How to find and sell to Financial Services companies

byAlexander Killeen

The rate at which the Financial Services industry adopted new digital technologies has been faster than ever before. Although the industry was already heading in this direction, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated these efforts simply out of necessity.

Sectors such as banking, insurance, accounting, and more all saw changes as reliance on digital services increased. With more people working remotely, physical cash used less, and the introduction of AI-powered software, being just a few changes we are seeing, major opportunities have opened up for new solutions that can help companies thrive in this new environment.


The current state of the Financial Services industry

Some of the major changes seen today can be seen below. With the race on to stay competitive and satisfy the needs of their market, Financial Services companies will need a way to modernise their current systems and adopt new ways to meet the market’s demand.

Cashless banking has become the norm

Since the pandemic, social distancing became mandatory to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Some shops implemented rules where they would not handle physical money in an effort to reduce the risk of infection transmitted through coins and cash. With card and contactless payments being used as the main form of transactions, this digital adoption quickly became the norm.

With the increased volume of payments made digitally and the rise of retail banking customers on mobile apps, Financial Services companies will need to continually invest in solutions to support this trend to meet their customers’ demands.

The adoption of AI

Artificial Intelligence is a heavily trending area that may come to revolutionise not just Financial Services companies but for companies across all industries. As the name suggests, the intelligence of this technology can match that of humans and in many cases even surpass it.

By adopting such technology, Financial Services companies can use it to reduce costs, perform duties at scale and eliminate the risk of human error. Use cases such as pricing financial products, calculating investment risk, or analysing trends are just a few ways AI can be used.

Work-from-home restrictions in place as offices close

One of the major changes so many of us became accustomed to was to work remotely. However, when this was first introduced, many Financial Services companies were not prepared and had to rapidly come up with solutions to run their day-to-day operations away from the office.

Trading floors and its traders were unable to operate on-site as well as other corporate and support staff. Ensuring the correct infrastructure was set up so workers at home can continue their tasks was a challenge, especially when it came to challenges around home internet speed, hardware and security. Although remote work has opened opportunities to work flexibly, the tools needed today will need to help boost productivity through technologies such as automation and the cloud.

Blockchain as an answer to modernising payments

A fairly new concept that is most commonly known within the Cryptocurrency space is blockchain technology. Where it is used as a decentralised ledger in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the technology allows people to have complete transparency on every transaction made without the need for any intermediary.

The same technology is now being adopted particularly in the banking sector due to reduced operational costs by removing the intermediaries that charge fees. As individuals and Financial Services companies rely more on digital transactions, the need for speed and convenience is making blockchain a welcome change.

The need for cybersecurity is growing

We’ve all heard of major data breaches in the past where the information held by large organisations are compromised. But as security tightens, the threat from cyberattacks is also increasing. As Financial Services companies operate more digitally and the general population relying more on digital services to manage their finances, the risk of a data breach is one that companies cannot afford to have.

Financial Services companies are the most at threat to attacks from cybercriminals simply because this is where the money is. As consumers connect to these services via their phones and laptops, practices such as two-factor authentication and biometrics must be used to access their accounts. Cybersecurity now more than ever must be a non-stop effort as new techniques are constantly being developed by hackers worldwide to breach its systems.

With so many changes occurring, there are plenty of opportunities to break into the Financial Services industry with a solution to support these companies to operate better and deliver higher quality services. This post shows you the steps you need to take to find and sell to Financial Services companies.


Generating opportunities through outbound sales

The beauty of outbound sales is that you are in control of who you want to connect with. As opposed to inbound marketing where leads come to you, outbound sales goes straight to the point of engaging with your potential buyers.

The power of this is immense as it opens up the opportunity to do business with anyone who has an internet connection. Through communication channels like email, phone and social media, you can play a proactive role in getting your proposal in front of your dream customers.

However, the opportunities outbound sales brings is widely known and has been used poorly and unfortunately, illegitimately. Prospects who are recipients of outbound sales messages are cautious to engage with people they don’t know due to the high volume of low-quality outreach they receive.

The ease and effectiveness of reaching out to prospects have meant that prospects can view salespeople as pushy or aggressive – especially when salespeople can send the same message at mass without any additional effort on their part.

Fortunately, prospects are wisening up to these tactics and are quick to spot a spam message in their inbox. This means, by being smart and putting in a little extra effort, it’s easier to stand out from the crowd. The following sections will illustrate how to set yourself up for success and increase your engagement with your potential buyers.


Part 1: B2B Data

Before setting off to reach out to your prospects, you will need to have B2B data. B2B data is a hugely important part of the outbound sales process as it will form the foundation of your outreach success. This list or database of contacts along with its associated set of variables will determine your ability to reach your prospects, the effectiveness of your outreach, and how many sales you generate.


Where to get your B2B data and what you should look for?

Your data will play a key part in the success of your outreach. Since your messaging and the channels you can target your prospects on are dependent on the quality of your data, you must ensure you are getting what you need.

We recommend partnering up with a data provider and have them deliver the data you need. This way you save your salespeople time from having to do a lot of manual work such as researching, structuring, validating and enriching the data.

For example, at hubsell, our in-house researchers will process your data on-demand according to the criteria you provide. The data is then sent straight to your hubsell account for outreach purposes and to your CRM to manage your data.

When working with B2B data, there are five main features that make your data qualitative:

Data relevancy

Data relevancy means the contacts you have match your target market and are potential customers. By focusing on relevant prospects, you can be confident that your resources are used correctly and your campaigns can be tailored to different market segments.

Data accuracy

Data accuracy shows how close the information you have is true. Having wrong data can be devastating to your outreach efforts. Using data providers like hubsell can ensure data accuracy by using a human-validation process to visually check the data and check for wrong spelling, typos or duplicate data.

Data validity

Data validation ensures your data has consistent formatting, contains valid contact information, and is free from errors and anomalies. The following are a few problems that may occur if you don’t validate your data:

  • Unstandardised data
  • Incomplete data
  • Invalid contact data

Data breadth

Having many data points about the prospect and company will allow greater personalisation in your messaging and enables you to draw deep insights into your data. Without data breadth, you will lack important information to categorise your contacts and personalise any sales and marketing activities.

Data freshness

Data decay is a huge problem when handling B2B data. Data is always changing so it is important to use the data as soon as it is confirmed to be correct. Having data that is delivered very close to when it was processed will guarantee data freshness and bring better results in any outreach campaigns.


Who are your potential customers?

The first step to B2B data is knowing what data to get. In other words, your B2B data will be a result of the companies and individuals you want to target.

Company data

Whatever solution you are offering, you need to ensure that the company you are prospecting to has the budget and the need for such a solution. The following criteria will help you to filter the types of companies you want to target.

  • Company size: How many employees are at the company (e.g. 11-50, 200-500, 1,000+)
  • Company location: Where is the company geographically located (e.g. North America, Germany, London)
  • Sector: What sectors is the company in (e.g. insurance, banking, investment, etc.)

Prospect data

Once you have decided on the companies you want to work with, you will need to know the people to reach out to with your proposal. They should be relevant to what you are offering and within the department that would require such a solution. The prospect’s seniority will also matter as they should have an influence on the decision making process.

  • Contact seniority: The rank of an employee held within a company (e.g. ‘Manager’, ‘Director’ or ‘Owner’)
  • Contact department: Where the prospect operates in day-to-day business (e.g. ‘Sales’, ‘Legal’ or ‘Human Resources’)

When you combine company and prospect data, you can create segments. A segment is similar to a target persona which helps you identify your target market better. By having many segments you can target each segment independently and with a more personalised approach such as according to the company’s goals or by the prospect’s wants and needs.


Types of B2B data

Once you have established your target segments, you will need to consider the types of B2B data you need for them to fulfil your outreach goals. A lack of these types of data can limit your outreach approach in ways like the number of communication channels you can use or the depth of personalisation you can do in your messaging.

Some of these types of data can be seen in the following categories.

Account

Account data give you more insight into the account such as recent news, funding, or even if a new CEO was appointed. Information like this can help you to target them better by either personalising your message or refining your proposal.

Contact

Contact data provides information about the contact themselves such as name, job title, email address etc. This type of data will tell you about who your ideal buyers are and the different communication channels you can use to deliver your message to them. For example, only having an email address means you can only use a single channel to reach them. But, having other information such as their phone number and social media account allows for a multi-channel approach to increase the chances of engaging with your prospects.

Engagement

Engagement data shows the ways your prospect has engaged with your company. This could be in the form of previously downloading content from your website, the number of times they opened your email, or attending a past webinar. You can use this data to see their level of buying intent and strategise how you want to retarget these contacts.

Technographic

Technographic data is the information about the technologies a company is using. Knowing the different types of software, tools and hardware a prospect uses can help you to carry out competitor analysis and prepare you to position your proposal better to them.


Part 2: Outreach

Once you have defined your target market and have the B2B data you need, you will need to set up an outreach campaign. Your outreach capabilities will largely depend on the quality of your B2B data and can affect what communication channels you use and your messaging.


How should you reach out to your prospects?

A good outreach campaign should span several touchpoints and across multiple channels. Done well, your prospect will be familiar with who you are and what you offer when deciding to explore your proposal further.

You should not expect to generate sales opportunities after one touchpoint. Prospect’s these days receive far too many sales-related messages and often ignore them. By sending multiple messages over a period of time while also providing value will ensure your follow-up messages build a stronger image for yourself and should persuade your prospects to reply to you.

Targeting your prospects across multiple channels is one of the best ways to ensure your message is delivered and on your prospect’s preferred platform to engage on. Although there are numerous ways to engage with your prospect, the most common and effective channels are email, LinkedIn and phone.

Email

Email is arguably the strongest platform to generate leads from. The main reason for this is that by having just an email address, you can send a message directly to your prospect with minimal barriers.

The same opportunity is given to everyone when sending an email regardless of resources, skills or talent, but, the results differ greatly depending on how you use it.

Email is preferred by some people because the messages allow for structured communication as well as having the freedom to more thoughtfully reply in their own time should they want to do some research first.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn offers a much more casual form of communication. As a networking platform, it isn’t as intrusive to reach out to someone you do not know since the purpose of people being on the platform is to create business relationships and seek out opportunities. With the help of being able to see each other’s profiles and connections, it helps prospects build trust with you by seeing you are genuine.

There are two ways to engage with a prospect on LinkedIn: 1) sending a chat message and 2) sending an InMail.

  • Sending a message is the most popular way to reach out to a prospect. It does require you to already be connected but you can also send a note when requesting to be connected with them. The chat feature is good for short messages to try and set up a meeting with them.
  • Sending an InMail is more similar to email as it includes a subject line along with your message. Sending an InMail is a premium option but can help you send longer messages to people you are not connected with and your prospect also knows that sending an InMail has cost you so it can be more successful than a normal message seeing that you have invested in your outreach.

Phone

Cold calling a prospect can be a nerve-racking experience, but it is the most direct method of communication out of the three. While email and LinkedIn are great at engaging with prospects, the purpose of both should be to sell the idea to get on the phone with them, not sell your solution to them.

The phone allows you to deliver your proposal with your own personal energy behind it and overcome any objections the prospect may give you in the moment. You also get instant feedback while the other channels make you have to wait or not get any feedback at all.

While some prospects prefer engaging over text-based messaging, you will find others who prefer dealing over the phone since they can get to the point faster. Mastering the ability to speak with prospects on the phone takes time as it requires you to think on your feet but it is also the only channel where you communicate on a personal level.

Using the three main channels, below is a general idea of what your outreach campaign can look like:

Additional channels

While the three channels above will be your main methods of outreach, you can also mix in some other channels to complement them and give your prospects a deeper omnichannel outreach experience.

  • Text: Follow up your calls with a text or send a text in addition to your email to ensure they check it out.
  • Voicemail: If you could not get through to your prospect, you can leave a short voicemail to build familiarity letting them know you tried to call.
  • Direct mail: Direct mail is the form of sending physical gifts or letters in addition to your digital outreach efforts. Although it’s more costly, you will surely stand out as the very few who do this.

Other social platforms: While LinkedIn is built for professional networking, your prospects may also be active on other platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Reaching out here should help you stand out as not many salespeople will go to that extent in their outreach.


The importance of B2B data quality in email

The cost of having low-quality B2B data on your business is explained in-depth in this post. To cover the essential parts of it, there are three important metrics you need to maximise – deliverability rate, open rate and reply rate.

Although these are related directly to email outreach, the same general principles can be applied to other communication channels such as phone and social media. The focus here is on email because this will be your primary method of outreach and it shows how you can scale your rate of success by improving on each of these metrics.

Deliverability rate

This metric shows the rate of the emails you send are delivered to your prospect’s inbox. An email not landing in the prospect’s inbox is due to many reasons such as having an invalid email address, your sending reputation being too low, the recipient’s inbox is full, the recipient’s server setup auto rejects emails outside of their organisation, and much more.

If your email arrives in their mailbox but not their inbox, this negatively affects your email deliverability. An email that lands in their Promotions folder or even Spam folder will often be deleted on sight.

Inbox placement is vital to your outbound sales success. More about email deliverability can be read here but by improving on the areas that you can control, a higher deliverability rate will increase the following two metrics.

Open rate

The open rate is the percentage of emails that are opened out of the emails that you sent (and landed in their inbox). Suppose you have an open rate of 50%, this means that half the recipients read your message and the other half did not even get to see it – resulting in lost opportunities.

Your open rate is determined by two key factors: subject line and email preview.

  • Subject line: The goal of the subject line is to get your prospect to open your email. It should tell the prospect very roughly what the email is about so they know what to expect, but, do not clickbait as this only causes them to click off when they realise they’ve been misled. Your subject line should contain a few words and, if possible, personalised to the prospect.
  • Email preview: The email preview is the start of your email and is seen after the subject line in their inbox. There is a limited number of characters the subject line and email preview can show combined so a longer subject line means less of the email preview is shown and vice versa. Ideally, your email should start with a personalised message (using their first name is not personalised) so it is shown in the email preview such as mentioning the award they won or the latest news from their company. Your prospect will see this and likely open your email.

Other factors can also include the name that appears (if they don’t recognise you or it is anything but your full name they may not open your email) and the time and day the email is sent (e.g. Monday morning is often a busy period and new emails will push your email further down, also Friday afternoon may be too late as people tend to start switching off for the weekend).

Reply rate

Your email has been sent, delivered to your prospect’s inbox and opened by them, the next thing to focus on is the reply rate. The reply rate is the most important metric to boost as it closely ties to the number of leads generated and thus the number of sales made.

A reply can be made up of a positive, neutral or negative response from a prospect. With so many prospective emails being sent, it is easy for them to simply ignore your email so getting your prospect to reply to your email is the first step. Of course, you want positive replies but neutral (e.g. “let’s discuss this again in a few months”) or even negative (e.g. “unsubscribe”) replies can help you to improve the message in your email.

Here are some good tactics to know for writing an email that prompts a reply:

  • Message length: When writing an email, especially a cold email, a short email will be more welcome than a long email. Generally around 100 words and a message that would take up to 15 seconds to read respects your prospect’s time by getting to the point quickly.
  • Strong CTA: Always end your email with an ask. After you deliver your proposition, it should be clear what action you want your prospect to take. Whether it is asking if they are interested or if they can book a call with you, they should know what to do to progress the conversation.
  • Personalisation: One of the most important factors of getting a high reply rate. Adding a line in your email that clearly shows you researched them, or changing your proposition to suit their job title or seniority will ensure your message is relevant to their specific needs or challenges they may be facing in their role.

Should you personalise your messaging?

Yes! You most definitely should be personalising your messages as it has become far too easy to send messages where simply the recipient’s name only needs changing. Prospects can spot one-to-many messages and instantly know they are just part of an automated campaign they are thoughtlessly added to and will ignore you. Effort needs to be made to let your prospects know your message is intended for them specifically. There are a couple of key ways this can be achieved.

First, is personalised to the prospect. You should know some key information from your data such as the prospect’s job title, department, seniority, tenure, etc. You can use this information to change your proposal. For example, a person who has held their position for a short time may be more open to change, or a more senior person may be less engaged with the actual day-to-day use of the solution. These insights can help you to write a message that is relevant to their job and should focus on how to make them better at it.

Second, is personalised to the company. By mentioning recent company news or product releases, you show that you have researched them and so the proposal you bring can help with it. You can also personalise your message based on the size of the company as smaller companies may have different needs to large enterprises.

With qualitative data, personalised messaging like the above can be automated with tools like hubsell. Typically, static placeholders replace fixed data points such as first name or job title. However, with dynamic placeholders, entire sentences can be changed based on many variables that define your prospect’s persona.

Tools like hubsell enable users to use dynamic placeholders which allow you to send one-to-one messages at scale without any loss of quality. This way, you can still keep the high volume automation offers while maintaining the personal touch manual outreach provides.


How hubsell can help you get Financial Services companies as your customers

As discussed throughout this post, high-quality B2B data and multichannel outreach automation will be required to find your buyers, create effective messaging and reach out to them to book meetings with them.

Our GDPR adherent Data Processing as a Service (DPaaS) processes on-demand B2B data for you, using a mix of research technologies and human-powered data validation, giving you near real-time data with at least 95% accuracy and enriched with over 25 data points.

hubsell integrates with CRM, Gmail and LinkedIn so you can connect all of your relevant sales and marketing tools with hubsell and bring all of your outbound prospecting processes to one dashboard.



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