Selling has everything to do with helping your customers buy, as we wrote earlier in this blog post about changing your mindset. But markets have changed as a result of coronavirus and the $64,000 question now is if - and how - your customers in the financial services industry have changed their buying behaviour.
If they have, you need to adapt to address this change in demand. After all, understanding the buying process is crucial to doing business.
What do we notice in the financial services industry?
Many B2B scale-ups are looking for funding to extend their runway. But if they want to continue to sell to the financial services industry, they need to be aware of the changes that are taking place. Banks have indicated that both strategic project funding and normal technology expenditure are at a regular or even higher levels, but it is important to establish the position of each individual customer.
Selling is all about helping your customers buy and you cannot do this if you are unaware of your customers' attitudes regarding investments. We decided to dive deeper into the current buying processes in the financial services industry and share our findings with you.
First things first: business continuity
Companies in the financial services industry are fully focused on business continuity. Market volatility means decisions are being made quickly - accelerating the buying process - and only once business continuity is assured are companies considering other areas of technology investment.
The current landscape of spendings in favour of technology
When it comes to regular IT expenditure it is business as usual. Decisions about technology investments are being made quickly and meetings are more productive thanks to digital communication and collaboration. IT departments are proving they actually can move rapidly!
Steps into the digital world are being taken more quickly a trend that is benefitting digitization projects immensely. Financial services companies are forced to engage digitally with their clients and internally, greater use of digital communication has compelled companies to build new systems or upscale analogue processes. Decision-making regarding digitization projects has also become quicker since nobody can now dispute digital necessity. On top of this, IT departments have proved with business continuity that they are able to act quickly and implement fast, clearing the path for accelerated digital expenditure and execution.
When we dive deeper into the organization, however, we see a more mixed picture, especially when it comes to strategic projects (by strategic projects we mean projects that change business models, critical processes or the organization).
The good news: strategic projects are continuing, albeit as agile change initiatives rather than ‘big bang’ projects. Looking at this through the lens of changing buyer behavior, we see that decision making is speeding up because of budgetary pressure.In some cases, for example, companies are engaging only one vendor in the pilot or selection process (instead 2 or 3).
On the other hand, decision making may take longer since companies are more diligent and focused on what they buy. A practical challenge regarding strategic projects is that many financial services companies still require ‘wet’ signatures, which can lead to delays in the start of new projects.
Buying behaviour in the financial services industry has changed, but what about the buying committee? Knowing who is part of the decision making process and how to contact those who influence the buying process is vital, so it is encouraging that banks are using the same DMU or buying committee.
It is also important to note that with physical meetings being out of the question for now, contact with vendors is taking place digitally and by phone. E-mail is not an option: financial services companies have changed their firewalls to block spam from vendors, so you will need to find new and creative ways to engage with your buyers.
How to react correctly to those changed buying processes?
So now that you know the financial services industry is still buying and doing it digitally, the next step is to optimize your digital and virtual sales capabilities. Looking to get a head start? Give us a call, or rather, … drop us a line.