Ensuring future lead conversions with AI in the banking industry
This article contains an extensive summary of a 2-step workshop that took place during November 2020 under ERP & Friends leadership. The workshops were held remote and were performed for a total of 6 hours, excluding the time for the moderators to prepare for the workshop, gather information and analyse the result. The overhead purpose of this workshop activities was to identify how a fictive bank within the banking industry can increase and convert their leads to customers and at the same time lower their cost per conversion using AI. In order to fulfil this purpose, the 4-step workshop covered some necessary perspectives to ensure that the participants were introduced to the concept:
From what channels (social media, CRM, etc) do banks collect their leads today?
How can AI be used to improve lead conversions for the fictive bank?
Establish a minimum of 4 strategies that you believe could help the bank to ensure their future lead conversions by using AI.
Based on these strategies, give a more detailed recommendation for how the client could implement this strategy.
The background and the incentive for ERP & Friends to have a workshop on this topic is because we have during recent years seen that companies in this industry have been facing a lot of new upcoming “fin-tech” start-ups. "Fin-tech" is a short explanation for, companies that are very technically advanced and can match more individuals needs in most banking services. This has raised some eyebrows at the bigger banks who now are trying to comply and keep their market shares and customers, but at the same time try to compete for new customers against these “fin-tech” companies.
Before we continue the workshop process, we will introduce our fictive client Vasa Investment Bank. The CFO, CIO, marketing chief and CEO has during numerous meetings with the “consultants” expressed their lack of competence, time, resources and engagement to operate a marketing plan that they genuinely believe in. Their current marketing division works mainly with LinkedIn and somewhat targeted email campaigns, but it is all manually handled today. They also operate in silos, which currently excludes the marketing division from getting streamlined information from the other divisions in order to establish a well legitimate marketing plan and have basis for being able to communicate with their customers.
Vasa Investment Bank (fictive) are a well-known bank on the Swedish market with good reputation for their competence and professional conduct towards their current clients. Their ability to maintain and process their customers are not the issue. The issue lies in their ability to cost effectively identify, process and convert leads into customers.
Due to this current situation, Vasa Investment Bank has presented a recent study where they have realized that the number of conversions of potential leads to customer are lower than most of their competitors. They have also realized that their conversion cost is higher, which indicates that they are lagging in effectively turning leads into customer using digital tools and methods. Taking this into account, the client is now asking for a future proof solution which could help them take back but also increase their market share. Which leads us into the third perspective of the workshop, identifying strategies.
These are the strategies that was presented by the workshop participants.
Basic brand renewal with focus of be seen by a right target group at the right time.
Securing outbound targeted emails through extensive data collection from social media platforms or similar. With machine learning creating different client’s profiles based on this data collection.
Develop Vasa Investment Banks current website so that it has the capacity for a secure, adaptive website with AI based tools and calculators for the customers to use. In order to maintain this strategy, they would need to have expert personnel working with developing AI tools.
Based on these strategies the task was to establish a more detailed recommendation so the customer could get a clear view of what actions they might need to take for them to overcome their challenges in lead conversion effectiveness.
Strategy: Basic brand renewal with focus of be seen by a right target group at the right time.
Technical platform: By implementing a marketing automation tool such as SharpSpring, Marketo or HubSpot, their potential for securing leads will marginally increase. If you quantify the return for this investment in the next couple of years, it will be clear for Vasa Investment Bank that this is something they need in order to work more effectively with their leads.
Competence: In this case it will be hard for Vasa Investment Bank to drive this implementation of marketing automation since they already are a bit occupied with maintaining market shares and keeping current customers. But they have strong support both engagement wise and budget incentives from operating chiefs, who will be happy to see digital transformation taking place in this area. Competence will be obtained from an independent CRM consultant firm with marketing automation experience or from the system vendor and their consultants.
AI-solution: Based on the current client profiles Vasa Investment Bank have today, the marketing automation solution will create what we call “personas”. The personas will be created by the AI-module of the solution. A persona is defined as the most common customers based on real time data, the AI-module will adapt and learn by each new customer who gets added to the register in the database and modify its perception of what the persona for Vasa Investment Bank is. This will give the marketing department a day-to-day update on what new leads to look for in the sea of potential clients. It will therefore help the marketing department narrow down their search in order to find and start their lead management pipeline on potential clients
Cost effective lead management: By automating the conversation with the clients, the lead conversion process will therefore be a lot more effective since the marketing department can, based on the “personas” the AI-solution is creating based on the client profiles, send targeted emails. These targeted emails should comply with the already established customer lifecycle which is already at Vasa Investment Bank. So, based on the client's location in the lifecycle, the marketing automation tool will send out correct email at the right time to the right target group.
Increase the “lead to client” conversion rate: They will be able to construct their own lead management pipeline and their marketing department will surely spend more time converting leads into clients than constructing and sending non targeted emails to their leads and current clients today which is like shooting in the dark and see what hits.
Strategy: Outbound information, through comprehensive data collection from different social media platforms and filtration based on machine learning, to secure that the right information is delivered at the right time to the right target group.
Technical platform: To be able to collect data from different social media platforms, Vasa Investment Bank needs to implement a CRM that has the capability to automatically collect and store information regarding the social media audiences. There is also a need to implement some sort of social content management in the organization. The purpose of the social content management group will be to define the social media strategy, to act on the insights provided by the AI and to be responsible for the content that gets published on the social media platforms.
Competence: Since the process of implementing a CRM that fulfils the needs of Vasa Investment Bank might be complex, there is an emerging need to bring in aid from external consultants that can help map the requirements to the best possible supplier. Vasa Investment Bank will also need competence within marketing automation to help create an automated flow of information to the clients. Lastly, it will take some basic knowledge regarding AI and machine learning to set up the engines correctly.
AI-solution: The AI-part in this recommendation lies in the interpretation and analysis of the social media data collected from the CRM to provide useful insights for the organization. The AI learns to identify different patterns of behaviour of the audiences and analyses the data to deliver relevant information regarding what kind of content that is effective on a specific platform, i.e. what the audience prefer to consume. As the foundation of the information presented by the AI lies different personas which the AI develops over time. The personas can be seen as a representative for a specific target group. This creates the opportunity to separate the insights provided from the AI based on the personas, since the personas might have more or less differences in their behaviour. The marketing department then have the possibility to act differently based on the persona/personas targeted.
Cost effective lead management: Creating an automated data analysis regarding the social media based on different personas will increase the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of the marketing. The marketing department will save time (money) by using the AI-engine which replaces them doing the analysis of different kinds of behaviours and interactions on the social media platforms. It will also automate and standardise the information, provided by the AI. The AI also builds up and develops these personas as the time goes and more data is collected to sharpen and shape the target groups even further. This will increase the possibility to send out more relevant information to the right target groups in the right time.
Increase the “lead to client” conversion rate: With the ability to provide more relevant information to the right target groups in the right time, Vasa Investment Bank will be able to increase the amount of “lead to client” conversions. As the time goes, and more data is collected, they will also be able to develop their services to provide a better customer experience overall which in its own can increase the amount of conversions even further.
Summary and future thoughts
This workshop exercise for ERP & Friends was a new challenge since we are not currently working on an assignment in the banking industry, but this is something we would like to change coming 2021. We believe that the banking industry need help with the digital transformation journey that they are forced into, due to new fin-tech companies that are acquiring more and more market shares. In order to maintain their future business and “win” more clients than their competitors. It is crucial that the digital transformation will enhance Vasa Investment Banks offer to potential and current clients. In this case, a marketing automation tool that will sophisticate their marketing tasks and support them with a tool that secure a cost-effective lead management process.
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