Financial brokers and advisers today are becoming very aware of the role good customer data plays in generating sales. It provides excellent insights into their customers, enables robust decision making and provides the necessary foundation for successful marketing activities.
Good data of course is central to your service and ongoing advice to clients. You need to have access to the information contained in the customer fact find and also your client’s existing policy information to enable you to provide robust financial advice. However I’m going to focus here on how having good data will really help your marketing efforts.
I’ll start with an obvious one. Do you have email addresses for all of your clients? Many advisers don’t and this is quite understandable. Email has only emerged as the default communication method in the last decade or so and many client relationships go back much further than that. However most clients have email addresses today and email offers a no-cost means of communicating with your clients on an ongoing basis. So what should you do? Well obviously you can write to all clients asking them for their email addresses – this may yield some results but if you’ve lots of clients, it may be an expensive exercise. At a minimum though, I would suggest that you introduce a business process that ensures that before anyone in your company finishes a conversation with a client, they check with the client have you got their current email address. Everyone has a role here, every single time, every conversation. This will refresh and enrich your data, allowing you regularly reach your clients at no cost.
The second area is in relation to the source of leads and customers. If you capture this religiously, it can provide excellent insights when deciding where to apply your (usually limited) marketing budget in the future. This will tell you which activities worked in the past and should be carried out again or maybe tweaked, and which ones bombed and shouldn’t be repeated!
Data also provides the foundation for successful client segmentation. While this can be quite a complex area and will be covered in detail in a future article, there are many ways that you can segment your clients and then target them with specific campaigns or offerings. Examples of segmentation dimensions at a client level include;
- policy type
- income levels
- earnings per client
- premiums being paid
- funds under management
- occupation etc.
There are many potential dimensions and indeed as businesses become more comfortable with segmenting their clients, they begin to use multiple dimensions. This enables you to focus your offerings to make them as relevant as possible to your target clients. Good data helps you to make better decisions in relation to your marketing activities and can really enhance those activities through enabling you to provide relevant campaigns aimed at carefully identified groups of clients. The quality of your data is key – remember the old saying; “Garbage in, garbage out!”
As a result of more targeted marketing efforts, greater confidence and expectations can be placed in relation to your sales return as you move from a scattergun approach to carefully crafted and targeted campaigns.
Managing your data however comes with real responsibilities, both in relation to how you use this data and also in relation to keeping this data secure. You need to understand your requirements under the Consumer Protection Code and also your data protection obligations; how and when you can contact your clients and also the permission you need to send further sales messages to them. In relation to security, I’m sometimes concerned about how lax some businesses are particularly in relation to the easy access to data on smartphones and tablets. Is access to confidential data within some of your emails only a 4 digit iPhone password away from someone who could make trouble for you? This is also exacerbated now with the explosive growth of cloud computing. If you use cloud computing on your phone or tablet, is your data constantly accessible on your device, potentially giving someone full access to all of your client files?
Your data is hugely valuable. It is central to your planning, your decision making in relation to your activities and can really enhance your sales effort. Give your data the attention it deserves, make sure that your whole organisation is constantly focused on improving your data. And finally, manage your data securely.
I hope this article was of interest. If you’ve any comments or further observations, I’d love to hear them!