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Social media bridges sales, marketing, and compliance: Recap from #FTF_SMAC

This post was co-authored by Yasmin Zarabi (Sr. Director of Legal, Hearsay Social) and Stephen Selby (Assistant Vice President, Social Media, LIMRA).

We’re still excited to have met so many curious people and led a session at last week’s Social Media and Compliance in Financial Services (#FTF_SMAC), an event hosted in New York by the Financial Technologies Forum (FTF).

Event attendees included leading financial firms (including New York Life Insurance, MetLife, and Prudential Financial), social media innovators (including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google), and influential third-party organizations and government (including the SEC and LIMRA).

In short, the conference was brimming with social media thought leaders from the financial services and social media industries.

We were delighted to lead a session, “Overview of Social Media Regulation in the Finance and Insurance Industries,” with two of the industry’s leading practitioners of social sales and marketing: Sueanne Comerford (Social Media Director, MetLife) and Kyle Marie Woods (Marketing Strategist, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans).

Here are a few of our key takeaways:

Social media creates an opportunity to combine marketing and compliance goals.

It’s commonly accepted among marketers that the holy grail is to send the right message to the right person at the right time. If you think about it, that’s not really at odds with the compliance team’s mission. In fact, as it relates to suitability, compliance teams are dedicated to empower marketing to do that safely and efficiently. In today’s highly connected, transparent world, technology that manages, monitors and enables this business process to align compliance and marketing is much more easily attainable.

The best sales relationships do one thing: sell people the right product.

Similar to the point above, it is ultimately the job of a salesperson to find the right product that fits their particular customer’s needs. If you sell the right product to the right people, then you will have happy repeat customers. Adding in the compliance perspective, selling the right thing to the right people should be equivalent to meeting your suitability obligations.

Social media bridges sales, marketing, and compliance. 

Here’s the big conclusion, drawing from both points above: One of the great, unintended consequences of social media is that it brings together formerly siloed areas of an organization, including sales, marketing, and compliance. When these groups work together, business results and productivity get unlocked. Take Thrivent, for example. The Fortune 500 financial firm realized early on that a compliance strategy based on screenshots would never be scalable. By implementing a social platform instead, the company experienced a 75% reduction in its effort to get pre-approved content to the field.

As a result of this implementation, Compliance is happy because they’re doing less work to keep track of everything. Marketing is happy because they’re controlling the message going out to the field. And Sales is happy because they don’t feel hampered or restricted by either Compliance or Marketing. The field can focus on what they do best: reaching customers and closing deals.

All in all, we found FTF’s event to be a huge success, and we look forward to the next!