Taking Financial Services CRM to the Next Level

Those financial services firms that were among the first to implement CRM systems have achieved an edge over their competition. But a new report from the GartnerG2 division says that investment in new functionalities is needed to keep ahead of the late adopters. Firms should be making investments in new functionalities like call center text-mining, event triggering, profiling, lead management optimization, marketing resource management, scenario planning, dynamic pricing tools, and partner relationship management, according to Kimberly Collins, a research director for GartnerG2. Collins says that larger, market-leading financial services firms should make these investments in the next couple of years to keep their edge. "In about five years the second-tier firms will catch up," she says, "and those smaller firms out there are more nimble, with a faster time-to-market." Of the new CRM capabilities available, some are more effective and critical to implement than others, depending on the particular sector within financial services, Collins says. In retail financial services event triggering and online profiling are the applications that will produce the best return. For intermediary-based financial services companies like insurance and investments, partner relationship-management applications should be a primary focus. Finally, corporate financial-services providers should be concentrating on scenario planning and pricing tools, which will empower relationship managers to handle corporate clients' portfolios more profitably while mitigating risk. When firms look to implement these technologies, their suite provider may not be able to offer exactly what they need, Collins says. "CRM suite providers focus on their core competencies like SFA or marketing automation, and simply can't be all things to all people," Collins says. She notes that smaller vendors specializing in these key areas may be able to provide more adept solutions for a firm's specific needs. Ultimately, Collins says, for companies to see results from these new functionalities their existing CRM systems should be up to speed as well. "The real key to justifying these investments is having the right foundation in place to support these new functionalities. It's really about ongoing business value, what the firm is contributing to the bottom line all the time," she says. "In the financial services sector, CRM is not a business strategy, it is the
business strategy."
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