In the fintech space, we focus a lot on the complicated functions of credit adjudication, customer account management, contract and document management, invoicing, and payment processing. However, before any of those activities happens, we have to sell a financial product to a potential customer. When we talk about selling, most people think about selling stuff (cars, equipment, pillows, computers!). But a financial product is also a product, and selling it has a lot of similarities to selling “stuff” but also some key differences.
Recently I helped a client design a sales tool for their financial services sales team. During discovery, we learned that some of the salespeople were quoting in Salesforce, but many others were using customized Excel templates that they had developed and shared over the years. This made it really difficult for the organization to manage their sales pipeline and introduced the potential for error in the quoting process.
Discovery - What's Really Important to Sales?
As we met with sales team members and explored their needs and pain points, we discovered some key features that would be essential for the success of the new quoting tool.
- Make it easy to accurately identify the customer and pull in all of their relevant credit and account information.
- Make it easy to add the “stuff” that we’re quoting financing for to reduce manual data entry.
- Allow the user to quickly and easily structure a financing proposal by selecting required parameters and applying pricing.
- Automatically calculate estimated payments and apply relevant discounts that the customer qualifies for.
- Automatically push data to Salesforce when certain triggers occur in the sales process, so that the sales pipeline is complete and current.
- Integrate with other customer data sources so that sales can see what’s going on with the customer and respond to ad hoc inquiries efficiently.
- Give sales a little leeway to provide discounting to customers without having to request pricing approval for every quote.
- Standardize on a single, universal quote template and quote delivery mechanism so that customers have a uniform experience no matter which country or region they do business in.
- Focus on a clean, intuitive UI to minimize training and change management and increase the odds of universal user acceptance.
The good news is, the sales team members are so enthusiastic about our wireframes and the promised automation, they are eager to get their hands on the new application as soon as we can deliver it.
How Can You Measure Without Data?
The more difficult part of the process is developing metrics and KPIs to justify the project to executives and to measure our success as we progress. The current, mostly manual, process doesn’t provide us with a reliable starting point. How can we measure how long it takes to create a proposal, how many proposals we send in a year, how many are accepted, or how many have errors that require re-work? How can we identify which sales teams are more effective? How can we even see the history of what we have proposed to a particular customer over the past year? So one of the most important benefits of our new sales application will be – we’re providing the business a mechanism to begin collecting and analyzing data about their sales process!
Agility = Listen, Learn, Adjust, Improve
I’m eager for the next phase of the project when we start bringing our pilot sales team members into the new application so that we can incorporate their feedback AND start collecting metrics. In today’s market, just offering customers a competitive financing rate isn’t enough to win and keep their business. We need to provide an exceptional sales experience and the best way to do that is to empower the sales team with great tools.