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How Finance Businesses can Identify their Most Valuable Leads

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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.

Finance

Black Friday payment data reveals rapid growth of ‘pay later’ methods like Klarna

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Black Friday payment data reveals rapid growth of ‘pay later’ methods like Klarna 1

Payment processor Mollie reveals the most popular payment methods for Black Friday

Mollie, one of the fastest-growing payment service providers, has revealed insights into the most popular payment methods used this Black Friday. The data, which provides a year-on-year comparison of 2019, shows that payment methods allowing customers to pay flexibly – like ‘pay later’ service Klarna – has more than doubled in 2020. The study spans 101,000 merchants across Europe, primarily from Germany, U.K., France, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Black Friday trends: 

  • In 2019, Mollie saw a 36% increase in the overall number of transactions on Black Friday versus the previous year. In 2020, this shot up to a growth of 56% on the 2019 numbers, representing a difference of 20%.
  • And this year, even in the four days leading up to Black Friday, there was a 58% YoY growth in transactions.
  • Use of ‘buy now, pay later’ services on Black Friday (such as Klarna or ClearPay) has more than doubled from 1% of all payments in 2019 to almost 2.5% in 2020.
  • Use of mobile payment methods on Black Friday is consistent on the previous year – 0.20% in 2019 to 0.25% in 2020.

“There is a lot of pressure on consumers’ wallets at the moment, which is making people look to payment methods that offer them financial security,” said Ken Serdons, Chief Commercial Officer at Mollie. “It makes sense that fintechs like Klarna, who have performed phenomenally well this year, have been so popular this Black Friday. The increase is in-line with this growing trend towards more flexibility in how consumers pay for goods.”

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Finance

Beyond Transactions: The Payment Revolution

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Beyond Transactions: The Payment Revolution 2

By Marwan Forzley, CEO of Veem 

The uninterrupted disruption brought on by the pandemic accelerated the need for robust, digital-first tools created to support remote teams and accelerate online commerce.

As offices across the US moved to work from home for indefinite periods, specialized back office departments handling sensitive information have had to go a layer deeper to find tailored solutions that support the transition of their in-person workflow. For finance teams, payment approvals, issuance, and general management became a challenge overnight. Particularly for those who — even in 2020 — continued to send and receive paper checks through the mail.

For years and even to this day, millions of small business owners around the world have relied on slow and confusing bank processes to manage their business finances. Every day, they spend valuable time using old, complex and expensive platforms to transact with domestic and international vendors — never knowing where their payment is or even when it arrives at its destination.

With ongoing economic and logistical uncertainty looming as we move into 2021, this old norm should not be expected for much longer. This year has seen small business owners wear more hats than ever before, and has influenced a mass adoption of online financial applications that offer heightened security, save more time, and provide more value as budgets tightened.

A study conducted by Mastercard earlier this year saw online business-to-business payments skyrocket in popularity with more than half (57%) of small business owners across North America turning to digital services since the start of the pandemic to improve cash flow and modernize their payment processes.

If this study is of any indication, the days of making an appointment with a banker or sending a wire transfer through an outdated web portal have passed. And the time for the payment revolution is here.

Putting the user in the driver’s seat

Major world events have always acted as a catalyst for innovation and change. As of a result of the growing pains we experienced this year, in 2021 businesses can finally say goodbye to huge transaction fees and bank-imposed gatekeeping when it comes to managing their financial processes.

The financial technology firms, in partnership card and local bank networks and sometimes even each other, have been building and iterating on products over the past decade that were created to work flawlessly from a desktop or smartphone.

For the first time, small businesses have access to needed, user-friendly financial tools packaged to make their lives easier. No longer reserved for major enterprises, those previously underserved by traditional banks can sign up for applications that consolidate billing, payments, working capital and more to one central dashboard.

With the owner in the driver’s seat, they can better communicate with vendors and customers and reallocate their time previously spent manually sending, receiving and reconciling payments toward growing their business — without ever stepping foot out of their home.

Marwan Forzley

Marwan Forzley

Genuinely seamless and automatic integrations with complimentary functions aligned to core financial activities mark a fundamental change in how businesses will choose to operate moving forward. Not only should experiences be integrated, but the entire lifecycle of the transaction should be digital.

Consider a freelance contractor that uses a time tracking and invoicing software to invoice a client. Through an integration between the time tracking tool and Veem (a complete online business payment tool) the client receives and captures the invoice within their Veem payment dashboard. Because Veem and Quickbooks are integrated partners, as soon as the invoice is received, a bill is automatically created, marked as paid, and reconciled on the client’s accounting software as soon as the funds are issued.

In this flow, the contractor only needs to send an invoice, and the client only has to approve the payment for everything else to move. Thoughtful integrations like these empower businesses to log-in to one application, but benefit from several, ultimately eliminating inefficiencies.

Relentless transparency

Understanding that old habits die hard, it’s expected that businesses of any size have questions when it comes to moving payments from a bank to an online provider.

Answering these questions with unprecedented product value and relentless transparency is the best way forward to bring more businesses onboard in 2021.

This means providing up front pricing, tracking, choice and flexibility to users. Before, during and after the pandemic, cash flow management remains the most critical part of running a small business. Digital payment providers enable the entrepreneur to have unparalleled insight, visibility, and control over their cash flow.

Through non-bank payment options, businesses can secure their information over a secure data network, watch their money move from origin to destination, and choose the speed at which they would like funds to move. By these tools working in harmony, the user can remove friction and spend more time focused on their business.

Separating the signal from the noise

2020 is a year that changed everything for the global small business community. In a report by Veem issued at the start of the pandemic, an overwhelming 80% of businesses shared that they anticipated COVID-19 to impact their business over the next 12-16 months. Problems surfaced that many didn’t even realize they had. And in finding those problems, businesses turned to technology to support them.

As enabling technology, it’s our job to listen and bring clarity and solutions to those contributing to and growing our local and global economies despite the hurdles and challenges they’ve faced.

Right now, small businesses deserve more. More access, more choice and more credit. In the road ahead we expect online payments and bundled user friendly financial services to play a pivotal role in the recovery of small businesses. The payment revolution will see the continuation of important and meaningful products that value the users time and enable businesses to launch, grow, and scale regardless of what’s to come in 2021.

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Finance

The UK’s hidden payments crisis: why businesses should rethink their payments strategy

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The UK’s hidden payments crisis: why businesses should rethink their payments strategy 3

By Edwin Abl, Chief Marketing Officer at Modulr.

As the economic conditions imposed by the Coronavirus endure, businesses are facing a dilemma about how to reduce operational costs while meeting customer needs in as economical a way as possible. And all without compromising on their quality of service.

A recent survey of 200 payments decision makers across the UK, revealed there are hidden costs of payment processing which will have an exponentially greater impact on wider businesses if left untreated. It found, UK businesses are spending an average of £1.5m a year in costs attached to payments – money they simply cannot afford to lose to inefficient processes in these uncertain times.

Businesses need to plug any holes in their boat to avoid sinking. And for many this includes the examination and recalibration of their payments strategy.

The research reveals that the payments process now represents a huge 12% of a business’s total operational expenditure. With two-thirds (64%) of all businesses expecting the cost of payment processing to increase over the next two years.

Two thirds (67%) of payments decision makers surveyed believe the way they process, and service payments has had a direct impact on their customer experience. In fact, 62% of respondents believe the hidden costs of poor payments outweigh the hard costs. This indicates that a poor payments strategy is no longer something business leaders can ignore, as it now has a far greater and unseen impact on wider business mechanics.

The top three hidden costs attached to inefficient payment processes were ‘impact on customer experience/satisfaction’ (38%), ‘influence on relationships with other teams and departments (35%) and ‘impact on competitor differentiation’ (31%).

These findings suggest there is widespread consensus that getting payment operations right, directly creates performance boosts elsewhere in the business. When asked to estimate, as a percentage, the business performance boost received if hidden payment inefficiencies were resolved, the average margin for improvement was +14%, with traditional banking the sector most likely (31%) to predict a performance gain greater than +15%.

The 5 key steps UK businesses can take to drive payment efficiencies

There are five key areas payments decision makers and tech leaders should be looking to change, so that they can drive end-to-end payment process efficiencies:

1 – Locate hidden payment process inefficiencies

Visibility is a key issue. Respondents across large (46%) and small businesses (47%) say they have very clear metrics directly related to payment process costs. Only 8% say that they don’t understand the costs involved. Yet, businesses know they could do better with improved visibility of costs. Both large and smaller companies cite ‘lack of visibility for operational costs’ as the top challenge when it comes to achieving strategic goals around payment process and money services provision.

Digital banking companies, including lenders and FinTechs, identified ‘lack of visibility for operational cost’ as a challenge when it comes to increasing payment services revenue (37%). This is in comparison with all respondents mentioning other issues such as lack of skills (25%) and constrained resources (25%) as secondary and tertiary challenges respectively.

For many businesses, developing a cost model for current and projected payment process costs, both hard and hidden, is a top priority.

2 – Make payments key to stakeholder experience management

Customer, departmental and even supply chain partner experiences are increasingly intertwined. There is no doubt that customer experience is a top priority for payment services strategy. But enhancing the broader stakeholder experience is a close second, and certainly complements the former.

Employee experience affects customer experience. So, payment services innovation must extend beyond customer touchpoints. Happy employees who feel they are working with effective and efficient payments systems will be best placed to enhance the customer experience. And, employees in commercial roles who have bought into the benefits of efficient payments will naturally want to extoll those benefits to customers.

Edwin Abl

Edwin Abl

Companies with a sophisticated and integrated supply chain are likely to be the frontrunners in implementing the integrated payment services that benefit all stakeholders, due to their historic experience. As customer experience management evolves into a broader discipline of stakeholder experience management, including employees and supply chain partners, it will become more crucial than ever to include payment services experience

3 – Integrate and automate to support payment innovation

Payment innovation is driving a culture change, connecting previously siloed functions such as IT and finance. There is increasing integration of systems from customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), into accounts and payments. The research tells us that payment processes are impacting nearly every department, affecting areas including customer experience, brand, leadership, business agility and ultimately, revenue. Integration enables new business models for paying suppliers and customers.

Automation is key to driving efficiency, replacing manual error-prone and time-consuming processes with real-time and responsive, digital ones. This is particularly the case when it comes to operational and payment processes.

Indeed, 52% of large companies say that team hours spent on payment processes was their biggest hard cost attached to payments, compared with 26% of smaller companies who share that view. This suggests that automation could contribute more to cutting the cost of payment processes in large companies.

A host of payments-as-a-service providers (including Modulr) are supporting customers to do just this by enabling them to stream a whole unified product ecosystem of payments functionality directly into their own software.

4 – Bring business leaders together

Payments innovation is driving systems integration and creating a more collaborative stakeholder ecosystem. As all the C-level roles become increasingly focused on the customer experience, the finance remit now includes overall business operations and its associated risks and opportunities. The role is evolving beyond just accounting, tax liability and funding. Therefore, closer collaboration between senior leaders is key to driving efficiencies and enhancing customer experience.

5 – Innovate by adding finance and payments to vertical services

Companies with a vertical focus are well placed to innovate by offering new payment services. In many vertical sectors, especially employment services, software vendors are increasingly embedding financial services facilities, such as payments, into their technology platforms. Employment services SaaS providers, across payroll, accounting, bookkeeping and more are offering financial services to existing and new customers within their specific ecosystem.

This means they can develop hyper relevant, convenient and delightful financial products and services for their end users through highly flexible, ‘plumbed in’ payments. This creates an ecosystem of stickier products while boosting the lifetime value of each end user.

Moving forward – engaging technology to drive efficiencies

If the onset of the Coronavirus crisis has taught us anything, it is that there are many advantages to investing in technology and having a digital infrastructure as responsive as your customer-facing experience.

However, whilst digital technologies enable companies to provide customer service in new ways during lockdown. These same businesses are failing to transform their digital strategies, with the biggest priority still being cost reduction (41%).

By not shedding legacy technology and shoring up operational efficiency, UK businesses are following an increasingly risky strategy. And one which will have an exponentially greater impact on the wider business if left untreated. Particularly when this widespread failure to act concerns the customer experiences that sit at the very heart of a proposition – the payments.

To find out how you can drive payment efficiencies into 2021 and beyond, download the full report here for all the insight you need.

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