Defining Digital Sales for Bankers (and everyone else!) November 13, 2017January 31, 2019 Q2 Defining Digital Sales for Bankers (and everyone else!) When speaking to people in the banking industry, it’s clear to me that there is a disconnect around the use and meaning of the terms “digital” and “online.” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve tried to talk to a banker or member of the FinTech media about digital sales, and they immediately assume we are talking about online banking, I’d be able to take a very nice vacation. I’d like to clear up the confusion right here and now. Digital sales versus digital banking Digital or online banking is what is offered to customers AFTER they become customers as another way to pay bills, check balances, or transfer money. What we are talking about here is digital sales, and this is the practice of using digital channels to acquire customers or sell additional products to existing customers. Digital sales is a totally different conversation that requires different integrations, different technology, and is a very different part of the sales cycle and customer experience. Why do I need digital sales? It’s hard to believe that many financial institutions will still ask us “Why do we need to sell digitally?” This seems like an obvious question, but I think sometimes we tend to assume that everyone understands the necessity of adding digital sales capabilities to their business plan. The 2017 Financial Marketing Trends Report showed that only 35% of financial institutions surveyed mentioned the importance of increasing the use of digital channels. This tells me that there are still financial institutions out there that do not understand the importance and urgency of why they must plan for a digital sales strategy to stay viable into the future. A website is a great start, but it’s not being used right. Let’s break it down further: just because you have a website doesn’t mean you’ve embraced a digital strategy. Many bank and credit union websites are simply online “brochures” that outline the features and benefits of products they offer, such as savings and checking accounts, loans, mortgages and investments. Having a true digital strategy is about giving consumers the ability to conduct business with your institution from a computer or, more importantly, a mobile device. And with the emergence of Millennials as the biggest growth market to capture, the need is urgent to have a digital strategy in place. Sell where people are shopping. So, what is my point? My point is that your website needs to be much more than informational – it must be a gateway for people to take action immediately. They need to be able to select and sign up for new products on the spot. Can you imagine if you were shopping on Amazon or BestBuy.com, and you found the exact product you wanted, only to be told to “find a retail location near you” to purchase it? Retailers know this is the fastest way to lose a sale. Almost all industries have realized this, except banking. There is one element, however, that will help tie this all together for banks. It’s time for banks to embrace the call-to-action button. The magical call-to-action button We’ve all clicked them: “Buy Now”, “Download Now”, “Sign Up Today!” It’s satisfyingly instant, and you are accomplishing something in the moment. Simply adding this button and the capability to select products and checkout straight from your website will undoubtedly result in an increase of new customers, as well as uplift in additional products by existing customers. It works for online retailers, and it can work for financial institutions as well. Wrap Up Research shows that 79% of consumers are doing at least some of their shopping for new checking accounts digitally. Yet only 43% offer online checkout capabilities. And even if they have a digital solution, 71% still require a visit to the branch to finish the process. This will not work. The sooner bankers can recognize this gap and fill it with a digital sales strategy, the sooner they can realize virtually unprecedented growth.