We live in the digital age of financial services. Businesses and consumers can now access services regardless of their location to the business’s physical location. While convenient for the clients, it has become a nightmare for many financial marketers and front-line sales teams who are scrambling to keep pace with meaningful connection and engagement.
The foundation for any financial institution is based on trust. Historically, clients would walk to their nearest bank branch, call their insurance agent on the phone, or meet for lunch with their financial advisor. These client facing opportunities gave front-line sales reps the ability to build trust through conversations, body language, and sales collateral.
While these methods are still in force today, opportunities have diminished with the acceleration to digital-first. According to BAI, twenty-two percent of Boomers, versus twenty-nine percent of Gen Z, say they use their primary financial services apps two to six times per week. In contrast, Gen Z uses their primary services app every day, versus seventeen percent of Boomers with daily use.
The generational disparities should be alarming for financial marketers. Not because they are trying to figure out how to capture market share of one of the four generations, but because of the personalization that each requires.
Appealing to an entire generation is too tall of a task because generational subsets demand personalization specific to their needs. Attempting to be everything to everyone results in minimal results and fails to build trust.
Marketers are constantly trying to crack the engagement code using buyer personas to decide what to promote closely followed by distribution channels. The problem then lies in how sales teams are supposed to leverage marketing to communicate to their audiences.
Financial sales reps use LinkedIn to promote their company as well as their personal brand. However, many are posts are not aligned with the value they bring.
Most LinkedIn consumers are connected to at least a few professionals in the financial services field. Their posts are often cringeworthy, ranging from humblebrag to shameless self-promotion. While the intent is good, the message is less than compelling.
Here are some examples:
Typical Post: “I’m hiring! Come join my team”
Translation: I’m acknowledging I am in a position of power and want to convey it to the world.
What to say instead: “I love working for ABC company because I am reminded daily of the impact we make on our clients’ lives. If you or someone you know is looking for a fantastic opportunity with an excellent company culture and want to experience the same feeling as me, reach out. We currently have an opening for x position.”
Typical Post: “We have great mortgage rates right now. Call me to find out more.”
Translation: My company is pressuring me to push this product and I am trying to meet quota.
What to say instead: “Considering a new home purchase? Before you find that perfect home for you and your family, be sure you know the process for obtaining the right mortgage. We help take the emotions out of the homebuying process so that you make smart financial decisions with competitive rates. Contact me today to find out what works best for you.”
The difference in ‘typical posts’ versus ‘what to say instead’ lies in the message. The goal of creating social media messages is not only to reach your intended audience, but to achieve an intended outcome. A careless or lazy message undermines the credibility of your brand.
Social media messages need to motivate your audience to engage and act. The core message needs to be articulated in a consistent way with a unified voice between the brand and sales rep. Sales teams go rogue on social media because they are not trained to produce this type of content. The general focus is on the next sale much to the detriment of relationship building.
So how do sales reps reach their audience with a cohesive message?
The number one thing marketing can do to enable sales is to create a repository of content specifically used for sales team members to deploy on their social media accounts. When sales reps are armed with great messages they can personalize to their audience with the feel of the brand.
Social media should be a launching point for integration between marketing and sales. Financial service providers must redesign marketing and sales social media strategies to remain competitive. The path to marketing and sales alignment is not always clear. Creating compelling messages helps control the narrative while enabling sales teams to build trust.