4 Compelling Benefits of a Digital Sales Platform

4 Compelling Benefits of a Digital Sales Platform

As head of marketing at Gro, I like to interview our new customers to find out what the driving factors were for their financial institution to implement a digital sales strategy. Some answers are similar, such as wanting to increase customer acquisition. But I’ve also heard many that are creative ways to solve traditional problems and improve the customer experience.

Here are the top 4 business reasons banks and credit unions cite for implementing a digital sales platform:

1. Risk-free expansion into new markets.
I hear this one a lot! Adding a new branch is an expensive commitment when you are testing out a new market. Having the ability to sell products directly from your website allows you to enter new geographical or demographical markets without having to find real estate, build out, and employ a new staff. Simply expand your advertising efforts and direct people to the digital checkout process on your website, and watch your numbers grow.


2. 24×7 hours for alternative schedules.
Many small- to medium-sized banks and credit unions cater to consumers who may work or keep alternative schedules. With a digital sales platform in place, your website can accommodate these people by offering the ability to open an account or sign up for a loan when it is convenient to them, not just during traditional bank hours.


3. Same simple experience for multiple product types.
Many banking products are decisioned differently on the back-end. For example, there are different qualifications for a checking account than there are for a car loan. With a digital sales platform in place, the front-end checkout process for all types of banking products can be one seamless experience. Customers can simply add products into their shopping cart and checkout, and the decisioning can happen separately on the back-end.


4. True omni-channel checkout.
Customers are not one-size-fits-all, and the answer is not to force everyone into using the same channel. A digital sales platform allows you to have a true multi-channel sales strategy, where people can do what makes sense to them on a given day. They can go in the branch, go online, mobile or even via tablet from a community event. Offering multiple channels to do business is a strategy that makes everyone happy.

3 Unnecessary Habits That Keep You From Acquiring More Customers.

3 Unnecessary Habits That Keep You From Acquiring More Customers.


Stop doing these today and watch your digital onboarding skyrocket.

They say old habits die hard. And in the case of bankers, this seems to be exceptionally true. With the rapid rise in the use of mobile devices for banking tasks such as account opening, bill pay and deposits; it’s time to leave these antiquated practices behind that undermine your customer acquisition efforts.

Banks need to do everything in their power to make the application process as simple as possible. Reducing keystrokes, limiting decisions, removing unnecessary questions – all help improve the experience and increase your chance for a completed application.

Here are three things that should NOT be a part of your digital customer acquisition process:


Physical Signature cards.

I remember going to the bank with my mom in the 1970’s to deposit a check and watching the bankers check her signature against a card they pulled out of a huge file drawer, much like the one we used at the library back then. Signature cards have been in use for many decades, and are just a known part of the banking process that is still in practice today. They made sense 30 years ago when everything was done manually. But today, banks can use sophisticated risk-based tools that can compare a potentially forged signature with a signature from a recently paid low-dollar transaction.

The love affair with the signature card is not just about the signature; banks use them to record the customer’s agreement to the account terms and conditions. Even our lawmakers understood that “wet signature required” was an outdated concept and passed the E-Sign Act over 17 years ago to pave the way for digital commerce. It’s time to break this habit of yesteryear and 86 the signature cards.

Eliminate friction caused by requiring your mobile-first customer to sign and mail a signature card. It’s more convenient for your customers and saves time for your employees. And you aren’t breaking any compliance laws.


Point of contact in case of death.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t collect this information at all. I agree that it’s good practice to have another name on file to cover the “God forbid” category. But is this information needed up front or relevant to deciding whether they get approved for a new account or loan? Forcing a potential loan applicant to make this type of decision up front can bring the entire application process to a halt. This can open a Pandora’s box of complicated family relationship decisions that are best avoided on the front end of an application.

Collecting this type of secondary information after the account has been opened and funded removes a huge barrier for new applicants and allows banks to realize deposits and revenue more quickly.


On-Screen Disclosures.

Please don’t send your lawyers and compliance officers after me. Disclosures are no doubt an important requirement. In fact the law is very clear; new account disclosures must be provided in a form the customer can retain before an account is opened. The law, however, does not require cramming the fine print on a screen. That is a bad user experience and even impractical given the wide variety of digital devices used today, many of which have limited screen real estate.

But again, it’s about what is needed up front. Assaulting prospective customers with fine print before they can hit submit on their application can seriously delay or derail the whole process. You can comply with disclosure and E-Sign regulations by emailing disclosures during the application process. On screen display of disclosures is old school.

Emailing important disclosures immediately after the critical information has been gathered allows customer to retain and review the documents at their convenience.

The Gro Digital Sales Platform solution has streamlined the account opening process to collect the bare minimum information required to process and approve a new deposit account or loan applicant. Our workflow has been proven to reduce the process from 30 minutes to under 4 minutes, and has our bank customers have seen a significant reduction in mobile abandonment from 80% – 35%.


Foil Phony Accounts with Anti-fraud Features.

Foil Phony Accounts with Anti-fraud Features.


This account opening solution can actually help keep you in good standing with federal regulators.

The Wells Fargo scandal was an eye opener for all of us. The pressure for bank representatives to open new accounts is so great that it became common practice to open phony accounts in customer’s name and charge maintenance and overage fees.

This is wrong on so many levels, I’m not sure where to start.

1. Really bad customer service.

2. Opens your institution up to federal scrutiny and lawsuits.

3. Puts all FIs at risk of further federal regulation and compliance.

As a responsible banker, there are simple steps you can take today to make sure this does not happen to you. As part of our Digital Sales Platform, Gro offers Consumer Protection Plus, a patent-pending feature that uses SMS text and email validation to ensure that consumers are involved in the account opening process. It provides an extra layer of security for your customers, and documentary evidence during regulatory examinations for you.


What does Consumer Protection Plus do?

– Proves customer involvement in the account application

– Provides a superior user experience and a familiar verification process

– Ensures a working communication channel to the client for future cross selling, collections, digital banking, etc.

– Delivers disclosures electronically



How does Consumer Protection Plus work?

During the account opening application process, the applicant is prompted to enter an email or a mobile phone number where they can receive a verification code. The code is sent instantly and the applicant enters it back into the application. The transaction of the verification is recorded and proof can be viewed and reported from the Gro Admin Portal. This verifies that the applicant is actively involved in the process, protecting them from unwanted account fees, and protecting the FI from fraudulent employee practices.