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Hearsay Partners with Salesforce to Close the Loop on Last-Mile Client Engagement

In 2020, we’re seeing a new engagement model emerge in financial services to support human connections in a remote-first environment. Driving business outcomes from the home office on personal devices has become a requirement, and therefore compliance for BYOD and new digital channels is a challenge that must be addressed now. Both Hearsay and Salesforce are focused on driving this transformation, and today we announced an expanded partnership to help financial services firms bring new capabilities to their field organizations. Read the press release here.

INVESTOR UNCERTAINTY

Individual investors, as they navigate the uncertainty and in some cases upheaval of their lives, are rightly feeling vulnerable and have substantial concerns over their financial futures. This may result in new risk curves for some, more price sensitivity for others, and across the board a desire for consistency and transparency to provide (at least a feeling of) control.  When the world is volatile and unpredictable, decisions are harder and more complex, so more in-depth advice is desired.

This reset of reality is also prompting many to rethink their long term plans – how they want to spend the rest of their lives, their priorities and goals, and what they feel is truly essential. With both more time and more concern to rethink their financial position, they may want to simplify their finances, change their risk profile, or realign with changing personal or philanthropic goals.

This represents both risks and opportunities for financial advisors. People who never thought about life insurance may now work with the first person who takes the time to explain their options. Auto insurance customers may become more price-sensitive and decide to move away from a long-time agent. Investors may simplify their financial plan and consolidate from several firms to a single advisor and bank. Some investors may need reassurance to stay the course, while others may need more compelling evidence to change their position.

One common need across these risks and opportunities is more immediate and proactive communications between financial advisors and clients. This means faster responses, more frequent one-to-one communications, and deeper dialogs. There is opportunity to take advantage of a more captive, focused audience, and engage with clients who rarely respond or want engagement.

ADVISOR NEEDS

Advisors who rely on community events to make new contacts and face-to-face meetings to develop prospect relationships have seen their marketing playbooks go up in smoke overnight. With regular channels of communications not available, they must adopt new digital channels that give clients choice and are just as easy, if not easier, to use. In some cases, their strongest benefit may be unavailable (e.g., their convenient branch location), creating the need for a business model adaptation as well.

At the same time as they are facing these challenges, they also face a huge opportunity to be there for clients when it matters most. There is a strong opening to discuss new goals and plans, building new levels of trust and connection. To make the most of this situation, personal relationships between clients and advisors need to become more digital, and digital needs to become more human.

Although extra support from corporate is clearly needed, digital messages alone without a human touch can be tone deaf. With the large amount of reassessment and planning happening at this moment, human advisors are needed more than ever, but without digital support, they cannot scale to meet the demand.

HEARSAY + SALESFORCE

Given this environment, advisors and agents are being far more proactive with their customers and prospects. As a result, Hearsay has seen a 300% spike in activity in our compliant channels. We are also starting to see the financial services industry strike a better balance between automation and authentic engagement. At Hearsay, we focus on providing that critical last-mile of customer engagement, and more than ever our clients are focused on connecting those activities back into Salesforce to inform the next step in a personalized client journey.

This is the foundation of the Hearsay-Salesforce partnership. The ability to capture activities including texts, call records, social media and website interactions back into Salesforce records is transformational for our joint clients. When we connect these last mile channels to Salesforce we’ve seen a 15x increase in the amount of data flowing into CRM. This provides new insights for our customers.

The other very exciting aspect of the partnership is our ability to leverage Hearsay’s compliance platform, including the automation and intelligence that allows last-mile programs to scale up for field deployments into the tens of thousands. The platform captures and supervises activity across digital channels to comply with global regulations for financial services including requirements from FINRA, SEC, IIROC, FCA, and PRA. Using an AI-powered alert system, Hearsay’s platform intelligently surfaces, tracks and remediates sensitive communications so that supervisors can focus on the highest-risk violations and be more efficient.

All in all, we are excited to address some of the biggest challenges in financial services CRM – namely regulatory compliance and adoption of CRM in the field. Our partnership brings together a complete customer experience across automated and last-mile, one-to-one channels. There’s more to come in the next few quarters, and we look forward to sharing more innovations this year at Dreamforce!

Financial Services Email Marketing: 5 Steps to Building a Strong Foundation

Learn about email marketing best practices and the importance of your advisors / agents maintaining consistent, on-brand communications with their clients.

When it comes to having a holistic and consistent digital presence, email plays a vital role in making sure your advisors and/or agents keep the conversations going with their clients. Email marketing allows your advisors and/or agents to nurture leads and develop relationships with clients in ways that are personable, measurable, and scalable.

Not only is email marketing a core digital communication channel, but this approach is budget friendly too.  According to the Data and Marketing Association, the ROI for every $1 spent on email marketing is $44-—an astronomical ROI of 4400%. So, how do you develop a strong email marketing strategy that delivers? Here are some critical best practices with which to start:

  • Personalization: Personalizing every communication with customers helps build a connection and increase engagement with them. After all, if your advisors and/or agents saw them in person, they wouldn’t greet them with “Hello, valued customer.” In a survey conducted by Econsultancy, 74% of marketers report that targeted personalization increases customer engagement while 94% of companies surveyed agree that personalization is “critical to current and future success.”
  • Automation: Automation is an efficient and time-saving way to manage email campaigns while still maintaining personalization. Balancing your email strategy between drip, nurture, and triggered campaigns helps your advisors and/or agents nurture leads, move prospects along their customer journey and suggest relevant, timely calls to action.
  • Mobile-Friendly Interface: A study by the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) estimates that by 2025, almost three quarters of all internet users will access the internet with just their smartphones, only reinforcing the importance of having a mobile-first approach when it comes to design. This means designing for a responsive environment that adapts to the screen size used as well as designing with smaller screens in mind overall. What does this mean for your emails? Making them concise and easy to read on a mobile device should always be top of mind.
  • Track Your Metrics: While there are dozens of metrics you can focus on to determine how successful your emails are, there are a few foundational ones that all email campaigns are built upon: bounce rates, open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribes. These metrics alone can help you fine tune your campaigns as they indicate if your emails are: 1) delivered, 2) read, 3) acted upon, and 4) helpful enough to keep receiving.
  • Consistency with Social Presence: Just as your advisors and/or agents have their own personal brand, that brand should sound the same in all their online communications. Staying consistent in voice, tone, and content reinforces the relationship they are trying to build with their clients. For example, if clients receive an email that sounds off brand and inconsistent with previous communications, it can be jarring and off-putting and can chip away at the trust your advisors and/or agents have worked so hard to earn.
    Just like a strong personal brand or an effective content strategy, email marketing is a crucial tool that keeps your advisors and/or agents top of mind with clients and helps guide them along the customer journey.

To learn more about how to build an effective email campaign around these best practices, check out the recording of our most recent admin webinar, or share these advisor/agent webinars where we discuss more email marketing strategies and how Hearsay tools can help.

The ROI of Your Advisors’ and Agents’ Digital Presence

Learn about the ROI of digital relationships, digital validation, and what metrics you can share with your advisors and/or agents to measure their digital programs.

A strong digital presence is table stakes in today’s business world, and as with anything in business, it’s important to see ROI from the time and money you invest in such an endeavor. Building and maintaining an impactful digital program is something that can take significant resources, but the right tools can save your advisors and/or agents time that they can then re-invest where it matters most—with their clients.

When it comes to measuring the ROI of online presence, there is a direct correlation to a different kind of ROI: the ROI of relationships. A consistent digital presence is key to helping your advisors and/or agents build relationships with existing clients and nurture new ones. In fact, an overwhelming 87% of consumers begin their product searches online. This translates to researching advisors and agents on social media before even agreeing to a first call or meeting. When your advisors and agents have a compelling online presence, the ‘digital validation’ they get when prospects are in the research phase saves precious time.

Creating an online presence that stands out is a combination of defining the key metrics that are the most important to the objectives of your advisors and/or agents social program and then adhering to social media best practices in order to execute them. Once there are clear goals established for your field programs, specific metrics help measure each one.

Some examples of metrics you can share with your advisors and/or agents to measure their programs are:

  • Referral traffic: Track how customers found you and the source they used. Knowing how your customers are finding you helps you know where to focus your efforts as well as find the gaps where you want to grow your presence more.
  • Conversions: First determine how you define conversion for your business. Is it when someone registers for an event or when they sign up for your email list? It can differ depending on what you’ve determined leads to closing business.
  • Client engagement: Clients interact with you online with retweets, likes, comments, link clicks, shares, and mentions. Measuring client engagement helps you understand what’s resonating with your clients and what isn’t.
  • Brand reach: How many total followers do you have and what’s your audience growth rate? How many people do your posts reach when they in turn share your posts? Your message goes beyond your immediate audience.

Having a concise, measurable digital strategy is more than just a means to an end. It means remembering that there is also an ROI to relationships—and that those relationships are built one online interaction at a time.

To learn how to increase the ROI of your advisors’ and/or agents’ digital presence, check out the recording of our most recent admin webinar, or share these advisor/agent webinars where we discuss best practices to measure their online business, as well as how Hearsay tools can help them grow it, with your field.

Hearsay a Finalist for Social Media Leadership Award

Hearsay Systems recognized by WealthManagement.com as a finalist for financial services social media award.

As a trusted leader in compliant last-mile digital communications for the financial services industry, Hearsay recognized the importance of proactively taking measures to Safeguard Social During COVID-19 right away.

Today, we’re honored to announce that these efforts earned us finalist status in WealthManagement.com’s prestigious 2020 Industry Awards, in the Technology Provider: Social Media Leadership category. Amongst more than 200 companies and 625 nominations this year, selection as a finalist recognizes Hearsay as one of the outstanding companies, individuals and organizations that make a real difference in the daily activities of financial advisors.

In volatile markets like we’ve seen with COVID-19, it’s essential that advisors proactively engage clients. Social media is a critical way for advisors to provide a steady drip of updates to keep clients continuously informed. These are key moments for building stronger relationships and developing deep client loyalty. But due to that same volatility, the risk of misinformation is heightened.

Financial institutions need to ensure social media content is accurate and representative of their firm’s view. To safeguard social in turbulent times, and empower advisors to deliver critical social engagement that strengthens client relationships, Hearsay arms customers with risk mitigation features to identify, prevent, and track sensitive communications related to COVID-19 and alleviate compliance challenges. These tools offer a scalable, intelligent defense for firms and their compliance teams, providing stronger, more efficient coverage against digital risk. By tracking these COVID-19 engagements, business and compliance leaders can understand how their field is operating amidst the pandemic and better assess advisors’ overall impact.

In this time of heightened uncertainty, when it’s critical for advisors to engage and reassure clients, Hearsay offers tools for the field to authentically communicate with clients while making it easy for corporate teams to quickly identify and effectively remediate problematic communications.

A panel of independent judges will determine the WealthManagement.com 2020 Industry Award winners who will be announced at the Wealthies Live Virtual Event, September 10, 2020.

Welcome Iain Duke-Richardet! Financial Services and Tech Compliance Authority Joins the Hearsay Team

Get to know more about Iain Duke-Richardet, Hearsay’s new Compliance Strategy Principal. Find out what a typical day is like, his take on RegBI, predictions for the industry, and more!

We’re thrilled that Iain Duke-Richardet has joined the Hearsay team as Compliance Strategy Principal! Iain joins us from Accenture’s Regulatory & Compliance Practice where he helped guide clients on a range of issues including regulatory change and reporting, technology-related legal and regulatory issues, cybersecurity, privacy, and more. Prior to his time at Accenture, he spent a decade in our customers’ shoes (some of that time literally) as a compliance leader at global financial services firms, including RBC Capital Markets and Goldman Sachs & Co.

We’re excited by the ideas and expertise Iain brings to the table, so we sat down for a Q&A to help you get to know him.

William: Welcome to Hearsay, Iain. Let’s start with an easy one – what is your typical day like?

Iain: I spend a lot of time with Hearsay customers sharing best practices and guidance to leverage Hearsay as a key part of their compliance strategy, including providing advice on governance, change management, technology infrastructure, and any other area of compliance and supervision that matters to their business.

I am also entrenched with industry regulators such as FINRA, IIROC, the FCA and others, as well as deepening relationships with trade groups like SIFMA and LIMRA. You’ll see me engaged in thought-leadership discussions, which is essential as I articulate Hearsay’s perspective on compliance.

Finally, the balance of my time is spent collaborating with Hearsay’s Product teams to continually infuse compliance into our solutions both as they are engineered today, as well as how the product offering evolves.

William: What’s your initial impression so far? Anything that surprised you?

Iain: That’s a good question. From working with Hearsay for many years I knew that compliance formed a foundational element of the platform. What’s been heartening to discover in the first few weeks is the commitment Hearsay has to developing in-house expertise. We’re building what I call a “Practice of Practitioners,” and that really distinguishes us; only Hearsay draws on a team with deep industry expertise to guide product development, regulatory interpretation and program support. So it’s been great to meet the team and recognize the depth of industry and compliance knowledge that is embedded throughout the firm.

William: What trends are you seeing in the industry lately?

Iain: The global pandemic has resulted in the emergence of new engagement models among our customer base, typically in an effort to replace the in-person connection. This has also been occuring in the context of a work-from-home environment. This has meant that compliance processes have been challenged and, in some cases, strained such that we have seen a number of adjustments being made to how supervision is performed, with an increased focus on efficiency. Among the trends are strategies to shift review between the lines of defense, to lower spikes in items to be reviewed, to expand the use of existing messaging channels, and to rapidly deploy compliance controls that enable the use of new messaging channels.

William:  Now let’s move on to a hot topic—RegBI. What have you learned from our customers regarding Reg BI? What is the traction for becoming compliant with these customers?

Iain: Many customers are well on their way to establishing the controls that will enable them to meet the new standard of conduct established by the rule. Many have spent time assessing and updating their business practices, reviewing and augmenting their policies and procedures where necessary, and evaluating their compliance controls.

Additionally, it’s important to recognize that Reg BI sets forth a standard of conduct that is ongoing. Firms are not just focusing on being compliant by the immediate deadline but rather are looking at building a foundation for ongoing compliance. Policies, procedures, technology, governance—the entire compliance ecosystem will need to be regularly evaluated against this framework to validate that firms are continuing to meet the new standard.

William: What are some of your overall thoughts on where compliance needs to head in the next year and 5 years? What are your thoughts on any of the other pending compliance or regulations that may be put into effect?

Iain: Over the next year, I expect to see the ongoing development of Privacy regulation, primarily as individuals and companies increasingly leverage the right to be forgotten under the CCPA, but also as other States design legislation of their own. I also expect there to be additional clarity to the FCC’s TCPA following the Supreme Court hearing in May. Both will pressure customers and their compliance organizations to have clear policies and well articulated processes to address the demands of these regulatory developments.

Over the next five years, I expect compliance organizations to double-down on two primary areas of focus. The first is to manage the continued pressure on the cost of compliance. Organizations seeking to optimize the cost of their operations have moved on from areas where gains were simpler (e.g., technology) to other areas, including compliance. Compliance leadership must exercise the levers available to it, such as functional organization (e.g., is Compliance solely conducting compliance activities?) and cost rationalization (e.g., technology, expense management, subscription based processes). Secondly, and relatedly, to what extent can technology be leveraged to simplify compliance tasks through machine learning, natural language processing, and automation. This is already underway within leading compliance organizations where systems have been upgraded to incorporate such advances, but I expect the next five years to see this continue and proliferate through the majority of compliance functions.

William: Let’s end on an inspirational note; what excites you about Hearsay’s vision?

Iain: While on the surface one may look at Hearsay and see a solution for marketing, for distribution, and for advisors and agents, in helping deliver omni-channel outcomes, Hearsay truly puts the compliance user-experience at the forefront. We’re passionate about making life simple for compliance teams. So as our customers empower advisors and agents with more channels to deliver outcomes across the digital customer journey, we’re simultaneously arming compliance teams with tools like universal supervision across multiple channels – including reporting of calls and text messages – to simplify supervision and review by offering a complete, contextual view of the client relationship. This helps teams administer programs more effectively across channels via Hearsay’s unified platform for maximum scale and efficiency.

William: Thank you, Iain. We’re excited to have you at Hearsay and eager to hear more from you!

Iain: Likewise, and stay tuned for more from me and the Hearsay compliance team as the year goes on.