If you’re taking a strategic account management approach with your clients in the financial services industry, the challenges they face are a primary concern. What makes their industry unique? What challenges are they facing, and how does your technology business help them overcome obstacles and increase their profits?
Taking a deep dive into the challenges in the financial services industry gives you a better insight to leverage your services and products for the companies you serve. In this post, we’ll discuss what strategic account management is, how to develop strategic account management skills on your team, and some current challenges in the financial services industry that your solutions can address.
There are some general pain points hitting the industry today. There’s an increase in competition, institutions are struggling with digitization, and compliance and cybersecurity are evergreen concerns. This generic knowledge can help direct your more personalized research into your individual clients and how your services can fill the gaps to propel their success.
What Is Strategic Account Management?
Strategic account management is proactive. In a traditional scenario, the account manager at your company would get a call from a client. The client would explain a pain point or problem they’re having. Or they would ask about improving a process to meet new goals. The account manager would then make suggestions based on the customer’s needs. This all makes perfect sense but, in this scenario, the sales team is waiting to be given the opportunity to talk about your services.
A strategic account management technique means that your entire team becomes as familiar as possible with the industry and specific client. The team focuses on the pain points for that industry and looks at their clients’ performance, areas they can improve, and things that work well. Your team might even develop new services and solutions based on what you see missing in the field. What issues can you solve that no other company is addressing?
In a strategic account management approach, you can help inform your clients about their own business processes and offer technology solutions that they didn’t even know existed, but that meet and exceed their goals. This makes selling your services intuitive and makes your company an invaluable part of their team.
What Are Strategic Account Management Skills?
Strategic account management adds a new layer to the traditional role, but many of the same skills apply. Your team does need to use a higher level of business insights and knowledge of the target industry. It’s not only about understanding your own industry, it’s about completely understanding your target company and the individual contacts. The end goal is to build a fantastic and long-lasting relationship where your company becomes an extended partner in their business.
Top 10 Challenges in the Financial Services Industry
If you’re a technology company selling into the financial services industry, there are some general areas that all financial service companies are concerned about. In other cases, you’ll want to look at the individual business category.
For instance, if your client is a FinTech, they’re not as concerned over the competition of other FinTech’s. They’re more concerned with how to keep their processes agile to meet customer needs and position them to compete with more traditional financial models.
Our list of 10 current challenges can help you identify areas where your business and services can excel for your clients. Individual businesses you serve will inform which areas you should concentrate on to develop new services and market your current offerings.
1. Ransomware and Data Breaches. Ransomware has hit the financial services industry hard in the last few years. Your clients are equally concerned about data breaches of any type because all of these events can be catastrophic. Not only are they losing whatever data or funds are stolen, but they also risk serious damage to their reputation and a loss of customers.
2. Keeping Up with Customer Expectations. Customer service has become increasingly complicated in the banking industry. Customers want to be able to access their funds and get answers to questions instantaneously. They want the same level of care in person, through their mobile app, and online. Their expectations are high and customers are not as loyal as they once were. There’s a real risk that customers will move to a different institution if they’re not served.
3. Mobile Optimization. Mobile apps and mobile optimization for websites and features are a necessity. This opens up a whole new level of technology that many financial institutions need help creating and maintaining.
4. Big Data and Using It Effectively. Financial institutions have a wealth of data that they gather, but the sheer volume makes it difficult to use this data effectively. They need solutions to help them gain business insights.
5. Regulatory Compliance. Finance is one of the most stringently regulated industries. For technology companies serving this vertical, it’s imperative that you have experience with all the regulatory requirements and can guarantee absolute compliance at all times, even as regulations change.
6. Remote Workers/Changing Business Environments. In the last few years, remote work has added a new layer of productivity for many companies. They’ve found that they can decrease overhead without decreasing efficiency and in many cases, offering work from home options means more job satisfaction for employees. There are many reasons to continue to change the business environment to meet these needs. In such a highly regulated field, there are considerations about cybersecurity with this new model. Many companies need help desk support for their remote workers, and they may need extra support to maintain a secure infrastructure.
7. Data Security and MFA Options. Data security is an ongoing consideration from the financial sector. Many organizations may be looking to add new multi-factor authentication options and some will need to consider changes to their process to document access to their data and authorize roles/access for individual employees to maintain increased security.
8. Competition from FinTech. FinTech offers a more flexible solution that can often meet the “need it now” mentality of many consumers. This may be a concern for traditional financial organizations that need to increase their flexibility and efficiency.
9. Challenges of Digitization. Nearly all financial organizations are struggling with digitization. They’re concerned about the cost of implementing new processes and the possible cost of NOT upgrading.
10. AI and Automation. AI and automation offer some excellent ways to meet customer needs without taxing staff, but it’s still new for many organizations. They need leadership in the best solutions to implement and to fit their specific needs.
In looking at some of these common strategic account management challenges, how can you strategically pivot your services to help your clients? What products or services do you currently offer that will help your financial service clients succeed? And are there any areas where you’re seeing a hole in the market that your company can easily fill? These are all questions a strategic account manager would ask.
Need Help Unlocking the Full Power of Your Strategic Account Management Strategy?
Selling technology solutions to finance is an intricate vertical to master. Emissary’s advisor network can help you gain valuable insights into your target accounts and develop the right strategy. Contact us today to get started or call us at (646) 776-0510 to discuss your business needs.