Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 2 months ago

125) #ExponentialInsights: The Human-Digital Connection: Why It Should Matter to Financial Brands

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The past 18 months may have made it clear that digital is the key to survival in a world that can transform so drastically so quickly…

But they’ve also made it clear that digital is meaningless without the human element. 

The best technology is the one that augments the human — not the one that replaces them.

Today’s guest, Joe Welu , CEO and Founder of Total Expert , is an expert on the human-digital connection and he joins the show to help you take the first step in marrying the two.

In this episode, we discuss:

- Why the future of technology will be exceedingly human

- The importance of short-term wins in a world where everything can change overnight

- How to incorporate the human into your digital journey

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 talk a lot about how it's a dataarms race in banking and lending and uh the areas of financial services that wework with and I do think that's true, but I also think it's only going,you're only going to win if you play that data arms race by being customerfirst and uh customer focused, you're listening to banking on digitalgrowth. With James robert lay a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing,sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential Bygenerating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part ofthe exponential insight series where James robert interviews the industry'stop marketing sales and fintech leaders sharing practical wisdom toexponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show greetings andhello, I am James robert, ley and welcome to the 125th episode of thebanking on digital growth podcast. Today's episode is part of theexponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome joe Well you to theshow, joe is the ceo and founder of Total Expert, a purpose built Crm andcustomer engagement platform to create growth and loyalty for modern lendersand financial brands. Welcome to the show, joe, Good to see you again buddy.Always great to see you before we get into talking this idea of the, thehuman digital connection and how this plays out and to really the work thatyou're doing over at total expert. What are you excited about right nowpersonally professionally? It's always your pick. Yeah, so there's so much tobe excited about right now. I think the thing that, that juices us obviously isthe pace of innovation? Really, the pace of progress. Uh, and a lot of thework we're doing with a lot of our partners, technology partners andcustomers particularly, we partner with a lot of, a lot of great banks andlenders and credit unions out there and the pace of progress just seems to havebeen accelerated over the last 18 months or so, and I'm sure you'rehearing that a lot, but that's really exciting when you're seeing thingshappen. You're seeing uh new milestones. That's, it's a lot of fun. And that'swhat we were talking about before we hit the record button, we're in and Ijust did this an episode 1 24 with odds. Are you talking about Colby? Um and howentrepreneurs are going to be more naturally oriented. Too quick start. Sowe're wanting to jump in and get things running and rolling and moving forwardwhere in the banking space it's, it's a little bit different. They're, they'reover indexing um their natural operating strings are around factfinding and, and follow through and we'll come back to these points here.But before we get there, I don't think I've ever asked this question before umin 125 episodes. So you're gonna be the...

...first one with this? I'm gonna roll, Iwant to roll the clock back. Um, and, and, and really what was theinspiration for you to, to really kick off and found total expert? Like why godown this path? What inspired you? Because you've got to get a really goodstory here. Yeah. So well that's a, that's a great question and there'sreally two parts to that answer. Part one is really what, what inspired sortof the initial idea to start building technology and the answer there isrooted in. I was deeply involved in the mortgage and real estate space and justsaw the technology solutions that were coming to market. We're really just nothitting the mark right? There was the level of specificity, the last mile offunctionality. You just felt like a lot of the things that were built by theSilicon Valley firms of, you know, that run a lot of the tech didn't understandum, how to manage Homebuyer in a borrower through a life cycle and theyjust didn't get the nuances. So I just, I believe that there was a better wayto do it and started really playing with ideas that was kind of step one asI got into it really, the inspiration grew and what what inspired me grew andwhat I saw is just this massive opportunity in how financial serviceswas evolving and thinking about, okay, the future of, of technology is reallywhere you're, you're going to combine, you've got people the human side andthe technology side and it wasn't going to be a scenario, I believe that it wasnever going to be a scenario where the technology replaces the humans. It wasreally going to be about how it was going to enhance uh, the human, right?So for example, you're going to enhance a consumer's ability to have financialhealth and wellness, right? You're going to help them if you have a if youhave great technology, enabling the process of them getting alone orstarting a business or even getting college loans or buying anythingimportant in life that requires um lending right? They're going to have abetter process, a better experience of educating them and ultimately they'regoing to make better financial decisions. So I looked at this wholething of combining human and digital and saying, wouldn't it be great if youcould not only enable the organization's lenders and banks andcredit unions enable them to serve the end customer better. But wouldn't italso be great if, by doing so you're creating better outcomes for theconsumers because the nature in which...

...you're communicating the level oftransparency that happens when you can use data to deliver that educationalcontent and information to the customer at the right time, leads them down apath to making better financial decisions, which leads them down a pathof better financial health and wellness, right? So that's where as I, as we fastforward a couple of years, the inspiration than really grew to thatthis is even rooted more deeply personal for you because I think it's afantastic story of what you share on the about page. I was like, man, thatright there, that that's the purpose for me. That's the purpose built Crmlike really dying it deep into purpose. I'll set you up, I'll set you up in 32and one. So this idea of financial health and wellness, it's an importantsubject. It's, it's important to me. I know it's important to you because thisreally goes even deeper back into just your early childhood. Uh, and anexperience that you lived through and watch. Can we dive into that? Yeah,sure man, it is deeply personal to me, uh, the topic of financial health orlack of financial health and how that impacts families and humans and peopleeverywhere, right? Um, I went through in my early childhood, 56 years old, my,my parents, as you know, uh lost our family farm in a foreclosure, right?And I witnessed just that incredible sadness that my parents had and youknow, they were unsophisticated, made some, some bad financial decisions andthat combined with, you know, other external factors led that to thathappening. And I just saw the impact of not having financial security andstability and what that did to them. Right? And then as, as sort of the next5, 10 years progressed things got a little bit better and, You know, fastforward then about 10 years or so later, got to see the the opposite of that towhere they were able to finally purchase a home again, and theconfidence and positivity that that brought to our household and mybrothers and I, and being able to move into a home that was ours and havingsome financial security and stability. Uh, it was everything, and it was justprofoundly profoundly impactful to see both ends of that spectrum and, youknow, so, so the whole, um, the whole idea that, you know, really thefinancial services industry has the ability uh, to not only grow theirbusinesses, but actually deliver that kind of impact to the end consumers isreally, really what drives me, and...

...internally, and that's where you and I,man, we're like minds, because growing up, I grew up in a family of modestmeans, and uh, it took a lot for me to almost reprogram my own mind herebecause I heard this over and over and over again as a child, we can't affordit, can't afford it, we can't afford it. And to me, I I, you know, we're on amuch bigger, purpose driven mission here to make the world a billion timesbetter by really helping a billion people get beyond that financial stresstowards a bigger, better, brighter future. Obviously, we're not workingdirectly with the end consumer, we're empowering financial brand, but thework we do translates all the way down to the end consumer, right? It. Andthat's and that's that's that's the point of purpose. And you talk a lotabout, you know, a purpose built Crm and and and I want to take a step back.Let's reflect over the past 12 to 18 months. Because when you think aboutthis idea of purpose, it's probably more important now than ever beforecoming through the Covid experience. What are the biggest trends that youhave seen working with financial brands when it comes to? Just we'll call it alining marketing and sells teams around a purpose bigger than promotingcommoditized rates and putting the transformation of people over thetransaction. Sure. So I think you hit on it at the last part of your commentthere regarding the transaction, it's now I think more than any time in thelast dozen years anyway about the human being and the families and the people.It's about being able to put truly put the customer at the center and have arelationship with that customer that delivers value and partnership to thatcustomer, right? And so the transformation that we're seeing whereMark you see teams aligning marketing, sales and service teams and havingreally one relationship with your end customer to where they're always at thecenter of everything that you're doing, right. So if you're sending out acampaign and and then your sales person is talking to them. They understandthat the campaign that went out maybe why it went out if you're doing this ata higher level, you're using data and intelligence about your customers sothat what you're serving them in terms of marketing and a lot of times thatmarketing is maybe educating them about other financial products and services,right? So if you're doing that right, then your sales team, if you're tyingthose two things together and bringing those things together to have a really1 to 1 relationship, those customer facing teams that are havingconversations that are relevant and that are in alignment with theinformation that you just sent out to them, right? So it's this whole, youknow, it's really this whole...

...transformation of what marketing andsales even is, right to where it's about connection, it's about addingvalue. It's about educating, not just selling a rate, not just selling atransaction. Thinking about this marketing and sells alignment. I wantto come back to this point of putting people at the centre, putting thecustomer, putting the member at the center of all of your thinking, all ofyour doing what's what's the biggest roadblock that financial brand marketteam sells team, leadership team needs to be aware of. That prevents them frommaking this transformation first and foremost, internally. Yeah. So, myanswer actually might be a little bit unpopular, but it's truly how I feel,right? So the biggest roadblock, I believe is mindset of leadership teamsand culture inside the organization, right? I just I believe that is thatit's no longer technology is not the roadblock anymore. You agree Likethere's a because there's an abundance of technology and there will continueto be an abundance of technology In digital transformation initiatives fail60-85% of the time. Not because of technology but because of the peoplewho are having to deploy that technology. It's it's the So we thinkof everything you've heard me talk about really the framework which totalexpert works through and that framework is data insights and action right? Towhere where the intelligence, those insights about your customers andwhat's going on is combined with actual workflow and action of communicatingwith the customer and serving the customer. The combination of those twothings is where all the value and all the progress is created right? You canput customer intelligence and data and analytics and ai in place and if you'renot able to action on it and activate it, it's worthless. And so I was havinga conversation yesterday with a large customer of ours in an executivesession. We're talking about the reason that projects do not deliver the impactis because of that execution of the you know, the people actually executing onon the last mile of integration. The last you know, process change andsaying, okay, we're doing things differently now right? We're not todayforward. We're not just going to send out batch and blast general marketingtalking at our customers, right? We're gonna, we're gonna segment our audience.We're going to talk to him with context and then we're going to do the samething on on the sales and customer facing teams, right? Technology hastransformed our world and digital has changed the way consumers shop for andbuy financial services forever. Now, consumers make purchase decisions longbefore they walk into a branch. If they walk into a branch at all, but yourfinancial brand still wants to grow...

...loans and deposits, we get it. Digitalgrowth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financialbrand marketing and sales leader, but it doesn't have to because James robertwrote the book that guides you every step of the way along your digitalgrowth journey, visit www dot digital growth dot com to get a preview of hisbest selling book banking on digital growth or order a copy right now foryou and your team from amazon inside you'll find a strategic marketingmanifesto that was written to transform financial brands and it is packed fullof practical and proven insights you can start using today To confidentlygenerate 10 times more loans and deposits now back to the show and there's so much, I mean if youthink about it, 95% of our behavior, our actions which become our habits.It's all in the subconscious mind and when you take that individual and thenyou multiply it out to the team and then to the organization and you'redealing with something like, let's just say Crm, which requires new behaviors,new behaviors, new habits will require new thinking, new thinking than godeeper. That's new beliefs serum. It's always a hot, it's really been a hottopic of conversation and coaching over the last 12 to 18 months. Well, let mespeak to that just a little bit. I think it's a relevant point. So Crm forone, it's how the technology is referred to because historically that'show people thought about it. I need a customer relationship managementplatform. But really what we're seeing evolving in the, what we're building ismuch deeper and broader than just Crm because Crm traditionally it's a 30year old word, right? It's where I track my sales people's activities andI record information about the customer well, really today, what it needs to beis if you want to call it Crm or an experience platform is kind of therapper that we use because it's really the entire customer journey should beable to be orchestrated between sales, marketing and service teams and that'sreally what you're trying to do. And I like that idea of, you know, serum hasjust that word. It bristles people's backs. It it was just doing a coachingcall last week and they were talking about, they've been struggling withserum for the last decade and I almost framed it to them. I was like, if youthink about Crm customer relationship management versus this kind of newerway of thinking that you and I are talking experience, marketing, salesand service. So here's a question for you, right? When I always say I'm sorryto cut you off, but I always say, what about So you can talk about customerrelationship management. What about customer engagement? Yes. You know, andhow how are you, how are you going to have an enterprise and anorganizational level power engagement...

...with your customer, Which is reallywhere a lot of the it's not the management of the relationship in asystem. It's the engagement that happens, right? That's that's where thevalue happens and then the engagement that then leads to a multiplying effect.So Crm now it becomes a customer relationship multiplier throughengagement, to dive deeper, to multiply the value creation through the datathrough the insights through the automation and how do you help whenyou're, when you're doing these sessions, help others overcome some ofthe struggles and challenges. We'll call it rooted in past beliefs to breakfree from that coming back to culture and mindset. So step one is we we startout talking about outcomes of what they're trying to accomplish. Okay. Anda lot of times leaders will come in and we'll say we need a crm and you startasking questions why, what are you trying to to accomplish? Well we needvisibility or we need to grow sales and then, you know, you keep going deeperand usually what we get to is really one of the most important, if not themost important priority is they want to improve the loyalty and therelationship they have with that customer. They realize that acquiringthat customer is super expensive. So the most profitable thing and the mostimpactful thing as an organization they can do is say let's approach a customerfor life uh type of mentality with every customer we have. Okay. And sothen once you get to that outcome, you can say great, all right. So if werealize that is step number one is making sure that you have everypossible chance of having a lifelong relationship with this customer. Let'sstart by knocking off some low hanging fruit as step one in this project.Right? So you can't boil the ocean. Most organizations fail because they godown a two year implementation of Crm, they hire consultants, they come in andbefore any values created To the end customer, it's 18 months. Well, I thinkif anything we've learned how much the world has changed can change in 18months. So I always say, look, let's let's deliver value um in your projectin 90 120 days and that might be, you know, setting up some basic customerintelligence plus workflow. That might be just that That right there is that II think it's the key. It's it is the secret to unlock because 1824 months,that's a long time to prove that value. So roll that back. # one quick windsout of the gate, low hanging fruit progress. Progress is critical togrowth. Progress is greater than...

...perfection. And I think in this space,knowing what we talked about an episode 1 24 with Kobe. This idea of high factfinder, high follow through as a natural operating system. We need, wehave a pseudo need that we need perfection before we can lodge. But ifwe can get quick wins, if we can prove value that will ultimately build theconfidence to further commit to do even more, going further, farther faster andit becomes this momentum. It's a perpetual fly will. I'm curious. Youknow, marketing has traditionally been over here on one side of the equationcells has been over here and then you add service as another mix into this.What are the opportunities now to align them. Coming back to what we weretalking about before around a common purpose um with what you consider thishuman digital connection because it's not just technology alone. It'stechnology and humanity working in unity. Yes. So, so first of all, Ithink it's understanding that I have a a singular customer journey. Okay thathas has buckets of where you would say marketing, I think marketing is reallybeing replaced with customer engagement more holistically. Okay, but you havemarketing if sales and you have servicing type scenarios depending onthe product, the financial product or service at different points in thatcustomer journey. So it's really about understanding that I've got a singularcustomer journey that at different points in time I'm going to have thosefunctional things uh interacting with my customers. How do they come together?How do they keep the human in the center at all times? How do we moreintelligent way enable each of those functional areas? Marketing, sales andservice to have a more in context of more value um delivering conversationwhere I'm delivering more value to my customer. So so that's really kind ofthe thematically how you think about it from a technology purpose then I wantto be able to as my systems, my applications and marketing tools andsystems I have to be able to have data that will flow between those systemscorrectly and be able to enable engagement, communication, uhconversations, um product recommendations, all of the really thethings that fall under engaging and communicating with a customer prospect.I like what you mentioned about marketing, the idea of marketing beingtransformed to really think about it as customer engagement. I've been talkingabout marketing transforming to be experienced engineers becauseeventually engineers can help to create and work with this engagement. Youmentioned data, you mentioned ai we've mentioned automation a few times here.What in your mind is a commonly held...

...belief that this industry has arounddata around ai around automation that you just disagree with? So, no, it depends on the level andsophistication of the organization because I do think there's a lot of youand I get the opportunity to work with some really brilliant people in a lotof different organizations. Now, sometimes they might be the only one intheir team. So that makes it more that's a different conversation. But II do believe that one of the things that I fundamentally disagree with, ifyou look at those topics broadly is that it's just this giant massiveundertaking to make progress. I think that's probably the thing I see thething that I disagree with most people should understand that I don't need toa I can be a longer term thing. But what about just using the customerintelligence that I have now uh to actually communicate in a moreimpactful way as a step one. Right. Right, right. And that comes back tothe point we're making before progress is greater than perfection. Quick wins,show value early and often I'm curious to get your take on this because we'retalking about marketing, we're talking about cells. We're talking aboutservice. If there's been one major learning over the last 12-18 months,it's that work. The idea of work has been massively transformed and willcontinue I think to go through some transformations. How how will thefuture of work continue to transform here. What's your perspective on whatwe call the future of work when it comes to marketing, sales and serviceout. Yeah so I think I mean this is a big topic of course but the future ofof work, I think the word that uh that comes to my mind is adaptability and uhI think it's you have to be willing and able to adapt quickly uh to changingcircumstances meaning. For sure I need to have really strong digital firstcapabilities but I also need to be pairing that with um people in humansthat understand how how to harness it and so skill set. Right? So you know Ithink of the world and formulas uh you and I were talking about before. I Ihave a background and programming and M. I. S. I I I think I called your closet,I'm public facing there. Yeah we'll yeah we'll come out and and I thinkthat's just the way that I look at the world. And so what you're talking aboutis what I put in a formula to wear EQ plus A. Q. Is greater than I. Q. Alone.And it's that emotional intelligence plus the adaptability quotient that wecan bring to bear is greater than just intelligence alone because I thinkintelligence is going to be augmented and supported over the next 5 to 10years. Even more so through ai through...

...automation and therefore what are weleft with Were left with the ability to make massive pivots throughadaptability. But still keeping people coming back to that point, Keepingpeople at the center of the thinking and doing through emotionalintelligence and so as we look ahead towards and we'll keep a short horizonline of this because who knows what the next just 12 months, 24 months aregoing to look like. But at this stage in the game, what are the greatestopportunities that you see ahead for financial brands to either create orcapture around marketing sells service through the lens of data Ai automation?I think the greatest opportunity is for the organizations that understand thisis still uh in industry that is centered around human beings and theirfinancial needs, right? And I think the organizations that understand that at avery deep level and allow technology to enable them to serve that human being,that customer in a more impactful way, in a higher quality way that actuallyleads to better outcomes for the customer. They think about it from thecustomer first perspective in everything they're doing nottransaction first, but customer first. And I think that's really the bigopportunity. I think the organizations that do that are gonna win the longterm relationships. Um You know we talk a lot about how it's a data arms racein banking and lending and uh the areas of financial services that we work with.And I and I do think that's true. But I also think it's only going, you're onlygoing to win if you play that data arms race by being customer first and uhcustomer focused. Yes. And that's where this idea of what we've been talkingabout. Human centered growth. There are four areas of focus to consider. You,you must review what you've done to learn through those experiences to takethose insights that you gain, think about them and then apply them to thenext iteration of doing. Because when you get trapped and stuck in the doing,it is a very dangerous and deadly place to be. And to create that space andtime back to your point before every 90 days. That's the 90 day growthmethodology right there. Absolutely. What's your feedback loop? We talkabout it all the time uh, with, with our customers and partners that we'reworking with. And we talk about it internally, is that, look, you're goingto uh make mistakes and you're going to learn things all the time. You have toalways be going down to parallel pass, right? You have to have your long termvision of where the industry is going, where you want to go as an organization.But you also have to be focused on these shorter sprints. The 60 90 daysprints to where, what are we learning from how our customers are reacting?How are people are reacting what worked, what didn't work? What are the microsmall course corrections and...

...adjustments That we have to do so thatwe make more progress the next 90 days. And that's that's ultimately wheremagic happens, right? It is. And and so from a practical exercise. And Joe.This has been a fantastic conversation today. As we wrap up. I want to set thedear listener up for success over the next 90 days for them. What is onesmall small because all all transformation, all progress beginswith just a very simple step. What's one small recommendation that you couldcould could could recommend to the dear listener that they could commit to takeover the next 90 days to make progress on their own journey of growth here. DoI have to limit it to just one? Or can I give you a call? I'll give you one.So um I would say number one any business in any organization. I want toum I want to audit my customers, experience my customer journey andunderstand it and have empathy so that I can have proper empathy for mycustomers. And you know I think it's it's really true in financial servicesbut I also think it's true and in technology like you know we have awareof technology business that serves financial institutions and we do thesame thing. I talked to our people all the time. The most powerful thing thatyou can do to make progress is getting perspective and empathy for what'shappening with your customer because that will inform you on some of thequick win things that you can do. I'd like to level that thought up evenfurther. That's like the idea of digital secret shopping coming intoplay now because if you can make that commitment and and and and start smallfocus on one product line and maybe just one area of the buying journey,maybe it's the conversion point. What does that experience, what does it looklike? How does it make people feel and then apply those knowledge over thenext 90 days as your body learning exactly as a couple quick examples I'llget a couple of quick examples what's the communication that happens um whenthey fill out an application after they complete an application after theybecome a customer. Very simple one. First month there a customer with you,what are you sending them? What's the voice you're using, what's the context,what additional value are you delivering? My guess is there'sopportunities there for improvement. Those are very quick things in 3 to 4month window that you can improve as a bank lender, Credit Union financialinstitution. And when you benchmark that against the fin text and the neobanks, it's very interesting to see that feedback in the real world. We'vewe've done a lot of that against a like chime and aspiration and some of theseother neo competitors compared to say the traditional community financialbrand, always an eye opening experience because I think it's the idea ofknowledge and awareness are the first steps towards that future growth joe.If anyone is listening, they want to continue the conversation with you thatwe started today. What's the best way for them to reach out and say hello? Umwell me personally, you can reach out to me joe at Total expert dot com. Umyou can always come to our our website...

...for for information or reach out to toour team at total expert dot com. So joe at Total expert dot com or justcome to our site. Total expert dot com, joe I appreciate two things. Number one,first and foremost the work that you and your team are doing at Total expert.It is important work, it is meaningful work, it is really, it is lifetransforming work for people coming back to the stories that you and I hadshared before and the number two, thanks so much for joining me on justanother episode of banking on digital growth. Thank you for all the greatwork you do man, we're huge fans and likewise the work that you guys aredoing is hugely impactful for for so many people. So your your true leaderin the industry always enjoy the opportunity to chat with you.Absolutely man and as always and until next time be well do good and make yourbed. Mhm thank you for listening to anotherepisode of banking on digital growth with James robert. Ley. Like what youhear, 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 geteven more practical improvement insights, visit www dot digital growthdot com to grab a preview of James roberts, best selling book banking ondigital growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from amazoninside. You'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framedaround 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10times more loans and deposits until next time be well and do good.

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