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2021 Growth Trends in Financial Services

How Financial Service clients assess their revenue growth capabilities and their areas of highest priority to address 2021.


The diagnostic data summarized in the attached report is from 20 financial service firms who were/are in various stages of working with M. Allen. Each financial services company recently assessed their company’s revenue growth capabilities with a Revenue Growth Diagnostic. These insights are timely as all the diagnostic assessments were performed in 2020-2021.


Aligned to M. Allen’s Sales Growth Methodology, the following revenue strategy areas scored the highest value to the business with the lowest capability or internal performance evaluation of how they’re performing today. Our recommendations to address these Top Five revenue growth areas include:


  1. Improve Customer Experience: Make the customer experience a competitive differentiator. Customer’s expectations have risen and failure to provide an exceptional experience for each customer results in poor revenue growth. Some customers prioritize their experience over product performance when making a purchase decision. This requires a deep understanding of the customer’s journey, and each touch point along the way. Mapping this customer journey is a difficult, yet mission-critical task that, when done correctly, results in exceptional revenue growth.

  2. Improve Intelligence & Actions Around Accounts: Prioritize accounts that appreciate your value proposition and are willing to pay for it. Customer willingness-to-pay is highly variable. Unless you can set prices by customer segment, you will always be leaving revenue and profits on the table. To do this successfully, you must have a deep understanding of the willingness-to-pay, the attributes of an account that dictates willingness-to-pay, and the account needs you must satisfy to command pricing at that level.

  3. Quotas Are Essential & Require Alignment to Corporate Objectives: A company’s revenue goal needs to be intelligently allocated to divisions, regions, districts, territories, and sales reps. Quota attainment, a metric tracked by most sales teams, often lies to executives. Reps who make quota do so because their quota expectation was based on the potential of a sales territory. Reps who miss quota do so because their quota expectation was not based on the potential of the assigned sales territory.

  4. Invest and Deploy Effective Marketing Operations: Make marketing scientific. Increase return on marketing investments. Data is everywhere. Channels are exploding. Technology is changing. Executives require more detailed reporting. Intuition and experience are no longer enough. You are living in the “show me” era. Marketing leaders cannot deal with this alone. You need a right hand, called marketing operations.

  5. Packaging Generates Pricing Advantage: Many companies don’t have a pricing organization. Some don’t need one. But often, those who do need a robust pricing organization arbitrarily assign pricing control to product, marketing, strategy, finance or sales. Or they split pricing control across several functions. Where pricing is placed and the resources it has will significantly impact its focus and activities. To build and execute upon pricing strategies effectively, you need to carefully consider where pricing naturally fits into the organization, what it should do, how it should operate, and what skills, capabilities, and processes it needs to be successful.

Summary Actions to Take:

  1. Conduct the revenue growth assessment with M. Allen to understand where you can improve and what will generate the most value to your unique situation.

  2. Agile methods and approaches should be used in your improvement programs. Prototype, test, deploy, reiterate.

  3. Leverage pertinent and proven (outside) partners who have core expertise in the areas you are addressing.

Executive Summary

SITUATION

Coverage/Channels Assessment Question: “We sufficiently cover our markets. We are in virtually every opportunity in our industry. We select, and optimize, our sales channels based on the way our target customers want to buy from us. The coverage model directs the company’s resources at the portion of the market with the highest growth potential. There is little coverage leakage whereby time is wasted on markets and accounts not in the company’s sweet spot.

OPPORTUNITY

Firms see the importance of this but are rating themselves a 2 out of 5 in this area. As an example, we are working with a financial services technology provider who has hundreds of thousands of accounts to target in the addressable market but are not utilizing inside sales, channel partners and other means to cover the addressable market.

RESOLUTION

Prioritize accounts that appreciate your value proposition and are willing to pay for it. Customer willingness-to-pay is highly variable. Unless you can set prices by customer segment, you will always be leaving revenue and profits on the table. To do this successfully you must have a deep understanding of the willingness-to-pay, the attributes of an account that dictates willingness-to-pay, and the account needs you must satisfy to command pricing at that level.


Product Strategy:

SITUATION

Customer Experience Assessment Question: “We understand the experience the customer has when buying our product, how this experience compares to each competitor, how the customer experience impacts repeat purchase rates and brand loyalty, how to accurately measure the customer experience, and how to identify opportunities to create delightful buying experiences.”


OPPORTUNITY

Financial Service companies scored the value here at a five but scored their capabilities at a two. Importance of working through a customer lens and continually feeding the results of what the customer needs, through the product/service delivery teams, are paramount to achieving revenue growth in a competitive market place.


RESOLUTION

Make the customer experience a competitive point of being different. Customer’s expectations have risen and failure to provide an exceptional experience for each customer results in poor revenue growth. Some customers prioritize their experience over product performance when making a purchase decision. This requires a deep understanding of the customer’s journey, and each touch point along the way. Mapping this customer journey is a difficult, yet mission-critical task that when done correctly results in exceptional revenue growth.


Sales Strategy:

SITUATION

Quota Management Assessment Question: “Our revenue goal is intelligently allocated across the sales team, the aggregate potential of each territory is understood, we understand the positive and negative factors that have impacted quota attainment in the past, and we understand the quantative and qualitative inputs needed in the data model to accurately assigned quotas. We have built a dynamic model which tells us how many live deals, accounts, and prospects a sales person needs to make quota.”


OPPORTUNITY

Two Thirds of the Financial Service companies are blindly chasing this year’s revenue target without implementing across all levels, especially down to the account/sales executives, their respective quota and what activities and leading indicators they must complete to achieve the targeted revenue number.


RESOLUTION

A company’s revenue goal needs to be intelligently allocated to divisions, regions, districts, territories, and sales reps. Quota attainment, a metric tracked by most sales teams, often lies to executives. Reps who make quota do so because their quota expectation was based on the potential of a sales territory. Reps who miss quota do so because their quota expectation was not based on the potential of the assigned sales territory.



Marketing Strategy:

SITUATION

Marketing Operations Assessment Question: “We have a dedicated marketing operations department (or person) who has the budget, and tools needed to make the marketing department as data driven as possible. We (the marketing operations team) deploy advanced analytics, with the help of digital systems, which allows us to understand how each customer and prospect moves along the buyer’s journey. These insights are used to adjust the marketing strategy constantly resulting in greater yield per marketing dollar spent.”


OPPORTUNITY

The biggest gap within the Financial Services portion of our Sales Growth Diagnostic is around Marketing Strategy, specifically Marketing Ops. What we’re seeing with over 80% of these firms is that they’re not appropriately planning, allocating, and establishing a Marketing Organization for revenue generation. Firms that allocate focus in this space should see meaningful growth, as it will free up valuable sales resources to focus on selling.


RESOLUTION

Make marketing scientific. Increase return on marketing investment. Data is everywhere. Channels are exploding. Technology is changing. Executives require more detailed reporting. Intuition and experience are no longer enough. You are living in the “show me” era. Marketing leaders cannot deal with this alone. You need a right hand, called marketing ops.


Pricing Strategy:

SITUATION

Pricing Packaging Assessment Question: “We package multiple products or solutions together to raise average sale prices.”


OPPORTUNITY

In this time of rapid consolidation, M&A, and competition, this area is being overlooked by many Financial Service firms. Part of the challenge is fostering a collaborative environment between the various P&L business owners, Marketing, Sales, Product Development, and Corporate executives to focus on this area. Firms that do this well in some of our other industry verticals are seeing greater than 15% growth in their annual sales.


RESOLUTION

Many companies don’t have a pricing organization. Some don’t need one. But often, those who do need a robust pricing organization arbitrarily assign pricing control to product, marketing, strategy, finance, or sales. Or they split pricing control across several functions. Where pricing is placed and the resources it has will significantly impact its focus and activities. To build and execute upon pricing strategies effectively, you need to carefully consider where pricing naturally fits into the organization, what it should do, how it should operate, and what skills, capabilities, and processes it needs to be successful.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

If you would like help filling your pipeline with opportunities, M. Allen can assist. Please email us at mslonaker@mattallendevelopment.com for scheduling a free consultation.


AUTHOR BIO

Matt Slonaker formed or founded M. Allen in 2020 at the early stages of the COVID crisis to help B2B companies within the financial services sector grow their sales, profit and capital position. Matt has over twenty-eight years of experience in financial services, and for the last decade he’s led both the sales, business development and marketing divisions. Matt has overseen and led the implementation of a sales process that has fueled 3x the average organic growth within two years at several business-to-business financial service firms. Matt’s primary focus is to expand SBI’s clientele base into various financial verticals including private equity, fintech, commercial banking and finance, mortgage banking, investment banking, and wealth management institutions. Matt specializes in start-ups/turnarounds, account management and planning, and sales performance management. He helps leaders align around the growth goal and design the right processes to achieve rapid revenue growth targets. His diverse executive-level experience in operations, information technology, and sales provide him with a depth of knowledge about how to lead engagements of all sizes and situations. Matt’s data-driven approach to problem solving enables his clients to grow effectively and achieve their annual number.

Connect online via LinkedIn with Matt @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattallenslonaker/

Or via email @mslonaker@mattallendevelopment.com.



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