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How to Become a Fintech Unicorn: Part 1

January 19, 2018
Posted in: Innovation, Salesforce
Tags: , , ,

It’s 5:30am. You’re awakened by your alarm and instinctively reach for your iPhone to check your email. After getting some exercise and eating a protein bar, you catch up on the latest industry news on your commute to work. Upon arrival, you spend 15 minutes reviewing your to-do list, and you’re ready for another day in the C-suite of your fintech startup.

The Challenges of a Growing Fintech Firm

Ever since the credit crunch hit in 2007, the demand for better financial services has grown rapidly. Within the fast-growing fintech industry, which covers any computer programs and technology used to support banking and financial services, the privately-owned fintech startups that grow to be valued at over $1 billion have come to be known as “unicorns,” due to their statistical rarity.

You hope your fintech company, too, will become a unicorn, but you know how competitive and complicated the financial services industry is. Even if millions of dollars in funding suddenly enabled you to scale up, you’d have a new set of problems.

Not only would you have to add hundreds of staff in a very short period, you’d have multiple channels, data sources and partners to manage. No doubt, you’d need custom-developed customer relationship management (CRM) to bring it all together.

The Modern Way to Grow Your Business

According to the Pulse of Fintech report by KPMG, global investment in fintech for Q3 2017 had reached $8.2 billion. Investors are pushing companies like yours to get big fast. So, your first concern of the day is lead generation. Not only are you competing with other fintechs but with traditional banks too.

You read a study by IDC reporting that 65% of respondents agreed “we usually engage a vendor sales professional only when we have made a purchase decision.” So, you decide it’s a good idea to focus on digital lead generation efforts.

Your concern is finding a way to integrate your marketing efforts across your entire customer journey. This includes email, mobile, social, advertising, content creation, content management, and data analysis with predictive analytics. You’ve heard Salesforce Marketing Cloud lets you cover all these bases with their Salesforce Journey Builder tool, so you look into that.

Journey Builder lets you create custom campaigns mapped to your customer’s preferred channels based on their demographics, behaviors, and needs. And Pardot, the Salesforce marketing automation software, lets you find the best leads and close more deals sooner. You can track leads and opportunities from a single dashboard powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

With a plan for generating leads, your next concern is how to recruit, train, and manage a sales team for turning your leads into sales.

Close More Deals Faster Anywhere, Anytime

You know you need an effective sales team, but you have questions and concerns. For example, when is the right time to invest in infrastructure? How will you ramp up? And how much of a pause in earnings growth can you endure until you build your sales capabilities?

You know that added risk comes with creating a sales team for fintechs. A pause of earnings of more than twelve months could turn into a stall. Not only must you be clear on the workplace culture you’re developing – you also need to create the right sales processes and tools in order for your team and your company to be successful. It would be best to be able to develop both things – the team and the tools – the right way the first time.

You learn that Salesforce is a highly scalable solution. So, your sales team could be as small as two reps and then expand to a force of thousands with no risk of overspending or paralyzing your cash flow.

Finding good salespeople will be difficult but nothing compared to the challenge of training and retaining salespeople until they’re finally productive. A 10-month ramp-up period is not uncommon. And, like any good fintech company, you’ll be continuously rolling out new features and capabilities, so you’ll need to train both new and existing salespeople on an ongoing basis.

Fortunately, automation and analytics from Salesforce Sales Cloud will keep your sales training and operations running smoothly. Adding Salesforce Lightning to the mix could help, because it will automatically find news that’s relevant to current accounts and opportunities – not to mention the built-in assistant will prompt your salespeople with best next steps.

That built-in assistant could be a real differentiator for you and your team. Research from the September 2017 “Small & Medium Business Trends Report” by Salesforce supports this tactic, too. They found that when asked, “To what extent do the following factors challenge your company’s ability to win deals?,” 54% of respondents answered, “Understanding which tactics work best.”

What’s more, sales rep productivity can be increased with tools they can access anywhere on any device, which will shorten your sales cycle by 50%. If you’re on the road or perhaps stuck at home due to weather or a sick child, you can always log in and check your customized dashboard of customers across marketing, sales, and service.

Since you’ve heard it’s easier make a mess of a Salesforce implementation than to do it right, you’re considering bringing in a proven Salesforce implementation team, like the team at RTS Labs, to get it right and save you time.

New Challenges Ahead

Your morning has been a blur of meetings with staff, clients, partners, and investors. It’s a relief to reach the lunch hour, but then you realize you need to work through lunch because there are still more meetings to wrap up. But, it’s been a productive day so far.

You’ve shortlisted Salesforce as the best CRM for managing your marketing and sales. And your implementation plan will let you cut risk, grow the business, and keep investors happy.

While your day may be half over, your challenges aren’t. Rather than competing with banks, your advisory board now wants you to create a new plan for collaboration. So, in addition to a sales team, you’ll need to build a customer service team and community for bank users.

Coming Up in Part 2

What’s in store for our fintech hero next? Will Salesforce be able to help this rising unicorn through the next crisis? Find out in part two.