E43: 3 Ways to Use Marketing Automation Software in Banking

Banks and credit unions are spending more time exploring marketing automation software for both pre-sales and onboarding. We've had questions recently on how to make the best use of these tools. We'll talk through some scenarios based on the needs we're hearing from our clients.

Michael Reynolds Hello, everyone. Welcome to the podcast today. So today's topic -- hey, Allison. How are you by the way?

Allison Gibbs Hi. I'm doing well. How are you?

MR Allison's here too.

AG Hi. Good morning.

MR I just jumped right in, didn't I?

AG That's all right.

MR So today's topic is marketing automation. I like topics like this because they come up a lot of times in conversations with our clients. And we're working on some projects with some of our clients, and we've been getting more and more questions about both CRM, actually, and marketing automation. And so we're seeing a lot of interest in exploring tools like HubSpot or other marketing automation tools for various stages of the customer and member journey. So today we are going to walk through some ways to use marketing automation software in banking and some ins and outs of scenarios that you can take away and start to explore on your own. So sound like fun?

AG Sounds fantastic.

MR I know you love the marketing automation.

AG I do.

MR And our favorite tool -- by the way, we'll be very blunt about this -- we prefer HubSpot as our marketing automation software of choice. So a lot of this revolves around how we use HubSpot for our clients and for ourselves as well. But there are a lot of tools out there. There's HubSpot; there's Marketo. There's what else? Sharpspring.

AG Did you say Pardot already?

MR I did not say Pardot. But yes, there is Pardot. Is Pardot the one -- Pardot's part of Salesforce?

AG Um-hum.

MR So, yeah. They kind of think of them together.

AG It is. Yes. Yes. And then --

MR Eloqua is now part of Oracle.

AG MailChimp can do some level of --

MR Yeah, it does some lightweight marketing automation.

AG -- marketing automation.

MR Yeah, yeah. And there's some other lightweight tools out there. So why don't you back up just a second, Allison, and define marketing automation for us first.

AG Oh, okay. So marketing automation is basically setting up a process in order to make the most efficient, essentially, access point to your either prospects or customers. How can we nurture them is basically -- and then we use marketing automation tools in order to do that.

MR And here's the myth, I think, that I hear a lot of times in marketing automation -- or the misconception, I should say -- and that is that people think they can kind of set it and forget it. Have you seen that? Where they just say oh, we'll push a button and marketing automation should magically do our marketing for us because it's called marketing automation. [laughs] So I think people think it can do everything for them magically.

AG Well, I mean, you set it up -- the whole point is to make you more efficient as a team and as a salesforce, I think, and as a marketing team. So there is some level of efficiency that does happen when you engage in these types of marketing tactics. But there's a lot that goes into getting it set up. So once you have things set up, then, yeah, then from there it is kind of smooth sailing, and you are just optimizing and making tweaks and making changes and maybe changing campaigns and creating new campaigns. But getting there is the process. And that is not the magic button.

MR Well, and also I think my point is a lot of people want to completely remove humans from the equation.

AG Oh, that's not possible. Yeah. At least it's not possible right this second. It could be possible maybe at some point.

MR Yeah, at some point possibly.

AG Robots are taking over.

MR That's probably a whole different discussion we're spawning into, but --

AG It is. It is.

MR So there's three main areas I wanted to outline today when using marketing automation and a discussion on each segment. And one is presales. So basically, before any human contact is made, how can you use marketing automation to help the prospects journey through your brand with your bank or credit union as they're kind of figuring out who you are and if they want to talk to somebody. Two, the second phase, would be during the sales process. So if you're actually talking to someone who's maybe a retail prospect or a business prospect, how do you combine marketing automation with the sales process. And then, three, which is actually what our own client was most interested in, is the onboarding process. So the first 90 days of onboarding a new customer or member, how do you upsell them into more products, how do you nurture the relationship, how do you keep them retained, how do you keep them happy, and how do you keep a pulse on their journey during those first 90 days of onboarding.

So let's start with presales. For presales -- I forget the exact number. I forget every time. But I think there was a statistic saying that for most people, by the time they talk to someone in business development, they've already done 70, 80% of their research online, right?

AG Um-hum.

MR They're already 70% of the way through the journey, right?

AG Yep. Correct.

MR I think the number keeps growing actually.

AG Which is why we always harp on having the information and being transparent on your website within content.

MR Yeah. Because if they don't have it, someone else will.

AG Yep.

MR Your competitor, the other bank down the street, will have more information than you if they're thinking in this direction. And the more you have on your site, the more people can complete that process of their journey before they talk to someone and feel good about you.

So anyway, in presales, the marketing automation can come into play when you are using content marketing techniques and really extending your brand out with financial education and financial literacy content and use that to help people on that first part, that first 70% really, of their journey. What are some example that you can think of that would be good ways to use marketing automation for this process, Allison?

AG Yeah, so if you have somebody -- if somebody's, let's say, on a page looking at car loans, and you have a call to action on that page for some type of an offer, a marketing offer, or you are able to capture the lead in come capacity -- maybe it's a newsletter sign up -- once you know where the people come from, once you know where your user comes from, which page they enter your database on, then you can trigger, maybe, an email workflow based off of that that then consistently sends them valuable information about how you can either help them or using your expertise within the field in order to serve them and provide value up front.

MR Yeah, so email workflows are pretty normal. That's a pretty standard use of marketing automation. You fill out a form, you download something, you get some kind of content, and then you get a series of drip emails to follow up on that. Is that kind of what you're referring to?

AG Yep.

MR Yeah. And that still is effective in some cases. So something else you can do is combine it with social advertising. So you can actually use marketing automation to create segments of people that have done certain things on your website, and then extend that into Facebook, for example, and start to run supporting and complementary ad campaigns based on what they'd done that they then see in their news feed, and then track that activity back to their record in your marketing automation software, and build a time line of what they've done, both on your website, and in email and on social.

You know me, I'm really into using social advertising for a lot of the complex customer journey stuff. So I love the way the marketing automation software industry today is really tying into social advertising really well. It goes the other way too. You can build a social campaign and then maybe they start on a social campaign and then that might be the first touchpoint that brings them into your marketing automation tool and starts to build that time line.

AG And then once you have that time line built, that just empowers your sales team with the information about that individual that they can then start to build relationships surrounding that.

MR That's a good segue to the second phase, which is during the sales process.

AG Um-hum.

MR So this is where the human element takes more of a front seat and plays a bigger role because the first phase, the presale stuff, a lot of that can be automated for the most part. You can really build a case to automate much of the exploratory stuff people are doing online. But when it comes to the second phase, which is talking to someone in the business development team -- someone who maybe wants to open a new account or a business prospect who is looking to move their business banking over to you or to get a business loan or an auto loan or a mortgage or something -- that's a human interaction sales process. So how do we use marketing automation for that? Comma Allison? [laughs]

AG Well --

MR I have some idea, too, but if you want to jump in.

AG Well, it's just a matter of -- it depends on a lot of factors, I think. If you're using a CRM, then you might be able to set up some, maybe, some of your own personal sales workflows, continue to use some of the email marketing within that. I think that it's important to continue to provide value all the way through the sales process and even after the sales process. And so the more content, I think, that you can put in front of an individual without it being overwhelming, the better. My favorite way to do that is just through email marketing and setting up the -- continuing --

MR Wait. I thought email was dead.

AG Email is not dead, you guys.

MR [laughs]

AG It's not.

MR It's not dead. Okay.

AG No, it's not.

MR It's just a zombie? It's undead.

AG Everybody says it every single year.

MR They really do. Yeah.

AG Just like how, in a year, nobody's going to be using websites.

MR I've heard that for 10 years.

AG I've heard that forever. Yeah. Nobody's going to be using websites. Not true.

MR So -- I laughed at that and lost my train of thought. Oh, sales process. Yeah. So this is really where the marketing automation process you've set up can really augment the sales process. So like you said, if someone is -- let's say they are a business owner and they're looking at switching business banks for whatever reason: they're unhappy or they're looking for a business loan or something, and they're looking to build a relationship with your bank. They can look at, maybe, three different options, three different banks, and the other ones are basically just your average salesperson saying Hey, we have these interest rates and features and blah, blah, blah, online banking and here you go, and I'm just going to follow up and keep in touch. And you are the third option that's doing all those things but also you have workflows set up to send them content relevant to what their business needs are, you are paying attention to their time line, you are watching what they're doing on your website, you can actually get an alert when they come to your website and see what pages they're looking at, you've noticed that they've read a blog post on your site about small business accounting software or something, and you've see how much time they've spent looking at those things on your website. Well, that informs your next interaction with them. When you pick up the phone and call them next time, it's not just hey, I'm checking in to see how things are going, you are calling and saying Hey, a lot of our small business owners have challenges around picking accounting software. I've got some other clients who work in that area. Can we give you some advice? You're suddenly becoming a trusted advisor and an expert as opposed to a vendor. And so marketing automation software not just -- it doesn't only give you these drip campaigns and automates some of the touch points, it actually gives you intelligence to use in the sales process, which I really like. That's how I really like to augment sales with marketing automation.

AG And you can even -- depending on the marketing automation software that you use, I know the CRM that we use, we use HubSpot CRM along with HubSpot marketing, you can have your own templates available for different emails within your sales process that you can then trigger at any point in time manually.

MR Yeah, the click and send templates? Yeah.

AG That's more, I would say, technically sales enablement than it is marketing automation. But when you're thinking about automation and how can we improve processes and improve efficiencies in our processes, then that could be something that could be considered alongside the marketing automation.

MR Yeah, I think a lot of people just see marketing automation as this whole thing. But you're right. HubSpot likes to have these terms, like sales enablement --

AG Did you like how I rolled that in there?

MR I like that. Sales enablement.

AG Sales enablement. I mean, that's what it is. That's technically what it is.

MR We love HubSpot. We also like to make fun of HubSpot in an affectionate way.

AG In a very affectionate way. We just love -- their branded keywords and whatnot --

MR They're just so HubSpot.

AG They are. They are. They are so HubSpot.

MR Yeah, there are other tools that do this. But, again, we've done the research and our favorite is HubSpot.

So what about the first 90 days of onboarding? Let's say you've got to the finish line, you've brought on a new retail banking customer or new business banking customer, you've got to the finish line, they've been onboarded, maybe they have one product that they've come in on, maybe they've got a checking account or maybe they've got a loan. The question we get sometimes is how do you use marketing automation to nurture them during that first 90 days and keep them happy? And you actually have a stat that I was hoping you could share with us on what happens during that first 90 days a lot of times.

AG Yeah, so when it comes to acquisition of new customers, I think that that's where, a lot of times, the marketing effort, or at least the majority of the marketing effort, is put towards is getting that acquisition number. Because obviously that looks good to shareholders, to boards, to bosses. We like seeing that number grow up. But when we are looking at once they are a customer, customers are nearly three times more likely to churn during their first 90 days of opening an account. That's pretty crazy.

MR I was not aware of that until you pointed that out. It's pretty shocking.

AG Yeah, and this comes from a retail banking data presentation from people metrics that was presented about a little over a year ago -- about a year and a half ago.

MR That's real data, not just someone's tweet?

AG Yeah, I'm not making this up, guys. Another thing that they said, the customers who reported an issue with customer experience, 17% of them were in their first year as a customer. So keeping those two things in mind, since your newest -- they basically said your newest customers are the most unhappy and the most at risk. So that can be kind of scary. So our first -- I think our first inclination as marketers is always, okay, how can we sell them more things? Great. Now they're here; let's do all this stuff. And sometimes -- I say this about myself: marketers ruin everything. I ruin all of the fun sometimes. I think it's going to be really important that we spend the first 90 days onboarding them and welcoming them as a customer and making sure that they understand what role your team fits in with their life, how they fit into their life and how they can be helpful.

And then after that, you switch over to a customer engagement plan. So first 90 days, customer onboarding -- how this happens is going to be different depending on how the customer comes in to you. It's going to be -- obviously, if it's a 15 year old opening up a checking account, that's going to be different than a 30 year old that's getting their mortgage through you. That's just two different lifestyles, so I think that there's going to have to be -- you're going to have to spend a lot of time going through each process and how -- it doesn't have to be ultra-specific right out of the gate, but I think that the more specific that you can be, the better.

MR Well, I was actually talking to our client about that exact challenge. They were saying what do we do if they get a checking account versus a loan, how do we customize the workflow to them to nurture them? And my thinking was there's always more than one way you can do it. You can get fancy with all sort of custom fields and logic and everything. But I like simplicity. So I would suggest just making 10 different workflows. If you have basically one titled new customer checking, new customer mortgage, new customer auto loan, and you basically enroll the new customer into whichever workflow applies to their purchase. And then you can simply customize and optimize each one individually and keep track of whatever workflow they came in one. To me, that seems like a very clean way to organize things.

AG That's exactly how I would do it to start out as well.

MR Did I just steal your idea?

AG No.

MR Take credit for it. [laughs]

AG Not at all. You've never done that, Michael.

MR Never.

AG Never ever.

MR Spoiler alert. I steal Allison's ideas all the time without knowing it and take credit for them. But she calls me out, so that's good.

AG I do call him out. [laughs]

MR It's a really nice way to organize it I think, because let's say you have 10 different products you want to test this on: checking, savings, investment, auto loan, mortgage, business loan, whatever. Build your workflows out based on what they did. So if they come in with a checking account, maybe they're just thinking I need a new checking account for whatever purpose or whatever. So they come in on that simple product; very small; very easy. Then your workflow and your marketing automation tells them -- first, let me back up just a minute. I'm going to touch on branding just a little bit because we've talked about branding a lot so far. Our Brand Distillery series hopefully reinforced the need for brand. I think one of the first things we need to do when onboarding is reinforce the brand.

AG Hundred percent. Yep. Yes.

MR Reinforce the fact that they have made a good decision.

AG Yes. And that's why I say that the first 90 days should be focused on onboarding them and, essentially, not only bringing them into your brand. But bringing the brand into their life. So it's more about making sure that they know that they've made the right decision than it is about you upselling products. Because you always have the opportunity to do that once they feel welcome. Because once they get past a certain point, the likelihood of them switching to a different institution decreases significantly more and more.

MR Yeah, your data shows they're at risk.

AG Yes.

MR So let's not -- in fact, upselling them may actually do damage in some cases.

AG I think that it could do damage. But --

MR You're on to a good point there where you don't want to overdo it.

AG Right. So it's a matter of -- so like you said, reinforcing the brand, making sure that you have -- I mean, it could be even as specific as identifying what their home branch is -- if you have branches and they use branches, maybe they don't go into a branch frequently and they use your online tools or your mobile banking or your application. Maybe it's identifying that kind of stuff and walking them through how they can use this, how they can maximize it. Maybe even -- if it were me, I would get ultra-personal with it and have it be even from a personal banker at one of the branches to say It's me. I'm your personal banker to come to when you need help.

MR That's a really good point. Because a lot of times, mass emails go out as noreply@blahblahblahbank.com, and it's so impersonal. You can't reply to it; it's not a real person. But yeah, send it from a real person with that photo in there and a name because that really does customize it.

AG Yes.

MR I love what you said about your home branch. I actually didn't even think about that because I was thinking okay, 10 different workflows for 10 different products. But you're right. How about 10 different products times however many branches you have, enroll them in a workflow that is their product they came in on and their home branch. And that way, if you're having events or networking or "lunch and learns" or any kind of live, in-person stuff happening at your branch, you've got that local connection; you get them plugged in.

AG Yep.

MR That's brilliant.

AG Exactly. Exactly. And it gives you an opportunity -- I know banks always are sponsoring events as well and sponsoring arts organizations within the city that they are and within the community that they are in. It could be a way for you to connect some of those sponsorships, as well, and maybe do some cross promotions.

And then from there, I would eventually get to the point that the personal banker, whoever it is, eventually does -- I mean, maybe monthly might be too often, but maybe almost a quarterly check-in email that says Hey, you've been with us for x number of months or x number of years. Are you ready to -- is there something that I can help you with financially? Basically, offer value and offer expertise first, and then the products will naturally come second, I think.

MR Yeah. Love it. So before we wrap up, I want to touch on one thing related to the security concerns people have, and, actually, I think you're probably a good person to speak to this, Allison, because you've been in conversations recently with HubSpot and our banking clients about -- basically addressing their concerns about security and personal information in the marketing automation database. What are some of the concerns they have, and how do you speak to that?

AG So most everybody has a concern that -- how secure is the data; how secure is the platform. Because it is -- I don't think any of these are not cloud-based, right? Any marketing automation software that I've come in contact with at least?

MR I don't even consider non-cloud-based software a thing.

AG I know you don't --

MR Everything's on the cloud.

AG -- but I kind of think --

MR If software is sitting on your computer, it is antiquated.

AG How do you really feel?

MR How do you really feel?

AG I don’t think that there is any marketing automation software out there --

MR I don't think so.

AG -- that is not cloud-based. Just due to the nature of what it is and what they're tracking --

MR If there is, no one's heard of it.

AG Well, I don't know how it would work, honestly.

MR It's just not a thing.

AG Yeah. I don't know how it would work. It's all cloud-based, it's all software as a service, so that makes people feel itchy, I think, especially in such a highly regulated industry as the financial institution --

MR Itchy. I like that.

AG It makes people feel -- because you just don't know. You have no clue and you're relying on these companies saying oh, yeah, we've got these things in place and whatnot. Every single marketing automation software should have a security document to review, and they will give you all of the information about the security practices and the best practices.

I also get a lot of questions about 2-step authentication. That seems to be something that is of concern for a lot of users. I know HubSpot has it. I know Salesforce has it. I'm pretty sure Pardot -- if Salesforce has it, Pardot has to have it. I just don't know about Marketo and the other ones. I think MailChimp has it that you can enable. I just don't think I've ever set it up before. But the majority of them are -- if they don't have it, I can foresee them adding it in the next couple of years just due to the heightened security regulations that we're seeing across the globe that I can just foresee all of this happening.

And then another thing is just the general user. So obviously banks and credit unions have a lot of users or potential users, especially if we're adding every single sales team member to this. And so what happens with that information or with that data? Can you revoke access pretty quickly? Can you make sure that if people leave the organization, can you just remove them quickly and not have to worry about people getting access to the information? That's all pretty standard in software these days, it's just going to be a matter of making sure that people are set in the right roles within the software. I know we keep talking about HubSpot. I know HubSpot has -- and Salesforce has the same thing -- they have different roles. So certain roles can only do certain things. An example is that the sales team -- a sales role -- within HubSpot can't export any contact data. So that could be something that just from a security perspective, that you guys would not want to export that or want to allow people to export data to make sure that that doesn't get on their machines in any capacity.

MR If you want an example of this, you can go to hubspot.com/security, and they have a really nice security section on their website.

AG Yeah.

MR They've outlined all this stuff. They have all the certifications, all the penetration testing results, the audits, the security overview, the business planning stuff. It's a really thorough description of their security. And most automation software does have this. I think a lot of it is just the unknown.

AG It is the unknown. I think it's more so the unknown and the lack of control. I think that's what it really boils down to, is that, if something ever happens, who takes responsibility for it? And that's probably a little bit of the gray area within some of these SAAS products is just the overall risk who takes that --

MR But again, this is not online banking. This is just marketing database.

AG You are a hundred percent correct.

MR You're not storing people's account balances or credit card numbers in --

AG Or you should not be.

MR -- your marketing automation. You're storing first name, last name, email address, probably for the most part. Maybe phone number, maybe a couple other things.

AG Maybe an address.

MR Maybe.

AG But that's a big maybe, I think.

MR That's pretty much it.

AG The majority of that information is going to be within, probably, your online banking or whatever software you guys are using to maintain all of the customer information.

MR The risk is fairly low when it comes to what information is actually at risk. Well good. Appreciate the feedback. Yeah. Anything else you would add as we wrap up?

AG I don't think so. I just really love marketing automation, and I look forward to talking about this more because I think we could dive into more of this in the future as far as now that once we have the 90 days, maybe we can do a customer engagement one after this.

MR All right. We will. Awesome. Well, thanks, Allison. Thanks, everyone, for joining us. Appreciate you being here. We'll see you next time.