Is Financial Services Corporate Marketing Missing the Social Selling Boat?

Editor's note: This post is a guest post from Spredfast partner Hearsay, who offers the Hearsay Advisor Cloud for financial services, empowering advisors to efficiently and compliantly use social media, email, text, voice, and websites to engage with customers, build stronger relationships and grow their business.

Financial services firms are quickly adapting to the new omnichannel consumer landscape, where clients and prospects are gathering information from a variety of digital sources, including directly from the brand itself. These firms are making big investments in digital direct-to-consumer brand initiatives, from shoring up their social media presence and corporate websites to building their own consumer-facing tools (e.g., mobile apps, robo-advice options, chatbot features, etc.).

Their corporate marketing teams know the power of social media and use social-driven marketing and employee advocacy platforms like Spredfast to spread the brand message expertly. As an important part of their top of funnel arsenal, there’s often no doubt within an enterprise marketing department that a social media tool like this is necessary for awareness and lead generation.

The Disconnect

Technology and Tools

Often, it's not so clear what digital tools the sales and distribution channel need to carry those leads seamlessly through the sales process while keeping the brand experience intact, since advisors usually lie outside the remit of corporate marketing.

While firms spend millions of dollars investing in their corporate brand, they haven’t allocated the same resources to their field force. But for most consumers seeking financial advice, the most common touch point is engaging with a real human being – the advisor – and this is where the client experience often crumbles.

Advisors don’t have the technology or tools to carry the brand experience to the finish line. As a result, advisors continue to operate in an analog world, unable to use consumer-friendly technology that clients and prospects expect. This results in a growing disconnect between how clients interact with the brand at large and the person giving them financial advice.

Advisor Focus

According to a survey from Putnam, an investment management firm, 80 percent of advisors say social media helped them gain new clients. Yet research from Hearsay shows they don’t want to invest more than 10 minutes per week on social. For advisor social program managers trying to implement a social initiative across the field, it can feel like an uphill battle.

Why the disconnect? While advisors understand that an active presence on social is critical to building brand awareness and generating leads, they’d much prefer to spend their valuable time having collaborative, one-to-one conversations with clients and prospects – lower-funnel activities with a closer path to a sale.

The Solution

Top-of-Funnel awareness and lead generation - delegate, automate

The answer is to enable corporate marketing teams – those who know marketing best – to manage their advisors’ social media presence at scale. New automation technology allows central marketing organizations to deploy compliant organic and paid social media campaigns across thousands of advisor business profiles, with built-in intelligence based on advisors’ interests and the attributes of clients within their book of business. Advisors are still able to customize and control what is published so it’s authentic to them, but they don’t have to start from scratch.

By doing this, corporate marketing teams benefit from:

  • Broadening the reach of brand marketing campaigns to the local level.
  • The ability to generate leads and demand for more advisors.
  • More traffic to corporate websites from advisors’ social posts.

Local advisors benefit from:

  • An expert social media marketing team that can do it better and more efficiently.
  • More time to spend in the field and building relationships face-to-face.
  • Efficient prospecting; leads are already warm and ready to engage.

Deeper funnel relationship sales: local journeys

The biggest factor in advisor success (and, ultimately, business outcomes) is optimizing the local journey: the management and digitization of one-to-one interactions between advisors and clients. This is the only way advisors can improve client retention, generate referrals and ultimately, sell on social and digital. Birthday, anniversary and holiday wishes are common and predictable examples of authentic one-to-one “warm touches” that are a part of any successful advisor’s playbook. Meeting logistics, billing reminders, and credit card and portfolio change notifications, as well, are suitable only through private communication channels.

But for many advisors, this part of the business is still largely analog and inefficient; think reminders written on paper calendars, snail-mailing notifications, or playing phone tag just to confirm a meeting.

Instead, firms must empower advisors to leverage new, predictive technology that helps them engage more often and more efficiently with clients on the digital one-to-one channels they’re on every day: social media (e.g., Facebook Messenger and LinkedIn InMail), email and text. Imagine a workflow where:

Simply telling advisors they “should be on social media” is not enough. Firms must take a strategic, proactive approach to operationalize social and digital across the omnichannel consumer experience, from corporate to field, and from top-of-funnel lead generation to bottom-funnel client retention and referrals. As the experts in social media and owners of the customer experience, corporate marketing must play a leading role in advocating for the tools and technologies the field team needs to successfully win deals. Enterprises that can take full advantage of predictive technologies, break down organizational and data silos, digitize the client lifecycle, and ultimately empower their advisors to be both high-touch and high-tech at scale, will be winners.

Contact Bill Rusitzky at brusitzky@hearsaysystems.com, or your Spredfast account manager, for more information about how Hearsay and Spredfast work together to align advisor outreach with corporate marketing for the financial services industry.

More about Hearsay

Hearsay Systems offers the Hearsay Advisor Cloud for financial services, empowering advisors to efficiently and compliantly use social media, email, text, voice, and websites to engage with customers, build stronger relationships and grow their business. Its prescriptive technology processes and prioritizes data from across digital channels and data systems, providing actionable suggestions for advisors on how they should engage with clients next. Built for the enterprise, Hearsay connects these advisor-client interactions and data to corporate CRM systems and digital marketing programs and provides efficient compliance supervision and review workflows – all on a secure, enterprise-ready platform.

Hearsay is used by more than 150,000 advisors and agents at the world’s largest financial services and insurance firms. The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

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Bill Rusitzky brings more than 20 years of experience in operational management and strategic partnerships to Hearsay, with a proven track record of supporting cross-functional collaboration to drive strategic plan growth, innovation, sales process, revenue growth.