The Sales Execution Challenge in Financial Services

 

Posted By Qvidian | Feb 06, 2014

 

There are unique sales challenges facing the financial services industry today. Advisors are under pressure to respond to a consumer audience that is more educated and empowered than ever. However, the industry as a whole has been laggard at adopting new sales practices and tools to enable agents to make that shift successfully. Even so, the market continues to be in growth mode as baby boomers continue to age and require more life insurance and retirement products as part of their overall financial plans.

The trends affecting the financial services industry are substantial and require carriers to make significant changes in enabling their advisors for successful sales execution:

Customer Empowerment

Consumers have easier access to more information than ever before. This changes the landscape for carriers since financial planners and agents aren’t considered as needed or “expert” as they have been in the past. Additionally with the mobile consumer, carriers and agents need to be responsive to real-time and just-in-time information consumption by consumers.

Empowered consumers

Product Flexibility

With the increased consumption of information, more educated consumers demand more flexible products to fit their lifestyles and retirement plans. Consumers’ shifting mindsets requires new, flexible products to meet their longer, active lifestyles. Carriers need to create products for agents to be able to configure and personalize for each situation as everyone considers their retirement plans unique.

CRM/CEM Focus

Organizations in this market have been traditionally slow to adopt formal customer relationship management (CRM) or customer experience management (CEM) strategies, so CRM/CEM plans are in various stages of adoption. With the shift to the customer, organizations need to add resources to create flexible CRM/CEM systems and processes to provide the needed agent support and flexibility. This results in more organizations adopting new technology solutions and new skill sets to achieve this.

IT Modernization

With consumers becoming more familiar and expert in their own right with technology products and solutions, organizations need to revamp their systems for agents to present updated, usable tools for consumers. And agents themselves are looking for solutions and systems that are more user friendly than current solutions. As a result, organizations are investing in updating user experience/UI for existing/legacy systems to meet this demand.

Regulations and Ramifications

With Healthcare Reform and other various regulations, there is general uncertainty in the short and long term ramifications. The industry is generally cautious and maintain status quo as long as they can to mitigate the risk of these changes. These changes have already resulted in millions in resources needed to enable these changes, as well as lost revenue or litigation costs for when carriers are in non-compliance. This uncertainty will continue as these new rules of engagement are rolled out and results start coming in.

Healthcare Regulations

I’m looking forward to attending LIMRA’s annual Distribution Conference for Financial Services next week to hear what today’s distribution leaders are doing to get in front of these trends and accelerate the efforts of taking distribution to a whole new level. If you’re planning to attend, let me know or stop by and say hi to the Q team! Following the event, I’ll share highlights from the event as well as what sales execution challenges leaders are seeing and what innovative organizations are doing today to succeed.

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