Core to any successful marketing campaign is the integrity, accuracy and reliability of data, and nowhere is this more true than in the banking sector. Starting off with reliable, targeted data bases of prospects is the first step to bringing new customers on board, and maximising the number of conversations you are having with potential prospects at a time when your competitors are all scrambling for market share.
“Fruitful sales and marketing activity is dependent on an accurate and well-profiled database,” says Louise Robinson, sales director of CG Consulting. “Data gets old and stale really quickly, if you let your database get out of date, then you are wasting valuable time and money focussing on out-of-date contacts.”
She says it is vital to maintain your databases and keep them up to date to ensure that your communications get to the right decision-maker. “It is always good to have a professional database provider/lead generator. They will clean the data in various ways, from elimination of duplicates through to manual calling to ensure that the details are the latest and will reach the right person.”
In addition, she says a professional supplier will be able to provide specialist data based on a specific set of criteria or a refined list of contacts. “We need to remember that over the past few years, the way we buy products and services has drastically altered. In the days before social media, and the Internet, when an individual had a need, they would look at various vendors and suppliers, ask for brochures and suchlike and make a decision based on cost and feature factors. In those days, the sales team played a key role, and were involved from the inception of the purchasing process, and were used as the initial source of information.”
Today, says Robinson, potential clients don’t need to engage with a sales person to get the information they need to make an informed decision. There is a plethora of information freely available online, through social media and search engines. They can investigate what a bank’s products or services are, check out the organisation’s reputation, as well as get recommendations from peers, without ever having contacted the institution itself.
“This huge shift has taken a lot of power away from the seller. Anyone looking for a product or service isn’t interested in getting a sales call while still conducting his or her independent research into the product or service. Engaging with potential customers too early can jeopardise the sale.”
She says in order for financial institutions to really succeed under these conditions, it is more vital than ever before to have a complete and detailed understanding of your audience, the various channels, and the messaging. “By fully understanding prospects’ needs, we can develop truly memorable, highly targeted, communications experiences that will translate into actual sales.”
Today’s competitive climate, alongside this new buying / selling paradigm, has created a challenging environment for marketing professionals, and is driving the need not just for leads, but for quality leads. “It is no use getting leads that are not the right fit for your particular product or solution, and nowhere is this more applicable than in the banking sector,” Robinson concludes.