Mitchell Orlowsky Nov 23, 2015

Embedded analytics for smarter sales

Bankers need help selling to demanding, savvy customers in all channels. But it’s a challenge to provide personalized, needs-based product and service offerings at the point-of-sale without possessing in-depth knowledge of every banking product.

Today the sales process at the branch typically works like this: the banker asks a series of questions to help understand the prospect’s needs and then makes recommendations based on what he/she learns from the potential customer. The recommendations are based on what the banker interprets as the customer’s needs and on which products the banker is most comfortable with and understands, not necessarily what is ideal for the customer. Ultimately, the banking sales process is dependent on the skill and knowledge of each individual banker.

Fortunately, however, banks can now use embedded analytics to make their sales processes structured and “smart,” enabling the bankers to make the most of all opportunities in all channels. Embedded analytics also enables the sales process to be measurable and simplifies the process so that bankers are not reinventing the wheel with each opportunity. Finally, each time bankers work through the structured sales process, they understand better how to connect needs to solutions for the customer.

Smarter Sales Representatives

Embedded analytics is the integration of business intelligence (BI) tools and capabilities directly into a business software application. The software application, in this case, should be utilizing best practice processes.

Structuring the sales process with embedded analytics makes the customer sales representatives (CSRs) “smart” with less requirements for the user to have specialized skills or extensive product training. In fact, structuring the sales process itself helps “skill up” the CSR.

While classic BI tools are expected to stay around for a while, we expect that embedded analytics will become increasingly popular within applications that will drive faster, smarter business decisions. Gartner’s latest research estimates that more than half of the enterprises that use BI now use embedded analytics.

There are three stages during a consultative sales process which depend on the skill of the banker: qualifying interest, discovering problem/needs and proposing solutions. If banks structure this process, then it becomes consistent across all channels including the branch, mobile and online. A consistent process now becomes measurable.

How would this work? First, structure a digital needs analysis that asks a series of questions to understand a prospect’s current financial situation. The assessment can be filled out online by the prospect or by a banker as a tool during a consultation with a consumer or business. The assessment software internally utilizes a dynamically generated decision tree (not hard-coded) that, on the fly, takes the customer and banker down the right paths to a scientifically generated set of accurate and complete solutions.

This is where the sales process becomes “smart.” The software will then take those needs, and with embedded analytics, synthesize that information with data from a variety of data including bank rules, eligibility data, product thresholds, web analytics and demographics to provide recommendations. The banker would then present the recommended solutions to the prospect.

Next, the prospect’s needs, along with the product recommendations and account openings, are all captured for further analysis. Management is now able to see what problems and needs are present by demographic and geographic location. They can see what was recommended and what accounts were opened and sold. For the first time, a bank can measure the potential vs. captured profitability of channel, branch, employee and customer.

With a structured sales process, each prospect is served up a customized set of product, service or resource recommendations based on their needs and more importantly, their eligibility. Embedded analytics takes the guesswork out of eligibility and recommendations. It allows the banker to focus their efforts on establishing and nurturing the relationship.

Finally, almost all Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) have built in challenges when the recommendations and data input are not structured and automated. This structured sales process solves that problem once and for all.

Mitchell Orlowsky is CEO of Dallas-based-based Ignite Sales Inc. He can be reached at morlowsky@ignitesales.com

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