Sponsored by Hearsay Systems
Donna Prlich, Chief Business Officer
Can you tell me about the Hearsay platform?
At Hearsay, we believe that technology should strengthen client relationships, not replace them. All communication channels are critical to creating enduring client relationships and need to be supported with both human and proactive digital engagement. The Hearsay Cloud platform lets advisors communicate with clients through each of the individual communication channels they expect to use today – social, email, voice or text – in a seamless, integrated experience. Engagement data is put to use to ensure that advisors reach out with the right message, at the right time, on the right channel.
We built the platform this way intentionally because engagement is not a one and done activity. Reaching out, connecting, and communicating with clients through different stages of the journey must be seamless. And in this highly regulated industry, every step of the journey has to be compliant. That means compliance needs to be built in; it can’t be a bolt on or after-thought. The compliance and supervision capabilities in our platform are purpose-built for these requirements.
What does the client journey look like today in wealth management?
The journey has evolved quite a bit in the post-Google era where it has been augmented with a number of new steps in the journey. The first, and arguably most important, step in the advisor-client journey is Digital Validation. We define this as a prospective client “doing their homework.” They Google the advisor and expect to see a profile, a website – some sort of digital presence. This happens before the advisor is ever contacted. I am a head of distribution, and I have a team of advisors, I want to ensure all of them have a profile and website. With LinkedIn, for example, we can optimize an advisor’s profile in an automated way, helping them to improve their digital presence while meeting all compliance best practices. Having the ability to automate and simplify the Digital Validation stage is huge for Hearsay clients.
Next, the client needs to be educated and nurtured with ongoing relevant information. This is the advisor’s opportunity to build a relationship as a trusted partner and consultant to the client. Content marketing becomes critical and an opportunity for advisors to leverage content in ongoing nurture campaigns to stay top-of-mind and relevant. With Hearsay Campaigns, as few as one or two clicks lets advisors automate and personalize the way they communicate by providing the most relevant content at the right time, delivered on the preferred communication channel.
Clients will still move through a ‘funnel’ to conversion, but not like in the past. It can be much faster today thanks to digital. It also continues post-purchase, as clients are continually evaluating their provider and presented other options through their networks.
One big advantage to advisors managing their relationships with Hearsay is the concept of a “workspace.” Unique to Hearsay, an advisor can collaborate with their admin or assistant and delegate certain communication and marketing activities, while maintaining and growing their online presence and, most importantly, their client relationships. This allows them to do more, ‘be more places’ at once, which is essential in today’s always on world.
How is Hearsay transforming the role of the advisor?
People today have increased expectations around how, when and where they want their communications to take place. These expectations are no different from what the advisor is experiencing with their own clients. And, preferences can be very personal; some may prefer to receive texts while others may only want to receive email communications. Clients also expect their advisors to engage in real-time as events are happening – during large market movements, or during an important life event like the birth of their child or a job change.
With Hearsay, we are helping to transform the advisor role by automating mundane, repetitive tasks with technology, make them real-time and intelligent, and by using technology to actually enhance human connections with clients, rather than replace them. Advisors can be more proactive and digitally minded by taking a holistic, automated and compliant approach. And we have seen this pay off. Advisors are more productive by focusing their time and effort on building and nurturing client relationships.
How is data changing the role of the advisor?
Data is transforming every industry at the moment and the advisor is not immune to this. We knew data would be become more and more important, especially as we expanded our supported channels. We chose to embed a fully functioning Business Intelligence tool, Looker into the platform to provide deeper insights into the client advisor relationship. Coincidentally, Google just acquired Looker. We were clearly not alone in thinking that data and analytics are critical.
The data Hearsay captures between the client and the advisor, whether social or texting or voice, is extremely valuable. This data represents 80% of client engagement and is a valuable complement to corporate customer data. At the simplest level, the data being captured by Hearsay can be pushed into our clients’ CRM systems, in some cases up to 15 times more data. We have integrations built with Salesforce Financial Services Cloud, Salesforce CRM, Microsoft Dynamics and can integrate with any other CRM as well through our open API.
Beyond data capture are the valuable insights that can be uncovered. Applying machine learning and AI to the data, analysts can provide actionable, accurate information and insights into customer needs, preferences, and strategies. This allows advisors to provide clients with an extremely high level of personalized service. In the world of data, one of the most valuable things you can do with massive amounts of data is to make recommendations or offer a ”next best action” and trigger an advisor to be proactive.
Lead follow-up is a great example. Wealth management companies invest heavily in lead generation, spending millions annually on activities like ads and SEO/SEM. But opportunity can quickly turn into a challenge when leads don’t get the rapid response required to convert them into new business. As advisors are out and about tending to their current clients and meeting with new ones, new leads can languish due to disconnected systems. Using triggered workflows, Hearsay’s Advisor Actions can automatically push a new lead via mobile notification, email or text message in real-time. The advisor has instant access to relevant background information from your CRM system and pre-scripted outreach engages leads quickly and effectively with just a single click. And, because all activity is captured and fed back to core systems, leadership has real-time insight into field activities. Heads of distribution have real time access to how the field is managing lead follow up and marketing can use this insight to measure lead program effectiveness. We are excited about the huge potential for Hearsay to leverage this insight rich data to drive real ROI and business outcomes for our customers.
Speaking of ROI, how does Hearsay help companies measure this?
We have made significant investments in data and analytics. The value of the data Hearsay captures is enormously beneficial to our customers. Understanding what happens in a client journey is a major differentiator as we go forward. We know there are any number of business-driven outcomes that can be influenced by deeper understanding of the client-advisor relationship. The data combined with artificial intelligence will make those outcomes cleaner, faster and more personalized. We hear a lot about data, but the real magic lies in using that data to tell an advisor something they can act on.
We’ve come up with a prescriptive model for what metrics should be measured to gauge success at each stage of the customer journey, for both advisors and corporate. And in Hearsay, customers can measure the referral traffic and leads generated by suggested corporate content. Corporate can drill down to the specific advisor, social network, campaign ID or customized tag of origin to identify the source of traffic on corporate-owned URLs, and even integrate this data into their analytics platform of choice - Google, Looker, Adobe, etc.
How is compliance impacting what you do?
Compliance is a huge component of the Hearsay platform – it’s in our DNA. All of our individual product capabilities are designed and delivered with compliance and supervision built-in. Since our founding, we have focused on financial services where we understand that an enduring client relationship is paramount to an advisor and compliance has to be seamless. We have a very strong point of view in this area. Many customers have turned to us to address this complex area because we approach it holistically by not only providing the technology but also the processes and best practices to guide customers through the implementation. With that, we launched a compliance consulting practice to address this changing and complex regulatory environment.
A good example of a recent regulatory change we are addressing is the SEC’s recent decision on Reg BI and you can read the blog post here. It discusses how features like profile automation can ensure that advisors are accurately marketing and representing themselves. This will have a direct impact to their profiles on social media and on their websites. Organizations will need technological assistance to ensure continued compliance with these requirements. With Hearsay’s profile automation API, organizations will be able to analyze and update advisor profiles at scale across all social networks and websites. Why is this important? is if you have a team of 3,000 advisors, and you need to make a change or enhancement to all of the advisors’ profiles, Hearsay can do that in an automated way. The advisor is compliant with the benefit of a more robust profile to grow their network.
The wealth management space is changing rapidly. How is Hearsay positioned to help advisors?
There are a number of events impacting the wealth management space. We believe that technology should strengthen human relationships, not replace them. The space is constantly changing with robo advisors and fintech companies trying to displace the advisor while competing for a piece of the $68 trillion wealth transfer, but the human relationship is paramount – it always has been. Hearsay focuses on empowering the advisor to continue to build enduring client relationships, while technology allows them to work smarter and faster. At the end of the day, trust is placed in the advisor’s hands when managing a client’s future. Technology will strengthen the role of the advisor, not replace them.