We are only just beginning to understand the potential of social media and how it can be deployed to solve business challenges. The first wave of social media tools contained far too many 'me too' social media monitoring tools that tracked activity such as followers and mentions just because they could. I believe we are now seeing the emergence of a second wave of social media tools that intelligently address specific business challenges. This week we take a look at how Hearsay Social has focused on the practical ways social media can support field sales staff and can help ensure compliance in the financial services industry.
Hearsay Social is a social media tool that is specifically focused on addressing some of the challenges in the financial services industry. The tool is focused on supporting field sales staff and ensuring compliance with complex regulations. There are three aspects of the tool which I wanted to highlight to demonstrate how social media tools can address real world business problems:
- identifying prospects and buying opportunities
- building local relationships
- ensuring compliance
Prospects and Buying Opportunities
A McKinsey study found that if a financial adviser has knowledge of three or more life events, then on average they improve their sales by 10 per cent. This study confirmed what experienced financial field sales staff have known for many years: namely, understanding a customer's life events helps them to tailor and pitch the right products at the right time, which leads to increased sales.
In the old days a financial adviser might trawl local newspapers for births, deaths and marriages to spot buying opportunities. These days social media offers a more efficient and effective method. People effectively broadcast life events and buying signals via social media. This might be a new baby, a new home or a new job.
Social media provides a great opportunity to find and connect with potential buyers. Hearsay Social helps financial advisors use social media effectively so they can grow their personal social network and to engage with this network.
Hearsay Social's strength is in highlighting life events for people in an adviser's network, so the adviser knows when to reach out and can do so in the right context to have a meaningful conversation. The platform will highlight potential life events by analysing social streams. In simple terms the platform highlights and enables advisers to act on social signals.
Building Local Relationships
Financial industry field staff typically sell in their locality. Thus Hearsay uses social media in a local context. They recognize that selling in this market is often about personal relationships and focus is on helping to develop stronger personal relationships on a one to one basis. The aim is to allow branch offices and staff to nurture authentic relationships with customers on a local level. This is quite different to the way social media is often used by major brands.
The Hearsay Social process is in many ways quite a simple one. Building a sales person's profile to help them get found locally, supporting them in growing their network, helping them research social signals and then act on these social signals.
Advisers can build credibility and respect by sharing useful information with their networks on new products and regulations. However, this is a complex and regulated area. With Hearsay Social companies can create suggested posts for advisers to use locally. This is effectively a bank of content that advisers can select from and use as appropriate with their network.
The benefit of this approach is that the messages go through a central approval process. There are very clear rules about what you can and cannot say when it comes to selling financial products which brings us to the third key aspect of Hearsay Social.
Compliance Monitoring and Approvals
As I mentioned before the selling of financial products is a highly regulated industry. Advisers have to be careful in what they say and guard against using words like 'promise' or 'guarantee'.
Hearsay Social includes an approval process for compliance management. In essence using natural language searches it scans all proposed posts by the field sales team and can prevent posts being made that contain certain words such as Damn or Guarantee. These can be flagged for review and approval. This gives the company control over what their field sales staff are saying on social media to ensure higher levels of compliance.
I am impressed by the way Hearsay Social have used social media monitoring, analytics and approval processes to address practical challenges in the financial services industry. I personally think we will see a lot more tools emerge that focus on specific industry sectors and address particular challenges along these lines.
It is easy to see why Hearsay Social has grown to over 80,000 users in the financial services industry and how they have attracted clients such as Farmers Insurance, Allstate, Northwestern Mutual and Raymond James. Their focus on helping advisors to use social media to attract prospects, retain customers and grow business clearly resonates in this market.
If you want to find out more about Hearsay Social visit Hearsaysocial.com.