Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 8 months ago

119) #ExponentialInsights: Being Human at Every Turn - Sales & Customer Experience

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

When was the last time you were happy to get an automated email? Probably… well, never. Right? 

Meanwhile, sales is rarely held accountable for the terrible customer experience they create. 

We can do better. We just need to be a little more human. 

My guest today,James Gilbert, Head of Marketing - CRMNext, is a big believer that more empathy — more humanity — in business is the only path forward for financial brands in today’s world.

In this episode, we discuss:

- How to have better conversations

- How to infuse more humanity into your brand

- The three pillars of a successful marketing team

You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts , on Spotify , or here .

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Banking on Digital Growth in your favorite podcast player.


 

...we have three rules on on my marketing team and everybody has to live. Then the first rule is see everything through the customer's eyes. Okay, the second rule is see everything through your other customer which sells And then the 3rd 1 is see everything through the one who keeps the customer happy, which is customer success. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm. You're listening to banking on digital growth. With James Robert lay a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series where James robert interviews the industry's top marketing sales and fintech leaders, sharing practical wisdom to exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show greetings and hello, I am James robert, ley and welcome to the 119th episode of the Banking on digital growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome James Gilbert to the show James, which is a great name by the way, he is the head of marketing at Crm, next host of the Banking on Experience podcast, which I highly recommend that you subscribe to as well if you're not already subscribed and a fellow father of four kids James believes that the biggest gap in today's world is our lack of being human at a return, which I'm going to ask you more about in a minute. So with that welcome to the show James James robert. I don't hold a candle, stick to your show and what you're doing on digital growth, So thank you so much for having me on here, I think I'm honored to be on man. No, we're all in this together and it's a, it's a rising tide raises all ships. So you bring a...

...voice in a perspective, I bring a voice of perspective, Brett King brings a voice in a perspective. Jim Morris brings a voice, we're all bringing something and it's the sum of all of that which encourage us and really helps us to all be better. And it's my hope back to that point that that we can bring a little bit of humanity to this conversation here today. Starting with what is just one thing that you are excited about personally professionally your pick go. I think what I'm the most excited about is just the opportunity that exists in front of us to make an impact from a marketing perspective at organizations. I think that for a long time now, I mean really when you think about it, the CML role and that the leader marketing role has not been around terribly long and we're seeing now a giant shift of that role, be focused more on data and the customer experience. And I'm excited about that because like that's what I'm really, really passionate about are those two areas when it comes to marketing and I think far too often marketers lose sight of that and and their journey and what they're trying to build. Let's talk about that, making an impact marketing, making an impact a focus on data, but really using that data to inform and optimize this experience because as you know, marketing can lose, lose sight of that cells, can can lose sight of that. I want to come back to the point that you mentioned as as I mentioned before, which is in your link in bio where you note that the biggest gap in today's world is our lack of being human at every turn. What does this gap look like for you here? Because like that's a that's a keen observation. Well, I don't want to be too controversial, but um, I mean if you think about everything that happened in our world this last year with Covid, regardless of what you believe politically, I think that oftentimes we get caught into the social media cancel culture and it's not a human way to...

...approach things. People make mistakes, they have bias. There's no way to get around that bias. They're going to have them. And so it's a matter of how we approach it in a human interaction. So I have to think about like when I disagree with my mom, okay, um, am I going to go at her? Like I like, like people do on social media, I'm not right. I have a, have a nice conversation. I understand her perspective and I think that that's what is lacking in the world is just some empathy behind conversations. Some empathy behind where people are coming from and understanding that you cannot change people's bias. What you can do is have an impact to help them understand why you feel different man you're given. I'm not I'm not even like you're giving me goose bumps because I think you're touching on something that I'm personally passionate about, which is just to bring a level of understanding to both sides of a conversation to both sides of the table. Because the only way to do that is through dialogue, it's through discourse, it's through conversation and it's going into that conversation with empathy. And I think a little bit too with an open mind, what can I learn from this experience? And and not coming in thinking it's almost like it's, I'm going to quote a little bit of Star Wars wisdom with Yoda, you must unlearn what you have learned. Um, and, and, and that is so critically important because if we're going to understand, I think if we shut the conversation down before it begins, we've all lost at that point. Right? Well, and you saw a complete divide happened within our own country and I still think this is happening like with so many different issues and now you're...

...saving seeing it come to the front steps of every business and you're seeing businesses take initiatives with tough social subjects where they're trying to uh for lack of a better way of putting it. They're putting out a lot of fluff, okay and actions no substance. You feel, yes, very little substance. They're using it as employ. Um, and I think that part of the reason why that is, is because all of us, so many of us are so afraid to have conversations because we're afraid we're going to get canceled. And I just think that uh you know how I've grown up is you know, to see others for who they can become um to love everyone for for for that aspect and to not see, you know the color of people's skin, to not see cultural differences because they're going to be there. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I at the foundation of every relationship is respect. This was a model and and this was in banking on digital growth and it's something that my wife and I came up together with and and probably she gets more credit for it than me because we've we've done marriage prep over the years and you know, probably prepped over 100 200 couples. Um Some was in a group setting, some of it was just one on one. And what we found is when we look at these relationships, there were really three patterns of that could kind of predict future success. But the foundation was respect, um, respect for the other person and, and sometimes you would find we would find that there wasn't a respect in, in in the way that they treated and they talked in the conversation. Um the next level up is trust and trust is built upon two things what you say and what you do,...

...and that pinnacle of the relationship is love, which is his commitment. And I think we can see that in in a business setting and a marketing setting and a cell setting. But I always liked the, the ancient wisdom of uh thomas Aquarius with what, how he defines this, which is love is to will the good of another person. Like I, and and this one, I'm I'm trying to teach my kids, like I uh I want the best for you and I hope that you want the best for someone else. And and and and to this point I think it would be interesting to see how this plays out. You just went on vacation With your family, great time to get away. But there's a problem because I saw in lengthen that you came back to well over 1000 emails in your inbox, 85% of them were cells pitches and you noted and I agree with you. This has to change because this is not how you do marketing, this is not how you do cells. This is not willing the good of another person if you will. And so I bring this up because as we analyze digital secret shopping experiences for financial brands and are banking on digital Growth program. And while we benchmark these experiences that gets competitive as well for many, the marketing and sells communication that we see in coming into the inbox is almost exactly like what you noted on linkedin. Um and and so why is this, why do you think we're in the state that we're in from what you experienced coming out, you know, a week of the off out of the office and the coming back and then what we're seeing with secret shopping, there's a, there's a correlation there. Why is this? I think there's two fold right? We had a lot less human interaction physically during the pandemic which caused a flood digitally to happen. So...

...now you're seeing a flood of that happened. You're also seeing a flood of technology be developed with smaller technology companies that are coming in and playing as a niche. If you look at like the chief Martek slide, I think like two years ago it was right around like 6500 total companies now. It's like, I believe it's above 9000. Okay. And 2011 it was about 150 because we've been tracking that. Yeah, I mean, just think about that for a second. So I think part of the problem is the vast amount of technology that's out there. You have individual contributors at companies that are looking to solve a specific needs. So they go out and pitch this technology to somebody and then they bring it on, but then they don't have adoption across the whole organization. I mean, I saw this a lot at the company that we got acquired by, which was Cisco, they had a lot of technology that existed all over the place with all their acquisitions that they were acquiring and we went through an audit process of like what all those companies that were being acquired and how much overlap of technology there was. And even in the massive organization like Cisco there's tons of overlap and I think that you're having this happen right? And then you're then everybody not being in the physical world trying to communicate digitally has created that problem. But I think there's an even bigger one which is a grave misunderstanding of what the customer experience really is about, which is why I um I put that in my linkedin because I truly believe that if we we have three rules on on my marketing team um and everybody has to live them. The first rule is see everything through the customer's eyes. Okay? The second rule is see everything through your other customer, which sales and then the third one is see everything through the one who keeps the customer happy, which is customer success service, yep. And by doing this you put yourself in the shoes of being...

...like a prospect or anything like that. I hate getting automated messages but I hate it right? Um I think it's unbecoming. I think it takes it takes just as much time for you to send me and personally not just a tiny bit of research Than it does to build an entire sequence over a 4-month period and all be automated. I mean think about that for a second and I think too often from my experience, even being in the customer experience world before I came over here to see our um Next was cells is very rarely held accountable to the negative impact that they have on the customer experience. And this is no knock on cells. It's just the truth. There is very little if any accountability to being human cells process everybody's a number. Everybody's a revenue target, everybody's a pipeline or opportunity. I'm gonna call it out. I'm just gonna say it how it is. Everyone typically in cells, everyone's a means to an end. Exactly. And that's part of what I think that that's the biggest gap in the world today. It's why there's very little relationship building that happens in cells processes, why cells might set an unrealistic expectation and then they become a customer and then it falls flat with customers. Success and customer success gets blamed because the expectation wasn't set ahead of time. So the truth is, you know, About 80% of people that I talked to who have an interest in joining the banking on digital growth program, 80%. I guide to somewhere else. Um, it's there, it's just not a good fit and it's nothing personal, I'm very honest with them and a lot of that is not, it's not it's not the issue there. It's more of a larger cultural organizational issue that I know if they were to come in, it would almost do more harm than good. And then the other thing too is, and this comes back to the point of just having, I think very real honest conversations um...

...that let's lean into that because when we lean into that to me, that's it's it's in the pain, it's in those difficult discussions. I think that's where the biggest growth happens. And so when when we look out and and and it was funny because you ask a very similar question on your podcast as well, but I'd be curious to get your take biggest belief that financial brands have right now about marketing and cells. What do you disagree with And to put it bluntly, where might others be wrong and why do you feel this way? I think the biggest area that I disagree with is um, that you can't make every interaction human. I truly believe you can. I think that you're just being lazy. I mean that's the honest truth of it. You're trying to find technology to automate, you're trying to bring on more people to automate those processes. And I think that um, sometimes it's a matter of spending a little bit of extra time with your cross functional teams to build something that is meaningful. A good example James robert, you were on, you were a judge of our right on the money contest. Um, we we purposefully with that campaign wanted us to not be part of the judging committee. Yeah, because we wanted it to be organic and real, right? And I think too often we get scared because we might be putting spend towards something that we feel like we have to control it more. And part of us being human is allowing people to be human. And they're going to naturally go through their channels. They're going to naturally go online. That's what people do. It's the same type of conversation that I have with so many other marketers and teaching them about attribution, right? And how that becomes such a big problem, because they don't know how to attribute their impact. Right? Well, the impact really is when you ask people that have engaged with your brand, do they find the engagement meaningful? I mean, to...

...me, that's really what it is. If they don't find it meaningful, then what's the point? Technology has transformed our world and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buy financial services forever. Now, consumers make purchase decisions long before they walk into a branch. If they walk into a branch at all, but your financial brand still wants to grow loans and deposits, we get it. Digital growth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand, marketing and sales leader, but it doesn't have to because James robert wrote the book that guides you every step of the way along your digital growth journey, visit www dot digital growth dot com to get a preview of his best selling book banking on digital growth Or order a copy right now for you and your team from Amazon inside, you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that was written to transform financial brands and it is packed full of practical and proven insights you can start using today to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits now back to the show. And I think, I mean I've been doing a lot and have had a lot of conversations and probably will continue to have a lot of conversations of scaling almost I think scaling humanity, but through technology and that doesn't necessarily mean automation, it just gives us a multiplying effect of reach of scale video. I've made it almost a daily habit too. Get on linked in. I see something and maybe someone got a new um job. Yeah, I can just recently think of someone that I've known for about 10 years just moved up into a ceo position And I sent this person 30 45 2nd loom video saying, hey congratulations on this new opportunity. You know, it's been so...

...good to watch your growth over the past 10 years. I remember when we first met, it was at a conference in SAn Diego. We were in the hallway, it was beautiful, sunlit over the looking over the bay and like I say, it's like it's just a habit that I've gotten into because I really do care to make these connections go deeper. Imagine if a branch manager, a loan officer just took 10 minutes a day To do something and then they just work through a list. You know, that's one person, that's 300 people. Take out weekends. So double up 365 days, you get 100 people doing that. That's 36,000 people. Well, especially in the financial services space, like technology is a naturally getting a really bad rap, right? Just because adoption is tough being able to integrate into the systems that really matter like a core is tough. But I think that one of the things that naturally happens is when you can bridge technology and the human side of of how you interact with people. I mean that's core to I think what, you know specifically in the financial services, the credit union movement is all about like they want to have that relationship, they want to have those human interactions, but technology can sometimes get in the way of that they have, they might have too much of it. So how do they consolidate it so that they make the day to day of every single person at that organization um easier so that they can actually have those meaningful conversations. One of the things that we just recently shared in our digital growth community, insider community was something that I've talked about and written about perfectly, but technology, I think we we lose sight of what technology is and we put so much emphasis on like technology being the thing that's gonna transform us are going to save our organization. And I'm like, no technology is nothing more than a tool...

...that can just bring two people together for good. Just like we're doing right now in this conversation. I mean, imagine three years ago, like I don't think we'd be doing this at least I would, but I don't think it would be the it would have had the acceptance and I know you would. I just don't think it would have the acceptance of what it would have been three years ago, two years ago even. And and so I want to dig into this because you just had recently had a conversation with Michelle Peterson, who's the chief member experience officer over a plus credit union um on on the banking on experience podcast. And once again, dear listener go subscribe to James conversations that he's having because they're really good. There's a lot to learn there. And in this conversation with Michelle y'All were talking about this command and control leadership style that has just rained so long in the banking space and how that command and control. And we're even touched on this, I think before we hit record that command and control leadership style, it's probably met its expiration date. Um and I'm seeing this through the coaching that we're doing with financial brands when you think about command and control. Where's the challenge when it comes to deploying some of this new thinking that you're talking about using technology to connect people, not relying too much on automation, but thinking of it as as an experience, how might command and control, be limiting the potential and be the hindrance and then what's the solution? What's the path forward beyond that? That's interesting because we weren't we were talking about this before we hit record and one of the things that we've ran into on the podcast more than anything is a focus on just cultural externally and internally focuses on D. I. And being able to address social issues as a as a brand and a company.

And the tough part is is part of that. People think the eye is just to focus on minorities and it's not it's deeper than that. It's also a younger generation right? That's coming up into leadership, what are their values. And I think what we're seeing in this industry is a shift now we're you're having an older generation comes at the age of retirement and now a younger generation is needing to come in and and be leaders but they haven't been developed that way. Um And I think this command and control leadership style is trying to control every little thing that they're doing without allowing autonomy to happen within your team. And I think that what we need to see more of is leadership, take more of an autonomy approach and understand that there's certain people on your team that are going to be very strategic thinking. There's other people on your team that are gonna be a lot more tactical thinking and you need both and you don't need to force one into a different role. And you also can't just promote people based on they did really, really well and they're performing really really well because they might just want to be an individual contributor and you can't force somebody into managing people if that's not their skill set and what they want to do. Yes. And you know some some resources for that. Because this has been a conversation that I've been having with leaders in marketing leaders and sells leaders moving into the leadership team. They don't they they don't necessarily have the confidence, the deep confidence needed to go to that next level. And as a leader, your confidence, that's your most important thing. When you start to lose your confidence, it shows and it's like do everything possible to protect that and you're going to have some good days, you're gonna have some bad days. And it's one of the things that that that I'm writing about and banking on change, like you can either be growth bound or you can be stuck in the growth gap. And the growth gap is where you're...

...just constantly griping about problems. And two books come to the top of my mind. One is leading right for the first time by David C. Baker who has advised me over the years. And then another one is one called the coaching habit, Say less. Ask more and change the way you lied forever by Michael uh manganese. Uh Steiner, I think is his name. If my memory serves correct because it's this idea of coaching to me is something that I'm very fascinated with from a leadership perspective because it helps guide someone. It's almost like when I write about making a digital growth, you know, being the helpful guide. But now it's more of an internal like experience. And you're talking about these ideas. If you got different customers, you get your external customers, members prospects. But then you also have the internal from a marketing lens of of cells and and and then that of service. How what are the opportunities for for for coaching here to to help guide someone beyond change because change is painful. Change is scary. It's easy for someone to get stuck in the cave of complacency. But how might we be able to help coach people through those experiences to provide a path forward around optimizing marketing, optimizing cells, optimizing experiences. What are your thoughts on that? I know this might sound like a surface level answer, but I still think it's relevant and I think that one of the areas is we have to be willing as leaders to let go of control and we have to be willing to let failures happen. And what I mean by that is it doesn't mean you expect a failure to happen. It means that you let people own something and be accountable to it and don't punish them because it might come up short. And I think that too often leaders are trying to get their hands and everything because they see something and they're like, oh actually that's not how I want it done. And so they get their hands in it and they try to fix it and it's not...

...a coaching moment. What if we actually put the responsibility back on the leader that there is a learning opportunity, there's a growth opportunity for that leader to become even better at communicating what the expectation is to the person who's having to execute against that leader's vision. To me, that's a massive growth opportunity and that's a, you know, it's it's something that takes time, it takes practice. It, it is going to take some failure, but failure is that's the fertile seeds from which new growth springs a new and and I want to talk about failure because it's something I know many struggle with, they share their concerns with me privately. So let's peel back the curtain here, because you know, how how do you handle change? How do you handle failure? How you you react in stressful situations is a great judge of character. It's something that's supposed that you just put on linkedin recently. It's where we can learn a lot about people, learn a lot about teams, learn a lot about organizations, I think, most importantly, learn about ourselves through these experiences. So how do you personally handle what some might call failure, others call setbacks when something negative happens, doesn't go as planned and turns out. And what did you get? What did you learn from others through this experience in the post that you put a link in here? I know not everybody has. Um I have this deep passion to prove people wrong, a part of who I am in some ways and very little contrarian. Yeah, so I know not everybody has that or feels that way, but I think that's part of what I do is when I, when I fell and I know somebody has seen that failure or recognizes that failure. I use that as motivation always. I'm competitive in nature in that regard. Uh, and so I use it as motivation and not everybody can make that switch, but I also think that uh, you know, every single time I've ever consulted for a start up or been at a startup, um,...

...yeah, It's always less green than you think it's going to be when you get there right, there's way more problems that people don't expose and don't talk about, which guess what are absolute failures? And it's why, what is it less? Less than 2% of startups actually make it correct? So if less than 2% of startups actually make it? So the nit and grit of the business world, right, entrepreneurship and all of these big fellows that do happen don't get exposed. I think that we have to be open as a society and a business um and as a business world in talking about those failures so that we can all learn from each other, which is why you're seeing now a massive influx over the last year of community, right, where you're having communities get together, you're having cmos get with cmos, ceos, get with ceos, entrepreneurs that are at startups, get with entrepreneurs that startups and now they're having these really unique dialogues with each other, talking about a little personal anecdote on this. So the 1st 10 years of my business, I was kind of like the lone ranger, um you know, I thought I knew it, I started this thing when I was 19, so I think there's that youthful pride, youthful arrogance. But once again, what is the ancient wisdom tell you about pride? Pride goes before a downfall in a downfall. It did come in 2012. While you know the business was great, you know seven figures in revenue when all these awards behind the scenes, my life was falling apart. My wife was telling me and we just had our second child and it's the it's the family of the business because you you're not very balanced and I wasn't and so I had to call in outside help, I had to get someone to to really show me a better path forward. And I knew that I wanted both, I knew I wanted to continue to grow the business. I knew I wanted to keep my family together um but I couldn't do it because I just didn't know and by and I said since that time I am always going to have a...

...coach, a guide and advisor, be part of some type of community. And it's because of that that I attribute to just not not being by myself because I found that when I by myself, I sometimes psych myself out and I don't know, it's just not, it's not a good place to be. This has been a, I think we've brought the humanity on this one today. Got got a little personal on on a couple of things which has been great. I want to wrap up with 22111 more question. Get real practical here at the end as as as as financial brands banks, creditors continue down their digital growth journey. What is one recommendation? Something very practical that they can start doing with their marketing and sell strategies just to optimize experiences, something something small that they could apply. It's all in the same room. I mean, I know that sounds again surface level, but you're lending your marketing, they're doing two totally different things and they very rarely know what each other is doing. And by the way, I would even add bring your service into that realm as well, surprised how often times the service organization can become a growth opportunity for landing and marketing and when you kind of bring that together under under one shop, I think that it it makes the world of a difference. I'll never forget. I was facilitating a very similar conversation between a marketing team and a sales team and it was almost like somewhat of a therapy session because I saw the, The disarming of both sides and a growing mutual respect transpire over about a 90 minute conversation to where I just, I just asked some really good questions and and speaking about conversation, someone's listening, they want to continue to learn from you. Obviously there's the banking on experience podcast, but how else can they connect with you? What's the best...

...way for them to reach out and say hello, reach out to me the Lincoln and I am, I try to get back to everybody. That's just again, part of what I believe in is being human, never interaction. So connect with James. Listen to James learned from James. James, this has been fantastic. A lot of fun today. Thank you so much for joining me on another episode of Banking on digital growth. I appreciate you. Thanks for having me James robert as always. And until next time be well, do good and make your bed. Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on digital growth. With James robert. Ley like what you hear, tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on apple podcasts, google podcasts or Spotify and subscribe. While you're there to get even more practical improvement insights, visit www dot digital growth dot com to grab a preview of James roberts, best selling book banking on digital growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from amazon inside you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framed around 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits until next time, be well and do good.

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