The Finserv industry is made up of different types of organizations with varying needs. From traditional banks to investment companies, private equity firms to insurance and mortgage providers, these businesses deliver core financial services to commercial and retail customers in different spaces. 

While many of their day-to-day needs may differ, the common link is that all Finserv organizations must effectively manage relationships with their clients and build streamlined digital experiences. 

This is why CRM is so important. The right CRM tool acts as much more than a customer database. It exists to automate workflows, standardize customer experiences, reveal useful data patterns, and seamlessly scale with the organization. 

Most CRM solutions come with standard features that nearly any business can adapt to their needs—features like “contact management” and “reports and analytics”. Of course, these features are important, but what we’re talking about today is which features SPECIFICALLY are necessary for Finserv organizations. So, aside from the classic “out-of-the-box” features you’d find in most any CRM, what should Finserv in particular be looking for? Here are the top four must-have features for Finserv CRM.

#1 Dynamic API Integration 

Application programming interfaces (API) are sets of programming code that allow software solutions to exchange data. For example, if your CRM and eCommerce solution are integrated, the APIs allow the notifications, triggering events, contact updates, and other information to pass back and forth. 

APIs bridge information from in-person and digital banking transactions too, which plays a huge role in creating an omnichannel customer experience. For instance, banking activities performed at a brick-and-mortar location should be reflected in the customer’s mobile app. With the help of APIs, that happens automatically. However, without it, those data points are not shared. For banks looking to adopt CRM (or really any new technology solution) strong integration capacity through the API is critical. 

Banks using outdated legacy software may face a particular challenge with this. These older systems have more primitive API capabilities compared to the Web services of today. The limitations can hinder the ability to integrate the new CRM with existing solutions and seamlessly share data.  They also may limit transaction volumes between solutions. The good news is, some iPaaS integration solutions have ways to adapt API integration capabilities to make the connection work regardless. At the end of the day, though, the best case scenario is to upgrade outdated tech as part of a bigger digital transformation initiative. This way, as you continue to add new applications, there’s less potential for integrations to break, malfunction, or limit your data access. 

#2 Low Code or No Code Process Automation

Many organizations automate processes to standardize best practices across departments, streamline the customer experience, and cut down on manual data entry. The most efficient approach to these types of automations is to use a solution with no code and low code development options. 

The reason behind this is simple: No code/low code tools use drag-and-drop interfaces and easily customizable workflow automations that allow businesses to build processes and apps much faster and with less IT overhead. As a result, businesses save money and are able to innovate more efficiently. 

no code workflow
<em>Example of no code process automation workflow Photo credit: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener" aria-label=" (opens in a new tab)"></a></em>

The visual capabilities of low code and no code systems give everyday users the ability to build out processes and develop valuable banking applications with oversight of the IT department, but without the need for their constant intervention. 

No code and low code also eliminate the need to hire Fintech companies or a huge team of developers to build out applications and digital experiences. Instead, users in sales, marketing, services, and IT can quickly configure workflows on their own. 

The data behind this trend is proving its value. Here’s just one example: a leading U.S. mortgage provider was able to reduce the time it took to roll out new features from 3-6 months down to 6-8 weeks using low code process automation. 

According to Gartner, by 2024 low-code and no-code app platforms will be responsible for 65% of all application development activity, so for banks looking at agile CRM solutions that can adapt quickly, this feature should certainly remain top of mind. 

#3 Customization Capabilities

Customizations tie into the conversation in two ways. On the one hand, it should be easy to customize workflows in ways that make sense for your business. If you’re using a low code/no code CRM though, you’re already covered there. 

The other customization capability is in regard to how easily you can configure and alter the out-of-the-box features provided by your CRM. Since every organization is different, even a Finserv-specific CRM solution may not include every single option your company needs. The goal is, of course, to get as close as possible to hitting the mark on all your requirements by defining strategic user stories, in-depth selection considerations, and a personalized evaluation matrix. 

Once all that is established, the last consideration is any “nice to have” features that can be customized for you. For example, maybe you want a special field built in to track a specific piece of information, or perhaps you’d like a specialized reporting function for the dashboard. Whatever the customization may be, you must be sure it is actually possible to execute before pulling the trigger on the solution. A professional consultant can help you confirm customization capabilities and create a plan for rolling out your special features or functions as you implement the CRM. 

#4 Interaction Tracking & Intelligent Data Enrichment

To better understand customer behaviors and anticipate needs, a Finserv organization must have the ability to track all communications and interactions associated to a contact and store them in the CRM. This includes everything from call-center or chat logs to mobile app use and website behaviors. Aggregating all that information in the CRM profile helps sales reps better understand each customer and prevents clients from having to repeat questions over and over again. Internal teams can see how frequently a client is interacting and through which channels, all while gaining a better understanding of their behavioral data and how that may affect future opportunities. 

In addition to tracking those interactions, intelligent data enrichment tools can help Finserv organizations take their customer profiles to the next level. Data enrichment features provided by the CRM fill in the blanks on customer profile data without forcing teams to do manual research. With a few pieces of key information, the tools are able to scan the internet for related social profiles, news stories about the client’s company, and other insights that build a more thorough picture of who the client is and what they care about.

Sugar Hint data enrichment
<em>Example of Data Enrichment tool inside SugarCRM. Photo Credit: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener" aria-label=" (opens in a new tab)">SugarCRM</a></em>

Finding the right CRM solution takes a lot of planning and forethought. Which problems are you trying to solve for your Finserv? What are your big picture plans for digital transformation and how will this tool fit into them? Who in the organization will be using the system and for what functions? Which existing solutions will you integrate with the CRM and why? 

The questions may feel daunting, but they’re all necessary to make sure the CRM you end up with will best serve your Finserv. Keep an eye out for dynamic APIs, low-and-no-code toolsets, flexible customization options, and hassle-free data enrichment features. If you need help getting started or would like to learn more about how TAI can assist you with Finserv CRM selection, reach out to our experienced consultants. 

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