Pegasystems Survey Reveals Financial Institutions Slow to Shift to Customer-Centric Sales Culture

Pegasystems announced a new global survey that shows financial services institutions need to accelerate their move to a more customer-centric sales culture. While the wide majority of financial services firms and banks realize they must shift from product-based to relationship-based selling to remain competitive, only one-third of banks have successfully made the transition.

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In a survey of 250 global financial services professionals, 79 percent agree that institutions will move away from product-based selling to focusing on customer relationships in the next five years. However, only 31 percent deploy relationship-based sales models today to any significant degree, including just one percent who fully leverage it. Another 29 percent are still deeply stuck in product-based selling approaches that often prioritize booking revenue over the real needs of each customer. The rest, 50 percent, use a mixed approach to navigate these new customer demands.

Increased customer expectations for personalized banking experiences are driving banks toward this alternative way to engage, but most banks aren’t yet delivering. Seventy-six percent of financial services professionals say customers want more personalized product recommendations based on their needs and goals. However, today only 28 percent of banks feel they fully support the personalized needs of customers.

How can banks successfully shift to relationship-based selling? Of those furthest along in their relationship-based selling journeys, 92 percent are either already implementing AI, or plan to do so in the next 12 months, indicating AI will be a key differentiator between leading and lagging financial services firms and banks. More specifically, 88 percent of respondents who feel they need a higher level of audit to ensure suitability believe AI can help match the right product with the right customer, which isn’t consistently happening today. In addition, nearly all survey respondents (99 percent) believe a unified customer relationship management (CRM) platform is either very or somewhat valuable to supporting customer engagement.

Banks view the lack of real-time customer insights as the top barrier to instituting a relationship-based sales approach, identified by 63 percent of respondents. They also cite pressure from fintech competitors (59 percent) and insufficient customer profiles (47 percent). But banks that can overcome these obstacles and make the transition to relationship-based selling reap tremendous benefits. Of the respondents who have shifted to this new selling model, 85 percent indicated their customers are more loyal, 81 percent reported increased customer satisfaction with products, and 79 percent received more referrals from customers to friends and family.

“Many banks struggle to shift from product-based to relationship-based selling, but failure is not an option if they expect to provide compelling customer experiences,” said Ron Wellman, global director and industry principal, CRM for financial services, Pegasystems. “By implementing a unified CRM platform powered with AI, banks can satisfy customer demands by intelligently guiding sales teams to deliver the most relevant recommendations to clients. This increases client satisfaction and positions banks as trusted advisors for the long-term.”

The July 2017 commissioned study, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Pega, surveyed 250 financial services professionals in Canada, United States, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, and Australia.