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How Finance Businesses can Identify their Most Valuable Leads



How Finance Businesses can Identify their Most Valuable Leads

By Natalia Selby, Mediahawk

Financial services are one of the largest sectors in the global economy, but where there is money, there is stiff competition.

So, getting prospects to choose your business over a competitor can seem like a daunting task. But if you know where to look for the most profitable leads, you’ll cut down the time you take to chase hot leads, save your resources and make your marketing much more profitable.

Here are five ways you can identify your most valuable leads.

Track all inquiries, especially calls:

Although digital has driven most of the customer journey online, the proliferation of mobile has significantly increased the number of calls to a business.And guess what? 65% of businesses consider phone calls to be their most valuable, highest quality score of leads. And that’s because a phone call has an enormous purchasing intent. This is especially true of purchases that are considered more complex than clicking add to cart and going through the check-out process. Buying something like insurance, personal or business finance or setting up an investment are mostly dealt with over the phone as prospects will want a more detailed quote and they usually have questions that require further clarity.

So what about when a prospect does pick up the phone? How do you know what they are calling about? And indeed, if they convert over the phone, how do you know which piece of marketing led to the call? If you’re not using some form of call tracking, the answer to both of these questions is that you simply don’t know.

So let’s look at the knock on effect of not tracking where your calls are coming from. Say someone searches for finance. They see your Google ad at the top of the results on mobile. They click through to your site but have a few questions or need reassurance over a few things they can’t see on your landing page so they click the click to call number. Your friendly sales agent takes the call, answers their questions and they convert. How do you attribute that conversion? Yes your pay per click campaign is driving leads but you won’t be able to attribute that conversion to your PPC campaign as the click to call button isn’t tracked and synced with call tracking.

This problem is magnified if 20 other prospects take this same journey in a month – that’s 20 sales call conversions that haven’t been attributed to a PPC ad. This means when you start evaluating and planning budget allocation it will look like PPC isn’t pulling its weight, when in actual fact, using a first click attribution model, PPC is working the hardest to drive leads. Given the limited data you have, you cut this spend and your leads and sales drop. Your boss isn’t happy and you have to go back and try to find out where the problem is.

In order to see the true picture of your leads it’s imperative that you track calls and link up the software with all of your advertising. This means you’ll be able to see which channels are driving calls – your most valuable leads! Call tracking for financial services can show you the value in your call data.

For even better attribution, utilise a call tracking provider that integrates with the updated Salesforce Lightning CRM. As you’ll be able to see all of the relevant existing information the moment the call comes in and will then attribute any further interactions with the lead’s profile. This will mean shorter time spent digging through data to find what’s meaningful. Plus, you can also bulk import leads who have engaged a number of times with certain marketing to your remarketing platforms and activity.

Set up prospect profiling

Prospect profiling provides you with an up-to-date picture of each potential prospect or lead. The data helps you determine the characteristics of buying personas for your product or service, helping you to focus your marketing and sales resources on the most valuable leads.

To set up correct audience profiling there are four key stages:

  • Segmentation – splitting your audience into targeted groups that align with your goals
  • Messaging – using your consumer insights to shape your marketing messaging
  • Engagement – identifying where and when to place creative and materials
  • Measurement – arguably the most important part of audience profiling so you can optimise ongoing campaigns and drive greater ROI.

You can read about how to carry out audience profiling in Hubspot’s handy beginner’s guide, but the most important thing you can achieve from this task is using the data to glean insight, such as: where are your converted leads coming from? Which marketing materials have they engaged with along their journey?

The consumer journey is much more fragmented yet consumers continue to demand consistency. For example, someone looking to get a mortgage might first see your mortgage product on a comparison site, click through to your website, look at your social media channels, and then reviews. Your challenge is to ensure a seamless experience across these interactions and this is where audience profiling helps you deliver targeted messaging in the format that your different profiles want. For example, a younger user looking for a mortgage product is also a heavy social media user and alongside their peers, you might discover with your profiling that there are on average 3 interactions with your social media accounts and ads before a prospect closes.

Tracking each touch point will show you what matters most to this audience group and you’ll be able to deliver accurate and targeted messaging to ease these leads through the conversion process. Audience profiling will prove to be invaluable at pinpointing how and where your high value prospects are hanging out online.

Align resource to where these profitable prospects come in

Once you have all of the information from the tracking of your profiles, you can then feed this back into your marketing to understand where your most valuable leads are interacting with you online and do more of the same.

Utilise the insights specific to your audience profiles to elevate your brand in the right way and to boost engagement.

For example, a finance provider might find that the majority of people come in first via their blog. They’re looking at articles about“how to improve my credit rating” and “how to find the best financing option”. To engage with this group more, encourage them to sign up to your newsletter to receive more of your content but also be sure to generate more great, helpful, fresh content on your blog to continue to attract prospects onto your site.

Furthermore, you might find that repeat business as a finance provider is the biggest source of your income. Audience profiling might have highlighted that repeat customers respond best to a telephone call as a courtesy reminder that their policy is up for renewal as opposed to an email. The trick here is to do more of the personalised marketing and direct communication.

Tracking all of this activity will provide your financial business with a wealth of data you can dip into to aid crucial decision-making about where to allocate resources and warm leads to follow up.

Filter out with contact forms

You can also filter out less-engaged prospects at the very early stages of the purchase journey using your contact forms. For example, someone downloading your guides might be doing so just for research purposes, yet as you’ve captured their data for the download, this will be triggered as a lead within your CRM system. To avoid wasting time on people who are looking for research purposes, why not be upfront. Utilise drop-downs in your forms to ask people what their enquiry or download is for.

You can also qualify leads by using what might seem like very generic, yet insightful, fields such as “how many employees are at your business”, “if they’re a B2B organisation”, or ask for the lead’s business location or phone number. This can provide invaluable data for your agent’s follow up and help you sift out spam leads from your CRM.

You could also include a dropdown for new and existing customers as research suggests that warmer leads are existing customers or clients. Studies have shown that it costs as much as 5 to 10 times more to acquire new customers than to sell to recurring ones, and current customers spend up to 67% more on average than new customers (source)

Ask people who download guides to subscribe to your email list

In the finance sector the average lead time to close can vary between two weeks and 6 months, dependent upon the cost and stakeholders. During that period, it’s important that you keep your business at the front of your prospect’s mind. The hard sell isn’t going to cut it at this stage; remarketing from the Google Ad network will build familiarity, but an even sweeter spot is your prospect’s inbox.

Those leads that read your blog content, or better still, download a guide or PDF from your site are warm leads. Be sure to include a newsletter sign up box within your download form so you can get their consent to continue to send them useful information.

You can then drill down through your email lists to see who has been opening your emails and clicking through to your site. You can up your remarketing strategy to these leads both on social and on the display network, but also be sure to personalise the content that you send them. For example, if a prospect is looking for a particular mortgage such as buy-to-let, it would be irrelevant for them to receive information about first time buyer products. Place them into a segmented list to receive buy-to-let content and this will ease their path to conversion.

Once you’ve implemented these tactics, you’ll be able to mine your leads much more quickly and deliver even better targeting to ease these warm prospects through to conversion.


The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector



The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector 1

By Javvad Malik, Security Awareness Advocate at KnowBe4

Banks and financial industries are quite literally where the money is, positioning them as prominent targets for cybercriminals worldwide. Unfortunately, regardless of investments made in the latest technologies, the Achilles heel of these institutions is their employees. Often times, a human blunder is found to be a contributing factor of a security breach, if not the direct source. Indeed, in the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, miscellaneous errors were found vying closely with web application attacks for the top cause of breaches affecting the financial and insurance sector. A secretary may forward an email to the wrong recipient or a system administrator may misconfigure firewall settings. Perhaps, a user clicks on a malicious link. Whatever the case, the outcome is equally dire.

Having grown acutely aware of the role that people play in cybersecurity, business leaders are scrambling to establish a strong security culture within their own organisations. In fact, for many leaders across the globe, realising a strong security culture is of increasing importance, not solely for fear of a breach, but as fundamental to the overall success of their organisations – be it to create customer trust or enhance brand value. Yet, the term lacks a universal definition, and its interpretation varies depending on the individual. In one survey of 1,161 IT decision makers, 758 unique definitions were offered, falling into five distinct categories. While all important, these categories taken apart only feature one aspect of the wider notion of security culture.

With an incomplete understanding of the term, many organisations find themselves inadvertently overconfident in their actual capabilities to fend off cyberthreats. This speaks to the importance of building a single, clear and common definition from which organisations can learn from one another, benchmark their standing and construct a comprehensive security programme.

Defining Security Culture: The Seven Dimensions

In an effort to measure security culture through an objective, scientific method, the term can be broken down into seven key dimensions:

  • Attitudes: Formed over time and through experiences, attitudes are learned opinions reflecting the preferences an individual has in favour or against security protocols and issues.
  • Behaviours: The physical actions and decisions that employees make which impact the security of an organisation.
  • Cognition: The understanding, knowledge and awareness of security threats and issues.
  • Communication: Channels adopted to share relevant security-related information in a timely manner, while encouraging and supporting employees as they tackle security issues.
  • Compliance: Written security policies and the extent that employees adhere to them.
  • Norms: Unwritten rules of conduct in an organisation.
  • Responsibilities: The extent to which employees recognise their role in sustaining or endangering their company’s security.

All of these dimensions are inextricably interlinked; should one falter so too would the others.

The Bearing of Banks and Financial Institutions

Collecting data from over 120,000 employees in 1,107 organisations across 24 countries, KnowBe4’s ‘Security Culture Report 2020’ found that the banking and financial sectors were among the best performers on the security culture front, with a score of 76 out of a 100. This comes as no surprise seeing as they manage highly confidential data and have thus adopted a long tradition of risk management as well as extensive regulatory oversight.

Indeed, the security culture posture is reflected in the sector’s well-oiled communication channels. As cyberthreats constantly and rapidly evolve, it is crucial that effective communication processes are implemented. This allows employees to receive accurate and relevant information with ease; having an impact on the organisation’s ability to prevent as well as respond to a security breach. In IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach study, the average reported response time to detect a data breach is 207 days with an additional 73 days to resolve the situation. This is in comparison to the financial industry’s 177 and 56 days.

Moreover, with better communication follows better attitude – both banking and financial services scored 80 and 79 in this department, respectively. Good communication is integral to facilitating collaboration between departments and offering a reminder that security is not achieved solely within the IT department; rather, it is a team effort. It is also a means of boosting morale and inspiring greater employee engagement. As earlier mentioned, attitudes are evaluations, or learned opinions. Therefore, by keeping employees informed as well as motivated, they are more likely to view security best practices favourably, adopting them voluntarily.

Predictably, the industry ticks the box on compliance as well. The hefty fines issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the past year alone, including Capital One’s $80 million penalty, probably play a part in keeping financial institutions on their toes.

Nevertheless, there continues to be room for improvement. As it stands, the overall score of 76 is within the ‘moderate’ classification, falling a long way short of the desired 90-100 range. So, what needs fixing?

Towards Achieving Excellence

There is often the misconception that banks and financial institutions are well-versed in security-related information due to their extensive exposure to the cyber domain. However, as the cognition score demonstrates, this is not the case – dawdling in the low 70s. This illustrates an urgent need for improved security awareness programmes within the sector. More importantly, employees should be trained to understand how this knowledge is applied. This can be achieved through practical exercises such as simulated phishing, for example. In addition, training should be tailored to the learning styles as well as the needs of each individual. In other words, a bank clerk would need a completely different curriculum to IT staff working on the backend of servers.

By building on cognition, financial institutions can instigate a sense of responsibility among employees as they begin to recognise the impact that their behaviour might have on the company. In cybersecurity, success is achieved when breaches are avoided. In a way, this negative result removes the incentive that typically keeps employees engaged with an outcome. Training methods need to take this into consideration.

Then there are norms and behaviours, found to have strong correlations with one another. Norms are the compass from which individuals refer to when making decisions and negotiating everyday activities. The key is recognising that norms have two facets, one social and the other personal. The former is informed by social interactions, while the latter is grounded in the individual’s values. For instance, an accountant may connect to the VPN when working outside of the office to avoid disciplinary measures, as opposed to believing it is the right thing to do. Organisations should aim to internalise norms to generate consistent adherence to best practices irrespective of any immediate external pressures. When these norms improve, behavioural changes will reform in tandem.

Building a robust security culture is no easy task. However, the unrelenting efforts of cybercriminals to infiltrate our systems obliges us to press on. While financial institutions are leading the way for other industries, much still needs to be done. Fortunately, every step counts -every improvement made in one dimension has a domino effect in others.

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Has lockdown marked the end of cash as we know it?



Has lockdown marked the end of cash as we know it? 2

By James Booth, VP of Payment Partnerships EMEA, PPRO

Since the start of the pandemic, businesses around the world have drastically changed their operations to protect employees and customers. One significant shift has been the discouragement of the use of cash in favour of digital and contactless payment methods. On the surface, moving away from cash seems like the safe, obvious thing to do to curb the spread of the virus. But, the idea of being propelled towards an innovative, digital-first, cashless society is also compelling.

Has cashless gone viral?

Recent months have forced the world online, leading to a surge in e-commerce with UK online sales seeing a rise of 168% in May and steady growth ever since. In fact, PPRO’s transaction engine, has seen online purchases across the globe increase dramatically in 2020: purchases of women’s clothing are up 311%, food and beverage by 285%, and healthcare and cosmetics by 160%.

Alongside a shift to online shopping, a recent report revealed 7.4 million in the UK are now living an almost cashless life – claiming changing payment habits has left Britons better prepared for life in lockdown. In fact, according to recent research from PPRO, 45% of UK consumers think cash will be a thing of the past in just five years. And this UK figure reflects a global trend. For example, 46% of Americans have turned to cashless payments in the wake of COVID-19. And in Italy, the volume of cashless transactions has skyrocketed by more than 80%.

More choice than ever before

Whilst the pandemic and restrictions surrounding cash have certainly accelerated the UK towards a cashless society, the proliferation of local payment methods (LPMs) in the UK, such as PayPal, Klarna and digital wallets, have also been a key driver. Today, 31% of UK consumers report they are confident using mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay. Those in Generation Z are particularly keen, with 68% expressing confidence using them[1].

As LPM usage continues to accelerate, the use of credit and debit cards are likely to decline in the coming years. Whilst older generations show an affinity with plastic, younger consumers feel less secure around its usage. 96% of Baby Boomers and Generation X confirmed they feel confident using credit/debit cards, compared to just 75% of Generation Z[2].

Does social distancing mean financial exclusion?

As we hurtle into a digital age, leaving cash in the rearview, there are ramifications of going completely cashless to consider. We must take into consideration how removing cash could disenfranchise over a quarter of our society; 26% of the global population doesn’t have a traditional bank account. Across Latin America, 38% of shoppers are unbanked, and nearly 1 in 5 online transactions are completed with cash. While in Africa and the Middle East, only 50% of consumers are banked in the traditional sense, and 12% have access to a credit card. Even here in the UK, approximately 1.3 million UK adults are classed as unbanked, exposing the large number of consumers affected by any ban on cash.

Even when shopping online – many consumers rely on cash-based payments. At the checkout page, consumers are provided with a barcode for their order. They take this barcode (either printed or on their mobile device) to a local convenience store or bank and pay in cash. At that point, the goods are shipped.

There are also older generations to consider. Following the closure of one in eight banks and cashpoints during Coronavirus, the government faced calls to act swiftly to protect access to cash, as pensioners struggled to access their savings. Despite the direction society is headed, there are a significant number of older people that still rely on cash – they have grown up using it. With an estimated two million people in the UK relying on cash for day to day spending, it is important that it does not disappear in its entirety.

Supporting the transition away from cash

Cashless protocols not only restrict access to goods and services for consumers but also limit revenue opportunity for merchants. While 2020 has provided the global economy with one great reason to reduce the acceptance of cash, the payments industry has billions of reasons to offer multiple options that cater to the needs of every kind of shopper around the world.

Whilst it seems younger generations are driving LPM adoption, it is important that older generations aren’t forgotten. If online shops fail to offer a variety of preferred payment methods, consumers will not hesitate to shop elsewhere. With 44% of consumers reporting they would stop a purchase online if their favourite payment method wasn’t available – this is something merchants need to address to attract and retain loyal customers.

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UnionPay increases online acceptance across Europe and worldwide with Online Travel Agencies



UnionPay increases online acceptance across Europe and worldwide with Online Travel Agencies 3
  • UnionPay International today announces that two of Europe’s leading travel companies, Logitravel and Destinia, have started accepting UnionPay.
  • This acceptance will enable users of the groups’ travel websites to make purchases using UnionPay payment methods.

The acceptance partnerships between the OTAs and UnionPay began in July 2020 for customers across 13 European countries and another 90 countries and regions worldwide.  The European countries covered by the agreements include the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and Ireland.  The brands covered by these acceptances include and which together deliver more than 8.5 million worldwide travel bookings each year covering flights, hotels, holidays, car hire and other experiences.

With over 8.4 billion cards issued in 61 countries and regions worldwide, UnionPay has the world’s largest cardholder base and is the preferred payment brand for many Chinese and Asian expatriates and students based in Europe, as well as an increasing number of global customers. These cardholders are also particularly attractive to the two OTAs.  Despite the impact of Covid-19, Logitravel and Destinia expect to see the demand for travel across the European continent as well as that between Europe and Asia return to growth in the coming years. They are now placing significant focus on offering more payment options and smoother payment services to meet this demand.

The partnerships incorporate UnionPay’s ExpressPay and SecurePlus technology, which will ensure seamless transactions for the customers, contained within a single process through the relevant websites.  UnionPay’s technology also provides for the requirement to authenticate transactions under the EU regulation Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) ensuring that sites will be compliant as soon as the relevant countries apply the requirements.

Wei Zhihong, UnionPay International’s Market Director, said: “This is a major partnership with two of Europe’s leading online travel companies.  Logitravel and Destinia are brands which have been at the forefront of e-commerce for many years and we are very excited to be working with them to extend their reach to new audiences. This highlights the work that we have carried out in ensuring that our technology provides effective solutions for the biggest e-commerce sites both in Europe and around the world. We look forward to announcing many more similar agreements in the near future.”

Jesús Pons, Chief Financial Officer at Logitravel Group said: “UnionPay has always been on our radar, and since travel has become a crucial part of its development, Logitravel felt it important to develop this important partnership. It really was an obvious decision for Logitravel since both companies share a passion for e-commerce and emphasising the payment experience for their customers.”

Ricardo Fernández, Managing Director at Destinia Group said: “We believe that this is the beginning of a really strong relationship.  Our discussions with UnionPay in reaching this partnership have demonstrated their understanding of the needs of major online merchants and their ability to deliver the highest quality systems.  We look forward to working together on further partnership as we move forward.”

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