Financial services: Maintaining trust in the new digital economy

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The financial services industry is one with a long history. History means tradition, and tradition has many benefits—such as an emphasis placed on the strength of customer relationships. Profound relationships build trust, and nowhere is trust more important than in all things money.

But those in the industry know that it is at a crossroads, with many new and added forces creating increased demands on financial services professionals. Regulatory issues are constantly evolving, becoming more complex and more rigorous. Governance and risk management are also rapidly moving targets, requiring constant adaptation. Competitive market forces and pressure from financial technology (FinTech) firms continue to grow, as do requirements for cybersecurity and consumer data protection.

Nowhere are evolving pressures on the financial services sector felt more than in sales and legal departments.

Sales

If sales in the financial services sector traditionally are built on individual relationships, creating those type of relationships is increasingly difficult, whether between a broker and her customer, an insurance agent and an enterprise account, or a bank and its account holders. Part of the reason for this is the complex structure of sales in the industry. Some organizations field their own, internal sales teams, while many others rely on disparate agents and channel partners to sell their products and services.  

In addition to complexity, competitiveness is a major component of financial services sales. This follows naturally, if your channel partners have the option of selling your products alongside those of your primary competitors. Add to that the rise of direct-to-consumer products (such as insurance) that put pressure on margins and threaten market share

Competitiveness creates a need for extreme efficiency, but this is often foiled by the ever-growing burden on sales reps to perform the administrative duties required to remain compliant and control risk. It is critical for sales teams and their leaders to eliminate any unnecessary tasks so that salespeople can focus on remaining competitive and providing individualized customer service.  

Legal

Legal professionals are facing increasing pressure on their time, as well. In the financial services industry, the number of contracts governing B2B interactions are proliferating. Wave after wave of new and more stringent regulations create ever more complex contracting scenarios and ballooning contract management requirements. At the same time that contract management needs are growing, legal and contracting teams often are having to do ever more with less headcount across multiple functions.

Creating efficiencies and streamlining processes through effective contract lifecycle management is critical. These improvements can make significant improvements to contract cycles, with 60% faster contract cycles (Microsoft) and 50% improvement in negotiation speed (Goldman Sachs). Not only does this make life much better for legal teams, it also can have ripple effects across the organization.

Solutions

Financial services professionals need intelligent automation solutions to address these difficulties. The right tool set can help eliminate time-consuming, manual processes that take sales teams away from their primary task – selling. And contract management tools help legal professionals integrate contract processes and create efficiencies and insights that benefit their departments and the entire business.

To learn more about how Conga’s solutions can help financial sales professionals, download our eBook, How to avoid sales pitfalls in financial services with end-to-end sales acceleration”. If you’re a legal or contracting professional, find insights into what a contract management solution can do for your team when you download “Creating a business case for contract management in the financial services industry.” 

 

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