suggest innovative options. Yes, there will be times when the algorithms get it wrong, but as long as we’re watching out for those, the future is bright.

 

Continue Reading

Top Stories

HOW TECHNOLOGY IS FUTUREPROOFING STOCK MARKET TRADING

stock market

Tony Shaw, Executive Director, London Office and Head Sales UK & Ireland at the Swiss Stock Exchange

 

Markets are shifting, there’s no doubt. Amid all the disruption and volatility from the past year, the Swiss Stock Exchange asked traders about what they expected in 2020 and beyond in our industry survey. The findings point to a rise in digital to help traders content with external forces.

 

First and foremost, traders are enthusiastic about what digital assets can offer.

Two thirds of traders polled said they’d had a marked rise in interest from their clients for digital assets and crypto-products. Given the interest, traders are increasingly bullish about the potential of these products – so much so that 80% have predicted an increase in overall demand in the long term. Market users believe these assets will help generate cost synergies and streamlining trading and settlement processes by creating efficiencies and ultimately reducing costs.

Our 2019 results reflect what traders have told us when it comes to digital assets and products. Last year, we saw significantly higher trading volumes from products with crypto currencies as underlyings. Overall volumes grew by +8.5% over 2018, but the increase in crypto products alone was +17%, reaching CHF 518.2 million ($534.54 m). There was a year-on-year increase in the number of transactions, as well (+21%): 19,636 trades in total.

The potential digital assets hold is clear – evidenced by the building of the SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), a fully integrated issuance, trading, settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets.

According to traders, artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to bring further benefits to market operations.

Two thirds of our survey respondents anticipate AI will create more opportunities for the traditional equities business, while a similar number expect it to reduce the cost of trading. Innovation in AI is already – and will continue to be – a key driver in making our industry more effective at withstanding future risks and challenges both within and beyond the market itself.

In Europe, there is growing momentum behind calls for shorter trading hours – this trend was reflected in our survey as well.

Industry groups such as the Investment Association are advocating for stock market trading hours to be cut from 8.5 to 6.5 hours to open the industry to working parents and women who cannot commit to such long workdays. We found traders were largely supportive of this, with many saying that it could even facilitate operational benefits. The roll of AI is clear here in improving efficiency while minimising time wastage: 36% of traders said the introduction of shorter trading hours would prompt greater market liquidity.

Beyond the market itself, geopolitics continue to shape wider market sentiment.

It comes as no surprise that four fifths of traders said their strategies have been – to some extent – influenced by Donald Trump’s tweets. Interestingly, only 39% of those polled viewed Brexit as an influencing factor in trading activity, while three quarters believe the US election will drive trading activity in 2020 and 65% acknowledged trade wars would also have an impact.

More broadly, traders are split on the state of the global economy – 58% are bracing for a global recession while 42% predict stable macro-economic conditions over the next three years. What seems clear is that whatever happens in the wider economy, traders are making headway with new technologies that can improve their strategy, efficiency, and overall market health.

 

Continue Reading

Magazine

Partner Events

Trending

Wealth Management1 day ago

THE END OF YEAR TAX CHECKS THAT COULD SAVE YOU THOUSANDS

Charlie Reading, Founder and MD of Efficient Portfolio After HMRC’s tax return deadline at the end of January, it can be...

Top Stories1 day ago

RISK VS REWARD: IS AI TAKING OVER?

Xavier Fernandes, Analytics Director at Metapraxis A study by Oxford University academics into “The Future of Employment” in 2013 prompted...

News1 day ago

HALO TRUST USES ADAPTIVE INSIGHTS FOR STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLANNING

Cloud-based financial planning helps HALO Trust deliver greater benefit to communities affected by war   Adaptive Insights, a Workday company,...

News1 day ago

IS DATA PROTECTION AND PRIVACY RELEVANT ACROSS ALL STRATA IN INDIAN SOCIETY?

A Study by Pensaar Design With CGAP Pensaar Design has been working on a research study with CGAP to better...

banks banks
Banking4 days ago

THE RISE OF CHALLENGER BANKS AND HOW LEGACY BANKS ARE TRYING TO KEEP UP

Jean Van Vuuren, Regional VP for UK, Middle East and South Africa at Alfresco   The finance world has been...

ORGANISATIONS ORGANISATIONS
News4 days ago

NEW STUDY: AI HELPS ORGANISATIONS GROW PROFITS 80 PERCENT FASTER

Global research highlights how organisations are capitalising on emerging technologies to enhance finance and operations for competitive advantage   Organisations...

INVESTMENT INVESTMENT
News4 days ago

UK START-UPS MUST MAKE THE MOST OF A SMALL WINDOW TO CAPITALISE ON INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES, FOX WILLIAMS WARNS

Despite rising investment, Brexit and growing interest from tech giants could cut off start-ups’ opportunities in 2020   While a...

Open work Open work
News4 days ago

XPEDITION UPGRADES MORE THAN ONE MILLION OPENWORK CLIENTS TO THE DIGITAL AGE

Xpedition, leader in the implementation of cloud-based business applications, has deployed a new system which has digitally transformed the customer...

Microsoft Microsoft
News4 days ago

ORACLE AND MICROSOFT BRING ENTERPRISE CLOUD INTEROPERABILITY TO EUROPEAN CUSTOMERS

Today, Oracle is announcing the continued expansion of its cloud interoperability partnership with Microsoft with a new cloud interconnect location in Amsterdam....

technology technology
Business4 days ago

THE EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL COST OF WORKING WITH OUTDATED TECHNOLOGY

Slow Tech Could Waste 24 Hours of Worktime a Year In this digital age, businesses are hugely reliant on technology...

stock market stock market
Top Stories5 days ago

HOW TECHNOLOGY IS FUTUREPROOFING STOCK MARKET TRADING

Tony Shaw, Executive Director, London Office and Head Sales UK & Ireland at the Swiss Stock Exchange   Markets are shifting,...

TOP 10 COUNTRIES TOP 10 COUNTRIES
Wealth Management5 days ago

REVEALED: THE TOP 10 COUNTRIES THAT ARE REDUCING THEIR RELIANCE ON OIL

Ben Lobel, Copywriter at DailyFX New tool charts global commodity trading over the last decade The UK has reduced its...

move fast move fast
Finance5 days ago

‘MOVE FAST BUT DON’T BREAK THINGS’ – WHY FINTECHS WILL COME TO LOVE REGULATION

Alex Johnson, Director of Portfolio Marketing, FICO   The guiding ethos of fintech is move fast and break things. It’s...

Company Company
Business5 days ago

OFFSHORE COMPANY FORMATION TACTICS FOR SMEs

James Turner, Director at company formation specialists, Turner Little   Starting a business brings with it its own set of challenges,...

3DS 3DS
News5 days ago

EMV® 3DS – PAVING THE WAY FOR SEAMLESS AUTHENTICATION

Jean Fang, Product Manager, FIME   The growth of e-commerce, m-commerce and remote commerce transactions is showing no signs of...

Technology6 days ago

WITHOUT C-SUITE COLLABORATION DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS UNLIKELY TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITHIN FINANCIAL SERVICES

By Nick Gold, founder and Chief Executive of Speaker’s Corner   A path to digital transformation Mapping a clear path...

payments payments
Business6 days ago

LOOKING BEYOND THE PAYMENTS PRICE TAG

Rob Straathof, CEO, Liberis   In the face of tough competition, cutting costs often seems like the quickest and easiest...

Mitek Mitek
News6 days ago

MITEK SETS NEW IDENTITY VERIFICATION STANDARD WITH ONE STEP LIVENESS DETECTION

Omnichannel Liveness Detection ensures more effective, safe and simple identity verification   Mitek (NASDAQ: MITK, www.miteksystems.com), a global leader in digital identity...

Finances Finances
Finance6 days ago

HOW TO MERGE YOUR FINANCES AS A COUPLE?

By Nelisiwe Ndlovu, Certified Financial Planner at Alexander Forbes   There is never a good time to discuss finances with...

International Banking International Banking
News6 days ago

INTERNATIONAL BANKING NETWORK IBOS ASSOCIATION APPOINTS NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR

International banking network IBOS Association is delighted to announce the appointment of its new Managing Director, Manoj Mistry. Formerly Managing...

Trending